"Before we had this in effect, people were slinging terms around like crazy, and they still are. You should've been there when the Sedruans tried to disguise a supercarrier as a freighter."
- Delegate from the Confederacy of Borealis
The Universal Standard of Starship Classification (U.S.S.C.) is a system designed to classify the various types of starships used across Universe.
(IMPORTANT: The sizes of the ships might be subject to change)
The U.S.S.C. was developed in 53,923 CE as a request from the general intergalactic community as a way to finally set in stone a way to properly classify the many different types of starships across the universe. It was formally approved about ten years later when the Intergalactic Council signed it into effect.
However, many in the intergalactic community did not approve of the new system, mainly because it allowed for restrictions on the ships in an astronavy to be enforced much easier.
How Starships are Classified
Military ships are often classified based on their length and specific function. While there is a bit of overlap, especially concerning smaller ships like corvettes and frigates, when their functions are clearly defined then classifying them is easy.
These small ships are not particularly fit for combat roles, although they can be fitted with weapons should the need arise. Their primary role is to act as a way for officers and other high-ranking personnel to get from point A to point B in a short amount of time. They can also be used as small-scale cargo transports.
- Length - Variable, but often 5 to 30 meters
- Primary Role(s) - Interplanetary/Ship-to-ship transport, Emergency fighting vehicles
Starfighters are small, nimble ships designed for combat in the vacuum of space and in a planet's atmosphere. They often have the most varied designs out of any ship type, ranging from sleek, agile interceptors to clunky, heavily-armed bombers.
- Length - Variable, often the same as shuttles
- Primary Role(s) - Flexible, Air/Space superiority
Thaumic ships are ships that are essentially just a metal frame surrounded by a shell of Aeternal Energy. This shell is created by one or more Magi, who maintain the ship using their natural abilities.
- Length - Variable, usually between shuttles and patrol craft
- Primary Role(s) - Flexible, Swarm tactics
The smallest type of “true” warship, patrol craft are an essential security force for any nation. These ships are typically used in border security and search-and-rescue operations, and in these fields they perform admirably. However, their relative frailty when compared to larger warships means that they don’t really see a lot of action in frontline combat.
- Length - 150 to 250 meters
- Primary Role(s) - Border patrol, Search-and-rescue, Orbital defense
A step up from patrol craft, corvettes are usually seen as the scouting force for an interstellar navy. Their high speeds typically see them used as anti-fighter or fast attack ships, rushing in and out before other ships have the chance to fire back. However, the captain of a corvette must remember not to get cocky, lest they be on the receiving end of an enemy ship’s guns.
- Length - 250 to 400 meters
- Primary Role(s) - Fast attack, Anti-starfighter, Patrol, Escort, Scouting
Perhaps the most numerous type of warship in the universe. If there’s a role to fill, someone’s built a frigate for it. While they are usually used to escort larger ships, frigates can be outfitted to perform many different roles, such as long-range bombardment, electronic warfare, close-range brawling, and even as a mobile medical facility.
- Length - 400 to 650 meters
- Primary Role(s) - Flexible, Escort, Patrol
Like the smaller corvettes, destroyers are usually not well-armored, and rely on their speed to avoid being gunned down. However, instead of targeting fighter squadrons, destroyers are used to take out enemy warships from long range with powerful weapons such as torpedoes, missile swarms, and sometimes even unmanned drones packed with explosives.
- Length - 650 to 750 meters
- Primary Role(s) - Anti-warship, Fast attack, Escort
Like their smaller counterparts, the frigates, cruisers are general-purpose warships and can be used for a wide variety of combat roles. However, their increased size and capabilities means that they can be used as command ships for a fleet should the need arise, although larger fleets will often have multiple cruiser battlegroups.
- Length - 750 to 1,000 meters
- Primary Role(s) - Flexible, Escort, Flagship
While regular cruisers are usually balanced in most aspects, battlecruisers emphasize speed and firepower at the cost of protection. These ships are primarily used to hunt down faster ships and are best described as “glass cannons”. They are able to dish out plenty of firepower, but aren’t really able to take much damage in return. This limits their effectiveness in prolonged battles.
- Length - Same size as cruisers
- Primary Role(s) - Warship hunter, Fast attack, Flagship
Often referred to as the most iconic type of warship, battleships have certainly earned their fame. With their immense size, powerful weapons, and heavy armor, these vessels are often in the thick of the action, blasting away at any foe who dares to approach them. Unfortunately, their low speed tends to make it difficult to chase down enemy ships and avoid attacks.
- Length - 1,000 to 1,400 meters
- Primary Role(s) - Close-range brawling, Orbital bombardment, Flagship
Packed full of starfighters ready to deploy at a moment’s notice, carriers act as the defining factor in any space battle. However, once depleted of their combat squadrons, carriers tend to find themselves somewhat defenseless, as any weaponry they have will be more suited to repelling enemy fighters than larger warships.
- Length - 1,400 to 1,800 meters
- Primary Role(s) - Starfighter transport/deployment, Power projection, Flagship
Every nation needs a way for its military to get around quickly, and transport ships fulfill that role. Due to them carrying large quantities of soldiers, vehicles, supplies, and other equipment, these ships are high-priority targets, and as such must be heavily guarded.
