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Standard Sci Fi Fleet to the rescue!

As Space Is an Ocean, naturally the space fleets in many Sci-Fi settings tend to follow the same lines as the wet navies of Earth. These are typically separated into three classes: Small Craft, Space Ships and Capital Ships.

Forms the backbone of a Space Navy. Compare/contrast Standard Sci-Fi Army, which may be on hand to fight boarding parties or conquer worlds.

To compare the size of ships from various series please use this finely crafted link for a very helpful site, that has all your Standard Sci Fi vessels in scale to one another.

Small Craft

These are characterized by having a relatively short endurance; unlike a 'real' spaceship, small craft don't independently travel long distances or stay in space for weeks on end. Consequently, small craft are almost always attached to a base of some sort. Furthermore, most don't have FTL, whether because it would be too expensive, a trip would take too long, or the engine would just be too big.

  • Escape Pod - Not a craft in its own right, but a lifeboat IN SPACE. These are very common in science fiction works: When a larger ship is about to be destroyed, the crew will scramble for the escape pods, hoping to reach rescue or at least a desert island habitable planet. Generally these have only rudimentary engines and no weapons, but will carry some survival supplies. Can be used to create dramatic situations with stranded or adrift characters, or just to get civilians and redshirts out of the way so the main cast can save the day at the last possible moment.
  • Space Fighter - Basically a fighter craft IN SPACE. Usually armed with a mix of direct-fire weapons (for Old School Dogfighting) and missiles. Space Fighters typically battle each other in space, but depending on the distribution of firepower in the universe, may be capable of damaging or even destroying capital ships. The most common type of small craft to (possibly) have an FTL drive. The best ones are designed to be used in an atmosphere as well.
    • Bomber - A heavier Space Fighter, armed with big missiles (commonly called Torpedoes) to damage or destroy capital ships.
    • Interceptor - A light, fast fighter whose primary purpose is to catch and destroy Bombers before they can strike the capital ships.
    • Stealth Fighter - A stealth fighter, equipped with a cloaking device or such. They can also come in larger versions, depending on the setting.
    • Assault Fighter - A Glass Cannon fighter with lots and lots of guns.
    • Recon - A fighter that trades weapons for sensors and speed. Scouts ahead of primary fleet to gain last-minute intel on enemy positions.
  • Humongous Mecha - Many universes which feature these may use them instead of or in addition to conventional space fighters. Alternately, many have Transforming Mecha that change into Fighters for space combat. In even rarer cases they can transform into capital ships.
  • Shuttle - Commonly used to transfer personnel or material from one ship to another, or down to the surface of a planet. Usually lightly armed, although Combat/Assault shuttles that sacrifice their carrying capacity for guns are not unheard of. Civilians may own these for personal transport.
    • Drop Ship - Awesome Personnel Carrier IN SPACE. A specialized shuttle-like craft specifically made to carry troops from a ship to the surface, even into the middle of a battlefield or under fire. Always heavily armored, and usually armed to boot.
    • Drop Pod - Instead of deploying infantry together in ships, transports will sometimes drop individual soldiers or Humongous Mecha in pods or very heavy armor.
    • Boarding Shuttle - The ship-to-ship relative of the Drop Ship, carrying a Boarding Party, presumably with hull-cutting equipment and airlock with clamps[1].

Space Ship

These are full-fledged space ships; they have the endurance to go anywhere, but aren't powerful enough to be actual capital ships (military vessels may be referred to as "sub-capital" ships). The addition of stealth/cloaking capability to any of these turns them into the equivalent of submarines, allowing writers to recycle WW2-era destroyer vs. U-boat stories, regardless of the bad physics involved.

  • Cutter/Corvette/Frigate/Destroyer - Various smaller warships, ranging from small assault boats slightly larger than a Bomber to massive ships nearly a mile in length. Which size class gets which name varies from universe to universe, but is usually in the size and name order given above. With the exception of those crewed by main characters, these are usually the equivalent to Red Shirts in the fleet when the shooting starts. Generally speaking, deployed in groups ("flotillas") or as escorts for larger ships. They're sometimes referred to (especially destroyers) as "Tin Cans" because of their thin hulls.
    • Cruiser - Jack of All Stats of warships. Big enough to take care of themselves, fast enough to run from most anything that can squish it (which there're a lot, since a Cruiser often trades hull defense for firepower), and expendable enough that they don't require escorts.
  • Assault Carrier - The Assault Carrier is basically a smaller version of The Battlestar, only carrying a single squad or two of small craft. Many are capable of operating in the atmosphere, even (especially) if no other type of ship in the fleet can. These ships are usually considered their own autonomous units within the fleet, and commonly split off on separate missions (this makes them useful for the main cast of a series). The White Base of Mobile Suit Gundam is the Trope Maker here.
    • Escort/Light Carrier - Typically around the same size as an assault carrier, but trades in most of the assault's guns for a larger fighter wing. An escort carrier rarely shows up on its own.
  • Space Freighter or Cargo Ship (No, not that, we mean it literally this time) - A ship whose purpose is to ferry goods from one planet to the next. Usually lightly armed, if at all. Mostly a background ship.
    • Blockade Runner - Smaller than most Cargo Ships, this is commonly used by smugglers and rebels, who soup up the engines and, if necessary, can give it extra guns and armor if it needs to fight. You're probably thinking of the Milennium Falcon (or the Serenity, or the Bebop) right now, and you'd be right on the money. This is the go-to ship class for the Space Western settings. May be piloted by a Space Trucker.
    • Q-ship - Taking the idea of the Blockade Runner to an extreme, a Q-ship is a Cargo Ship that is retooled into a warship, but still retains the outward appearance of its original form, so the enemy doesn't realize that it's armed until it starts shooting them. These can be used to defend supply convoys alongside or in place of normal escorts, or to sneak a fighting unit past the eyes of the enemy until it's too late. Note that a Q-ship is now primarily a warship, not a cargo hauler, so a ship like the Milennium Falcon would not be an example, as it is a freighter, it just happens to be armed for bear. Basically, if it isn't designed to be mistaken for a normal cargo ship until the enemy is being blown to bits, it is not a Q-ship. Improvised warships may come close - a freighter may need very little work for conversion into a missile barge, as long as other ships are present to complement its weak sides.
    • Tender - A military use freighter that can be used to extend the range of a fleet by carrying extra supplies (food, fuel, etc.) Obviously they won't always be seen, because a fleet will tend to try to operate within its normal range, but occasionally it may need to go beyond those limits, at which point a Tender becomes invaluable. Much the same goes for Ammo ships - they are not going to participate in routine patrol or base defense missions, but are going to tag along for large or remote operations, unless the setting completely disregards projectile weapons.
  • Troopship - Not much more than a flying barracks, these will be seen in almost any invasion (unless the fleet uses Mashups instead). It will almost certainly carry Drop Ships to take a beachhead and shuttles to beef it up, but it may additionally have the ability to actually land on a planet. Since it's already a drop-ship Carrier, in pressing times it may be forced to forgo the majority of its troops and act as an improvised Carrier for other small craft. On occasions, technically a ship of one of the other classes fitted to accommodate a troop compartment. This is most likely the place you'll see a Space Marine steps out from.
  • Yacht - An unarmed (usually), often spacious and pleasant civilian ship, designed to carry VIPs from A to B, in style and comfort. Usually these will have an escort.

Capital Ships

The most powerful warships in a fleet; when people talk about fleet strength, counting capships is the quick and dirty way to do it. The presence of just one of these in an area can influence strategic calculations. These ships tend to be expensive to build. So expensive, in fact, that in "realistic" settings (well, the ones where space fleets function like WWII surface naval fleets anyway, which isn't actually realistic) they are almost never deployed without escorts and the captain will usually have an admiral on the scene to answer to in the squadron/task force/fleet. In other settings, these get treated as extra-big cruisers. Either way, unless you're in a huge fleet battle, losing one of these is a big deal. A uniquely big one may be The Mothership.

  • Ship of the Line/Battleship/Dreadnought - A massive ship, usually the largest ship in the fleet, bristling with big guns. The navy's Mighty Glacier. (Note that the term "fast battleship" exists, because some of them, like the Iowa, were really fast in addition to having shitloads of guns and armor. In the real world, being huge meant that they had more room for sailes/engines/reactors, meaning that Bigger Is Better in almost every respect. However in sci-fi, they practically always move at a snail's pace because really heavily armed and armored AND really fast ships would leave those taking Artistic License with Economics the question 'Why do we make anything else ?' For the rest of us, the answer is logistics and economics. Even strategy games, which often abstract or handwave away advanced economic concerns, recognise that bigger ships take more resource and time to build while requiring more crew or advanced AI control. Depending on the faction's economic capabilities, it's simply not possible to build only capitals.)
  • Battlecruiser - In real life, this was a ship as fast as a cruiser but with the firepower of a battleship, meant to combat enemy cruisers where a battleship couldn't be spared. In practice, battlecruisers ended up serving with the main battle fleet because their firepower was too valuable to pass up, but where their lack of armor became a liability. In science fiction, usage of "battlecruiser" may vary. A lot of the time science fiction works just ditch the "battleship" name and instead call their biggest, most powerful ships "battlecruisers", probably because "battleship" sounds archaic (and battlecruiser does sound cooler). If the fictional work has both battleships and battlecruisers, then expect the latter to be slightly smaller versions of the former, as it often did happen in Real Life too.
  • Carrier - An Airborne Aircraft Carrier several thousand feet (plus!) higher. Lightly armed, but carries Space Fighters of all kinds, and is usually escorted by other Capital Ships. Somewhat like Squishy Wizard of Capital Ships, especially when no Science Vessel is at hand. Sometimes has a built-in factory.
  • The Battlestar - Wields both guns and fighters, and is more often than not the Flagship of the fleet (unless a Dreadnought is on the scene). If the series only has one type of ship, it's usually this. See the trope for details.
  • The Worldship - That's No Moon, that's a space station! These are basically mobile Space Stations, which may be used as homes by nomadic civilizations (especially a Horde of Alien Locusts), or as crowning achievements in engineering by a large spacefaring society. See also Big Dumb Object.
  • Banner Ships - Not necessary a true warship, but essentially carrying either the command party and a variety of tools to coordinate and command allied ships. Its sight in the battlefield brings despair to the foes and hope to the allies. May be either unarmed so it can be an iron fortress for the fighters or armed sufficiently to protect itself. Think of them as the space variant of an AWACS or a command and control ship.

