Romulan Star Navy
Like the Federation Starfleet, the Romulan Star Navy utilizes a wide range of vessels and ship classes; unlike Starfleet, the Star Navy designed a disproportionate number of these ship types to fulfill military profiles. While ship classes dedicated to research and exploration profiles have become more common in the mid- to late-24th century, the primary focus of Romulan starship development remains an offensive exercise.
Romulan starship design and development has entered something of a renaissance in the latter half of the 24th century. Many factors have contributed to this evolution, including the introduction and heightened development of dedicated military vessels in the Federation Starfleet, the growing Taurhai threat along the Empires rimward frontier, and the galaxy-threatening Dominion menace in the Alpha Quadrant.
Competition among research arms within the Romulan military has also served to accelerate starship development, with scientists and designers from the Star Command competing against those attached to the various senatorial or sector fleets. Such competition remains good-natured, and in the long run the resulting technologies benefit the Empire.
New hull and spaceframe composites, simpler and more stable hull layering techniques, sophisticated new shielding fields for quantum nacelles (thus eliminating many of the former hazards of these drive systems), advances in cloaking efficiency and performance – while keeping technologically apace of its enemies and neighbors is never simple, the Star Navy continues to develop and field many of the most advanced vessels in the galaxy.
The heightened threat environment of the late 24th century has fostered a kind of pervasive paranoia throughout both the Star Navy and the Empire. After many long years of isolation, a newly open Romulan people often feel beset by threats and challenges on every frontier. As a result, military spending has reached an all-time high, with hundreds of new vessels entering service each year. This situation tends to be exacerbated by additional spending on senatorial fleets and in Imperial hinterlands. The result is the largest standing fleet ever known in the Star Empire, but one that is perhaps less integrated than it should be.
In some ways, the current Tribunal appears to be playing a game of operational catch-up, responding to threats both internal and external. Unrest simmers among the colonies of the Empty Frontier, the climate along the Taurhai border remains tense and calculated, and the outcome of the Dominion conflict is far from certain. It is a time of challenges, a time for courage, a time that will test every officer's commitment to D'era.
While the Romulan Star Navy fields roughly the same number of ship classes as Starfleet, a greater portion of these classes consists of dedicated military designs. Like the ships of Starfleet, most Romulan ships are classified according to their primary mission profiles. Because Romulan vessel classes tend to be more highly specialized than their Starfleet counterparts, their mission-specific roles tend to simplify the classification and design processes.
Descended from several experimental battleship classes that never saw mass production, the new Vereleus-class dreadnoughts represent the first in a planned series of massive, heavily armed, mobile command centers. Designed to direct fleet operations and strategic movements from the front lines of a battle, these imposing vessels have already provided the impetus for some sweeping changes to Naval battle orders and integrated fleet response plans. The proposed Praetorian-class is scheduled to enter production in 2379.
The ships of the numerous warbird classes have undergone a significant evolution during the 24th century as well. Originally designed as the quintessential ships of the line, capable of extended deep-space missions and carrying heavy armaments, the newer warbird classes have become both more specialized and more diverse. The new swift warbird classes, in particular, have redefined the nature and organization of Romulan rapid-response fleets and perimeter defense operations. In addition to a proposed upgrade program for the now-legendary D'deridex-class (scheduled to begin in 2377), several new warbird classes are currently on drawing boards throughout Imperial naval yards. The first of these new classes – the T'kassan class of strike warbirds – will enter active duty near the end of the decade.
A radical departure from centuries of dedicated military vessel design, the new starbird classes of exploration ships continue to enter service at an aggressive rate. Proving that a place exists for specialized deep-space exploration vessels, several new starbird classes and variants are currently in the planning or development stages. More economical to produce than their larger and more heavily armed cousins, the starbird classes stand as a collective testament to the new spirit of openness currently gaining strength in the Romulan military. They represent a willingness to change and adapt previously foreign to most officers and commanders. The newest and most ambitious starbird design to date – the vast T'kairin generation cruiser – will be commissioned in early 2378.
