The class was first encountered by the USS Voyager, days after their arrival in the Delta Quadrant in 2371, when one arrived to reinforce the Kazon-Ogla forces already attacking Voyager and Val Jean at the Caretaker's array. (VOY: "Caretaker")
Later that year, The Doctor experienced a holographic scenario in which two Predator-class vessels surprised Voyager with a volley of plasma torpedoes, causing a core breach and forcing the crew to abandon ship.(VOY: "Projections")
In late 2372, First Maje Culluh of the Kazon-Nistrim gathered their fleet, consisting of eight carriers to attack Voyager. Their formation was a classic Cardassian echelon. Voyager diverted four ships from the fleet with false sensor readings, leaving them to face the remaining four. They were able to destroy one of the carriers, but Teirna's suicidal sabotage severely damaged Voyager and allowed the other three carriers to overwhelm the ship. (VOY: "Basics, Part I")
The Predator class was one of the largest vessel designs encountered by the USS Voyager in the Delta Quadrant, measuring several times the length and girth of the Intrepid-class starship. (VOY: "Caretaker", "Basics, Part I", et al.)
Based on the known construction material used in other Kazon vessels, these ships were constructed of varied amounts of polyduranide alloy, duranium, magnesite, electroceramics, and carbon residue. (VOY: "Initiations")
Due to its rotund size, this class of warship was relatively clumsy at lower speeds and could be out-maneuvered by more agile craft. They could also be tracked by their ion trail. (VOY: "Initiations")
Some ships of this design, especially those owned by the Kazon-Ogla, were outfitted with Plaxan sensors, which were comparable to those used aboard Intrepid-class starships. (VOY: "Initiations") Their sensors were, nevertheless, susceptible to being fooled by echo displacement, which made them think that more ships were present than really were. (VOY: "Basics, Part I")
Tactically, it was said to be "armed to the teeth", possessing over a dozen phaser emitters distributed over its hull. These were complemented with an arsenal of plasma torpedoes, giving it greater overall firepower than an Intrepid-class starship. (VOY: "The Voyager Conspiracy", "Projections", et al.) Judging by the weaponry used on their daughter vessels, these ships also presumably carried photon torpedoes. (VOY: "Initiations")
In fact, upon observing the warship battling Voyager, during their first encounter, B'Elanna Torres, aboard the Val Jean stated that "[n]either of us has enough firepower to stop that ship." (VOY: "Caretaker") It was later determined that its shields could not withstand a sustained phaser and photon torpedo barrage from the Intrepid-class. (VOY: "Basics, Part I")
Ships of the class
In the first draft script of "Caretaker" (written at a time when the Kazon were to be called "Gazon"), this type of vessel was described as "a HUGE Gazon ship – an eight hundred pound gorilla." It was identified on screen as a "Kazon vessel".
For its second appearance of was described on the script as "a huge Kazon Raider (as seen in "Caretaker") looms ominously in the near distance." Two other references noted its size, describing it as a "gargantuan Kazon ship," and a "colossal Kazon Raider." It too was described as a "Kazon vessel" in dialogue, but also as a "Kazon raider" by Kim, which was another design altogether.
The script notes for "Basics, Part I" describe the design as "one of the mammoth carriers that is more than our match. [...] Voyager seems more maneuverable than they are..." Here they are described in the script as "carrier vessels."
According to Star Trek Encyclopedia (3rd ed., p. 383) – which actually featured an inaccurate representation of this class of vessel – the Kazon carrier vessels were one and the same as the Predator-class warships mentioned in "Projections". The image was later used on screen for a TCARS display in "Relativity". According to the script this display graphic simply depicted "Kazon warships".
The Kazon carrier vessel was a design by Dan Curry. At the time, the production team of Star Trek was spread thin as several productions were in various stages of development – Star Trek Generations, the TNG series finale "All Good Things...", the DS9 Season 2 finale "The Jem'Hadar", and the VOY series premiere "Caretaker" as well as the documentary Journey's End: The Saga of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The regular design team for Voyager had their hands full, hammering out the details for the USS Voyager and the Caretaker's array (as was related in the book A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager). To ease the workload, Curry, whose regular function was that of Effects Supervisor, pitched in by tackling the Kazon ships, wanting to imbue the ships with that culture's "rough, low-tech retro" look. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 105, p. 59) For the same reason, the build of the models, once the design was approved, was sub-contracted out to an outside vendor, WonderWorks Inc., who delivered the two models as per specification.. Unlike with its contemporary companion fighter design, no need was ever perceived to modify the carrier vessel model.
A relatively small model, when delivered, it was not up to the task of the close-up of Chakotay's suicide run with the Val Jean in the penultimate act of "Caretaker", so a larger partial model was needed. As Dan Curry remembered, "Joe built the big foreground (kamikaze) miniature of the Kazon ship; David [Stipes] just did endless hours supervising motion control...and everybody really did a magnificent job." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 105, p. 59) Bauer actually built the enlarged forward section and Stipes had to composite all the footage shot. (Red Alert: Visual Effects Season One, VOY Season 1 DVD special feature)
As the role of the Kazon as main antagonists was played out early on in the series, no CGI version of the design was ever produced, the two later appearances being either stock footage or a TCARS display.
The physical model, measuring 31"×8", listed as Lot #352 and estimated at US$2,000–$3,000 was sold on 6 October 2006, in the 40 Years of Star Trek: The Collection auction, with a winning bid of US$3,500 ($4,200 including buyer's premium).