Other Ships

Some ships stand out due to various unique constructions or abilities, and are less noted for specific size or roles. These aren't found in every series, but appear often and are notable enough to warrant special mention:

  • Detachable Drive - An uncommon class of ship or Small Craft that basically serves as a flight system to allow a ship type of similar or smaller size to move further than it is normally designed to (Faster Than Light travel for an extreme example). These are often little more than a drive system, fuel, and an external docking mechanism for the craft to attach to (see also Mecha Expansion Pack). Commonly used by Space Fighters or Humongous Mecha, although versions for larger ships are also seen from time to time. They're always way cooler than mere Space Tugboats.
  • Missile/Torpedo Boat - A ship whose main armament consists almost entirely of missiles and/or torpedoes. A few universes, due to their technological development, may have the main fleets be basically this.
  • Minelayer - If Space Mines are involved, something must carry them to where they will be used. Though even then this job may be given to missile boats or freighters. May also be a mobile munitions factory, however.
  • Colony Ship - These generally aren't very well armed, even if only because they tend to be outdated more often than not. They carry lots of colonists and everything you need to start a colony: equipment, construction materials, animal and plant specimens, living environs. Sometimes designed to become raw materials for the colony, especially in the slower-than-light models. Comes in Generation Ship, Human Popsicle sleeper ship, Terraforming seeder ship, and vanilla FTL colony ship flavors.
  • Mining Ship - A mobile base for mining and ore processing. May dispatch and maintain swarm of mining robots digging a planet or large asteroid, or slurp up small asteroid fragments with Tractor Beam. In the latter case it may carry specialized weapons to break bigger stones into rubble. Depends on the setting, but in various forms tend to crop up in more logistically-minded ones.
  • Science Vessel - The Squishy Wizard of space, these ships generally aren't meant for combat but have specialised equipment and capacities that can be repurposed as weapons. Typically equipped with advanced sensor arrays, Polarity Reversers, and a Deus Ex Machina or two if you're lucky.
  • Space Gun / Monitor - The spaceborne equivalent of the self-propeled artillery, the Space Gun is a ship (usually of the smaller classes, but some can be of any size up to Space Station) that consists of a command bridge, the biggest weapon they could find (up to, but not always, a Wave Motion Gun), the engines to move it around, and little else. Space Guns are usually Glass Cannons that add to the overall firepower of a fleet due to their ability to punch well above their weight, but are otherwise vulnerable and have to be screened by fighters and other ships.
  • Space Station/Star Base - Usually rivaled in size only by the Battleship and Dreadnought (or in more extreme universes, Worldship) classes, these are (relatively) immobile structures used for all kinds of duties, from habitats, to fortresses, space ports, factories, and the like. Colony Drops are always a danger when these things get knocked out of orbit. If the space station is even bigger than a World Ship, it might be a Dyson Sphere.

As noted in the Army trope, the variety of these ships often varies by medium. As even with animation (traditional or CGI), making and showing a lot of stuff can be time-consuming or expensive. Therefore, many television series' or movies stick with Battlestar or Cruiser-class vessels only, while games often expand further than that.

Examples of Standard Sci-Fi Fleet include:

Anime and Manga

  • Gundam is the (sub-) Trope Namer for the Assault Carrier, and otherwise features primarily Cruisers and Battleships, with Humongous Mecha as their primary space fighter. As well as, naturally, Space Colonies and other stations.
    • The RX-78 GP03 Gundam Dendrobium from Gundam 0083 Stardust Memory is an example of a Humongous Mecha (the Stamen) with a Detatchable Drive (the Orchis). This also applies to the METEOR units for both the Freedom and Justice Gundams in Gundam SEED
    • MS IGLOO takes a look at a few prototype weapons, two of them are a missile ship and a space gun.
  • Martian Successor Nadesico has the title ship as an Assault Carrier, with a number of cruisers on both sides, and a Jovian Worldship.
    • However, it's referred to in show (and in the original title) as a "High-mobile Battleship", making it a fast-battleship or battlecruiser.
  • Played with in the Crest of the Stars. There are several superficially recognizable ship classes, all with the familiar names... But then you suddenly understand that these names are translations from the local Con Lang and all these classes reflect completely different fleet organization and tactics. What about their battleships being completely Point Defenseless missile platforms and shifting all point defence onto special ship class, and so on...
    • It's really not that different honestly the Battleship thing is the only real oddity, but even that's not that odd. Indeed real world adaptions of the "Arsenal ship" concept which was basically just a barge with a tiny crew and like 500 missile tubes might have used the BB or battleship hull numbers to reflect their role as heavy offensive warships. Further all point defense is not shifted onto a single ship class. More or less all the ships have some, often quite a bit, of point defense, but the dedicated vessels have even more, but then AA ships exist in the real world as well. They're not used that much differently either really the Battleships bombard at range, the cruisers are the main force that mixes it up closer, the AA ships protect from missiles, and the little frigates scurry around out in front being blown up in droves as cannon fodder.
    • The main fleet mainly consists of destroyer, cruiser, corvette and carrier. Destroyer as Fragile Speedster. Cruiser as Mighty Glacier. Corvette are purely point-defense against missiles and are defenseless against any destroyer or cruiser. Carriers have no fighters nor guns, instead launch crazy amount of AI controlled suicide bombers. Each of them have their own weaknesses, even the mighty cruiser can be blown up in one hit by a destroyer if its shields are down. Although a cruisers' main gun can blow up a destroyer in one hit, because lighter ships travel faster in hyperspace in the series, it makes sense for a team of destroyers Zerg Rush on the much slower cruisers, hoping with More Dakka a lucky shot could sent its shield out of commission long enough for other destroyers to deliver the fatal blow.
  • Macross uses all of these for its colonization fleets, with the Macross-class ships typically being Dreadnought sized Carriers with a Gun Platform built in, whole squadrons of Assault Carriers, colonization ships in the form of gigantic domed cities, fighters, bombers, destroyers, cruisers, Humongous Mecha, and throwing in specialized ships such as factories, entertainment, science/research, farms, and so forth. The only one they don't have yet (Though the Zentraedi probably do) are Worldships.
  • In Legend of the Galactic Heroes navies are built up of small one-man space fighters, carriers of said fighters, and normal cruisers that are mostly of the space gun type (with the ratio of carriers to cruisers being approximately 1:50 in most navies). The Empire has one model of each and The Federation has one model of each. Admirals of the fleets have flagships that are usually little more than Ace Customs of the normal cruisers, though some flagships are big enough to serve as ships of the line. In addition The Empire is also shown using Destroyers and Gunships (really small Cutter/Corvette type ships) and also built two World Ships, but the latter are static defenses that are immobile until they attached huge engines to one and sent it against the other in an attempt to recapture it.
  • The Iron Tribe (Humans) and most other tribes in Heroic Age used mostly Fighters, Cruisers and the occasional Battleship, but many tribes also had one or two Space Station-sized Space Guns (like the Iron Tribe's Ruby and Topaz Cores). The Iron Tribe also had two similarly-scaled Science Vessels, the Pearl Core which used force fields and gravity manipulation, and the Blue Core which disgorged hundreds of Attack Drones. The Argonaut, on the other hand, was a Battestar that carried Humongous Mecha and small satellite-like drones instead of Fighters.


  • Star Wars in both the main series and Expanded Universe, covers just about everything here and then some.
    • Specifically, the Star Wars Expanded Universe gave us the Interdictor, which is used to pull other ships out of hyperspace or prevent them from making the jump to hyperspace in the first place, and the Golan Space Defense Platform which is essentially a ridiculous amount of guns and armor on a space station.
      • Fighters/Bombers/Interceptors: X-Wings/Y-Wings/A-Wings for the Alliance; the Empire, being less creative, simply calls them TIE Fighters/Bombers/Interceptors (although Interceptors are strictly superior to Fighters except in cost).
        • B-wings are the Alliance's Assault Fighters, same goes for the deceptively-named TIE Defender for the Empire (also the TIE Oppressor).
      • No Humongous Mecha In Space, Though the Imperials always use them on the ground (AT-AT, AT-TE, AT-ST, AT-PT, AT-RT, UT-AT, SPMA/T AT-XT etc)
      • Shuttles: All over the place, including the classic Lambda (i.e. Vader's shuttle); Drop Ships include the clone Gunships and Imperial Sentinel landing craft (basically a Lambda with guns and armor), The Acclamator cruiser, which is over 740 meters long, also serves as a humongous Dropship. Wraith Squadron actually used Drop Pods on one insertion, though they're a work in progress.
      • Corvettes, Frigates, Destroyers: namechecked by the Corellian Corvette (Tantive IV, Leia's ship from A New Hope, was one of these), Lancer anti-fighter frigates, and Marauder destroyers; more generally, any self-respecting work in Star Wars has at least one of these.
      • Assault/Escort carriers: many classes of smaller Yuuzhan Vong ship, plus the actual Escort Carrier.
      • Cruiser: the smaller (Victory-class) Star Destroyers; Katana-fleet Dreadnaughts; some of the corvette-class ships edge into this.
      • Space Gun: fairly rare, although the various attempts and rumors of fitting a Death Star-grade superlaser on a Star Destroyer chassis probably qualify.
      • Missile Boat: By name. Another case of Imperial Naming at its finest, Also the (Victory I-class) Star Destroyer (80 missile tubes for MultiTeraton Macross Missile Massacre Goodness).
      • Freighters: all over the place, with a disproportionately high number of:
      • Blockade Runners: practically the Trope Maker, and certainly a perennial favorite. Some of them are armed enough to consider (and be used as) Q-ships.
      • Q-ships: While much larger than the average Q-ship, much of the Trade Federation and later the Separatist fleet came from putting turbolasers on their freighters.
      • Detachable Drive: A number of Republic starfighters use detachable hyperspace boosters to travel at lightspeed. Also, a number of cargo transports in TIE Fighter and Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance are essentially large detachable drives that strap several cargo containers onto their exteriors and push them through space.
      • Colony Ship: The Vong has several, mostly of the nastier sort of Terraformer.
      • Science Vessel: rare, though it's mentioned as one of the many, many uses of Corellian Corvettes.
      • Battlecruiser: older-generation warships, like the Kaloth-class, tend to come off this way.
      • Ship of the Line: Rare, compared with the below options. Some older ships, such as the Kaloth or Katana, were probably this in their heyday.
      • Carrier: also comparatively rare, but the Trade Federation ring-carriers fit the bill.
      • Battlestar: Any capital ship worth its salt carries fighters, but the Imperial Star Destroyer and Mon Calamari Star Cruisers make big business out of it.
      • Worldships: Called such, operated by the Yuuzhan Vong. They have a shortage of actual worlds, it seems...
      • Banner Ships: The entire, sole point of operating a ship the size of Executor. It works.
      • Space Station: The Golans, among others. And, yes, they get Colony Dropped when the Vong take Coruscant.
    • Star Wars even classifies its unarmed and civilian ships, including 'pleasure boats' and 'yachts'. The various Naboo royal ships are generally the latter.
  • Due to its being Screwed by the Network, Firefly didn't get to show anything other than Alliance gunships (read: fighters) and cruisers, and a few models of civilian freighters. Serenity, on the other hand... Take a look at the Alliance fleet during the battle over Mr. Universe's planet. The Serenity RPG lists several more.

