(covers information from several alternate timelines)
The Vor'cha-class attack cruiser first appeared around 2367, when it was essentially limited to the disposal of the Klingon Chancellor and various other ranking officials, such as the governors of Klingon colonies. The class would eventually take up general duties in the Klingon Defense Force by 2369. (TNG: "The Chase"; DS9: "Dramatis Personae")
Despite the fact the class was no longer the flagship of the Imperial Fleet, they maintained a strong presence during both the Klingon-Cardassian War and Federation-Klingon War of 2372-2373. They were used during the First Battle of Deep Space 9 and, later that year, several were used to deploy a minefield around Bajoran space. (DS9: "The Way of the Warrior", "Sons of Mogh")
The class later served as capital ships during the Dominion War, beginning in 2374. They saw action during Operation Return, the First and Second Battle of Chin'toka and the final showdown of the conflict, the Battle of Cardassia. (DS9: "What You Leave Behind")
The Vor'cha-class was one of the more powerful ships in the Klingon Defense Forces; indeed, for a time, it was also one of the largest warships in the Empire, carrying a formidable armament and demonstrating great maneuverability considering their relatively large size. (DS9: "The Way of the Warrior", etc.)
The outboard plan of the Vor'cha-class design incorporated the same basic shape and classic avian design lineage dating back over two hundred years.
The bridge module was separated from the main body by a thin neck that flared out into the wings, which contained the warp nacelles. A triangular superstructure was located on the dorsal section of the ship, located above the ship's impulse engines. (TNG: "Reunion", etc.)
Heavily armed, Vor'chas were mounted with a forward disruptor cannon capable of firing solid and intermittent disruptor beams, in addition to torpedoes. (TNG: "Redemption"; DS9: "The Way of the Warrior", "Sacrifice of Angels", "What You Leave Behind") The Vor'chas that were utilized by the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance in the mirror universe were additionally armed with nacelle mounted disruptor cannons. (DS9: "Crossover")
The Vor'chas were well reputed for having enough firepower to threaten a subterranean base. (DS9: "Return to Grace") Despite this reputation, the Vor'cha did have its limitations against heavily fortified targets. During the Dominion War when Chancellor Gowron chose to attack Sarpedion V, he wanted the initial strike to be lead by fifteen Vor'cha-class battle cruisers "to soften their defenses," however, according to General Martok, fifteen battle cruisers would "barely scratch their defenses." (DS9: "Tacking Into the Wind")
The design of the main bridge of a Vor'cha-class shared numerous similarities to other Klingon bridge designs.
Located in the front of the bridge, against the forward bulkhead, was the ship's main viewscreen. The command chair was located forward of the crew stations to show trust in the captain's crew, and had the ability to swivel 360 degrees, allowing the captain to visually monitor all bridge operations. At the rear of the bridge were several aft stations, including the tactical position. (TNG: "Redemption")
Computer access room
The computer access room was a small, unmanned room, had computer consoles and equipment placed in a semi-circle, located in the center of the room, as well as several located along the perimeter bulkheads. The computer room allowed unobstructed access to the defense system database, as well as the computer core diagnostic and navigational control systems. Access to the computer room required DNA-based hand print verification. (DS9: "Sons of Mogh")
The VIP quarters aboard the Vor'cha-class was a large cabin intended for visiting dignitaries.
Lush by Klingon standards, the cabin on board the attack cruiser that transported Klingon chancellor K'mpec had walls emblazoned with weapons and decorative banners of the Empire, denoting his position. There were also several movable chairs and tables located in the center of the room. (TNG: "Reunion")
Ships of the class
- "Dramatis Personae"
- "Crossover" (mirror universe)
- "Through the Looking Glass" (mirror universe)
- "The Way of the Warrior"
- "Sons of Mogh"
- "Apocalypse Rising"
- "By Inferno's Light"
- "Call to Arms"
- "Sons and Daughters"
- "Sacrifice of Angels"
- "You Are Cordially Invited"
- "Tears of the Prophets"
- "Image in the Sand"
- "Once More Unto the Breach"
- "Strange Bedfellows"
- "The Changing Face of Evil"
- "Tacking Into the Wind"
- "What You Leave Behind"
- VOY: "Unity"
- ENT: "Azati Prime"
The Vor'cha first appeared in TNG's "Reunion", and was first identified by name in the Star Trek Encyclopedia (1st ed., p. 157). The name of the class was finally made official when it was spoken in dialogue in DS9's "The Way of the Warrior", "Return to Grace", "Sons of Mogh", and "Tacking into the Wind".
According to the scripts for "Aquiel, "The Chase", "Dramatis Personae", and "Crossover", the Klingon Bird-of-Prey was intended to be used, but changed to a Vor'cha before production. This is most evident in "Crossover", where the attack cruiser was firing its disruptors from its nacelles, a location comparable to location of the turrets on a Bird-of-Prey.
- See: Vor'cha-class model
The size Sternbach settled on, meant that the Vorcha measured approximately 1560 feet (475,5 meter), which roughly complies with the size given in the Technical manual below. Visual Effects Supervisor David Stipes said that an overall length of 1,500 feet (457 meters) was generally used on-screen. .
The following information of specifications and defenses comes exclusively from the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Technical Manual:
- Production Base: Qo'noS Orbital Factory Base
- Type: Heavy Cruiser
- Accommodation: 1,900 plus flight crew and troops
- Power Plant: One M/A warp system; two impulse systems
- Dimensions: Length, 481.32 meters; beam, 341.76 meters; height, 106.87 meters
- Mass: 2,238,000 metric tonnes
- Performance: Warp 9.6
- Armament: Eighteen ship-mounted disruptor cannons; one large forward disruptor; three torpedo launchers
- The instruction sheet of AMT/Ertl's model kit of the Vor'cha, no. 6812, based on blueprints provided by Sternbach, states that the forward part of the ship is a detachable mission specific module and interchangeable with other modules. In emergency situations it can act as a lifeboat. The model kit was designed as such.
- The Vor'cha class appears in Star Trek: Armada and Star Trek: Armada II as a cruiser. Its special weapon, the polaron torpedo, phased through a target's shields and disabled a random subsystem.
- Although the origin of the class' name is never explicitly mentioned on screen or in the Star Trek Encyclopedia, The Klingon Dictionary gives the definition of the word "vor" as "cure" and the word "cha" as "torpedoes" suggesting that the name "Vor'cha" could mean something along the lines of "torpedoes cure" or "to cure with torpedoes."
- According to Star Trek: Star Charts (p. 64) and Stellar Cartography: The Starfleet Reference Library ("Federation Historical Highlights, 2161-2385"), there was a star system named Vor'cha, which might be the possible origin for the name of this class of starship, in the Beta Quadrant. This was a binary system with a M-class primary and a B-class companion. It was the site of a historic battle.