Escorts provide a wide range of support capabilities to front line combat vessels and large convoys found throughout travel lanes. Unlike Destroyers, which use passive sensors to detect enemy forces, Escorts use active sensors, scanning with dozens of different systems. Built for delaying actions, Escorts are used primarily to delay and harass enemy forces, giving freighters time to escape and other combat vessels time to arrive on scene. Escorts also act as scouts and rescue vessels for convoys and other large forces. Nearly all escorts traverse from one point to the next, often on standard patrol routs and freight runs. Most escorts have surprisingly comfortable crew amenities, owing to their lengthy patrols. Many convoy runs take two to three times as long as a standard cruise, due to the slower speed of fully laden cargo vessels. None the less, they can move at surprising speed when necessary. Escorts are also designed to be very easy to construct and maintain, being able to be produced in vast numbers. Most Escorts are armed for short to medium range combat, owing to their greater chance of encountering light, fast pirate vessels. None the less, Escorts are armed heavily enough to engage enemy destroyers and light to medium cruisers with a high degree of success.


Destroyer-Escorts are specifically designed to escort convoys and other large groups of ships traveling at low to medium warp. Destroyer-Escorts use significantly more sensitive and varied sensor equipment, often allowing them to act as primary back-up vessels for scientific expeditions near hostile boarders. Destroyer-Escorts also support large marine and rescue contingents, as well as large medical bays. Destroyer-Escorts do not have the Command and Control systems associated with other escort vessels, but do have larger support craft contingents, often having more shuttles and pilots. Although rarely needed during their standard patrols, these extended abilities give Destroyer-Escorts a unique niche.


Another of the unusual support vessels, Convoy Tenders are highly specialized, and are only used to escort the most sensitive of cargo vessels. Convoy Tenders, unlike standard tenders and repair craft, are designed to quickly restore power, life support and even fighting capability of other vessels, even while under attack. Convoy Tenders have large engineering crews, as well as a surprisingly large contingent of combat fighters and specially designed shuttles. Convoy Tenders use several specialized systems to allow themselves to transfer power directly to other vessels through their shields, transfer personnel rapidly to damaged areas of a vessel, and even to transfer specialized materials, like hull plating and coolant directly to a crippled ship. Because of their mission, Convoy Tenders are often well protected, with one or more vessels assigned directly to them for protection. Many of a Convoy Tenders specialized systems do make them vulnerable, especially when forced to remain stationary to conduct transfers. None the less, their ability to quickly engineer stop gap measures to restore power or propulsion to crippled ships make them a valuable tool. Many Convoy Tenders are armed and have surprisingly strong shields for vessels their size. They are often slow and somewhat unmaneuverable, though


Like standard Escorts, Escort-Corvette’s are designed to engage pirate raiders who attack convoys. Escort-Corvettes are significantly smaller than Escorts, and do not have the extensive sensor systems found on other Escort class vessels. Most operate in large groups, allowing one or more ships to pursue raiders, while others escort-corvettes continue on with a convoy. Escort Corvettes are often found operating with Escort-Cruisers, which act as unit command ships for Escort-Corvette squadrons. Escort-Corvettes are easier to build and maintain than most other vessels. Most Escort-Corvettes have very limited range, built to escort standard convoy routes. Most Escort-Corvettes replace science systems with emergency transporters and holding cells. Most Escort-Corvettes engage Orion and Ferengi pirate forces, found through-out the Federation. Escort-Corvettes never operate alone and are rarely used in large scale combat situations.


Escort-Cruisers are larger escort vessels, which act as command ships for larger convoys. Most Escort Cruisers are designed to have all the capabilities of a full cruiser with the added benefit an Escorts active sensor suite. Escort-Cruiser also have a standard compliment of troops, used to secure damaged or disabled vessels. Extensive rescue systems and extra transporters are also installed, along with larger shuttle bays and extra cargo holds, used for specialized cargo in case of emergency. Unlike Command Cruisers, Escort-Cruisers have a large repair section and extra replicators. Escort-Cruisers can also conduct two or more back-to-back cruises, owing to their larger crew compliment and more extensive cargo facilities. Escort-Cruisers also have an extensive civilian law facilities, including court reporter, judge-advocate, and securities & exchange facilities, maintained by both Star Fleet and Federation personnel. This often means that Escort-Cruisers are called upon to act as mediation facilities for minor altercations and disagreements. Despite these unusual capabilities, Escort-Cruisers are very well armed, having more firepower that most Destroyers and Frigates. Escort-Cruisers are so mission specific that only a few designs are currently in use.