Live Action Television

  • The major powers of Babylon 5 operate just about the whole list except for Humongous Mecha. Battlestars are exceedingly popular.
    • Notably, the terminology on B5 varies wildly from one race to another. While most races use "Cruiser" or some variation ("Star Cruiser", "War Cruiser", etc.) for their largest warships, the humans prefer the term "Destroyer" for their Battle Star type ships, and use "Heavy Cruiser" to describe their smallest class of warship, with "Dreadnought" as the second-smallest seen. Presumably a case of advancing technology and ship sizes causing their old class designations to become obsolete, as the Omega and Warlock class Destroyers are massive.
  • Largely averted by Star Trek, though there have been Expanded Universe Fan Wank attempts to make the ships fit into a standard sci-fi fleet. Notably, because Starfleet's mission is basically peaceful, the largest classes of ships (such as the Enterprise-D) are designated Explorer rather than Battleship, though they also fulfill that role in wartime (In other words, they're Science Vessels you might wanna think twice about messing with). However, in Star Trek III: The Search For Spock, a Klingon captain referred to the Enterprise as a 'heavy battlecruiser'--but considering he was a Proud Warrior Race Guy it kind of makes sense that he would. Also, due to the almost complete lack of fighters, there are no spaceborne aircraft carriers.
    • In TNG's alternate time line episode "Yesterday's Enterprise", the Enterprise-D is referred to as a Battleship.
    • Most of the rare fighters that crop up in Trek also have FTL ability, which is another strike against the norm.
    • The Defiant from Deep Space Nine was the first Federation ship designed to be exclusively a warship, it's one of the smallest ships in the fleet but with the armaments and Deflector Shields to rival the largest. Notably, the Defiant was brought in because the "Runabouts" the station was issued were little more than enlarged shuttles with a couple phasers put in for self defense.
      • But that said, Deep Space Nine's Runabouts were head and shoulders above a The Next Generation shuttle, and were frequently used as standard ships.
    • The Maquis turned some small "courier vessels" into fighters by fitting aftermarket weapons, but being as they were more or less a variant on La Résistance, it was likely all they could afford anyway. The Federation uses their own variant of them in the subsequent Dominion War because the main Dominion warships are too powerful for the runabouts to fight, too numerous and dangerous to fight with their regular ships, and there's only the prototype Defiant at first.
      • It should also be noted that these were quite a bit larger than typical space fighters in other settings. More like combat shuttles.
    • The battle in Deep Space Nine's "Sacrifice of Angels" shows an entire Federation battle fleet (of 600 ships) in action, with the Galaxy-class vessels used as heavy battlecruisers, the Miranda-class vessels as frigates and escorts, the fighters as skirmishers and the Defiant as a sort of flying cavalry unit that can smash through holes in the enemy lines.
    • The Delta Flyer is a shuttlecraft size ship with enough weaponry (Borg inspired) to reasonably assist Voyager in a fight.
    • The Prometheus is designed specifically for warfare, as its Multi-vector assault mode demonstrates. It splits into 3 armed and warp-capable sections that can quickly overwhelm the shields on a Miranda-class ship and a Romulan D'deridex-class warbird. The same episode also shows multiple Defiant-class ships engaging Romulan warbirds and holding their own.
    • The technical manuals for the more militaristic TOS-era Federation list ships from the Hermes-class scoutship on up to the Federation-class dreadnought. The Constitution-class is described as a heavy cruiser.
    • Other than the absence of fighters and carriers, the more militarist factions fit this trope pretty well. For instance the Klingon Bird-of-Prey is a frigate/destroyer weight warship; Vor'cha, K't'inga, and D7 classes are battlecruisers; and the Negh'Var class fills the role of dreadnought.
  • The Peacekeepers of Farscape have several classes of ships from fighters to capital ships of various types. Assorted other ships show up over the course of the series.
    • The major Empires seem to have one giant battlecarrier (command carriers, dreadnoughts), a fighter-type ship like a prowler or the Scarran equivalent, and a Marauder/Stryker-type, which is like a Heavy Fighter or Gunboat combined with a Dropship. In the Scarrans' case, theirs is also a Lightning Bruiser. The P Ks also have a smaller capitol type ship, the Pantak-Class Vigilante, which looks to function like a frigate in fleet formations or like a light cruiser on its own.
    • The Peacekeeper Wars shows two full battlefleets going at it: Peacekeepers and Scarrans.
  • Battlestar Galactica Reimagined's Cylons avert the trope, because their fleets mainly consist of just basestars and their Raider complements, along with perhaps a Resurrection Ship. The Colonials, on the other hand, don't - before the nuclear holocaust, it appears that the Colonial Fleet was divided into battlestar groups - BSGs - consisting of battlestars and (presumably) support vessels. This doesn't really affect the show, because the only two military vessels to survive are the battlestars Galactica and Pegasus.
  • The ships of Stargate SG-1 can be partially classed into a Standard Sci-Fi Fleet, although most space-faring civilizations seem to use only a very few ship classes (and of course the titular Stargates make the use of ships optional altogether in some situations). The Goa'uld have the largest variety, with the fighter-like Death Gliders, small cargo ships that are essentially shuttles, medium-sized bombers, dedicated troop transports, and Hatak mother ships, which are basically Assault Carriers, carrying both lots of cannons and lots of Death Gliders. Some powerful Goa'uld also developed larger Capital Ship classes. Most large ships in the 'verse seem to be "Battlestars," including all large Earth vessels, though a few alien races do provide exceptions.
    • The Wraith, of all races, approach this trope the most, having Dart fighters, slightly-larger scout ships (only one is ever shown, though), supply ships (carrying people for food), cruisers, and massive Hive ships. Both of the latter are battlestars, carrying large numbers of Darts as well as armed with powerful energy cannons. There was also the one-off Super-Hive, which got big as a result of a powerful energy source. It could probably take on an Ori mothership and win.