- Length - Variable, smaller transports might be the size of frigates, while larger transports may be as big as carriers
- Primary Role(s) - Large-scale transportation of soldiers, vehicles, supplies etc.
When regular carriers aren't enough to achieve orbital/aerial superiority, the supercarriers are called in. These immense ships can carry hundreds, even thousands of starfighters and other spacecraft at a time, ready to be unleashed upon enemy ships like a swarm of angry insects.
- Length - 1,800 to 2,500 meters
- Primary Role(s) - Starfighter transport/deployment, Power projection, Mobile headquarters, Flagship
The largest type of standardized warship ever constructed, dreadnoughts are an imposing presence on the battlefield. A single one of these ships is capable of wiping out an entire enemy fleet while also withstanding immense punishment. They are often the pride of a nation's fleet, and many admirals have dreadnoughts as their personal ships.
- Length - 2,500 to 5,000 meters
- Primary Role(s) - Flagship, Intimidation, Fleet killer, Orbital bombardment, Mobile headquarters
Titans are enormous hunks of metal often mistaken for spaceborne cities rather than an actual ship. Most nations that possess titans only have a few of them, as these ships are extremely expensive to maintain.
- Length - 5,000 meters and above
- Primary Role(s) - Flagship, Mobile headquarters, Orbital bombardment, Intimidation, Fleet killer
Moonships, also called Worldships, are the largest starships ever to be built, if they can even be called that. They are extremely rare and are mainly used for two specific purposes - intimidation and the complete destruction of enemy systems. They are essientially just moons or small planets that have been equipped with FTL drives powerful enough to allow the "ship" to move. They almost never use traditional propulsion systems, prefering to jump straight into an enemy system and catch itself in the orbit of the system's star. They can even use their tremendous size as a weapon, as their gravity is enough to greatly alter the orbits of objects around it.
- Length - Variable, often 3,000 to 15,000 kilometers on the longest axis, no known size limit
- Primary Role(s) - Impressing/Intimidating planetary populations, Invasion/Destruction of star systems
Unlike military ships, these craft are classified based largely on function, with overall size not being much of a consideration.
Research ships are designed to travel across the universe performing all sorts of experiments (sometimes unethical ones) to further the knowledge of sapient beings everywhere. They are often paired with exploration ships so they can examine anything that the explorers dig up.
- Length - Variable, usually the size of frigates
- Primary Role(s) - Mobile laboratory, Housing of scientific samples
Freighters are responsible for the massive amounts of cargo that gets transported across the Universe every single day. However, criminal organizations also make use of freighters as well, and are often packed full of contraband ranging from illegal drugs to exotic animals.
- Length - Variable, smaller freighters might be the size of patrol craft, while larger freighters may be as big as supercarriers
- Primary Role(s) - Large-scale transportation of cargo across the universe
The universe is filled with astonishingly large megastructures, and its the construction ships who put them all together. These ships are capable of towing enormously heavy materials and latching them into place with ease.
- Length - Variable, but often the size of corvettes
- Primary Role(s) - Construction of starships, space stations, and other structures in space
The rich of the universe often like to let people know about their wealth. Hosting parties on the most extravagant ships they can buy is a surefire way of communicating their social status to others. These ships often come with features such as elaborate dining halls, ornate servant automatons, and other rare amenities.
- Length - Variable, often the size of patrol craft
- Primary Role(s) - Entertainment, Hosting events, Recreation
While similar to luxury ships, starliners are much larger in size, and are used publicly for civilian use. Whether owned by private corporations or large nations, starliners almost always have the same directive: tourism.
- Length - Variable, but often the size of supercarriers
- Primary Role(s) - Tourism, Recreation, Entertainment, Civilian travel
The nations of the universe are always in need of raw materials to feed their ever-hungry war machines, this is where the mining ships come in. Using their multitude of tools to extract valuable materials, miners can make it big selling off their ores.
- Length - Variable, smaller mining ships might be the size of frigates, while larger mining ships may be as big as battleships
- Primary Role(s) - Extracting valuable materials from asteroids, ice belts, gas clouds, etc.
When ships get too damaged or become obsolete, it falls on salvaging ships to break them down. These ships are equipped with special tools designed to cut old ships apart and separate their components. They can also be seen scouring old battlefields for anything valuable left behind.
- Length - Variable, but often the size of corvettes
- Primary Role(s) - Recovery of valuable objects, Scraping obsolete/destroyed ships
Despite the existence of starfaring ships going back hundreds of thousands of years, some parts of space are still unknown. Exploration ships are for those brave souls daring enough to plunge into the great unknown and discover its secrets.
- Length - Variable, but often the size of frigates
- Primary Role(s) - Exploration of uncharted space, Analysis of forgotten ruins
Packed to the brim with people awaiting new lives, colony ships are celestial arks ferrying wayward souls to their new homes. As many planets in the Universe are hostile to organic life, most colony ships carry terraforming equipment in order to make these worlds suitable for their new occupants.
- Length - Variable, but often the size of dreadnoughts
- Primary Role(s) - Colonization of uninhabited worlds, Terraforming uninhabitable planets