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"Whoever designed this baby knew what they were doing."

A Jem'Hadar fighter, or Jem'Hadar attack ship, was a small type of warship that formed the bulk of the Dominion fleet. These versatile starships were also known to perform the roles of patrol ships and scout ships.

Technical data[]


Jem'Hadar fighter overhead display

Overhead view

Jem'Hadar fighters were vaguely insectoid shaped, looking much like a Terran scarab in design.

Extremely sturdy, these warships were capable of surviving the impact onto a planet's surface. (DS9: "The Ship") As well, Jem'Hadar fighters were able to land intact on a planet and take off again. (DS9: "The Jem'Hadar", "Hippocratic Oath") Once landed, the Jem'Hadar could land troops from the warship from a large access hatch on the belly of the ship. (DS9: "The Ship") While capable of making planetary descents, they were not capable of conducting battle maneuvers while in sub-orbital flight. (DS9: "Starship Down", "Penumbra")

Although highly maneuverable, they lacked the edge in maneuverability that Starfleet's Danube-class runabouts possessed. Despite this, they still heavily outgunned the smaller Federation vessels. (DS9: "The Jem'Hadar", "Valiant") They were equipped with ventral jets. (DS9: "The Ship") Jem'Hadar fighters generated a 39 Cochrane warp field and were capable of achieving the speed of warp 7. (DS9: "A Time to Stand")

According to the Star Trek: Starship Spotter, the Jem'Hadar fighters featured ion propulsion units as their warp nacelles. According to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Technical Manual (p. 170), fighters could achieve a maximum speed of warp 9.6, powered by a M/A warp system and one impulse system.

Jem'Hadar fighter

Dorsal view, damaged

Early engagements resulted in disastrous outcomes for the Starfleet vessels that engaged them, due to the fact that the shields of Federation starships were initially incapable of deflecting the phased polaron beams employed by the fighters as weapons. However, the Federation overcame this handicap fairly quickly, after which Jem'Hadar fighters became relatively easy for a large starship to destroy. A few solid phaser or photon torpedo hits were enough to cripple or destroy one, therefore, they usually operated in groups of two or three during routine operations, and in much larger swarms in large battles so that the loss of one or two would not make much difference. (DS9: "The Jem'Hadar", et al.)

Tactical systems[]

The Jem'Hadar fighter was equipped with a formidable array of directed energy weapons, including disruptors. (DS9: "The Dogs of War")

The squadron that was initially encountered by the USS Odyssey, which fired single pulse-like energy projectiles, were said to be "using some kind of phased polaron beam" which were, for a time, capable of penetrating Federation shields. (DS9: "The Jem'Hadar", "Call to Arms") These ships were capable of firing these "beams" both forward and aft. Ships later encountered by the USS Defiant had a primary beam emitters located in the forward section of the ship, which had a range that exceeded 100,000 kilometers. (DS9: "The Search, Part I")

The weapons fired in "The Jem'Hadar", described as "phased polaron beams", were very non-beam-like blueish pulses that could be fired in rapid succession. In subsequent appearances, they were more traditional blueish energy beams, but the exact type were not specified, nor indicated to be anything different than first encountered.

In addition to directed energy weapons, these ships were also armed with torpedoes manufactured by the Karemma. (DS9: "Starship Down", "Sons and Daughters")

Armaments aboard some attack ships assigned to, or built in, the Alpha Quadrant also carried disruptor weapons. (DS9: "The Dogs of War") In addition, during the waning days of the Dominion War in late 2375, Jem'Hadar fighters were retrofitted with Breen energy dissipater following the Breen alliance with the Dominion. However, this came too late in the war to have an effective impact; shortly after the refits began, the Cardassian Rebellion successfully obtained an attack ship with the weapon and delivered it to Starfleet. (DS9: "When It Rains...", "Tacking Into the Wind")

Battle tactics[]

Vor'cha class destroyed

Result of suicide run made on Klingon attack cruiser

Outside of conventional weapon use, these ships were also used in performing suicide runs on enemy vessels, which allowed them to inflict more damage than their weapons alone could perform. (DS9: "The Jem'Hadar", "Tears of the Prophets", "What You Leave Behind")