  • The Honor Harrington series uses all of the above, and adds a few more namely the Dreadnought as the second largest ships in most fleets, and the stupendous Super Dreadnoughts, which carry enough firepower to depopulate a planet, and are at one point described as having enough energy weapons to shatter a small moon, though that may have been hyperbole.
    • Except fighters. They are explicitly mentioned as completely unfeasible in their situation. There are some smaller ships taking their tactical niche, mostly missile defence and tying the lighter fleet units, but these aren't tiny single-seat tin cans, but warships in their own right, almost the size of a pre-war destroyer (incidentally, called "tin-cans" in-universe) without the hyperdrive and crew count is closer to that of a WWII-era bomber than a traditional starfighter. Initially, they started out as some sort of gunboat/torpedo boat analogue: Too small to be used for anything other than patrol duties except in some very specific and unlikely circumstances. The one time they prove to be a serious threat (if not an effective one) to a modern warship, it is because they were some place they weren't expected to be, mistaken for a group of friendly patrol ships, and the warship in question nearly stumbled blithely right into their gunsights. Once propulsion and powerplant technology catches up a bit, and strategists allow for some changes in space combat doctrine for these small ships,[2] they mature into the Goddamn Bats that we know and love from the later books.
  • Another, stand alone book by David Weber, The Apocalypse Troll, begins with two full Standard Sci-Fi Fleet battle groups. All of the cruisers and destroyers on both sides are either destroyed or go incoherent before the big ships make the Takashita Translation but after that there is still the Defender (a Battlestar) and an enemy dreadnaught and a carrier surviving. They proceed to blast the crap out of each other across time and space until only the fighter wing commanders from both sides become the Sole Survivors and a Terminator Twosome since they find themselves a handful of centuries in (their) past.
  • The Lost Fleet is a fully formed armada based on real-life navies. The core fleet elements are battlecruisers, battleships, and heavy cruisers screened by light cruisers and destroyers. There are no dedicated carriers, and their Fast Attack Craft are rarely used and would be considered corvettes rather than fighters. Either way, they are woefully short-ranged, weak and easily destroyed; in practice, the smallest relevant ship class is the destroyer. The Syndicate Worlds "Hunter-Killer" ships straddle the line between heavy fighters and light corvettes. Also of note are the "fast fleet auxiliary" ships, which are basically mobile factories and repair shops. The only thing "fast" about them is their capacity to get in trouble.
  • Averted in the prototypical Space Opera. In the Lensman Series virtually every warship mentioned is called a battleship as anything less has little or no chance of survival, though at one point the Galactic Patrol did introduce special ships and tactics to overcome a temporary technological deficit.
    • Actually the Lensman Series does have a variety of spaceships. The fleet invading the Second Galaxy, for example, is described as having scout cruisers, light cruisers, cruising bombers, heavy defensive cruisers, maulers, battleships, super-dreadnaughts, and what may be the ur-example of the banner ship: "Technically the Z9M9Z, socially the Directrix and ordinarily GFHQ." In addition there are one- and two-man speedsters, space tugs, space freighters, space liners, and science ships, among other things. What's lacking are the short-ranged small craft - shuttles, fighters, drop pods etc.
  • Peter F. Hamilton's Night's Dawn Trilogy features most of the ship classes from the standard fleet. However, due to the demands of FTL travel in this setting, all mechanical (Adamist) interstellar vessels need to be spherical, meaning the ships in the fleet differ only by size, whilst retaining a similar look. Nevertheless, they are divided into frigates, destroyers and battlecruisers. The bio-tech sentient warships (voidhawks) also serve as interceptors and scouts thanks to their superior FTL and maneuverability. The big difference to the standard fleet is the lack of fighters, for the reasons of practicality. Instead, high-speed, high-G drones called 'combat wasps' actually do the fighting thousands of kilometres from their motherships.
  • The CoDominium: Standard space navies tend to have capital ships and small auxiliaries. Pournelle was aware of the various roles different ship types played. In fact, he choose the type of the INSS MacArthur based on its capabilities.
  • Andrey Livadny's The History of the Galaxy series has several human powers fielding Standard Sci Fi Fleets, most notably the Earth Alliance and the Confederacy of Suns (also its forerunner the Free Colonies). These include escape pods, a great number of Space Fighters (some capable of FTL travel), assault shuttles (each has enough firepower to take out an average military base), corvettes, missile boats, gigantic repair stations, technical tugs, frigates, cruisers, and flagship cruisers (a Battlestar). All ships (including fighters) are ridiculously oversized, with 500-meter corvettes and 7-kilometer flagship cruisers. Crew requirements are listed as much smaller than one would expect. Standard flagship cruiser crew complement is 150, although it can be crewed by up to 2000. This is due to the ubiquitous use of AI modules to run most systems.
    • It should be noted that in one of the later novels, the powers-that-be have determined that a Standard Sci-Fi Fleet is incapable of dealing with the threats to the far-reaching Confederacy and has been relegated to protecting the core worlds. A new doctrine was developed for protecting the outlying colonies using patrolling carriers and a newly-developed type of modular Space Fighter, which can be refitted to a completely different role (fighter, bomber, anti-capital ship) within an hour.
  • The smallest matrix capable ship of the The Republic of Cinnabar Navy is the Cutter, six of which are docked to a anti-pirate Tender. Cutters carry a cluster of twelve chemically-fueled rockets with explosive warheads.
  • Iain M Banks has written about a variety of spacefaring militaries in his scifi novels.
    • The Culture fields many types of ship, most of which are pretty big and bad even if they're not actually warships. The General Systems Vessels are effectively Worldships, capable of housing hundreds of millions of people and building entire fleets. Medium and Limited Systems Vessels are older, smaller versions of such being merely 5 or 10 km long compared to the 80 km+ length of the larger examples. General Contact Units are more versatile and significantly smaller vessels, usually carrying as many as hundreds of people in comfort but fulfilling Cruiser or Destroyer roles when required. Very Fast Pickets are demilitarised true warships, smaller and faster than GC Us and still capable of packing a nasty punch. They often carry around smaller groups, maybe dozens of people or fewer. Rapid Offensive Units and Offensive Units fill the Cruiser and Battleship roles. They're ranked as some of the most dangerous bits of military technology in the Galaxy. Notably, Culture vessels can effectively turn themselves into warships by fabricating weaponry, but the VFP, ROU and OU Minds are built solely for the purpose and are exceedingly skilled combatants, strategists and tacticians.
      • Other races shown tend to name their warships more warship-like names. The Culture tends to feel a little embarrassed about its military side, other races such as the Homomda are rather more pragmatic and some such as the Affront positively glory in it with ships designed to look Badass first and foremost.
      • Its worth noting that no-one fields Space Fighters. Anything smaller than an ROU offers about as much threat as a rowboat against the Yamato at full battlestations in open sea. It can't fit big enough engines, sensors, weapons or stealth equipment to be of any worth.
      • There are no Missile Boats or the like either... any weapon that can't travel at lightspeed (at the very minimum) is just too slow and too easily despatched to be hazardous. Warheads are generally just displaced into their target for maximum effectiveness.
    • The many, many fleets of the Omnocracy in The Algebraist take conventional naval warship classes; Destroyer and Battleship and so on. There are no Carrier type vessels here, either, though they do make hefty use of long range projectiles. This is at least in part due to the fact that there is no Faster-Than-Light Travel outside of the Portal Network... if the portal is down, coming in the long slow way means you get to fling relativistic warheads at the target system whilst you decellerate.
  • Cordwainer Smith's Instrumentality stories provide some imagnative examples:
    • Fighters are football sized craft that are piloted by telepathic cats. They are armed with thimble-sized photonuclear bombs to fight ​Eldritch Abominations whose only weakness is intense light. Cats are the only beings fast enough to intercept the Rats, who can move extremely fast.
    • The Golden Ships are an example of a Super World Ship, a sphere 90 Million miles in length (short of an AU by 2 million miles). Extremely fast, it could move in seconds. However, the Golden Ship is really a decoy, being mostly hollow and consisting of foam and wires. It has no weapons of its own, and must rely on its speed to survive.
  • Alan Dean Foster's Humanx Commonwealth series borrows heavily from the standard sci-fi fleet, although due to the nature of the setting's FTL Travel physics, the larger a ship is, the faster it typically moves; the main reason that every military vessel is not a dreadnought is the expense. Space Fighters do exist; they use the same drive systems but their role is more akin to a missile boat: their job is to get close enough to the target to accurately launch a single fire-and-forget missile that can kill just about any ship of any size. Most non-military interstellar trade and travel is conducted by Space Freighter-class ships.
  • Animorphs has pretty much the whole gambit. The small craft are the Bug Fighters, and the Andalite craft they were stolen from, differentiated by the placement of the 'tail' that holds the Dracon cannon. Bigger is Visser Three's Blade Ship, and the biggest are the Yeerks' Pool Ships and the Andalite Dome Ships, whose front halves seperate to double as medium-sized fighters. Possibly a Detachable Drive kind of thing.

