Uss rutledge

The USS Rutledge showing the NCC registry number.

In the Federation and beyond, spacecraft are registered with names and numbers, both sometimes carrying a prefix signifying the operating authority of the vessel. The prefixes, names and registry numbers are painted onto the hull of the craft for identification purposes. This registry number is usually a combination of letters (the registry prefix, which generally indicates the type or ownership of a craft) followed by a sequence of numbers.

Active duty Starfleet vessels have a registry beginning with the letters NCC (see: Federation starship registries), while experimental ships usually have an NX registry prefix. Civilian vessels have varying registry prefixes.

A registry prefix should not be confused with a ship's prefix code.

Registry number prefix Edit

Cultures that use registry codes often add prefixes to the numbers, a prefix of alphabetical characters for example.

The meanings of these codes are based on empirical evidence only -- they might "really" have much different designations.

Aside from the registry prefixes, Starfleet at one time also used letters after the main registry prefix to further define specific types of craft. An example of this is the freighter USS Huron, with its registry of NCC-F1513.

According to the novels of Diane Duane and Peter Morwood, Klingon starships use a "KL" registry prefix. Diane Duane's Rihannsu novels give the prefix "ChR" for Romulan starships

Ship name prefix Edit

A ship name prefix is a series of letters that precede a ship's name, and are used to indicate the vessel's purpose and origin.

The Federation appears to be the primary adherent to this system, although there have been instances where other races have appeared to use this system as well.