When this tactic was used against the USS Odyssey in 2370, Commander Benjamin Sisko explained that it was the Jem'Hadar's way of "showing us how far they're willing to go." (DS9: "The Jem'Hadar")

The Jem'Hadar also used the tactic against the Federation Alliance invasion fleet during the first Battle of Chin'toka, resulting in the crippling or destruction of fifteen Klingon starships. Garak described the tactic as a means of "inflicting considerable damage on the Klingons," to which Worf added, "and buying time to get their weapon platforms operational." (DS9: "Tears of the Prophets")

Other systems[]

This class of vessel possessed transporter technology that was capable of transporting through Federation shields. The deflector technology that was employed by these fighters was impervious to tractor beam locks. This form of deflector technology was unknown to Federation science as of late 2370. (DS9: "The Jem'Hadar") The shields of a Jem'Hadar fighter were weakest at the ships' dorsal field junction. (DS9: "Treachery, Faith and the Great River")

In addition, cloaking technology would not reliably hide a vessel from a Jem'Hadar fighter's sensors because they used a form of antiproton beam. (DS9: "The Search, Part I", "Defiant", "The Die is Cast") This technology was later advanced to include a form of long-range tachyon scanner, which was capable of penetrating a starship's cloak from a great distance. (DS9: "Once More Unto the Breach")

Interior design[]

Such fighters were typically commanded by a Vorta field supervisor and a Jem'Hadar First. The bridge had no chairs and only two head-mounted virtual sensory displays instead of a viewscreen. Three side doors and two floor hatches led from the bridge to other parts of the ship. In place of the captain's chair was a central position with several access points to various system controls. Adjacent to this position were several stations pointed inward, facing towards the command position. (DS9: "The Ship")

Jem'Hadar fighters lacked numerous amenities that were otherwise taken for granted on Federation starships, including an infirmary and food replicators. (DS9: "A Time to Stand")

For the episode "The Ship", the script described the bridge as follows: "the Command Center of the ship and its configuration is unlike anything we've seen before. There is no viewscreen. No chairs. No creature comforts of any kind. Instead of the usual Captain's Chair, there is a central "position" with several sophisticated gadgets protruding from the floor and ceiling. The other "positions," or stations, are all pointed inward – toward the central position – in such a way that anybody manning those stations would face the central position. There are three side doors and two floor hatches leading to other parts of the ship."

This aforementioned Command Center built as a set on Paramount Stage 17, whereas a corridor imagined as being aboard the vessel was actually a set on Paramount Stage 18.

Ships commissioned[]



Background information[]

Studio model[]

Jem'Hadar fighter, concept art

Early Jim Martin concept art

Jem'Hadar fighter studio model

Jem'Hadar fighter physical studio model

The Jem'Hadar fighter was designed by Jim Martin, whose scarab-shaped design was based on Rick Sternbach's Egyptian influences. Two studio models were built at Tony Meininger's Brazil-Fabrication & Design model shop; the full scale mock-up of the ship, featured in "The Ship", being a John Eaves design.

A noticeable change in the color of the nacelle glow was made between its first appearance in "The Jem'Hadar" in DS9 Season 2 and following appearances, beginning with "The Search, Part I" in DS9 Season 3. Initially it was given a blue glow, but this was later changed to purple.

Jem'Hadar fighter debris model

Nose cone debris model.

For the visual effects heavy episode "The Die is Cast", Effects Supervisor Gary Hutzel envisioned a shot where the USS Defiant flies through the exploding debris of a Jem'Hadar fighter it had just destroyed, "I needed something that would break apart. We wanted the scene to say that Sisko is really turning it on, so we designed the shot to have the Defiant fly right through a Jem'Hadar ship." Hutzel had Tony Meininger cast a series of small sections from the molds of the studio model. A Image G Hutzel lined up the pieces with the corresponding sections of the full model, photographing them individually in a break-away motion as the Defiant "collides" with the fighter. Looking at the screen however, after post-production, You see a Jem'Hadar ship blowing up, because that's all you're supposed to see.", Hutzel continued. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 324) What Meininger essentially had constructed was a break-away model after pyrotechnics would have been done with it. One of the pieces, a nose cone section, constructed of styrene elements with applied metal grid and plastic elements, measuring 15"×10", showed up as Lot 1482 in the Profiles in History Hollywood Auction 40 of 12 June 2010, estimated at US$300-$500, where it sold for US$300.

