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Challenger Class

Size Comp
Universe : Prime Timeline
Affiliation : Federation
Class Name : Challenger Class
Type : Light Cruiser
Unit Run :
NCC 57537 USS Armstrong1 - Active
NCC 575661 USS Kearsarge2 - Active
NCC 575801 USS Buran3 - Destroyed1
NCC-2032 USS Challenger - Active4
plus 38 others built in total. 33 have been lost in all.
Commissioned : 2350 - 2355, class remains in service
Dimensions : Length : 394 m5
Beam : 264 m
Height : 115 m
Decks : 10
Mass : 1,000,000 metric tons
Crew : 225
Armament : 2 x Type VIII phaser bank, total output 11,000 TeraWatts
2 x Standard photon torpedo tube with 100 rounds
Defence Systems : Standard shield system, total capacity 513,000 TeraJoules
Standard Duranium / Tritanium Double hull.
Standard level Structural Integrity Field
Warp Speeds
(TNG scale) :
Normal Cruise : 6
Maximum Cruise : 8
Maximum Rated : 8.6 for 12 hours.
Strength Indices :
(Galaxy class = 1,000)
Beam Firepower : 220
Torpedo Firepower : 250
Weapon Range and Accuracy : 165
Shield Strength : 190
Hull Armour : 100
Speed : 680
Combat Manoeuvrability : 4,850
Overall Strength Index : 254
Diplomatic Capability : 4
Expected Hull Life : 80
Refit Cycle : Minor : 1 year
Standard : 1 years
Major : 20 years


The Challenger class is a light cruiser designed to explore the advantages of the 'vertical stack' arrangement of warp nacelles. The hull layout is thus relatively unusual for a Federation vessel, with an elliptical saucer section typical of this period attached directly to the front of a small, almost flat engineering hull. Onto this were mounted a pair of large nacelles of the same type as used in the Nebula and several other ships of this period. The lower nacelle is mounted close to the engineering hull on a simple strut, but the upper nacelle has greater separation and is mounted on a much more prominent housing. It is also offset forward by some thirteen metres from the lower nacelle.

The arrangement proved satisfactory in service and forty two of the class were ordered by Starfleet. Nevertheless, the vertical stack did not confer any significant advantage over the more conventional nacelle configurations then in use, and Starfleet decided not to pursue this design avenue further.

One of these vessels, the USS Buran, was destroyed by the Borg at Wolf 359.6

Colour key

Canon source Backstage source Novel source DITL speculation


# Series Season Source Comment
1 Star Trek Encyclopedia
2 TNG 7 Firstborn
3 TNG 4 The Best of Both Worlds, Part 2
4 Star Trek VI : The Undiscovered Country
5 Speculative Scaled to the Galaxy class nacelles.
6 Generic official information
Book : Star Trek Encyclopedia
Series : TNG Season 7 (Disc 6)
Episode : Firstborn
Series : TNG Season 4 (Disc 1)
Episode : The Best of Both Worlds, Part 2
Film: Star Trek VI : The Undiscovered Country
Source : Speculative
Comment : Scaled to the Galaxy class nacelles.
Source : Generic official information


The Challenger class USS Buran was one of the ships used in the Wolf 359 graveyard scene. The ship is a Galaxy-style saucer, though this is somewhat smaller than that of a Galaxy class ship, plus Galaxy nacelles stacked one above the other with the engineering hull between. The "prominent housing" supporting the upper nacelle is actually a hull unit from a Russian Typhoon class submarine - the type seen in "The Hunt For Red October"!
© Graham & Ian Kennedy Page views : 56,199 Last updated : 12 Mar 2013