USS Defiant

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USS Defiant
The USS Defiant NX-74205
First appearance Original: "The Search"
New: "The Dogs of War"
Affiliation United Federation of Planets
Launched Original: 2370
New: 2375
General characteristics
Class Defiant
Registry NX-74205 (as the First Defiant)
NCC-75633 (as the Second Defiant)
Maximum speed Warp factor 9.2 (Upgraded 2371)
Armaments Pulsed and beam phasers
Photon torpedoes
Quantum torpedoes
Defenses Deflector shields
Cloaking device
Ablative armor
Propulsion Impulse drive
Warp drive
RCS Thrusters
Length 170 metres (560 ft)
Width 134 metres (440 ft)
Height 30 metres (98 ft)

The USS Defiant (NX-74205) is a fictional starship in the television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (DS9) and the feature film Star Trek: First Contact. The lead ship of her class and one of the Federation's first purpose-built warships, the Defiant first appears in the third-season DS9 episode "The Search, Part I", after which it plays a significant role throughout the series in the ensuing Dominion War. While the original Defiant is destroyed in the show's seventh season, Starfleet sends a replacement ship of the same class, the USS Sao Paulo, which receives special dispensation from the Chief of Starfleet Operations to be renamed as the Defiant.

In the episode "Defiant", the character Gul Dukat describes the ship as "one of the most heavily armed warships in the Quadrant," while in the film Star Trek: First Contact, William Riker describes her as a "tough little ship."


The Defiant was initially designed by Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: First Contact art illustrator Jim Martin with contributions from visual effects supervisor Gary Hutzel and modelmaker Tony Meininger. The Defiant's addition to DS9 was intended to solve the problem of cramped runabout sets according to statements by Robert-Hewitt Wolfe. Original designs called for a "beefed-up" runabout-type ship, but this gave way to a full-fledged starship design, initially called Valiant. This name was dropped out of fear that it would conflict with Star Trek: Voyager and its titular starship, also beginning with a "V".[1] For a brief time it was considered to retain Valiant as the name of the class,[citation needed] but dialog in "The Search" and the ship's dedication plaque firmly establish the Defiant as the pathfinder.


The ship's backstory is outlined in its first appearance, the third-season episode "The Search". The Defiant is a prototype vessel for the Defiant-class warship, originally developed to counter the Borg threat. It is officially designated as an escort vessel to avoid giving the impression that Starfleet builds warships, as it is primarily a peacekeeping and exploration force. Following the Borg invasion, the United Federation of Planets approved a project committed to enhancing Starfleet's offensive and defensive military capabilities; the Defiant was the end result of that project. According to his statement in the episode "Defiant", Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks) was in charge of the shipyard where the Defiant was built and helped design it during his assignment to the Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards.

Although it was designed to be fast and highly maneuverable with powerful weaponry, the Defiant was 'overgunned and overpowered' for a vessel of its size. The ship's structural integrity field needed extensive modifications to keep the Defiant from tearing itself apart. The ship was designed specifically for battle, featuring innovative pulse-phaser cannons and quantum torpedo armaments, in addition to photon torpedoes, standard phasers and a high-capacity deflector shield system. Another asset is its ablative armour, enabling the ship to sustain multiple hits from enemy weapons, even with the shields inoperable, with minimal damage. Inside, the Defiant is relatively spartan by Starfleet standards of the time: the ship is not designed to carry family members, has no science labs or holodecks, and has a limited infirmary. Crew quarters consist of two bunk beds and a general computer interface.

The subsiding Borg threat and failed systems tests (particularly in regard to the ship's overpowered engines) led the development project to be stalled and the prototype to be mothballed. Following work done at Deep Space Nine, the class would later go into production with at least a half dozen other ships in service by 2374 and onward.

Television series and films

First contact with the Jem'Hadar in 2370 convinced Sisko to ask Starfleet for the Defiant so he would be better prepared for contact with the leaders of the Dominion. Starfleet agreed and the Defiant was posted at Deep Space Nine under Sisko's command. The Defiant allows the station's crew to travel faster and further with far more firepower than the station's Danube-class runabouts can provide. While there is no designated commanding officer, Sisko is most frequently seen captaining of the Defiant.