Table of Starship Prefixes
Government (Service) Prefix Meaning
Andorian Empire (Andorian Reserve Fleet) ATS[7] Andorian Transport Ship
Andorian Empire (Andorian Imperial Guard) IGS[8] Imperial Guard Ship
Andorian Empire (Andorian Imperial Guard) IGW[9] Imperial Guard Warship
Asparax Confederation (Asparaxian Navy) ACS[10] Asparax Confederation Ship
Benthan Protectorate (Benthan Guard) BGS[11] Benthan Guard Ship
Breen Confederacy (Breen Militia) BRE[12] Breen
Breen Confederacy (Breen Militia) JEM[13] Jem'Hadar
Certoss Ajahlan (government) UEV[14] Unified Envoy Vessel
Cardassian Union (Cardassian Guard) CDS Cardassian Defense Ship
Cardassian Union (Cardassian Guard) CUV[15] Cardassian Union Vessel
Cardassian Union (mirror) (Klingon-Cardassian Alliance) ACV[16] Alliance Cardassian Vessel
Cardassian Union (mirror) (Obsidian Order) OS[17] Obsidian Ship
Confederacy of the Worlds of the First Quadrant (Confederacy Interstellar Fleet) CIF[18] Confederacy Interstellar Fleet
Dominion (Jem'Hadar) DGV[19] Dominion G. Vessel
Federation/Earth (unknown) DEV¹ Unknown
Federation (civilian) SS Space/Star Ship
Federation (United States of America) USGS[20] United States Geological Survey
Federation (Starfleet) USS[21] United Space/Star Ship
Federation (Starfleet) (alternate) FSS[22] Federation Star Ship
Federation (Starfleet) (alternate) USV[23] United Space/Star Vessel
Federation (Starfleet) (alternate) US[24] United Ship
Federation (Free Federation Resistance) FFV[25] Free Federation Vessel
Federation (Free Federation Resistance) FFV[26] Free Federation Vessel
Federation (Caitian diaspora/Starfleet) CDS[27] Caitian Diaspora Ship
Ferengi Alliance FMS Ferengi Merchant Ship
Ferengi Alliance (civilian) SS[28] Space/Star Ship
First Federation (mirror) FF[29] First Federation
Gorn Hegemony (Klingon Defense Force) GHS[30] Gorn Hegemony Ship
Gorn Confederation GCS[31] Gorn Confederacy Ship
Hirogen Hierarchy (Hirogen hunters) HHV[32] Hirogen Hierarchy Vessel
Interstellar Coalition (Space Command) ICV[33] Interstellar Coalition Vessel
Interstellar Union (Interstellar Guard) IUES[34] Interstellar Union E.S. (?)
Kentari Union (military) KDW[35] Kentari D. W. (?)
Klingon Empire (Defense Force) IKC Imperial Klingon Cruiser
Klingon Empire (Defense Force) IKS Imperial Klingon Ship
Klingon Empire (Defense Force) IKV[36] Imperial Klingon Vessel
Klingon Empire (Lethean/KDF) LRS[37] Lethean R. Ship
Klingon Empire (mirror) (Defense Force) IKS Imperial Klingon Ship
Klingon-Cardassian Alliance (Defense Force) AKS[38] Allied Klingon Ship
Krenim Coalition (Krenim Imperium) KIS[39] Krenim Imperium/Imperial Ship
Krenim Imperium (Temporal Liberation Front) KIV[40] Krenim Imperium/Imperial Vessel
Kobali (Kobali Prime) KDC[41] Kobali Defense Cruiser
Lukari Concordium (Lukari Planetary Council) LSS[42] Lukari Space/Star Ship
Nausicaan (Klingon Defense Force) NFV[43] Nausicaan Free Vessel
New Excalbia Assembly (New Excalbia Navy) NES[44] New Excalbian Ship
Orion Syndicate (Klingon Defense Force) OSS[45] Orion Syndicate Ship
Orion Syndicate OC[46] Orion C.
Orion Syndicate (mirror) OCS[47] Orion Colonies Ship
United Rigel Worlds and Colonies (civilian) RRV[48] Rigelian Registry Vessel
Risian Hedony (civilian) RXS[49] Risian Experimental Ship
Romulan Republic (Romulan Republican Force) RRW[50] Romulan Republican Warbird
Romulan Republic (Romulan Republican Force) DWS[51] Dewan War Ship
Romulan Republic (mirror) (Star Navy) RSE[52] Romulan Star Empire
Romulan Star Empire (Star Navy) IRW Imperial Romulan Warbird
Romulan Star Empire (Star Navy) IRV[53] Imperial Romulan Vessel
Romulan Star Empire (Star Navy) PWB Praetorian Warbird
Romulan Star Empire (Star Navy) RIS Romulan Imperial Ship
Romulan Star Empire (Remans) RFV[54] Reman Free Vessel
Suliban (civilian/Starfleet) SCS[55] Suliban Cell Ship
Tarkon Board TSV[56] Tarkon Sentry Vessel
Terran Empire (Imperial Starfleet) ISS[57] Imperial Space/Star Ship
Tholian Assembly (mirror) TA[58] Tholian Assembly
United Earth (Starfleet) (alternate) UESS[59] United Earth Space/Star Ship
United Earth (alternate) ESS[60] Earth Space/Star Ship
Vaadwaur Supremacy VSW[61] Vaadwaur Supremacy Warship
Confederacy of Vulcan (civilian) VS[62] Vulcan Ship
Confederacy of Vulcan (Starfleet) VSS[63] Vulcan Star/Space Ship
Vulcan Protectorate (Vulcan High Command) VHC[64] Vulcan High Command
Andorian Empire (Andorian Imperial Guard) IGS[65] Imperial Guard Ship
Andorian Empire (Imperial Freight Service) IFSV[66] Imperial Freight Service Vessel
Earth (Earth Cargo Service) ECS[67] Earth Cargo Ship/Service
Earth (British Royal Navy) HMS¹ His/Her Majesty's Ship
Earth (civilian) SS Space/Star Ship
Earth (United States of America) USS³ United States Ship
Earth (NASA) ESS[68] Extra Solar Survey
Earth (Russia) VK¹ see Background section.
Earth (Starfleet) none[69]  
Earth (Starfleet) SS[70] Space/Star Ship
Earth (Starfleet) UES[71] United Earth Starfleet
Earth (Starfleet) USS[72] United Space/Star Ship
Earth (United Nations Solar Fleet) UNSS[73] United Nations Space Ship
Confederacy of Vulcan (Vulcan Defense Force) DFC[74] Defense Force Cruiser
Confederacy of Vulcan (Vulcan Defense Directorate) DDV[75] Defense Directorate Vessel
Confederacy of Vulcan (civilian) VCS[76] Vulcan Cargo Ship
United Planets of Telar (Tellarite Construction Contract) TSC[77] Tellarite Star Cruiser
  1. The name prefixes DEV, VK and HMS are from ships sent to the Ficus sector. (TNG: "Up the Long Ladder")
  2. The name prefixes FMS and USGS are from ships listed on a Deep Space Nine arrival roster. (DS9: "Whispers")
  3. With Earth's national prefixes (British HMS and Russian VK) still in use up to the founding of the Federation, it is probable that USS still meant United States Ship in the same timeframe, but we only have one example to look at.
    Further speculation removed from the table, would include other Earth national prefixes (Australian HMAS, Canadian HMCS, etc.) also still existing at that time.

See alsoEdit

Background information Edit

The most famous registry number, of course, is NCC-1701, that of the original Enterprise. It was chosen by Matt Jefferies, who was a pilot before joining the Star Trek staff, and based the registry number on 20th century aircraft identification codes. In the 20th century, the letter "N" indicated a United States origin, and the letter "C" indicated a civilian aircraft. Jefferies added a second "C" simply because he thought it looked better. In some fandom circles, it is claimed that the prefix "NCC" stands for "Naval Construction Contract" (Star Trek Blueprints: General Plans Constitution Class USS Enterprise by Franz Joseph Designs, Ballantine Books, 1974) or "Navigational Contact Code", but there is no canon basis for this conjecture.

