|Universe :||Prime Timeline|
|Class Name :||Romulan Bird of Prey|
|Type :||Stealth warship |
|Unit Run :||Unknown, but thought to have peaked at 250 in service in 2274. 250 built in total. 53 have been lost in all. 197 have been retired from service.|
|Commissioned :||2266 - 2275, remained in service until 2305|
|Dimensions :||Length : 192 m 
Beam : 180 m
Height : 51 m 
Decks : 5
|Mass :||200,000 metric tons|
|Armament :||No beam weapons1 x Heavy Plasma launcher  Equivalent to 20 S2 photon torpedo tube|
|Defence Systems :|| shield system, total capacity 40,500 TeraJoules
Light Monotanium Single hull.
Low level Structural Integrity Field
(TOS scale) :
|Normal Cruise : 3.5
Maximum Cruise : 3.6
Maximum Rated : 4 for 2 hours.
|Strength Indices :
(Galaxy class = 1,000)
|Beam Firepower : -
Torpedo Firepower : 1,250
Weapon Range and Accuracy : 50
Shield Strength : 15
Hull Armour : 0.31
Speed : 33
Combat Manoeuvrability : 7,510
|Overall Strength Index :||371|
|Diplomatic Capability :||None|
|Expected Hull Life :||30|
|Refit Cycle :||Minor : 1 year
Standard : 1 years
Major : 5 years
To provide sufficient firepower to destroy heavily shielded vessels and installations, the bird of prey was equipped with a plasma torpedo system.  This vented the entire output of the ships EPS system into an enclosing force field (see weaponry section for details), creating a large and highly destructive energy bolt.
In 2266 the Romulans sent the first of their new ships across the neutral zone in order to test out the Federations technological and psychological preparedness for open warfare. The vessel was successful in destroying several of the Federation outposts along the zone before being engaged by the USS Enterprise. A game of cat-and-mouse ensued as the two ships attempted to destroy each other repeatedly. the Romulan cloaking device proved only partially successful; the Enterprise was unable to gain a solid targeting lock, but was able to gain sporadic position information sufficient to follow the Romulan ship. Several other weaknesses in the Romulan design surfaced; use of the cloaking device for long periods drained most of the ships fuel reserves, while the plasma torpedo itself did not perform well even against an Enterprise suffering from several important malfunctions. Performance of this weapon against a fully functional Starship would subsequently be seen to be questionable at best.
Ultimately the Enterprise was able to cripple the Romulan vessel, whose' captain self-destructed the ship rather than be captured.  The Romulans were convinced that they could not compete with the Federation technologically, despite having fielded a somewhat innovative design. Instead they turned to the Klingon Empire for assistance. In return for cloaking technology the Klingons agreed to supply D-7 heavy cruisers,  and these rapidly became the core of the Romulan fleet.
|Canon source||Backstage source||Novel source||DITL speculation|
|1||TOS||1||Balance of Terror|
|2||Star Trek Encyclopedia||Calculated from the scale diagram on page 581, compared to the Vor'Cha class.|
|3||DVD introductory sequence|
|4||TOS||3||The Enterprise Incident|
|Series :||TOS Season 1 (Disc 4)|
|Episode :||Balance of Terror|
|Book :||Star Trek Encyclopedia|
|Comment :||Calculated from the scale diagram on page 581, compared to the Vor'Cha class.|
|Source :||DVD introductory sequence|
|Series :||TOS Season 3 (Disc 1)|
|Episode :||The Enterprise Incident|
So what does "simple impulse power" mean? Well, in the federation Warp drives are Matter/Antimatter powered, while Impulse is Fusion-driven. My guess, then, is that "simple impulse power" means "fusion power". So I think that the Romulans DID have warp drive, as early as their war with the Humans - a war that would have lasted about ten seconds flat if one side had warp and the other didn't. But Romulan warp drive was fusion powered, and hence a good deal slower or shorter ranged than Federation designs.
Later the Romulans traded with the Klingons to get some D-7's, introducing Matter/Antimatter power to the Romulan fleet and apparently giving the Klingons cloaking technology in return. And of course, eventually M/AM technology was replaced by Quantum Singularity power, at least for the D'Deridex class Warbird.
The description of how the plasma weapon works is my own, intended to explain the details of how this weapon seemed to perform on screen.
|© Graham & Ian Kennedy||Page views : 58,536||Last updated : 31 Jul 2004|