The Defiant is the first Starfleet ship to legally carry a cloaking device. Supplied by the Romulan Star Empire, the cloak is initially operated by a Romulan officer serving aboard the Defiant. An agreement between the Federation and the Romulans limits the use of the cloak to intelligence-gathering missions in the Gamma Quadrant in exchange for all of Starfleet's intelligence on the Dominion. However, on several occasions, such as the rescue of the Detapa Council (DS9: "The Way of the Warrior"), the cloaking device was used illegally in the Alpha Quadrant.

In 2373, the Defiant is part of a Starfleet task force that tries to stop the Borg in the Battle of Sector 001, as told in Star Trek: First Contact. While most of the Federation starships are destroyed early in the engagement, the Defiant manages to continue fighting the Borg Cube as it approaches Earth. However, by then she is shieldless and weaponless, so her commanding officer Lieutenant Commander Worf orders the crew to prepare for ramming speed. This kamikaze action is prevented when the Enterprise arrives and draws Borg fire away, while also beaming Worf and the other surviving crew off of the stricken Defiant. The Defiant is left severely damaged and adrift but the Enterprise's crew assure Worf that it can be salvaged. An early screenplay draft called for the Defiant to be destroyed, but Deep Space Nine executive producer Ira Steven Behr objected to the destruction of his show's ship and so the idea was dropped.[2]

In 2375, the Breen destroyed the USS Defiant during the Second Battle of Chin'toka. The battle marks the first time the Breen use their energy-damping weapon.

During the planning of the invasion of Cardassia Prime some months later, a new Defiant-class starship, the USS Sao Paulo (NCC-75633), is assigned to Deep Space Nine. The Starfleet Chief of Operations grants special dispensation to rename the ship Defiant. Although the USS Sao Paulo commissioning plaque gives a registry of "NCC-75633", in all exterior shots the new ship has the "NX-74205" registry. This is because most external shots of the new vessel were reused shots of the old one, and the new CG shots subsequently used the same registry number for consistency.

Ron Moore said in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion that the new ship was intended to be designated "Defiant-A", but it would have been too costly to redo the CG model for one episode because stock shots from earlier episodes had to be used as well for budgetary reasons. Nevertheless, Moore stated that as far as he was concerned, the change did happen.

The Sao Paulo dedication plaque used the English spelling, without the tilde, instead of São Paulo.

In the DS9 episode "Shattered Mirror", a Mirror Universe version of the Defiant is seen, constructed by the Terran Rebellion. Mirror-O'Brien had stolen the blueprints for the Defiant from Deep Space Nine's computer in a previous episode, but the Terran rebels encounter the same structural problems that the crew in the "prime universe" had encountered in early Season Three. The rebels kidnap Ben and Jake Sisko because they need Ben to repair their Defiant's design flaws. A computer readout, barely visible onscreen, gives the ship's name as the 'ISS Defiant'.

The Defiant Class ship USS Valiant NCC-74210 was used as training vessel used by Red Squad cadets. The Valiant ended up trapped in enemy territory during the Dominion War and most of the training officers were killed early on leaving the ship to be manned entirely by the cadets. (DS9: Valiant)

Spin-off works

  • The USS Defiant, Moscow, Valiant and São Paulo are selectable on the PC game Star Trek: Legacy in The Next Generation era.
  • The Defiant-class is a playable ship class in the MMORPG Star Trek Online. In the game's story, the Defiant is depicted as still being in active service at Deep Space Nine in 2409.
  • The USS Defiant-class is a purchasable expansion ship in the board game Star Trek Attack Wing.
  • A likeness of the Defiant-class is a playable ship class in the turn-based strategy game Birth of the Federation. It is referred to as an Escort-class ship, as a reference to official Starfleet records as recited by Benjamin Sisko in "The Search".
  • Defiant class ships can be built in the Star Trek Armada II and Star Trek Armada III PC Games. (Star Trek Armada III is a mod of the original game Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion by Ironclad Games).


  1. DeCandido, Keith (October 18, 2013). "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: "The Search, Part I"". Tor Books. Macmillan Publishers. Retrieved October 18, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Braga & Moore.

External links