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Saber Class

Size Comp
Universe : Prime Timeline
Affiliation : Federation
Class Name : Saber Class
Type : Scout
Unit Run :
USS Saber - Active
NCC 61947 USS Yeager [1] - Destroyed
plus 722 others built in total. 572 have been lost in all.
Commissioned : 2343 - 2368, class remains in service
Dimensions : Length : 190 m [2]
Beam : 250 m
Height : 41 m
Decks : 11
Mass : 310,000 [3] metric tons
Crew : 40 [3], 200 person evacuation limit. [4]
Armament : 1 x Type VIII phaser bank
4 x Type VII phaser arrays, total output 4,000 TeraWatts
2 x Standard photon torpedo tube with 30 rounds
Defence Systems : Standard shield system, total capacity 189,000 TeraJoules
Standard Duranium Single hull.
Standard level Structural Integrity Field
Warp Speeds
(TNG scale) :
Normal Cruise : 6
Maximum Cruise : 9.3
Maximum Rated : 9.7 [3] for 12 [3] hours.
Strength Indices :
(Galaxy class = 1,000)
Beam Firepower : 80
Torpedo Firepower : 250
Weapon Range and Accuracy : 195
Shield Strength : 70
Hull Armour : 10
Speed : 1,067
Combat Manoeuvrability : 7,080
Overall Strength Index : 217
Diplomatic Capability : 2
Expected Hull Life : 80
Refit Cycle : Minor : 1 year
Standard : 1 years
Major : 20 years


The Saber class was part of Starfleets modernization programme of the 2340's. They were designed to be a frigate counterpart to the Steamrunner class starship; much smaller, easier to build and hence considerably more numerous. The designers brought in many measures to ensure that the Saber class would be easy to build; like the much earlier Oberth class science vessels the Saber's design is highly modular in nature, allowing ten thousand ton sections to be constructed in small shipyards before final assembly in a larger facility. One requirement was for the Saber's to have a science and exploration capacity equal to 85% that of a Steamrunner class along with equal cruise and maximum speeds - a measure intended to allow the vessels to work together in co-ordinated operations. This proved an exceptionally difficult target to meet in a hull with only two thirds of the volume of a Steamrunner; the designers were eventually forced to cut the torpedo armament of the Saber class from the original two triple-fire torpedo tubes to a single mono-fire tube and reduce the load carried from 90 to 30 torpedoes. The six type VII phaser arrays were at first to be reduced to only four, but in the event a reduction in the ships accommodation levels allowed a single Type VIII emitter to be worked into the leading edge of the saucer section. This brought the overall phaser power to some 91% of the initial planned phaser capacity. The competition for internal volume also forced a reduction in the size of the warp core, and as a result the Saber can only manage a top speed of Warp 9.2 compared to the Steamrunner's Warp 9.5.

The original specifications of the Saber called for a crew of 130, but increased automation of the engineering systems allowed this to be cut to 118 and then 102. Conditions for the crew are quite poor by the standards of the Steamrunner or Akira classes; crew quarters average 30 square metres and there are no holodecks. In addition, there are no personal replicator stations in crew quarters - instead three mess areas are provided with replicator systems for the whole crew. The Saber's have proved reasonably successful in service, although the relatively poor living conditions has led to a shorter than expected average mission duration. Like the larger Akira and Steamrunner classes, Saber's have largely served in the frontier regions and they have been an uncommon sight at the heart of the Federation. This has changed over the last three years, when many of the Saber class have been relocated near the core as part of Starfleets build-up of forces against the Dominion. Sabers featured heavily during the recent Borg incursion [5], where many of the ships involved in the Typhon and Earth battles were destroyed or severely damaged.

Colour key

Canon source Backstage source Novel source DITL speculation


# Series Season Source Comment
1 Star Trek Encyclopedia
2 David Stipes, DS9 visual effects supervisor Taken from a posting to the DS9 Newsgroup
3 Star Trek Deep Space Nine Technical Manual
4 Star Trek Deep Space Nine Technical Manual Page 155
5 Star Trek : First Contact
Book : Star Trek Encyclopedia
Source : David Stipes, DS9 visual effects supervisor
Comment : Taken from a posting to the DS9 Newsgroup
Book : Star Trek Deep Space Nine Technical Manual
Book : Star Trek Deep Space Nine Technical Manual
Comment : Page 155
Film: Star Trek : First Contact


Another of the new First Contact designs, we never get a really good close look at the Saber in the film - the image on attached to this entry is from the "Star Trek The next Generation Sketch Book". According to the diagram in the new Encyclopedia (page 470), the Saber class are very small - about the size of the saucer section of the original Constitution class. I've pegged them as being light scout ships; designed to support ships such as the Steamrunner and Akira in battle, or to operate on their own in reasonably non-threatening environments. Since we don't see an awful lot of smaller ships on Trek, I've suggested that Starfleet suffered problems with the Saber when they tried to cram too much into her.

The Sabers suffered pretty heavily in First Contact - as did most of the other designs present, of course! Given their apparent age - based on the relatively low NCC numbers - and size I don't think they are really designed for mass battle tactics and that could be an excuse as to why we've seen relatively little of them since First Contact. In truth, I think the design is boring compared to the Akira and Steamrunner, and the creators seem to be using these ships more because of the generally positive fan reaction to them.

© Graham & Ian Kennedy Page views : 105,217 Last updated : 19 Nov 2006