A uniquely Romulan designation, the Escort Freighter is more an escort vessel than a true freight carrying ship. Escort-Freighters are designed for moderate cargo runs with a light but valuable cargo load. Unlike traditional freighters, Escort Freighters are highly maneuverable, even when loaded, and are well shielded to prevent loss of cargo and crew. Escort-Freighters are also well armed with large numbers of short to medium range weapons, and often torpedoes or other high firepower systems that help to defend both them selves and others that are in convoy with the Escort-Freighters. Most Escort Freighters have extensive transfer systems that allow them to operate with tenders and support vessels while maintaining a powerful combat presence. Escort-Freighters, often destroyer or cruiser sized, do not have the amenities associated with these classes of vessels, using the internal space for cargo and transfer systems. Escort Freighters also have large, often luxurious accommodation for VIP’s and other crew members that may be accompanying cargoes. Escort Freighters also have special on-board systems for unique cargoes, including special environmental systems, shielding and radiation suppression systems. These expensive but useful sub-systems allow Escort-Freighters to transport hazardous materials when necessary, without the need for large escort groups. Escort-Freighters are built and maintained primarily by larger governments and some very profitable private companies. Although able to transport moderately size cargoes, Escort-Freighters require destroyer sized crews to operate effectively, and are ineffective as a profit making tool for private owners and even most large companies. None the less, several independent operators field vessels of this size and classification. The Romulans are also believed to be marketing several vessels of this class.


A very rare breed of starship, Escort-Tugs are built to tow damaged or disabled vessels within convoys. Escort-Tugs are always stationed at a large Star Base or other planet with a high degree of traffic. Unlike other rescue vessels, Escort-Tugs are more heavily armed, and have a surprising amount of specialized equipment onboard as part of their missions. Most have physical grappling systems, should tractor beams prove useless. Larger cargo bays, mass transporters, and huge landing bays are also features of these unusual vessels. Escort-Tugs also have some of the most powerful engines of the escort class of vessels, owing to their power needs. But all the unique systems come at a great cost. Escort-Tugs are extremely cramped, even more so than light Corvettes. Escort-Tugs have no lab facilities, not troops, no emergency repair capability and few crew amenities. Although powerful, they are often unmaneuverable and easy targets for opposing vessels. Although moderately armed, few have torpedoes and most have lighter shield in comparison to other vessels of the same class, allowing for the larger engineering spaces needed. Escort-Tugs are often mistaken for Rescue-Tugs, but do not have the inter-ship computer connection, rescue shuttles or large sick bay found on other rescue vessels.


are considered part of the overall Escort classification, but are know for their larger size and focused combat capabilities. The term skiff refers to the most simplified and primitive of the combat capable ships. Most skiffs are short range vessels, requiring a support command vessel for extended patrols or combat operations. Skiffs use the most inexpensive systems, often equipped with only the most basic of navigational sub-systems, crew accommodations and computer capability. Skiffs, and their associated sub-class – Battle Skiff, are most associated with the Klingon Empire, who maintain several unique designs in their inventory. Skiff have very limited computer capability, requiring other vessels to link to database networks. Skiffs also rare have extensive repair capability or medical facilities. Skiffs are described most often as “an engine and a gun”, referring to their extremely simplistic nature. Despite their simple design, skiffs require very few crew members and can be built in surprising numbers very quickly. Skiffs are also well know for their extensive weapons capability, often equaling vessels twice their size. Skiffs are usually used to overwhelm a single enemy target or protect military cargos on established cargo runs, where crew and vessels can be rescued if necessary.


Special Service Vessels, more commonly referred to by their Terran designation of Q-Ships, are used as anti-commerce raider/anti-piracy vessels. The quintessential ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’, Q-Ships are standard freighters/transports that have been modified to carry medium to heavy weapons and are often re-fitted with more powerful engines to provide for the increased heavier weapons suites. Many are structurally reinforced to enhance their combat survivability, and most examples of this vessel type, weapons are mounted in such a way as to conceal them from casual scans and even physical view. This helps to maintain the appearance of a standard commercial version upon which the ship is based. Special Service Vessel operations are considered hazardous, yet successful. Most pirate and commerce raiding vessels prey upon lone commercial vessels and lightly or undefended convoys. Special Service Vessels poses as a standard trading vessel hoping to lure in such hostiles. Once hostile vessels commit to the attacking, the Q-Ship unveils it’s weapons and turns the tables on the attacker. In many cases, the knowledge that Q-Ships have been deployed in an area experiencing pirate or commerce raider attacks is enough to cause significant reduction in pirate activity. Special Service Vessels still retain some cargo-carrying capacity. They normally can carry approximately 50% of their normal cargo load and are used as armed freighters for small, when not engaged in their primary mission. Q-Ships are normally considered Auxiliaries of the space navies in which they are registered. As such, they are considered military vessels and are operated by qualified military crews. Special Service Vessels are significantly more expensive to build and maintain than other escort vessels. Due to their highly specialized weapon systems and other onboard equipment, refit times for many Q-Ships are extensive

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