Tabletop Games

  • Warhammer 40,000 materials and various spin-offs cover it. See the size chart of Imperium ships.
    • Battlefleet Gothic has the hulls divided into basic classes that define which components can be installed in the ship and some aspects of performance (how much the ship can turn in one round), though those are very general and have functional sub-classes. Most fleets have a mix of Frigates, Cruisers, Assault Carriers, Battleships, and Battlestars supported by fighters, bombers, and drop pods. Most factions also have a Missile Boat frigate class (Tau have several types towed on gravitic hooks), some have Space Guns.
      • System Defence Monitor is an escort up-armored above most cruisers and heavily (for an escort) armed. It's incapable of interstellar travel and can't even catch up to a transport, but would do when the enemy comes to it - more expensive than an orbital or surface defense platform, but isn't a sitting duck like they are.
    • Rogue Trader converts it into a more detailed model (with some errors, such as ordnance/small craft slowed down by half because it used to move on both sides' turns, thus twice the nominal move per round) and somewhat expanded. The hulls are divided into basic classes that define which components can be installed in the ship and some aspects of performance (how much the ship can turn in one round), though those are very general and have functional sub-classes.
    • Transports - utility vessels generally not built for having much weapons, armor, manoeuvrability or any other tactical characteristics, but has relatively modest cost. Merchant Trader, Pilgrim Vessel conversion, Q-Ship conversion. Outliers: "Orion" Star Clipper (can fly circles around frigates, has a chance to run away from Raiders).
      • Heavy and Super Heavy Transports - a separate class in BFG (where it's handled as transport/cruiser), where it's used mostly as a mission objective (being hunted or unloads troops on a planet). RT also has oversized vessels such as "Goliath" Factory Ship (comparable in size to light cruisers and equipped with fuel scoop). "Universe" Mass Conveyor (even larger than grand cruisers; the least manoeuvrable hull around - has a special rule named "Oversized Monstrosity" all for itself; it can move half a million of people or enough of materials to build a whole orbital port in one go. Can also be used as a mobile base for a small fleet or as a salvage ship, since it got space to pack large spaceship components).
    • Raiders - small fast warships. Also includes Privateer, Destroyer, Scout Sloop. Outliers: Viper Class Missile Destroyer (the smallest torpedo design in canon is still here, Cobra Destroyer converted to carry torpedoes) and Ork "brute ram ship" because Ramming Always Works.
    • Frigates - tougher than Raiders, but not quite as fast. Purpose-built torpedo designs start here ("Falchion"). Also includes Corvette, Strike Frigate, Heavy Frigate.
    • Light Cruisers. Lances can be mounted not only on prow, and Prow weapon mounts stop being forward-facing. In RT it's the size at which the ship itself doesn't turn as easily (in BFG that starts at Cruiser class), yet is significantly more agile than a Cruiser proper. Purpose-built carrier designs start here ("Defiant"). Some heavy scouts and ships made for orbital bombardment (in RT this explicitly involves conflicting requirements of good maneuverability and heavy weaponry) fall into this category. Also includes Exploration Cruiser, Strike Cruiser, Monitor-Cruiser. Outlier: "Secutor" Monitor-Cruiser (an explorer given more point defences and rewired to use shields made for a full Cruiser).
    • Cruisers. Can pack twice as much of broadside as anything less. The smallest ships that can carry Nova Cannons. Outlier: "Conquest" Star Galleon (may use both Cruiser- and Transport- rated systems), designed for Rogue Traders in the first place.
    • Battlecruisers. Tougher than Cruisers, but cheaper and slightly smaller than Grand Cruisers, and not as sluggish. Also includes Heavy Cruiser.
    • Grand Cruisers. Bigger still. Also, at this size a ship can be a mobile base (if one has a folding space dock installed and will drift for a while).
    • Battleships - da biggest and da fightest, fit for flag of a big fleet, but truly ponderous. Also includes Fleet Carriers and Space Marine Battle Barges (Littoral Combat ship In Space - its main jobs are Drop Pod assault and orbital bombardment). In Rogue Trader not really available. Even as potential antagonists there are only Kroot Warspheres (more of an armed mobile habitat) and one oversized Ork "Battlekroozer".
    • Various orbital stations, ranging from single-weapon platform to orbital trade port to small moon with lots of docks and weapons stuck on it.
    • Roks - small asteroids with some weapons and engines slapped on them. These... vessels are used by Orks as Drop Ships. Maneuverability is about what you'd expect from an oversized boulder with modest sized thrusters. Sometimes they manage to decelerate and land in one piece, sometimes burn and crash, but still protect enough of Ork spores to give the planet a long-term problem.
    • Worldships - Chaos and Imperium use the Blackstone Fortresses, Eldar live mostly on Craftworlds. BFG put the Kroot Warsphere here (it's handled as a somewhat-mobile base).
    • Common small craft are interceptors, bombers and assault boats (boarding shuttles); there are hybrids like Ork Fighta-Bomma or Space Marine Thunderhawk; uncommon are Drop Ships (Devourer and Tetrarch, though not represented in space-focused adaptations) and Guncutters — all sorts of shuttles with capacity for shorter interplanetary trips, doubling as superheavy close air support, ranging from small shuttle with gunship weapons to converted Thunderhawk to full ship smaller than common escorts (some of these are even equipped for Warp travel).
  • In the BattleTech universe the only ships capable of interstellar travel are fragile Jumpships (basically detachable drives that ferry smaller ships and cargo pods) and heavily armored warships, which are divided into cruisers, battleships, and battlestars. The Succession Wars destroyed all known warships in the Inner Sphere, leaving Jumpships as the only means of interstellar travel. This forced Dropships filled with Humongous Mecha into heavy use and limited space combat to fighters trying to kill said dropships before they reached a planetary surface. The return of the Clan forces and their full armada of warships changed the equation a bit.
    • Special mention must be given to their dropships - as you might expect, a ship intended to ferry groups of 100-ton mechs from ground to orbit and back are huge, and impressively well-defended. Even a "standard" Hrothgar-pattern dropship carries as much firepower as an average lance of Assault Mechs, and even more powerful versions exist. Occasionally, they are even intentionally placed in combat as a sort of very large turret or fortress.
  • Rifts used shuttles of various types for the Mutants In Orbit Sourcebook, and also used Powered Armor and Humongous Mecha in space, just like on the ground. The Phase World/Three Galaxies setting had all that, and also ships of every kind mentioned above.
  • Star Fleet Battles had almost all of these ship types *except* the Humongous Mecha fighter.
  • Tech Infantry has most of the standard ship types. A list of most ships in Earth Fleet can be found here. A nifty size comparison chart for ships from Tech Infantry, Babylon 5, Star Wars, and Star Trek can be found here.
  • Traveller Classic had all of these ship types except for the Bomber, Humongous Mecha and World Ship. The smallest warships with spinal mounts could count as Space Gunships.
    • Actually Traveller does have bombers. Or rather can. Mention is made of craft optimized for close orbital/atmospheric work, and some would of course drop gravity bombs.
    • Big ships are the deciding factor in any given Traveller battle however no fleet can do without small ships as they can help dominate space or prevent domination and are thus an important strategic asset. In the Intersteller wars, a vast Vilani armada could be paralysed because Terran raiders had done so much damage to the space lanes.
  • Starfire has all of these classes except humongous mecha, surpassing the battleship in size with the Super Dreadnought and the even-larger Monitor. Not surprising, since David Weber (of Honor Harrington fame) was a major contributor to this game's development.
  • GURPS: Spaceships has given stats for everything but a worldship (though it does get a name check).
  • Double Star has Command Ship (battlestar type), Battleship, Battlecruiser, Cruiser, Destroyer, Transport and Fighting Transport (blockade runner type), Orbital Fighter (planetary defence - 0 moves) and Robot Fighter.
  • Alternity Star*Drive had ships added piecemeal, then summed up and given a customization system in Starships accessory (with additions in Dragon article Starship Perks & Flaws) and translated into a better model [3] in Warships (it's free). The latter classifies different basic hull types as one of 5 size classes and either "military" or "civilian" design, with tradeoffs between Wounds (Hit Points), Toughness (scale for hitpoints), Maneuverability, Hull Points (volume for systems), cost, etc. Thus it's still better to start customization from the correct type, though it may depend on the circumstances. Ammo carriers are mentioned (as ships typically making use of ordnance transfer system). Orbital stations and ground bases are also split to 10 basic types in categories from Light to Superheavy, but there are no tradeoff, they just get bigger and sturdier, so it's just down to how thin funds need to be spread. Escape pods, boarding pods, probes and various drones are as uniform as missiles, so they are under ship systems rather than small craft.
Trade-offs are scaled right to shape meaningful doctrine/design choices: e.g. a navy in need of modest carriers would consider Light cruiser and Heavy transport hulls. The latter has same Toughness, 2x wounds, slightly over 4x hull points, 4x cost, but is easier to hit by 2 steps and has manoeuvrability 1 step worse (so it's hard to jink). Which is better depends on the expected threats — "do not arm for war but for a war". Against long-range beams from capships, light cruisers would fare better: you won't need specific defensive systems, but try to not get hit, and then for your money have 2x total durability and a lucky hit may make only 1 of 4 ships sitting ducks - which makes one even less able to jink, after all. Conversely, Heavy transport is more viable against big swarms of missiles or small craft: they will hit anyway if not swatted, so it's worth being a fat target for 128 extra points that allow lots of point defences, power or ammo for them and/or interceptors - and if multiple hits get through this, it can repair 2 systems at once, and can go on when a smaller ship probably would be crippled or destroyed. Armored cruiser is about average of them, thus would be not too bad, but mediocre in either scenario.
    • Small (no heavy armor, no "free" repair checks). Military: Fighter, Strike fighter (bomber), Cutter (patrol boat, ground assault), Scout, Escort (light convoy, gunboat/missile boat). Civilian: Launch, Courier, Trader, Fast freighter, Fast transport.
    • Light Ships (no superheavy armor, 1 repair attempt/round). Military: Corvette (tougher escort, long-range gunboat), Frigate (long-range scout, heavy escort, light destroyer), Destroyer. Civilian: Hauler (tug), Industrial (may be mining ship, mobile outpost, etc).
    • Medium Ships (1 repair attempt/round). Military: Light cruiser (frame for escort carrier, assault transport, raider, diplomatic or scientific vessel, etc), Heavy cruiser, Armored cruiser (frame for light/assault carrier or poor admiral's flagship). Civilian: Medium freighter, Clipper, Medium transport.
    • Heavy Ships (2 repair attempts/round). Military: Battlecruiser, Battleship, Fleet carrier. Civilian: Tanker, Liner, Heavy transport.
    • Super-heavy Ships (3 repair attempts/round). Military: Dreadnought, Super-carrier, Super-dreadnought (rich admiral's flagship), Fortress ship (Dreadnought + Fleet carrier = "Battle Star" or "Worldship"). Civilian: Super-freighter, Colony transport (hauls a self-sufficient town with houses and industry, plus populace for it, some assembly required).
  • Star Frontiers from the start had Frigate, Destroyer, Minelayer, Light Cruiser, Heavy Cruiser, Assault Carrier and Battleship, plus small craft (Fighter and Assault Scout) and various space stations, plus civilian specialized ships. It had paramilitary classes (Yachts and Privateers) of various sizes added in Dragon and supply ships/tenders later in Frontier Explorer (including specifications as to how much ammunition of each sort they may carry). And, of course, custom design systems.
  • Stars Without Number has hulls in 4 size classes that affect mostly equipment costs and scaling, with 9 (in Original Edition) or 10 (in Revised Edition) basic hull types.
    • Small craft (cargo and boarding shuttlecraft, drop pods and lifeboats) are equipment.
    • Fighters (more vulnerable than the rest): Strike Fighter, Shuttle;
    • Frigates: Free Merchant, Patrol Boat, Corvette, Heavy Frigate;
    • Cruisers: Bulk Freighter, Fleet Cruiser;
    • Capital ships: Battleship, Carrier[4].
    • Then there are numerous specialized ones from splatbooks: Skyward Steel (Naval) has Naval Courier (fast unarmed frigate), Troop Transport and Logistics Ship (cruisers); Mandate Archive: Scavenger Fleets (space nomads) adds 3 expensive advanced hulls: Far Scout (very fast frigate), Colony Ship (cruiser)[5] and Factory Ship (cruiser); Imago Dei (AI knightly orders In Space) have their own hull types (Fighter-Bomber, Frigate, Cruiser, Battleship, Carrier)…
      • There's an entire splatbook for late Mandate era (Tech Level 5) battlecruiser Bruxelles, which surprisingly is a battlecruiser: in chase is a match for built-for-speed (Scavenger Fleets) TL4 cruisers, and compared to TL 4+ cruisers not built for pursuit (Imago Dei) it's faster, but has less total durability (though TL5 armor and ECM make it less of a problem), and is inferior to a TL4+ battleship in all stats except speed, available power and minimum crew.
    • Various orbital stations, mostly in Cruiser or Capital size. Small craft such as lifeboats, ECM drones, orbit-to-surface lighters and drop pods, are considered equipment fittings. Common specialist equipment includes mobile extractor (for mining/refining, Frigate and up), workshops (building small stuff and ship maintenance; Frigate and up), mobile factory (same, but build anything short of ships, up to orbital/planetary structures; Cruiser and up), exodus bay (lots of cold sleep pods, mainly used for settling or evacuating a colony; Cruiser and up) and colony core (allows to convert the ship into a mostly-autonomous habitat, space- or planet-based; Frigate and up). Again, splatbooks have more.
    • One of the niches not already addressed in splatbooks is Escort Carrier, which is necessary: Carrier proper is very expensive, and while cruiser sized hulls normally cannot mount bays for frigates, those are capable of interstellar travel on their own as escorts, unlike fighters. Some fan tinkering ensued; Bulk Freighter hull can do this, but Troop Transport hull can do this much better (amusingly, Colony Ship from Scavenger Fleets makes a better troop transport than Troop Transport hull). This can be done even with a modified Free Merchant hull — it can carry 10 fighters and crew, though little else, and remains very frail.
      • The other missing and even more necessary vessel is Drop Ship, which must be a frigate[6]; vehicles can be equipped for orbital drop, but need to be lifted back somehow later. The result may vary wildly, from 7 tanks/APC/aircraft per Free Merchant for 675k Cr (the worst survivability stats; hull could carry 9, but needs Extended life support or Cold sleep pods for vehicle crews), to 20 per Heavy Frigate for 9,875k Cr (the best survivability stats).
      • Another mentioned yet non-statted vessels are "shelter shuttles", used with Exodus ships (capital scale colonizers); Revised Edition allows to cobble together something similar using Colony core (fitting that allows to turn the ship into a ground or orbital habitat upon arrival), though the result is expensive; the author says they are very specialized, but didn't stat them so far.

