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Danube Class

Size Comp 1Size comp 2
Universe : Prime Timeline
Affiliation : Federation
Class Name : Danube Class
Type : Multirole interstellar craft
Unit Run :
USS Gander - Destroyed1
NCC 724522 USS Rio Grande3 - Active
NCC 724534 USS Yangtzee Kiang3 - Destroyed5
NCC 724544 USS Ganges3 - Destroyed6
NCC 726174 USS Mekong7 - Destroyed8
NCC 729054 USS Orinoco9 - Destroyed10
NCC 729364 USS Rubicon11 - Active
NCC 73024 USS Shenandoah12 - Destroyed13
NCC 731964 USS Volga14 - Active
NCC 746024 USS Yukon15 - Destroyed16
NX 72003 USS Danube17 - Active
plus 1,854 others built in total. 665 have been lost in all.
Commissioned : 2365 - present
Dimensions : Length : 23.1 m18
Beam : 14 m19
Height : 6 m20
Decks : 121
Mass : 158.717 metric tons
Crew : 121, 40 evacuation limit
Armament : 622 x Type IV phaser arrays23, total output 750 TeraWatts
2 x Micro photon torpedo tube23 with 24 rounds
Defence Systems : Standard shield system, total capacity 56,700 TeraJoules
Light Duranium / Tritanium Single hull.
Low level Structural Integrity Field
Warp Speeds
(TNG scale) :
Normal Cruise : 4
Maximum Cruise : 5
Maximum Rated : 5.2 for 12 hours.
Strength Indices :
(Galaxy class = 1,000)
Beam Firepower : 15
Torpedo Firepower : 20
Weapon Range and Accuracy : 30
Shield Strength : 21
Hull Armour : 3.13
Speed : 127
Combat Manoeuvrability : 16,300
Overall Strength Index : 51
Diplomatic Capability : 2
Expected Hull Life : 60
Refit Cycle : Minor : 0 year
Standard : 0 years
Major : 10 years


The Starfleet Runabout is a development of the warp capable shuttle craft which have been in use since the earliest days of the Federation. The first requirement for the Runabout, issued in 2342, called for a vessel based on the Type 9A cargo shuttle but capable of short and medium range interstellar operations carrying out limited spatial and planetary surveys. The fuselage was lengthened from 10.5 to 14.8 metres, allowing a much larger antimatter fuel cell to be installed to increase the vessels endurance from 36 hours to fifteen days at Warp 2.2. The two person emergency transporter was replaced by a one person fully functional model, and the rear of the cargo bay was fitted with four bunks. The remaining cargo space was used to expand the front cabin and install extra electronics systems.

The Type 10 Runabout proved reasonably successful in service, though the small cabin size limited its operations somewhat. Starfleet has gradually enlarged and improved the Runabout concept over the next twenty years or so, culminating in the Danube class Runabout first requested in 2363. This vehicle was designed to accomplish four main missions; the ability to perform rapid response scientific expedition transportation, the ability to act as an orbital or landed temporary operations base for science missions, the ability to transport intact experiment and cargo modules, and the ability to perform tactical missions such as intelligence gathering, covert insertion/extraction of personnel, and disruption of threat activities where feasible.17

The Danube features a front cabin for the crew of pilot, co-pilot/navigator and two mission specialists. A two person transporter is at the rear of the cabin24, with swappable mission modules aft of this. The modular nature of the Danube allows it to be configured for missions such as personnel transport, cargo transport, scientific research, tactical, medical, etc. Above the main spaces is the warp core, which is fed by an antimatter fuel pod at the aft and its matter equivalent at the fore end. The power transfer conduits run down the bulky nacelle roots, which also contain the impulse drive reactors and various other equipment.

The impulse engines comprise two sets of four fusion reactors, plus space-time drive coils and vectored exhaust directors. The system also includes interstellar or atmospheric intake vents and condenser-separators for fuel distillation. Control and fuel feed connections are essentially identical to any comparable impulse system. When maintenance is required, the entire assembly can be removed as a single unit.

The vehicles twin computer core is located under the cockpit subfloor and measures 2.3 x 2.1 x 1.3 metres. It is a standard isolinear unit, with a total of 186 isolinear banks and 53 command pre-processors and data analysis units. Subnodes distributed throughout the vehicle report to the main computer17
via a standard ODN system.

