Scouts

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The presence and mission profiles of Scouts has diminished over the course of the 24th century. As technological capabilities improved, and the Federation became larger, the deep space exploration function once assigned to scouts was assumed by larger vessels, and their role as reconnaissance ships in times of war has similarly been assumed by other, stronger ships.

Still, there remains a place for the Scout within the present service. With their small bodies and large warp nacelles, they remain well-suited for stellar cartography missions, light exploration, systems surveillance and reconnaissance, and similar duties. During the Dominion War, when larger ships were often engaged in direct confrontation with the enemy, Scouts ran many observation missions into Dominion-Cardassian territory, returning with valuable information.

The Rigel-class vessel and proposed Orion-class ship (part of the Long Range Survey Directive implemented in 2369, but delayed by the War) are both designated Heavy Scouts. "Heavy" in this case connotes a larger body, and thus the capacity to stay in the field for longer periods, more than it does heavier armament (though in fact those ships do have greater tactical capabilities than other Scouts).

Classes

Ship illustrations by Tim Davies. Used with permission.
REV SD 239309.08