Video Games

  • Almost everything is possible in Star Ruler The game's default designs include Fighters, Bombers, Destroyers, Assault Carriers, Freighters, Star Bases, Space Stations, and Colony Ships. Using the ship designer allows almost anything else to be built - mobile factory starships larger than stars, for example.
  • EVE Online has Frigates, Destroyers, Cruisers, Battlecruisers, Battleships, Carriers, Dreadnaughts, Motherships (bigger carriers) Supercarriers and Titans (ginormous capital ships). Theres also fighters which are npc controlled and launched from Carriers and Supercarriers, as well as various non-combat ships and specialist ship types (such as interceptor or electronic warfare)
    • Almost all Eve Online ships carry drones which are unmaned Fighters. Some very tiny ships qualify for Battlestar status if drones and guns satisfies the Fighters and guns requirement. The definition of a Fighter blurs even further because Frigates handle exactly like you would expect a Fighter to and are the only ship like that a player can pilot. It gets even wierder with the Taranis class Interceptor (Frigate) which is a small highly mobile ship with almost no armor that can launch several drones.
    • Carriers, Dreadnaughts, Supercarriers and Titans have piddly slow speeds compared to the subcapitol ships. There are actually no engines designed to fit on them leaving them to rely on maneuvering thrusters once on a battlefield. The only real way to position them is managing the FTL systems used to deliver them to the battlefield, warp drives and jump drives, so that they land where you want them. This leaves them feeling pretty stationary once they get into combat. To go even further Carriers and Dreadnaughts can enter triage and seige mode respectively which leaves them immobile but much more effective at their roles. Also all but the dreadnaught fill suport roles. The Carriers and Supercarriers do healing and transport including taking backup ships into combat for plaers who got exploded. Titans have clonebays aboard so players can spawn there if they die, and can open jumpe bridges which allow entire subcapitol fleets to move long distances rapidly. Hence they fill the World Ship role to some degree.
    • The recently added Tier 3 Battlecruiser are a rare example of Battlecruisers in the original sense. These ships have the special ability to fit weapons normally seen on Battleships, but have the speed and agility of a Cruiser, while having Cruiser amounts of armor and shields.
  • Free Space had Cruisers as the smallest captial ship, with Destroyers actually being the "Battleship" class. In the second game, the "Corvette" class was added as an intermediate size between Cruiser and Destroyer.
    • The Blue Planet mod adds the United Earth Federation's "frigates", which are a classic example of a Gundam-style Assault Carrier.
  • The Halo series is chock-full of these. The human and Covenant navies conform to the standard frigate/cruiser/etc. hierarchy, and all soldiers bear naval ranks (even the Master Chief is named after a real-life navy rank: Master Chief Petty Officer). Both sides make heavy uses of dropships, and there is an actual ship called the Dreadnought. Also includes examples of World Ships (High Charity) and Space Guns (the orbital "Super MAC" platforms). Though it bears mentioning that the UNSC ships called Cruisers and the Covenant ships called Assault Carriers, while having their eponymous function, also have the heavy muscle in ship-to-ship engagements to double as Battlestars. The Supercarriers for both sides take this Up to Eleven. To give you a good estimate of how big Covie Supercarriers are, they are roughly 5 times the size of the Assault Carrier (shown on bottom left corner). Halo Wikia puts them at 27 km, bigger than even Star Wars 's Banner Ship example. There are giant repair and refit stations, too, on the human side: essentially giant squares of titanium a kilometer on a side. They were able to repair and refit six destroyers at a time, and even saw combat used as giant sacrificial shields large enough to protect an entire human fleet. Even larger than those, the Hopeful was built by welding two of those together, sandwiching a couple fusion power cores, jump engines, and basic defenses... and also building a gigantic state-of-the-art-hospital the size of a small city inside. What happens when you build a Tender ship the size of a Battlestar? This.
  • Homeworld, being a Real Time Strategy Game In Space, is built around this, including pretty much every ship type above, using most of them verbatim: Fighter (including Bombers and Interceptors), Corvette, Frigate, Carrier, Cruiser, Destroyers, Dreadnoughts. The Mothership is a Battlestar and a Colony Ship, and there are examples of most other ship types.
    • The Mothership isn't really a Battlestar as its weaponry is insignificant against anything except Small craft, it does tick the Colony ship and Aircraft carrier boxes though. Its also worth noting that there are major differences between Corvettes, Frigates and Destroyers. The frigate is pretty much exactly as described at the top of the page, while the Destroyer is large and powerful enough to qualify as a Capital ship in the classifications used here. The Corvette falls under the Small craft category, a well armed Shuttle is probably the closest match. Thus we're talking ships that can cut a swathe of destruction against most fighters and also, in reasonable numbers at least, threaten larger vessels. Unless said vessels have weapons that can track and hit Small craft, in which case the Corvette force is going to have casualties, possibly lots.
      • According to the game's own classification system, Frigates include all of the smaller Capital Ships and include everything from smallish conventional warships to ion-cannon-based Space Guns to pocket carriers. The Destroyer/Missile Destroyer is the next step up, the first of the Super-Capital vessels (which include the Carrier and Heavy Cruiser). Meanwhile, Corvettes include anything that falls below the Strike Craft/Capital Ships line, but is bigger than a fighter. (It's actually quite simple, provided you don't try to map any semblance of real-world classes onto it.)
      • The Mothership in Homeworld: Cataclysm definitely does fit into this mould, however, being gradually upgraded throughout the game so that by the final missions it is a very respectable warship in its own right, and is armed with a heavy cannon capable of destroying most enemy vessels with a single hit. The Mothership in Homeworld 2 is also considerably more capable than the original Mothership, but not as good as the one in Cataclysm.
    • In Homeworld 2, the Heavy Cruiser was replaced by the Battlecruiser which has built-in bays for servicing damaged fighter craft. Plus the main goal of the game turns out to be aquiring a Battlestar having a Wave Motion Gun and brutal point defenses.
    • Homeworld 2 has the Progenitor Movers which at first glance appear to be freakishly powerful combat drones. A few missions later though, it's shown that they're merely detachable drives used by the Precursors and it's only due to their hyper-advanced technology that these ships first seemed so formidable.
    • Homeworld has a number of space guns of varying sizes. The standard Ion Cannon Frigate is a small-scale space gun, while the Vaygr battlecruiser and Progenitor Dreadnaught are much more massive and are far more deadly. Highlighting its status as a space gun, the Vaygr battlecruiser has a weakness in that fighters can shoot out its engines, preventing it from aiming its main weapon. Lastly there's Sajuuk, a monster of a ship which can pick off enemy vessels at extreme range with its humongous beam cannon. Good thing it's on your side.
  • Mass Effect uses frigates, cruisers, dreadnoughts and carriers.
    • The Normandy, for those interested, is a frigate.
      • The Normandy SR2 blurs the line between frigate and cruiser in terms of firepower due to its upgrades, which leave it armed, shielded and armoured enough to take down a cruiser. In terms of size, however, it appears the first Normandy is small for a frigate, likely passing for a corvette in other sci-fi universes, while the second ship is a more front-line size.
    • The dreadnoughts in the ME universe overlap significantly with Space Gun; their defining feature among all races is that they have main weapons that are between 0.8 and 1 km in length. They're still well-armed outside of their main gun, however.
      • It's also mentioned that dreadnoughts are at their best as long-range artillery pieces. Which is why the best tactic against them is to close in to "knife range", thus avoiding their main gun. This requires the use of smaller ships to protect the dreadnoughts. This is why the Destiny Ascention is threatened in the first game. The geth ships appear way to close for it to use its main gun effectively.
    • The Reapers' fleets consist of a mixture. The big, Sovereign-sized ships are simply referred to as "capital ships" while much smaller Reaper warships are referred to as "destroyers." They also include troop transports and "processor" ships which turn organics into husks or raw material to be used to assemble more Reapers.
  • Master of Orion had ships classed as follows: Frigate, Destroyer, Cruiser, Battleship, Titan, Doom Star - though those are size classes not related to equipment other than in "how much it can carry". The price/payload considerations suggest having the smallest useful class as scouts and missile boats (they can be hard to hit when hanging back) and the largest available as short-ranged beam warships and carriers. Unfortunately, AI builds mediocre "a bit of everything" designs rather than optimized for specific roles. Fighters, bombers, heavy fighters were mountable as weapons on any craft or launched from ground bases, ships also may have assault shuttles allowing a Boarding Party to enter a non-disabled ship. Troopships could also be brought along to invade particularly desirable colonies.
    • Master of Orion III had even more classes, such as Battle Cruisers, Dreadnaughts, and Superdreadnaughts.
  • Galactic Civilizations has tiny (fighter), small (bomber), medium (corvette), large (cruiser) and massive (battleship) chassis for ships, and space stations. Depending on what you stick on the chassis, they may fill several of the above-mentioned roles - you can, for instance, make a massive-sized colony ship by sticking several colony modules on a massive chassis.
  • Sword of the Stars has ships divided into destroyer, cruiser and dreadnought sizes, with each size having different choices for chassis and weapons loadout that can serve several of the above roles (the freighter and colony ships are destroyer-size though later techs allow for cruiser versions, a torpedo ship can be made by giving a cruiser the torpedo section and filling all its medium/large turrets with missiles, the Siege Driver tech lets you build a dreadnought-size space gun, etcetera). In lieu of space fighters are AI-controlled drones and assault shuttles (bombers, carried individually by destroyers).
    • The sequel ups the ante by introducing the new leviathan-class ships, super-sized dreadnoughts. The destroyer meanwhile has been relegated to the role of escort ships without FTL drives and are deployed from larger-sized vessels when they arrive at battlefields.
      • The developers have stated why they have drones and destroyer-sized gunboats instead of fighters, they'd just get swatted by point defense (and drones often are).
    • The humans also have the Node Missiles, destroyer-sized weapons equipped with FTL drives. They are faster and tougher than any other missile, and several of these can destroy most ships. Unfortunately, they have since been Nerfed (damage significantly decreased, cost significantly increased) to the point where they're not worth even researching.
    • Several races also have specialized ships related to their form of FTL Travel. The Zuul have giant space drills that punch temporary holes in space-time. The Hivers have gateships, which deploy to form their Portal Network. The Morrigi have gravboats, which speed up the fleet during FTL and slow down enemies in battle. Other ships added in the expansions include freighters, q-ships, patrol craft, starbase constructors, and propaganda ships.
    • Also of note is that there are no troopships on account of there being no ground combat whatsoever. Rather planets that refuse to surrender are bombarded from orbit, if you don't want to wreck the environment too badly you use assault shuttles or biowar missiles.
  • StarCraft has a little of this in the aircraft combat aspect. Each race has their own variation of the Fighter, Bomber, Interceptor and Drop Ship, and the Terrans have a literal Science Vessel (the Zerg and Protoss have rough equivalents). The Terrans also get a Battlecruiser, which is essentially a well-armoured Space Gun, and the Protoss have a self-explanatory Carrier.
    • Aside from the Fighter, Drop Ship, and Science Vessel, the similarities blur some. The Protoss Corsair is a plain Interceptor (cheaper than their Fighter, faster, with only an anti-air weapon), but the (Missile Boat) Valkyrie and Devourer are bigger, tougher, and more expensive than the Fighters. The Zerg get a standard Bomber for their Guardian, and a cheap flying bomb unit; the Terrans have no Bomber but do have a smallish Battlecruiser, Wave Motion Gun optional; the Protoss have their Carrier and a cloaked recon vessel.
    • In Star Craft 2 the Protoss gte the Void Ray, a Space Gun, which is pretty much engines and a cockpit floating around a laser crystal. They also get a Mothership that's basically a floating city with which can cloak allies and generate temporary wormholes.
  • Star Trek Online looks to be mixing typical fleet designations with a variant of the MMORPG class structure. The exact details aren't confirmed yet.
    • We do know that the basic structure, for the Federation at least will be tanky Cruisers, well armed Escorts, and interestingly equipped Science Vessels. Player abilities and ship modifications will probably blur the lines further, as Cryptic is notorious for nonstandard class structure.
      • The cruisers have firepower distributed fairly equally around the ship, but turn slowest; the escorts are designed for frontal attacks, and have the fastest turn rates; the science vessels have fewer weapons than cruisers but are more maneuverable. There are some weapons that can only be mounted one one class or another, but the major diffences are the number of consoles each can equip (cruisers get engineering, escorts get tactical and science and the number of bridge officers that can be assigned to engineering, tactical or science stations, thus how many different "powers" can be used by each ship. Cruisers, being engineering heavy, have strong defense and power transfer capability. Escorts have more tactical flexibility in terms of weapon power and special movement and attacks. Science vessels are buff/debuff specialists.