The Danube's tactical systems are surprisingly comprehensive for a vehicle of its size. The torpedo launchers fire 14 cm torpedoes which can carry a variety of different loads, including photon or quantum warheads, chemical explosives, gases or biological agents. If required the Danube can also carry four full size torpedoes, while the six phaser arrays located on the cockpit, nacelles and rear compartment provide another weapon option. As on a starship, the shield system is fed by a portion of the warp power output.17

Colour key

Canon source Backstage source Novel source DITL speculation


# Series Season Source Comment
1 DS9 7 Penumbra
2 DS9 2 Paradise
3 DS9 1 Emissary
4 Star Trek Encyclopedia
5 DS9 1 Battle Lines
6 DS9 2 Armageddon Game
7 DS9 2 Whispers
8 DS9 3 The Die is Cast
9 DS9 2 The Siege
10 DS9 4 Our Man Bashir
11 DS9 3 Family Business
12 DS9 6 Change of Heart
13 DS9 6 Valiant
14 DS9 4 Body Parts
15 DS9 4 The Sons of Mogh
16 DS9 5 By Inferno's Light
17 Star Trek Deep Space Nine Technical Manual
18 Star Trek Deep Space Nine Technical Manual Stated on page 140.
19 DS9 2 Playing God Dax states the width of the ship
20 Production drawing Scaled assuming a 14 m width as per DS9's "Playing God".
21 Various Deep Space Nine episodes
22 Visible on the shooting model
24 Various Original Series episodes
Series : DS9 Season 7 (Disc 5)
Episode : Penumbra
Series : DS9 Season 2 (Disc 4)
Episode : Paradise
Series : DS9 Season 1 (Disc 1)
Episode : Emissary
Book : Star Trek Encyclopedia
Series : DS9 Season 1 (Disc 4)
Episode : Battle Lines
Series : DS9 Season 2 (Disc 4)
Episode : Armageddon Game
Series : DS9 Season 2 (Disc 4)
Episode : Whispers
Series : DS9 Season 3 (Disc 6)
Episode : The Die is Cast
Series : DS9 Season 2 (Disc 1)
Episode : The Siege
Series : DS9 Season 4 (Disc 3)
Episode : Our Man Bashir
Series : DS9 Season 3 (Disc 6)
Episode : Family Business
Series : DS9 Season 6 (Disc 4)
Episode : Change of Heart
Series : DS9 Season 6 (Disc 6)
Episode : Valiant
Series : DS9 Season 4 (Disc 7)
Episode : Body Parts
Series : DS9 Season 4 (Disc 4)
Episode : The Sons of Mogh
Series : DS9 Season 5 (Disc 4)
Episode : By Inferno's Light
Book : Star Trek Deep Space Nine Technical Manual
Book : Star Trek Deep Space Nine Technical Manual
Comment : Stated on page 140.
Series : DS9 Season 2 (Disc 5)
Episode : Playing God
Comment : Dax states the width of the ship
Source : Production drawing
Comment : Scaled assuming a 14 m width as per DS9's "Playing God".
Series : DS9 Season (Disc )
Episode : Various Deep Space Nine episodes
Source : Visible on the shooting model
Series : TOS Season (Disc )
Episode : Various Original Series episodes


The Danube class began life in my mind as basically a big shuttlecraft, but over time these ships seem to have grown and grown! Realizing that there was a big compartment in the back and a detachable module in the middle was the first change in my perception; when Runabouts turned out to have photon torpedo tubes I began to think they must be fifty or sixty metres long just to fit that in, but I think there must be some sort of photon mini-torp for runabouts. Then in "For the Uniform" we see Sisko on board his Runabout in a jefferies tube!

Using the nice big scale diagrams in the new Encyclopedia I got a length of under 30 metres; I guess a lot of the stuff in a Runabout must be *very* compact!

In case you didn't know, Sisko names DS9's Runabouts as they arrive at the station. He traditionally picks the names of great rivers for his Runabouts.

December 4th Update :

After prodding from various people, most recently Tommy Tennebo, I have updated the Runabout page to include various details from the DS9 Tech Manual. I still strongly believe that this book can't be fully trusted, and naturally such a source is not canon, hence most of the entry has now gone to green for backstage info. I've kept the phasers as Type IV's rather than the Type VI's that some sources list, simply because the latter seem too high for a ship this size. The speeds I have also kept, and I've extended the life span up to sixty years.

Lengthwise, I found a nit myself for once - the specs page had 27 metres, the size comparison had 23.1. Guess I forgot to update the specs page when I did the size comparison, so that's now fixed.
© Graham & Ian Kennedy Page views : 77,024 Last updated : 27 Sep 2021