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The Star Trek series has many different classes of star ships featured in the shows and movies. Some examples include: Constitution-class, Galaxy-class, Excelsior-class, Intrepid-class, Defiant-class and Sovereign-class. But never have I seen or heard reference to any Enterprise-class ships.

Starfleet ship classes are usually named after the first prototype vessel of that class made; i.e. the first Galaxy-class vessel would have been named the USS Galaxy. And as prototype vessels usually have NX- designations that leads me to believe that the class of ships seen in the show Enterprise would be of an Enterprise-class, if the design was ever put into production. But as far I am aware that never happened in canon and the NX-01 Enterprise was referred to as a NX-class ship on the show.

To sum up then, has Starfleet ever had an Enterprise class of star ship?

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    "Lead ship" is the naval term for "first prototype vessel of that class". – bishop Jun 17 '16 at 0:49
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    Perhaps there will be a Kirk-class starship. – Paul Johnson Jun 17 '16 at 6:55
  • As a nitpick, the class is named after the ship, not the other way around. – Marshall Tigerus Jun 17 '16 at 18:44
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    @bishop That would be for most navies, the Royal Navy mostly follows this, but there are some discrepancies in a few classes. The HMS Invincible was the last (third) of her class to be laid down, second to be launched, and last to be commissioned. – SMS von der Tann Jun 17 '16 at 20:56
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No, not in canon.

In canon, there has never been an Enterprise-class starship in Starfleet.

But a lesser-known fact is that the decision for the Enterprises NCC-1701 and NCC-1701-A to be "Constitution class" was not made until 1987. Before that time, no class designation was given in dialogue in TOS or the films before that year. Prior to 1987, both "Starship class" and "Enterprise class" were used informally amongst Star Trek creative personnel to describe the original Enterprise, and "Starship class" appears on the bridge dedication plaque on the NCC-1701. ("Enterprise class" was specifically floated by Andrew Probert for the refit Enterprise in The Motion Picture, but this idea was dropped.)

Also, in the original script for The Wrath of Khan, the Reliant was described as "Enterprise class", and indeed the ship was intended to be a copy of the Enterprise. However, it was decided at the design stage to fundamentally change the shape of the Reliant in order to better distinguish the two ships in battle. Later, the Reliant was retconned as "Miranda class".

For a history of the complicated evolution of "Constitution class" from "Enterprise class", with reliable citations and direct quotes by Enterprise designer Andrew Probert, see here.

  • Constitution-class goes back as far as 1966. Memory Alpha: memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Constitution_class#footnote_1 . It also appeared in the 1975 Star Fleet Technical Manual. – Spencer Jun 16 '16 at 23:28
  • @Spencer : But the term "Consitution class" in 1966 was not necessarily describing the Enterprise. Roddenberry and Probert themselves did not use the term, preferring "Starship class". – Praxis Jun 17 '16 at 1:16
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    In context, the 1966 "Space Seed" reference pretty clearly puts Enterprise in the Constitution class: Khan - "I would be most interested in studying the tech manual on your vessel..." Kirk - "They are available on your viewing screen there." Khan needed to know about Enterprise in particular and wouldn't have any reason to study other Federation ship classes at that time. (Probert wasn't involved in TOS, by the way; he came on for Phase II and TMP.) – Russell Borogove Jun 17 '16 at 4:41
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    Nevertheless, it's incorrect to say that the term didn't appear until 1987. And before we start counting angels dancing on pins, I'm signing off. – Spencer Jun 17 '16 at 11:22
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    @Spencer: I agree, but just to be clear, that's not what I wrote. What I said was: "But a lesser-known fact is that the decision for the Enterprises NCC-1701 and NCC-1701-A to be "Constitution class" was not made until 1987. Before that time, no class designation was given in dialogue in TOS or the films before that year." – Praxis Jun 17 '16 at 12:45
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Yes (at least in the EU).

The James Blish novelisation of TOS: Charlie X includes the following passage:

For a moment, the screen showed nothing but a scan of stars, fading into faint nebulosity in the background. Then, suddenly, the strange ship was there. Superficially, it looked much like an Enterprise-class starship; a domed disc, seemingly coming at the screen nearly edge-on- though of course it was actually approaching the satellite, not the Enterprise. Its size, however, was impossible to guess without a distance estimate.

“Full magnification, Lieutenant Uhura.”

Obviously this conflicts with later (TV) canon that indicates that the ship is 'Constitution-Class', but at the time there was no reason to assume this was not correct.


Similarly, the Star Trek RPG (FASA Ship Recognition Manual) makes extensive reference to an "Enterprise Class". This was, however corrected in later versions when the main canon conflicted with their interpretation.

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  • Also this and this, unless you already covered one of those in your answer. – Molag Bal Jun 16 '16 at 20:07
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    @amaranth - I'm on it, like a bonnet – Valorum Jun 16 '16 at 20:21
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Yes, in the Mark IV bridge simulator

No Enterprise-class ships were built in canon (see the list of starship classes at Memory Alpha), but according to the script of The Wrath of Khan, the Mark IV bridge simulator used at Starfleet Academy simulated an Enterprise-class starship. The simulator was apparently programed to simulate a fictitious ship that was very similar to a Constitution-class starship.

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    Just to be accurate: it was never referred to on-screen as "Enterprise class", only in the script notes. – Praxis Jun 16 '16 at 20:34
  • @Praxis Did they ever indicate the class of the ship on-screen? Because if not, I think it's fair to go with the script. The ship in the simulator doesn't have to be real. – Molag Bal Jun 16 '16 at 20:38
  • It's definitely fair, and I'm glad you restored your answer. I just thought it would be good to indicate where exactly the reference to the class is (which you've done). :-) – Praxis Jun 16 '16 at 20:41
  • @Praxis Well, my answer was kind of nonsense before. I should probably edit in some sort of credit to you for the script reference, since I only found it after reading your answer. – Molag Bal Jun 16 '16 at 20:42
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    Nah, it's all good. Let's just all rejoice in the multitude of Trek info we're collecting. :-) – Praxis Jun 16 '16 at 20:43

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