VK prefix Edit

Based on usage—VK Yuri Gagarin & VK Velikan—it is probable that the VK prefix means a Russian ship in, pre-Federation, Star Trek. In the real world, the Russians do not use prefixes. But, in the book The Hunt for Red October, the primary Alfa class attack sub is named V.K. Konovalov, in honor of Vladimir Konstantinovich Konovalov.

This suggests that the use of VK as a Russian prefix, is either an error on the part of the Star Trek writers, or an homage to Tom Clancy.

External linksEdit


  1. Myriad Universes - Shattered Light novel: The Tears of Eridanus
  2. ENT - Rise of the Federation novel: Uncertain Logic
  3. ENT - Rise of the Federation novel: A Choice of Futures
  4. STO video game: Star Trek Online
  5. STO - "Season 5: Call to Arms" mission: "Welcome to Earth Spacedock"
  6. STO - "Season 12: Reckoning" mission: "Welcome to Earth Spacedock"
  7. TOS novel: Death Count
  8. ENT - The Romulan War novel: Beneath the Raptor's Wing
  9. TTN novel: Fallen Gods
  10. FASA RPG module: Decision at Midnight
  11. STO - "The Iconian War" mission: "Midnight"
  12. ST video game: Trexels mission "Breen Barrier"
  13. ST video game: Trexels mission "Breen Barrier"
  14. TOS novel: From History's Shadow
  15. STO - "The Iconian War" mission: "Midnight"
  16. STO video game: Star Trek Online
  17. ST - Mirror Universe novel: Rise Like Lions
  18. VOY novel: Protectors
  19. ST reference: Stellar Cartography: The Starfleet Reference Library
  20. DS9 episode: "Whispers"
  21. TOS episode: "The Cage"
  22. TNG novel: Q & A
  23. TNG novel: Q & A
  24. TNG novel: Q & A
  25. TOS - The Q Gambit comic: "Part 4"
  26. TOS - The Q Gambit comic: "Part 4"
  27. STO video game: Season 5: Call to Arms
  28. STO mission: "Operation Gamma"
  29. TOS video game: Shattered Universe
  30. Star Trek Online official website: Release Notes: October 3, 2013
  31. TOS video game: Starfleet Command
  32. Star Trek Online official website: Dev post
  33. ST - Myriad Universes novel: A Less Perfect Union
  34. ST - Myriad Universes novel: The Tears of Eridanus
  35. STO - "New Frontiers" mission: "Mirrors and Smoke"
  36. STO mission: "Night of the Comet"
  37. STO video game: Agents of Yesterday
  38. ST video game: Star Trek Online
  39. STO - "Iconian War" mission: "Butterfly Effect"
  40. STO - "Future Proof" mission: "Time and Tide"
  41. STO - "The Delta Quadrant" mission: "Dust to Dust"
  42. STO - "New Frontiers" mission: "Echoes of Light"
  43. Star Trek Online official website: Release Notes: October 3, 2013
  44. TOS novel: Savage Trade
  45. Star Trek Online official website: Release Notes: October 3, 2013
  46. ST video game: Trexels
  47. TOS video game: Shattered Universe
  48. TOS novel: Prime Directive
  49. ST video game: Star Trek Online
  50. STO mission: "Flight from Virinat"
  51. STO video game: Agents of Yesterday
  52. TOS video game: Shattered Universe
  53. TOS novel: Double, Double
  54. ST novel: Articles of the Federation
  55. ST video game: Star Trek Online
  56. VOY novel: The Eternal Tide
  57. TOS episode: "Mirror, Mirror"
  58. TOS video game: Shattered Universe
  59. ST - Myriad Universes novel: A Less Perfect Union
  60. TNG novel: Q & A
  61. STO - "The Delta Quadrant" mission: "All That Glitters"
  62. STO mission: "Task Force Hippocrates"
  63. STO mission: "Welcome to Earth Spacedock"
  64. ST - DTI novel: Forgotten History
  65. ENT - The Romulan War novel: Beneath the Raptor's Wings
  66. ENT - The Romulan War novel: Beneath the Raptor's Wings
  67. ENT episode: "Fortunate Son"
  68. Star Trek Magazine Issue 162: "Blast Off!"
  69. ENT episode & novelization: Broken Bow
  70. ST calendar: Ships of the Line 2014
  71. ST reference: The Official Starships Collection #44
  72. ENT - The Romulan War novel: Beneath the Raptor's Wing
  73. TOS reference: Spaceflight Chronology
  74. ENT - The Romulan War novel: To Brave the Storm
  75. ENT - The Romulan War novel: Beneath the Raptor's Wing
  76. ENT - The Romulan War novel: Beneath the Raptor's Wing
  77. STO - "Season 12: Reckoning" mission: "Welcome to Earth Spacedock"
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