  • While not generally including a fleshed-out fleet, the Star FOX series has a number of ships that fit into the classes: the player-controlled Arwings are typical space fighters, the Great Fox is an Assault Carrier being used as a mobile base, and the enemies and bosses have included Humongous Mecha, Battlecruisers, repurposed Science Vessels and weirder things, including three ships that combine into one ship and later a robot.
  • The two main sides (Galactic Spanning Corporation and Bora colonists) in Tachyon: The Fringe are shown to have Standard Sci-Fi Fleets, with GalSpan having the white-and-blue sleek-looking ships, and Bora using mining and cargo ships hastily refitted for combat. The ship list included with the game shows that both sides have a full complement of warships, including frigates, destroyers, cruisers, and carriers, not to mention 5 types of fighter craft for each. Based on the game and the ship list, it doesn't look like anyone else has anything coming close to a full-complement fleet. Star Patrol, yet another strong power, only has hyper-advanced Enforcer-class fighters and cruisers which seem to combine the best of each capital ship class (i.e. speed/maneuverability of a frigate, firepower of a cruiser, and fighter-carrying capability of a carrier), making them Battlestars.
  • Conquest: Frontier Wars, at least for the Terrans.
    • The Celareons also qualify, except they don't have fighters and carriers, while the majority of the Mantis fleet is made up of carriers.
    • The Terrans also have a space gun, capable of shooting halfway across a star system and can One-Hit Kill almost any ship.
  • The X-Universe has M0 (Planet killers or battleships), M1 (Carriers), M2 (Destroyers), M3 (Heavy Fighters), M3+ (Enhanced Heavy Fighters), M4 (Interceptors), M4+ (heavy interceptors), M5 (Recon craft), M6 (Corvettes), M7 (Frigates), M7M (Missile Frigates), M8 (Bomber), and DO (Drone) ship classes. It also has GO, a special class of what amounts to unarmed cargo shuttles, used exclusively by the Goners.
    • It also has four different freighter classes. TS Transports (Space Truckers), TP Personnel Transports (luxury passenger ships), TM Military Transports (TS with much of the cargo bay converted to fighter docking), and TL Station Transports (capital ship-sized freighter for carrying space stations from shipyard to job site).
  • Naturally, as a space sim, Wing Commander has most of the standard fleet loadout. The Frigate and Destroyer are reversed in size compared to their Real Life counterparts, though, if not in firepower. Carriers get broken down into several sub-categories, influenced by the series original focus of the Pacific campaign of World War 2 In Space, including the original escort carriers being first built off of modified transport hulls. Battleships, however, are relegated to being mostly target practice, only seen in the novel Action Stations, set at the start of the Kilrathi war.
  • While not the main focus of the Metroid games, in Metroid Prime 3 Samus gets a closer look at the various ship types the Federation and the Space Pirates use. While both have the standard fighters, cruisers and carriers, the Space Pirates have boarding vessels that smash straight into enemy ships to deploy troops, while the Federation has recently introduced a new class of capital ship equipped with a organic supercomputer (and yes, it is suspiciously similiar to Mother Brain) that replaces most of the usual crew requirements. They use the extra room for more weapon systems.
  • Gratuitous Space Battles was explicitly designed to provide a pure fix of this trope. The player designs a fleet of fighters, frigates and gargantuan battleships then pits them against another fleet in a firestorm of technicolour glory.
  • Multiplayer strategy space sim Allegiance has a wide variety of ships that a team can develop for its players, the better to crush the other team. Because the emphasis is on small ships, most of the classes would fit under "Space Fighter" in the standard sci-fi fleet. All factions start with Scouts, which are very light fighters with good sensors. Most also get either Fighters, which are Jack of All Stats of combat ships, or Interceptors, which are tougher and less flexible, designed for short-range combat. A team must protect its miners to get the resources to develop more ship types, and better versions of the ones it has. There are also Stealth Fighters, designed to take down the enemy's Mining Ships. And there are Bombers, Stealth Bombers, and Troop Transports, which are used to capture enemy bases. Mining Ships and Constructors are basically specialized Cargo Ships. And rich teams can also get capital ships, which is risky, but can turn the game into a Curb Stomp Battle if successful. The largest are the Battleships, which can win a game single-handedly with a bit of luck, but are very expensive to get. There are also Assault Carriers, which are a toned-down The Battlestar, with weak cannons, but the ability to teleport in smaller fighters and repair them. Lighter capital ship classes are also present.
    • Because each faction is different, some have specialized ships that others don't have access to: One faction also has a sort of Heavy Fighter, light Torpedo Bombers, and, essentially, Space Guns.
  • Infinite Space has most of the listed types.
  • The browser game Ogame has light fighters, heavy fighters, cruisers (only effective against fighters, otherwise useless), battleships, battlecruisers (more oriented towards defense than battleships), bombers (capital ships in this case), destroyers (dreadnaughts), and Death Stars (they can only destroy moons though). Also small and large cargoes, colony ships, recyclers, and espionage probes.
  • Sins of a Solar Empire has three general ship types: frigates, cruisers and capital ships. Frigates and cruisers are split into various combat and support types including: flak frigates, missile frigates, bombardment frigates, light carriers, heavy cruisers and so forth. Capital ships consist of carriers, battleships, colony ships, science vessels, and planet bombers. There's also fighters, bombers, orbital constructors, trade freighters, star bases, and superweapons.
    • Rebellion adds corvettes (smaller than frigates) and titans (larger than normal capital ships).
  • Haegemonia: Legions of Iron has these for all three races. You start with just fighters, then can build corvettes, followed by cruisers and, finally, battleships. There are also unarmed support ships, which repair damaged warships in flight, although these are the last to be researched. There are freighters, colony ships, and spy ships. Space stations (asteroid mining stations and military starbases) can move before deploying (they can be undeployed in the expansion). Orbital guns can be built on colonized worlds to defend against attackers. The expansion adds troop transports and several other ship types armed with Solon weaponry.
  • In EV Nova, the Federation and Auroran Empire each have an interceptor, a fighter-bomber, a gunship, a light cruiser, and a carrier. The Federation adds a scoutship, while the Aurorans later develop a fast battleship designed for close-range brawling. The Polaris use living ships equivalent to fighters, gunships, frigates, destroyers, and two types of battleship/carrier hybrids. Meanwhile the Rebels have an interceptor, fighter-bomber, three different gunships, and two different cruisers.
  • Battlestar Galactica Online has three main classes - Strikes, which are Space Fighters, Escorts and Lines. Each class is also subdivided into four different types - Interceptors, Assaults, Command and Multiroles. While the Basestar and Pegasus can be used, this is only through renting for up to an hour using the most valuable currency and they act as pure combatants without the option to launch fighters. There are Carriers that can carry player Strikes, but no true Battlestars as they can't really contribute to a direct fight. NPC-only classes include drones ranging from human-sized to Strike-sized, automated asteroid weapons platforms and Freighters.
  • Vega Strike has tactical roles assigned to all vessels, used by combat AI to choose priorities and actions for targets in Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors, encompassing variety of missiles, small craft, capships and turrets:
    • Shuttle - cargo-hauling small craft, not meant to fight much; most have weak weapons and maneuverability, but good thrust to lug extra mass; top priority: Support, Shuttle.
      • The starting Llama is at the "small package trade" end of the spectrum: better agility and decent weapon hardpoints, but modest hold, filling which with metals will still make it painfully obvious that thrusters are too weak for dense cargo.
    • Interceptor - maneuverable, but fragile; weapons are light or with limited ammo; top priority: Bomber; middle-priority targets include Mine and Heavy Missile.
    • Fighter - medium to few heavy weapons; top priority: Interceptor, Fighter, Scavenger.
      • There are cloaked ones, but they don't have a special class and are more of "scout" than "submarine" - they are small and an active cloak disables most other systems.
    • Scavenger - reserved for pirates from armed Shuttle to underequipped Escort; got the same priorities as Fighter, except targets Cargo (i.e. Tractor Beams loot) and Shuttle as well as Support when there are no defenders to fight.
    • Bomber - sub-capital ship with heavy shields and weapons, but low agility; top priority: Capital, Carrier, Base < EscortCapital < Support < Mine (as a sluggish target).
    • Escort Capital - lighter armed capships; top priority: Escort Capital < Carrier < Support < Capital < Base.
    • Capital - most capships, including heavily armed freighters; top priority: Carrier < Capital < Base < Escort Capital < Support.
    • Carrier - launches small craft, got capship weapons too; top priority: Escort Capital; low priority: Carrier,Support < Capital.
    • Support - various unarmed or lightly armed vessels from small couriers to bulk freighters; top priority: Support < Shuttle.
  • Stars! has basic classes defined by hull types, but customization goes far beyond that, of course - useful designs for Battleship alone include all-missile, beam/sapper, missile/jammer and missile/sapper/jammer subclasses with different logistical and operational properties (which forms Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors with possible adjustments for special abilities of the sides). And then there are universal hulls - a Frigate may carry 2x Scanners + 3x minelayer pods, Beams (missiles would need more slots for computers) for a scout/interceptor, Fuel Tanks for a long-range scout, or 5 slots of Scanners (to counter cloaking of stealthy neighbours); depending on the situation, Privateer can be turned into anything from freighter to colonizer to minelayer (more minerals for less performance than a frigate, but with extra functions useful at the border)… to, indeed, freighter-hunter (a common computer design, but Master of None: usually it's better to make it a long-range freighter with 3 fuel tanks to give patrol more range and gather salvage, and leave shooting to a destroyer — two designs, but useful in more than one role).
  • Emperor of the Fading Suns (not very faithful to the original game).
    • Human players can build:
      • Cadiz Dreadnought, Vlad Cruiser: heavy and not so heavy vessels, with long- and medium- range weapons only, the latter allows orbital bombardment.
      • Frigate, Destroyer: light and not so light escorts, with medium- and short- ranged weapons.
      • Stealth Ship (Raider) - fragility of a fighter with agility of an escort, medium range weapons like the improved Bomber; hopefully remains hidden and get Agility bonus if actually unnoticed until the battle starts. Since it's no longer hidden, jumping away after the battle to re-hide is the only viable option.
      • Carrier / Carrier MkII - better armored hauler and better armed Armored Bulk Hauler, that can deploy transported small craft in combat.
      • Assault Lander - like a freighter, but can land on non-city tiles without damage and has non-space weapons… only.
      • Freighter, Armored Freighter - carries 2 units or loads of cargo.
      • Bulk Hauler, Armored Bulk Hauler - carries 4 units or loads of cargo.
      • Starbase / Meson Starbase - Can't go anywhere, but may land in cities; long- and medium- range weapons only, so orbital bombardment. Basic version as tough as Dreadnought, but has long-range guns weaker than on cruiser / same with maximum-power weapons, slightly better armor and detection, but accuracy is still mediocre.
    • Small craft: cannot jump, can be launched from the planet or delivered by haulers and unloaded, but launch from carriers gives Agility bonus. Frail, yet agile.
      • Seraphim Space Fighter / Archangel Cyber Fighter - accurate short ranged weapons / same and ludicrous agility, but low psychic defense like all cyborgs.
      • Prophet Torpedo Bomber / Martyr Torpedo Bomber - accurate medium ranged weapons / agility down to escort level, armor reduced, but psychic defense and mid-range attack improved.
    • Also, units with Psychic attack can use it, and some infantry can participate in space combat while on board of attacking or defending Carriers.
      • Marauder Legion: space marines.
      • Dervish: most powerful, but least consistent psychic attack.
    • Symbiont (hive mind) fleets have specialized Organic Ships — all with mediocre stealth (thus some get surprise bonus, but a fleet won't be undetected), Armor between Frigate and Destroyer and agility of a freighter, but strong attacks; no small craft.
      • Grappler: short range only, but hideously strong.
      • Blow Ship: long range only, as powerful as Meson Starbase and much more accurate. Good detection.
      • Spore Ship: medium- and short- ranged weapons, as powerful as cruiser/destroyer, but more accurate.
      • Pod Ship: unarmed transport. Near-blind.
      • Symbiot Butcher: stats suggest they should be slightly more powerful space marines, but due to a bug they don't work this way, or rather Pod Ship doesn't work as a carrier.
      • Symbiot Minder: psychic menace.
    • Vau (space elves) have:
      • Shroud Weaver Dreadnought: armor of Cadiz, more powerful long-range weapons, nothing else.
      • Veil Seeker Cruiser: tougher than any human ship short of Dreadnought, medium range weapons only (just like Stealth Raider).
      • Destroyer: short ranged weapons only, but better and more accurate than anything short of a Grappler, also great Spot value, so tend to screw Stealth Raiders over just by being around.
      • Quick Mercy Corsair: armor like symbionts, agility a notch below fighters; weaker, yet more accurate than Veil Seeker.
      • Deathmate interceptor: armor between fighter/raider and frigate, agility of a fighter can jump on its own or be launched from carrier for juicy Ag bonus; short ranged weapons with strength between escort and fighter, but accuracy matched only by Spore Ship.
      • Vau Carrier: as tough as their cruiser, unarmed, but carrying 4 of those interceptors.
      • Vau Transport: Bulk Hauler, but slightly more tough and agile and without defensive weapons.
      • Vau Mandarin: psychic, not very strong.

