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Canon Facts Backstage Info  Speculation
Stealth warship
Unit Run
Unknown, but thought to have peaked at 250 in service in 2274.
2266 - 2275
Length : 192 m
Beam : 180 m 
Height : 51 m
Decks : 7
200,000 tons
1 x Heavy plasma launcher, total output 1,000,000 TeraJoules per discharge (three discharges per minute maximum)
Defence Systems
Shield system, total capacity 27,000 TeraJoules
Single hulled construction
Warp Speeds
(Cochrane Scale)
Normal Cruise : Warp Factor 4 
Maximum Cruise : Warp Factor 5 
Maximum Rated : Warp Factor 5.5
Strength Indices
(Galaxy class = 1,000)
Beam Firepower : 0 
Torpedo Firepower : 500 
Weapon Range and Accuracy : 150 
Shield Strength : 5 
Hull Armour : 1 
Speed : 87 
Combat Manoeuvrability : 50
Overall Strength Index
Expected Hull Life
30 years
Refit Cycle
Minor : 1 year 
Standard : 2 years 
Major : 5 years

Notes : One of the most interesting designs of the 2260's, this vessel was designed to combine a very high level of firepower with stealth, small size and manoeuvrability. Unfortunately for the Romulans, this came at the cost of very low speed and limited range.

The Bird of Prey was the first vessel in standard military service to incorporate cloaking technology. A force field selectively bends light - and sensor signals - around the ship, while a series of measures were taken to reduce the emissions from internal systems to an absolute minimum. The power required to maintain the cloaking device was enormous, and the Romulan vessel was unable to raise shields or fire whilst using this system. This difficulty was not helped by the fact that the ship had only simple impulse style fusion generators to power her. While these were of a very high output, they were no match for the matter/antimatter system of contemporary Federation designs.

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 several squadrons of D-7 heavy cruisers, and these rapidly became the core of the Romulan fleet.

Last updated : 15th February 1999.
This page is Copyright Graham Kennedy 1998.

Star Trek et al is Copyright Paramount Pictures 1996/97.
No Copyright  infringement is intended and this page is for personal use only.
All  of the above classes of star ships and all of the
named ships are copyright Paramount 1996/97.