Romulan cruiser classes tend to be less important than their Starfleet counterparts. Since the larger warbird classes account for most line vessel duties and missions, the Star Navy normally builds its cruisers with speed and stealth in mind. Although other profiles exist (such as the perimeter defense vessels assigned to many frontier outposts), most cruiser types are incursion, reconnaissance, or search-and-destroy vessels of some type. These ships are commonly employed to test enemy resolve along tense borders or in active threat regions.
Frigates fill many of the same roles as their Starfleet counterparts – escort, patrol, rapid response and deployment, etc. In the Star Navy, many frigate classes are specifically designed to support planetary occupation and pacification missions, and thus possess enhanced close orbital and atmospheric performance enhancements. The Star Navy also builds specialized mobile weapons platforms called gunships. Similar to the feared Cardassian destroyer classes, these ships are essentially frigates with very heavy armaments and defenses. Romulan gunships often sacrifice drive and propulsion capability for increased offensive and defensive capabilities – in such cases, vast carriers transport the vessels to threat regions where they are needed. These ships are normally key participants in planetary occupation missions, since their lack of maneuverability hampers their ability to act as effective space-based combatants against species with similar technology. For this reason, they are primarily used as pacification tools against less-developed worlds.
The Romulans build no dedicated escort classes, view the role of such vessels as secondary to the primary goal of any mission or battle. However, they do build small, fast ships roughly analogous to many of the heavier Starfleet escort ship types. Called birds of prey (a reference to their cloaking tactics), these small, quick vessels rely on stealth to penetrate enemy defenses. Used primarily as short-range observation, reconnaissance, and ambush craft, most fleets have a wing of such vessels attached to them. No new bird-of-prey classes have been commissioned in some time. This will change in late 2376, when the new Vithrel-class swift bird of prey enters active production.
Much like the various starbird classes of exploratory ships, the Star Navy did not build large numbers of scout vessels until recently. The resurgence of the type resulted from two primary factors: First, the vessels could be built economically, a concern in a continually expanding empire whose resources often did not keep pace with its needs; second, the changing threat climate of the 24th century required more vigilance on more frontiers than ever before. Greater numbers of reconnaissance vessels would allow rapid response and perimeter defense fleets to remain at strategic locations, to be dispatched only when their presence became necessary. Today, more scouts are produced than any other ship type, and ships of the numerous scout classes serve with distinction in every corner of the Empire.
In addition to the primary ship types, a wide variety of specialized and auxiliary vessels fill innumerable support roles in every fleet of the Star Navy. From long-range fleet tenders to gunship carriers to troop transports, the continued success and utility of Naval operations often depends on the support craft involved.
The Star Navy has commissioned more new ship classes in the latter decades of the 24th century than at any other time in the history of the Empire. Driven in part by the guiding precepts of D'era, and in part by new tensions on every border, the Empire has begun to shore up its defenses even as it continues to expand. A new age of Imperial openness has also become and age of increased vigilance as the Star Navy prepares for the new century.
- Birds of Prey
- Gamun-class, Vithrel-class Swift (proposed)
- T'kairin-class Generation (proposed), Nelvek-class Heavy, D'viret-class Incursion, Meret-class Incursion, Vercaal-class Light, Prelar-class Swift
- Vereleus-class, Praetorian-class (proposed)
- Serex-class Heavy, D'virin-class Incursion, D'theros-class Light, Thalan-class Swift, D'tavan-class Strike
- D'gerok-class Assault, Vadak-class Heavy, V'gurin-class Sublight
- Kelkarrum-class, Tirethi-class, Deresus-class Heavy, Nir'at-class Heavy
- Theron-class Far Courier, Theta-class Swift Courier, Vasteme-class Gunship Carrier, Phaeros-class Medical Cruiser, Horos-class Far Surveyor
- Ralek-class, V'tana-class Far, Vidian-class Heavy, T'rasus-class Light
- D'seren-class Fleet Tender, V'geren-class Armored Transport, Sethen-class Cargo Transport, Veranal-class Occupation Transport