Web Comics

  • Schlock Mercenary has everything from drones and "tanks" (small craft with a relatively big cannon used both in planetside missions and as interceptors in space) to battlestar equivalents like Ob'enn Thunderhead, but adds its own classes.
    • Battleplates, colossal armoured ships designed to take asteroid impacts the hard way. They are designed to carry enough hypernet-linked drones to create a wide enough perimeter around a planet, to have enough time to react to a relativistic asteroid aimed at the planet, and are able to deflect and/or destroy said relativistic asteroid with extreme speed. This also makes them very good at destroying everything else (as in, can compress smaller ships into neutronium once their shields either fail or quickly run out of power due to constant overload). They are unusual in that their primary armament is gravy, rather than the usual railguns, lasers, particle beams and missiles - though they do carry small ships, heavy missiles, point defence turrets and whatnot. Battleplate is a distinctly human class, and among the most feared individual vessels in space. There is at least one comparable design: modules of the Ob'enn flagship: the whole thing is "just over a thousand kilometers long", with cross-section about 500 km², and is visibly a stack of interchangeable blocks docked together; they are built with a central annie-plant, but it's probably larger than battleplate powerplants[7]. Apparently they have a similar purpose, since we only see Cloak as a headquarter orbiting their homeworld, much like those battleplates that in absence of immediate threats drift around Sol system planets and act as bases and headquarters.
    • At one point the characters consider adding another category to this list when they get their hands on a particularly large Fabber, basically a Mobile Factory, and consider adding engines, a helm and crew quarters so they can christen it Scrapyard of Insufferable Arrogance. Mainly to make fun of the Ob'enn.
    • Fleetmind adds another variation called Penetrators, which are basically (sometimes) recoverable missiles which also contain a drop-pod. Flung up to near-c by a launcher, a single one can capture an Ob'enn Thunderhead by simultaneously scramming the main annie plant (and do so safely most of the time, which in itself is very impressive), and implant an agent to subvert the AI. There are also what they call "Extortionators" for their use in Gunboat Diplomacy - relatively small weapon platforms slapped on the main power source bigger than everything a battleplate packs put together.
    • Worldships! Technically, any habitat with enough of gravitics to shield it (let alone teraport) is somewhat mobile, that's just not their purpose. But true worldships appear near the end of a galactic civilization cycle, when there are both capabilities to build them and demand for mobile habitats due to the threat of wormhole guns. The first discovered was Eina-Iafa, which is "merely" big enough that "you could drop Mars in this can and tuck Luna and Europa on top". The really big ones are the size of a gas giant; they were built to depart the Galaxy for less crowded and safer void.
      • The Paanuri ships are big enough, but maybe don't count, as they are just non-enclosed vehicles, if carrying several entities each longer than a gas giant.
  • Crimson Dark has most of the above. Both sides have fighters, bombers, frigates, destroyers, and carriers. The Republic calls their big warships Battleships, while the Alliance equivalent are called Heavy Cruisers. And then there's Behemoth class - probably classifiable as The Battlestar, since it was described as "Not so much a ship as a mobile station". Their are also a variety of civilian freighters seen in the comic.

Web Original

  • If it's listed under this trope, the collective writing project Fenspace almost certainly has an example of it somewhere. About the only type they don't have is a Generation Ship, as they're pretty much unneeded. (So far.)
    • Fightercraft? Lots of'em, especially in the wake of Operation Great Justice.
    • Battleships of all sorts? Same deal.
    • Private yachts? Hell, there are a couple actual sailing ships out there.
    • Worldships? Take a look at the Grover's Corners, a ¾-mile-diameter chunk of West Virginia farmland under a silicon "diamondoid" dome.
  • "Jutland at 101: Day of the Dreadnoughts" on Rocketpunk Manifesto blog discusses the place of battleships and battlecruisers in space fiction and the reasons why the cliche moved this way.
  1. without the former, marines would have to politely knock on the door and/or walk in where they are expected; without the latter, plow through a hurricane as the ship's air vigorously exits the hole they try to enter and carries everything not bolted down within the breached compartment
  2. mainly, bow "walls" allow them to be shielded while attacking nose-on to the enemy with a capital-grade Fixed Forward-Facing Weapon, rather than presenting them a broadside
  3. not linking durability and space, and taking advantage of Alternity game mechanics
  4. built for lots of special fittings (not necessarily fighter/frigate bays) rather than as a warship
  5. some back from when humanity expanded, some overhauled bulk freighters, either way converted into a flying town with lots of hydroponics, since they aren't going to hibernate until arrived somewhere
  6. shuttles are too small to carry large vehicles, cruisers cannot land
  7. Kssthrata hold the record for largest annie-plant built, thus thanks to Precursor ruins they fought over, most likely they and Ob'enn were superior in this area to humanity and all other groups formed after the Ganni and before Fleetmind