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NX Class

Size Comp 1Size comp 2


Universe : Prime Timeline
Affiliation : Humans
Class Name : NX Class
Type : Explorer [1]
Unit Run :
NX-01 Enterprise [1] - Upgraded [2]
plus 6 others built in total. 4 have been lost in all. 3 have been retired from service.
Commissioned : 2151 [1] - 2160, remained in service until 2200
Dimensions : Length : 225 m [3]
Beam : 136 m [4]
Height : 33 m
Decks : 7 [5]
Mass : 280,000 metric tons
Crew : 82 [6]
Armament : 3 x phase cannon [7] , total output 12 TeraWatts
5 [8] x Mod 2 spatial torpedo tube [9] with 40 rounds
Defence Systems : Light Monotanium Single hull plus 5 cm Polarised armour. [10]
Standard level Structural Integrity Field
Warp Speeds
(TOS scale) :
Maximum Cruise : 4.5 [11]
Maximum Rated : 5 [11]
Strength Indices :
(Galaxy class = 1,000)
Beam Firepower : 0.24
Torpedo Firepower : 0.5
Weapon Range and Accuracy : 15
Shield Strength : -
Hull Armour : 126.25
Speed : 65
Combat Manoeuvrability : 2,370
Overall Strength Index : 28
Diplomatic Capability : 2
Expected Hull Life : 40
Refit Cycle : Minor : 1 year
Standard : 1 years
Major : 10 years


Thirty years in development, Enterprise was the first Human-built vessel capable of reaching warp factor 5. [1] Under the command of Captain Archer, it conducted many exploratory missions in star systems near to Sol. [9]

Colour key

Canon source Backstage source Novel source DITL speculation


# Series Season Source Comment
1 ENT 1 Broken Bow
2 ENT 2 The Expanse
3 CGI Model As given by foundation imaging, the designers of the CGI model.
4 CGI Model
5 Production drawing
6 ENT 1 Strange New World
7 ENT 1 Silent Enemy
8 Visible on the shooting model
9 Various Enterprise episodes
10 Generic canonical information
11 ENT 1 Fallen Hero
Series : ENT Season 1
Episode : Broken Bow
Series : ENT Season 2
Episode : The Expanse
Source : CGI Model
Comment : As given by foundation imaging, the designers of the CGI model.
Source : CGI Model
Source : Production drawing
Series : ENT Season 1
Episode : Strange New World
Series : ENT Season 1
Episode : Silent Enemy
Source : Visible on the shooting model
Series : ENT Season
Episode : Various Enterprise episodes
Source : Generic canonical information
Series : ENT Season 1
Episode : Fallen Hero


The centrepiece vessel of the Enterprise series, the NX class is unfortunately one of the most disappointing ship designs ever produced for Trek.

When the idea of a prequel series was first mooted a few years ago, I was one of those who vehemently objected to it. The further back in time you go the more limited your technology becomes, and hence the more limited your scope for storytelling becomes. Given this, I felt that doing a prequel premise correctly would be a very difficult process which would require great attention to detail - something those in charge of Voyager were clearly unwilling or unable to give. Unfortunately, the design of Enterprise has already provided some justification for my concerns.

There has been, throughout all of Star Trek, a remarkably consistent trend in the look of the ships. Over the centuries they have become flatter, more streamlined and sleek-looking. Pick out any two ships designed in the same era and you will be able to pick out many very similar features, from the shape of the saucer section to the type of escape pod used.

Enterprise bucks this trend entirely. It was launched in 2151, after some 30 years of development. Take a look at the Daedalus class next to Enterprise and you will see what I mean. The Daedalus class was in service as of 2158, so if anything it is somewhat more advanced than Enterprise. Yet the two look nothing alike. Enterprise should either be a Daedalus class ship, or it should look something like a cross between a Daedalus and Valiant class, biased mostly towards the former. Yet only in the nacelles do we see anything even remotely suitable for this era.