Jem'Hadar fighter CGI model upgraded at Foundation Imaging

Foundation's upgraded CGI model.

For appearances in later seasons, a CGI model, was constructed at VisionArt Design & Animation by Carl Hooper in the "Prisms" and "Ice" software, from SideFx Software [1](X) , premiering in "Starship Down". When the episode "Sacrifice of Angels" went into pre-production, the CGI-model was turned over to Foundation Imaging for rebuilding and remapping into the LightWave 3D software. [2](X) Foundation's CGI-modeler Michael Stetson recalled on Doug Drexler's blog, "I remember rebuilding this model at Foundation Imaging specifically for the Sacrifice of Angels episode. I don't remember where exactly the original model came from, but I believe we got it as a .obj file that was a mess when it was imported into Lightwave (version 5.5ish back in '97) I had a couple of days to make it usable in Lightwave3D which involved seriously cleaning up the geometry (I think the original might have been NURBS) and redoing the texture map since LW didn't have UV mapping back then. The CG model is about 500 feet long (150m). I don't remember how that size came about but the number was passed down through official channels. It's possible there was a mix-up in units as you'll notice that 45m is about 150ft. As Doug pointed out it's pretty light geometry-wise as we needed to conserve as much memory as possible." [3](X)

The Jem'Hadar fighter model (measuring 27"×30"), known as Lot 485 was listed in the 40 Years of Star Trek: The Collection auction with an estimated sale price of US$3,000-$5,000; it sold for US$6,000 ($7,200 with premium) on October 6, 2006. An externally almost identical unused and internally unlit break-away model (slightly damaged and measuring 29×30×7 inches) was additionally offered as Lot 177 of the It's A Wrap! sale and auction selling for US$7,000 to a German collector. Several white foam core camera test models and miniatures were also sold as Lots 7506, 8336,10187, and 10336 at various It's A Wrap!-auctions.

This model design later appeared as one of many starships created as a Micro Machine. It was also one of the many models made by Furuta, and again later by Eaglemoss Collections as part of Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection.


According to a note "for future reference" found in the script of "The Jem'Hadar", "this type of Jem'Hadar ship is approximately the same size as a Klingon bird of prey," which is generally accepted as being 360 feet (110 meters) in length.

Jem'Hadar fighter buried

Ship "embedded 90 meters into the rock"

A quote taken from "The Ship", which seems to support this reference, states that the ship in question was "embedded 90 meters into the rock", while still partially exposed. If by using Benjamin Sisko's height (of approximately two meters) as a visual reference, it would appear that approximately nineteen meters of the ship remains exposed, calculating to a length of approximately 109 meters. When they ram the Birds-of-Prey in "Tears of the Prophets", they appear about the same size as the Birds-of-Prey.

Two foam core camera test models, sold by It's A Wrap!, gives further insight into the scaling used for this ship. An inscription on the models states "Jem Hadar 'Bug' 500ft [150 meters] in scale to 'Lead' Hadar". [4] [5] The same size was also stated by VFX supervisor David Stipes. [6]

Technical Manual[]

The following information of specifications and defenses comes exclusively from the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Technical Manual:

  • Production Base: Unknown; Gamma Quadrant.
  • Type: Strike Fighter.
  • Accommodation: 12 plus flight crew, and troops.
  • Power Plant: One M/A warp system; one impulse system.
  • Dimensions: Length, 68.32 meters; beam, 70.02 meters; height: 18.32 meters.
  • Mass: 2,450 metric tonnes.
  • Performance: Warp 9.6.
  • Armament: Three phased polaron beam weapons.

External link[]