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In starship classification, an escort is designated as being a small starship which is generally given a protection role, moving with less maneuverable ships or vessels with lighter armament. Escorts can further be classified as fast escorts, heavy escorts or battle escorts. Light escorts are also called corvettes.

In 2371, the Defiant-class was officially designated as being an escort, although its use was thought to be a euphemism, as the Defiant-class was described as being one of the most powerful warships in the Alpha Quadrant. (DS9 episode & novelization: The Search; DS9 episode: "Defiant")


Escort vessels

Blockade runner escorts

In the 25th century, the Steamrunner-class was categorized as a blockade runner escort, enjoying limited use due to to the design's reliability and effectiveness. The Steamrunner-class participated in major military engagements in the late 24th century, including the Dominion War and the Borg invasions of 2376. (STO mission: "Welcome to Earth Spacedock", ST video games: Armada, Armada II) The blockade runner escorts were equipped with a resonance cascade modulator, which could temporarily increase nearby ships' shields. Starfleet lieutenants could command the blockade runner. A Steamrunner-class blockade runner escort retrofit was available for commanding officers with the rank of vice admiral.

Blockade Runner Escort starship classes

Steamrunner-class (basic/retrofit)


Corvettes were a type of lightly armed, nimble escorts. In the early 25th century, corvettes were a comparable to frigates in terms of maneuverability, armament and shielding. (STO mission: "Azura Rescue") However, the Risian corvette was more durable and heavily armed. (STO mission: "Welcome to Earth Spacedock")

Corvette starship classes

Risian corvette
Orion Syndicate
Orion corvette

Light escort

Light escorts were a subtype of corvettes. Like the blockade runner escort, Federation light escorts were also considered frigates, i.e. ships fit for the command of lieutenants. In the early 25th century, Starfleet maintained a single class of light escorts, the NX-class replica.


The Defiant-class was categorized an escort in the late 24th century and became the first sanctioned Federation warship. In the early 25th century, the term escorts denoted both escorts in general as well as ships of intermediate strength between frigates and heavy escorts. These were often captained by Starfleet lieutenant commanders. A refit equipped with an impulse capacitance cell to improve maneuverability and speed during combat. (STO mission: "Welcome to Earth Spacedock")

Escort starship classes

Gladius-class (refit) • Rapier-classSaber-classUshaan-class
Jem'Hadar attack ship

Heavy escorts

Heavy escorts were escorts with more weaponry and greater durability of hull and shields compared to lighter escort types. In the early 25th century, Starfleet often appointed commanders with tactical experience as the ships' commanding officers. A refit was available. Heavy escort refits were equipped with a point defense system. (STO mission: "Welcome to Earth Spacedock")

Heavy escort starship classes

Akira-classOslo-classThunderchild-class (heavy escort refit) • Zephyr-class

Tactical escorts

Tactical escorts were fitted with additional weapon ports compared to heavy escorts and sported greater maneuverability. They are extremely small, comparable to a light escort but their armament is unusually heavy for their size, comparable to a heavy escort. This is achieved through extremely cramped and spartan interior with little to no recreational facilities and by making the weapons primarily front-mounted, essentially making tactical escorts oversized fighters. They were suited for tactical officers with the rank of captain. Its refit variant included an additional engineer bridge officer seat, a third engineering console and was equipped with phaser quad cannons. (STO mission: "Welcome to Earth Spacedock")

Tactical escort starship classes

Gallant-classDefiant-classSao Paulo-class (tactical escort refit) • Vigilant-class

Heavy escort carrier

Heavy escort carriers were carriers modified to house a single hangar bay. This carrier variant was introduced by Starfleet with the Armitage-class heavy escort carrier in 2409. Older Starfleet heavy escort classes, such as the Akira-class, were also capable of serving as heavy escort carriers. (Season 6 Dev Blog #5: Heavy Escort Carrier). A fleet heavy escort carrier variant was available for commanding officers ranked vice admiral or above. The Dominion employed heavy escort carriers since at least the late 24th century. (STO missions: "Operation Gamma", "Boldly They Rode")

Heavy escort carrier starship classes

Jem'Hadar heavy escort carrier
Romulan Republic
Ar'Kif-class tactical warbird

Advanced escort

Advanced escorts were heavily armed and maneuverable starships in the early 25th century. Ships of this classification were in service by both Federation Starfleet and the Imperial Starfleet of a Terran Empire reborn. All Federation advanced escorts were capable of multi-vector assault mode. Advanced escorts were usually commanded by officers ranked rear Admiral, lower half]] or higher, while a specialized Multi-Vector Advanced Escort refit was available for vice admirals. (STO mission: "Welcome to Earth Spacedock")

Advanced escort starship classes

Terran Empire

Patrol escort

Patrol escorts were equivalent to advanced escorts in terms of armament and maneuverability. In the mirror universe the Terran Empire reversed the classification of advanced and patrol escorts, i.e. the Prometheus-class was an advanced escort in Federation Starfleet but a patrol escort in Imperial Starfleet. Differentiating attributes were the allocation of bridge officer positions to tactical, science and engineering personnel, and the number of department-specific consoles for additional equipment.

Patrol escort starship classes

Terran Empire

Temporal escort


Perseus class • Theseus class

Temporal destroyer

In the 29th century of the mirror universe, temporal destroyers were timeships designed for combat. Ships of this classification were the counterpart to the primary universe temporal science vessel. Temporal destroyers were equipped with a Manheim device console capable of summoning a ship's past and future counterpart to assist the present vessel in combat. (STO mission: "Welcome to Earth Spacedock")

Temporal destroyer starship classes

Terran Empire
Klingon Empire
Romulan Star Empire

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