Perhaps worse than the look of the ship are its capabilities. Warp 5 is just about right as the top speed for a ship of this period. But at this top speed, it should take Enterprise an average of eleven to fifteen days to get from one solar system to the next one over, and much longer to cross any significant distance. This could be accommodated by giving up on the 'one season = one year' concept which has been common to all Trek series since TNG. It would be relatively simple - have characters occasionally mention that weeks or months have passed between episodes, keeping track of when each episode is placed in the timeline so that references to visiting a planet "last year" were kept correct. The creators of Enterprise couldn't be bothered to pay this level of attention to detail of course, so the end result is that the Enterprise gets from place to place in an unfeasibly short time. As early as the pilot episode the ship reached Kronos in only four days, putting the Klingon home world only about one light year from Earth - the nearest star is over four light years away, and even this is far too close for the Klingon home world.

The ship's armament is also problematic. In the original series pilot episode "The Cage", the crew used hand weapons expressly described as lasers. It is not known if the ship's weapons at the time were lasers, although this seems likely. A few years later Starfleet changed over to phaser weapons for the regular series. In TNG's "A Matter of Time", Worf stated that there were no phasers in the 22nd century. Yet Enterprise has three 500 GigaJoule "phase cannon", and her crew carry "phase pistols". So now we are forced to believe that Starfleet gave up on these weapons and switched back to primitive lasers, then switched to phasers later on?

The ship's registry is shaky as well. The Voyager episode "Hope and Fear" featured a supposedly Federation ship named the USS Dauntless, NX-01-A. Although this ship turned out to be an alien fake, Janeway and her crew accepted the name and registry without any comment. Thus it stands that the original NX-01 was the USS Dauntless, not the USS Enterprise. Perhaps the numbering systems in use before the Federation was created were different, perhaps the NX/NCC system comes into use when the Federation is founded (which should be several years after Enterprise finishes). But if the creators wanted to use a different system, why then do they make it look identical to the existing one?

Some fans will say that only the few obsessives like me are concerned about such things, and to an extent they are right. But what on Earth is the point of doing a "retro" series and promising the fans that we will see the exciting early days of star travel, only to then turn around and do everything exactly the same as you have been doing it all along?

I could think up fictional reasons to explain most of these problems and indeed some are covered elsewhere - most especially the speed issue, which is nothing new to Trek and is covered extensively in my "Warp Speed Anomalies" article. But quite frankly I can't be bothered. When I feel that people who care about the show they are making have made a genuine mistake because they are working under tremendous time and money pressures, I'll jump through hoops to try and explain things and have fun doing so. But when I feel that mistakes are being made because those in charge just couldn't care less about this aspect of their product and are largely contemptuous of those in their audience who do care, I see no reason to try and do their job for them.

Anyway, the basics of the NX class (and it is NX class, not Enterprise class) are as follows : she can do warp 5, but can only hold this for a matter of minutes; warp 4.5 - 4.7 is more comfortable for long term cruising. She carries three phase cannon which are rated at 500 Gigajoules, though they find a way to increase this tenfold in "Silent Enemy". They also have four forward facing and at least one aft facing torpedo tubes; the latter is seen in "Fight or Flight" and is located in the pod thing between the nacelles. The ship's hangar deck can hold four craft which enter through one of four separate hatches in the hull on the end of a docking arm. The ship normally carries only two shuttlepods. It has no shields, but the hull has "polarised armour", whatever that might be.

The refit version of the ship was fielded in "The Expanse". As far as we know, the basic design remained the same and the ship's top speed was not increased - though I have speculated that her ability to hold warp 5 was extended somewhat. We do know that she is fitted with photonic torpedoes because Reed describes them, and we know that her hull armour is enhanced because the Klingons say so when they attack. I presumed that the torpedo stowage would be increased by converting some lab or cargo space. Whether the ship recieved extra phase cannon is uncertain - we definitely see phase cannon firing from various points around the ship in which she is not supposed to have cannon but this is not a new thing for the NX, it happened several times since they were first installed in Silent Enemy. You may want to chalk this up to a simple FX inconsistency, but I thought it was fairly likely that they would install a few extra cannon since they don't seem to be all that big or hard to build and put in.

© Graham & Ian Kennedy Page views : 156,193 Last updated : 30 Mar 2013