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The threat of a starship being boarded and captured by enemy forces appears often in Star Trek franchise. On some occasions, such an operation is successful and the enemy gains the control over the starship. Such a starship is of great value for the enemy's intelligence services and would most likely be disassembled and studied by them. However, in situations when the ship's design is already known, or several ships of the same class are captured, there is no need to disassemble every one of them. Such ships can be manned by the enemy and be incorporated in the enemy's fleet.

There have been episodes in which a captured enemy ship is used for covert operations, however these ships do not last for long (like the Dominion's ship used by Starfleet).

Conditions I would like to exclude:

  1. A captured ship used by an individual and not in actual control of enemy's fleet (like Dukat's Bird-of-Prey).
  2. A captured ship used in one major operation and not used continuously by the enemy due to its destruction / becoming disabled / not being shown ever again (like Jem'Hadar fighter captured by Starfleet).

Have we ever seen a captured ship incorporated permanently in the enemy's fleet?

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    It strikes me that a captured ship would be a millstone. Constantly breaking down, hard to maintain, permanently lacking dedicated drydock facilities, in desperate need of hard-to-get spares and hated by the crews. Over time it would simply break as soon as a unique part was unavailable and you'd have to refit it to take your own systems, like O'Brien spent months/years trying to get DS9 to work properly.
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 9, 2018 at 12:33
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    You mean, like Deep Space 9? :) Commented Nov 9, 2018 at 12:34
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    I was also thinking of the Iraqi experience in Gulf I. They left entire batallions of tanks on the battlefield for the want of $1 parts that could have been easily sourced if they hadn't been under embargo.
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 9, 2018 at 12:35
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    And I was thinking about Earth "sea ships" being boarded and captured by enemy forces, repainted / given a new name and flag, and then used to attack the enemy and their former-sister ships. I AM aware that wooden ships were much simpler and more compatible than starships :) Still, I would like to see Starfleet facing a Galaxy-class starship repainted and manned by Klingons/Romulans, just because they failed to destroy it before it was captured. Commented Nov 9, 2018 at 12:43
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    The more complex a ship or vessel, the more requirement there is to have specialist single-usage parts. My car, for example, can't function without its computer module and those modules are only available from the manufacturer. In a few decades, those parts will be obsolete and the car will be too, even though it might remain in mint condition otherwise. And all for want of a $5 module.
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 9, 2018 at 12:47

5 Answers 5

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The Kazon fleet comprises entirely of vessels taken from their former enslavers, the Trabe

NEELIX: They're Trabe vessels, actually. Everything the Kazon have, they stole from the Trabe. Mabus will tell you all about it over a sumptuous dinner. The food hasn't been very good where we've been.

enter image description here

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  • Interesting find! Although I find it hardly surprising that revolutionaries permanently incorporate the military equipment left behind by the recently overthrown government. ;-) Which makes sense because the new government has access to the same supporting resources (both experience/documentation and maintenance tools) – especially considering your highly praised comment underneath the question. Commented Nov 10, 2018 at 16:08
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While Terok Nor isn't technically a ship, it is capable of moving around inside the Bajor system under its own steam. It's renamed Deep Space Nine and is used extensively by the Federation and Bajorans.

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    Well, it isn't a ship, as you mentioned, but I haven't thought of that at all. Nice one! Commented Nov 9, 2018 at 12:25
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    If nothing else, it shows that the Federation aren't averse to using non-standard stations (and possibly ships) when the need arises. Much the same is true in TNG: Encounter at Farpoint where they plan to use a pre-built ground station.
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 9, 2018 at 12:26
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    I have to downvote because DS9, as you pointed, isn't a ship, but also it's legally a Bajoran station not a StarFleet one, it moved only once through the show and nearly tore itself apart in the process, and I'm not convinced about the bunch of Bajoran's sublight raiders/fighters being called a 'fleet'. And, as far as I know, the Bajorans didn't board and capture Terok Nor, more like the Cardassians abandoned it when the retreated from the Bajoran system and the Bajorans moved in afterwards.
    – Sava
    Commented Nov 9, 2018 at 12:39
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    @Sava - It is, however, incorporated into the Bajoran fleet. It was also (on at least one occasion) captured and used by the Dominion, then re-captured by the Federation.
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 9, 2018 at 12:39
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    @Sava - They have sufficient ships to form a (relatively in)effective blockade; memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Bajoran_interceptor
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 9, 2018 at 12:45
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U.S.S. Defiant, NCC-1764, Constitution class cruiser.

Originally built by:

United Federation of Planets

Captured by:

The Tholian Assembly in TOS S3E09 "The Tholian Web"

Captured by, and incorporated into the fleet of:

The Terran Empire (Mirror Universe) in ENT S4E18 & S4E19 "In a Mirror, Darkly"

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There is another example of this that seems to have been missed.

Gul Dukat captures a Klingon Bird-of-Prey (DS9:Return to Grace and incorporates it into the joint cardassian/dominion fleet. (DS9: In Purgatory's Shadow & By Inferno's Light

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Although it didn't last too long, the Nyrians captured Voyager in Displaced. After all the Voyager crew were replaced, their leader stated "Your vessel will be used to defend Nyrian acquisitions."

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    The question ask for ship that are 'permanently' added to the fleet, not temporarily.
    – Sava
    Commented Nov 12, 2018 at 18:22
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    @Sava - Sure, but the aim seems to have been to include it in their fleet
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 12, 2018 at 18:28
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    @Sava True, I did overlook that. Commented Nov 12, 2018 at 18:31

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