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Memory Beta, non-canon Star Trek Wiki

A liaison cutter was a multi-mission, warp-capable small cutter craft based in large starship and starbase shuttlebays in the early 23rd century. In some ways, liaison cutters were the forerunners of the Starfleet runabouts used in the 24th century.

A typical starship-based liaison cutter was 10 meters long and consisted of a main cabin (with helm controls and passenger seating), a sensor pod accessed via a hatch and ladder in the main cabin ceiling, and a detachable cargo section connected to the main cabin by a short tube which also served as an airlock. (One cynical observer likened its appearance to "a pregnant whale with a tumor on its head".)

Liaison cutters were rather clumsy craft and not very maneuverable, especially within the confines of a starship shuttlebay, so they were being gradually phased out in favor of smaller, nimbler shuttlecraft by the mid-23rd century. (TOS novel: Best Destiny)

See also[]

Starship classification
By type argosyassault cruiserassault shipattack cruiserattack fighterbattlecruiserbattle frigatebattleshipbird-of-preybombercargo transportcarriercolony shipcombat support tendercommand battlecruiserconstruction shipcorsaircorvettecouriercruisercutterdestroyerdreadnoughtescortexplorerfast attack shipfast cruiserflagshipfreighterfrigatefuel transportgunboatheavy cruiserheavy destroyerheavy escorthospital shipin-system courierliaison cutterlight cruiserlight frigatemedical frigatemedium cruisermining freightermissile cruisermonitormulti-mission explorerpassenger linerpatrol cruiserpersonnel carrierpilot escortprison bargerepair tenderresearch vesselresearch cruiserrunaboutscoutsleeper shipstar battleshipstar cruiserstrike cruisersuper carriersuper-heavy cruisersupport frigatesurveyortankertendertimeshiptransporttugwarbirdwarpshuttleweapon ship