This page is for users who intend to use military terms when referring to ships. These are based off real ship types and are for reference for the users to link to on their pages.

Note: You can use what ever terminologies you want in your fiction, this is just to help. Also these are not the only types of ships and I'm just trying to be general.

Main Types

  • Piloted: This is practically all Space Ships.
  • Drones: More droid than a proper ship, while some can be piloted, they are main computer/A.I. controlled ships or remote controlled from a distance by 'human' (I use the term loosely) controllers.

Military vessels

Sub Capital/Strike Craft

These are ships that aren't the warships you're familiar with. They are the smaller ships that fill the roles their larger cousins can't. This includes everything from Fighters to Corvettes.

  • Fighters: The smallest types of ships. They are typically design for fighting other small ships or lending air support
    • Assault Ship: Unlike most fighters these ships can carry passengers. They are not truly fighters as they are not intended to fight other small ships but to carry assault teams to their objective in a battle zone.
      • Assault Drones: Usually seen with assault teams (often operated by a member), they are a mixture of a gun turret, cover for the team and a moving barricade all in one. They are more accurately described as Utility Ships than Fighters as they are meant to operate inside structures.
    • Interceptors: While fighters often engage in combat with similar ships, their purpose is cause damage to much larger targets, like larger ships and Space Stations. Interceptors are fighters with more armor and better weapons, designed to counter normal fighters.
  • Gunship: When infantry asks for air support against ground targets, this is usually the ship they send. Gunships are more anti-infantry, anti-ground strike craft. Normal strike craft, such as fighters, are made for anti-air actions.
  • Bombers: They bomb things, granted fighters and gunships can often fulfill this role, a bomber job is to bomb, which is to say it is the vessel designed to both carry and deploy powerful payloads. Such payloads are often too big, or counter intuitive to fighters. Pure fighters are not made for fighting, they they are often designed to survive long enough to at least hit their target.
  • Corvette: Usually smaller than a Frigate but dwarfing a fighter, corvettes are made for speed and maneuverability in a fight. Typically used as escorts. A corvette is the smallest you can go while being a 'proper' ship, instead of a mere strike craft. Due to their size and thus firepower, they are typically not used for long distance missions but instead patrols and emergency response. If they do go on missions far from home, it is usually as escort for a cruiser, carrier or other larger ship as part of its escort fleet.


  • Frigate: Frigates are typically small vessels, though not always. They are usually the smallest class of typical military vessels. They are used to protect merchant, supply, transports, etc, general infrastructure. They are generally escort ships travelling in groups when on away missions.
  • Cruisers :Cruisers are more of your typical size ships, their name comes from the fact that they are usually just 'cruising along'. 'Cruising' missions typically range from independent scouting, raiding, or commerce protection. They can also be used as transport vessels for people and fighters. The point of cruisers is a vessel capable of lengthy missions away from a port. This is where most of their size comes from, so its big enough to hold all that it needs operate for those lengths of time. Cruisers are usually at the center of fleets, being escorted by smaller frigates and corvettes.
  • Carriers: Carriers are large, not because they want to intimidate but to hold a large amount of fighters. Usually they have no more fire power than a cruiser. Like cruisers they are often escorted. Carriers often have a command/logistics role, and generally are not at the front of battle.
    • Battle/Heavy Carriers: Better designed for combat.
    • Missile Carriers: These exist only to fire high yield warhead explosives
  • Destroyers: Despite their name, they are not meant for destroying the enemy up front, nor do they tend to be large. They are generally designed for high speeds and maneuverability and high endurance (energy and damage). They typically fill roles similar to snipers or cavalry, hitting from far away or flanking enemy formations.
  • Capital Ships: The most important ship in any fleet/navy. These are the ships with the most firepower, armor and are usually the biggest. They are primarily the leading or commanding ship of a fleet.
  • Titans: This type name I am borrowing from the MMO, EVE Online. To describe these ships in a word, MASSIVE. These ships dwarf all other ships, even capital ships and it's not uncommon for them to have a super weapon or two installed. A fine example would be the Super Star Destroyer from Star Wars. A ship so massive the Kilometer (1600 meters) long Star Destroyers looked puny (the Super SD was 19 km long).

Ship Sub Types

  • Artillery: These ships are for hitting hard and from far away. They are equipped with long range weapons such as cannons which are often too large to move properly for personal defense.
  • Battle: When you see 'Battle' before any of the normal ship types, it basically means that type of ship design has been modified for battle. Often windows and cargo bays are removed and more guns and armor are added. They could maybe fulfill their original functions, but not as well as their original counterparts.

Civilian Vessels

Note, most civilians vessels have no form of offensive weaponry. A species/civilization that does has probably been at war for WAY too long.

  • Transport: Think a giant space bus, these vessels exist to carry large amounts of people across planet or space. There are military versions that exist for troop transport.
  • Personal Transports: If Transports are the buses of the galaxy, personal transports are the private yachts and everyday car of space. Bigger than a fighter smaller than even a frigate, as civilian vessels they are usually without weapons, however modified personal transports are often the vessels of pirates. They usually have a storage compartment and rooms.
    • Yachts: These vessels are large personal transports. They could be just big enough to be a transport or the size of a cruiser, but they are owned by one person for their personal use.
  • Racing Ships: Like fighters, minus the guns, these ships exist for recreational sport.
  • Freighter: These ships are more Cargo bay than anything else, holding massive amounts of materials and/or goods to transports.
  • Mining Rig: These vessels devout their energy into borrowing into asteroids or even planets to gain resources. They generally don't refine the materials and often operate in a fleet.
  • Utility Ships: These are small ships, usually of a similar size to a fighter or smaller, that can be found even on military vessels. They exist to do anything other than fighting. Such ships are so small they be drones.
    • Mining: These ships are used for mining operations, usually in space, digging into asteroids for valuable resources. Usually seen on Mining rigs.
    • Welding: These ships are for repairing stations and other ships quickly.
    • Grinding Ships/Breachers/Tunnelers: These are used to dig into station or space ship walls, usually so an Assault ship or drone can enter.
  • Salvage: These ships are for search and recovery, they may be fast but all of their features are for wrecked space debris and possibly survivors. They generally don't
  • Medical: These ships often don't have any weaponry but they generally have a lot of space and staff to hold patients. They are more common in war times, working for the military of government to send relief to certain locations.

Space Stations

Not exactly 'ships' but they do share many common traits. Stations are not always floating in space, some may use asteroids or small moons as foundations for construction. Also not all stations have to be stationary, and it's not uncommon for a station to fall under more than one of these categories.

  • Colony: You can expect Colonies to have some sort of defenses, you can also expect them to have such things as a recreation area, merchant area, engineering, sewage and most importantly residential area. Colonies exist to relief over populated planets/homeworlds.
  • Merchant: These are usually the largest of stations, these stations exist to boost trade, economy etc. They are massive to store large amounts of businesses, people and vehicles and have a good deal in common with colonies.
  • Military: These bases are nodes of military traffic during war times, and police stations during peaceful times. Some may be hidden laboratories while other may be massive fortresses.
  • Ship Yards: These exist for the repair and building of new ships. They have similar traits to a colony but are usually military bases.
  • Mining: These are usually located on asteroids or moons, looking for valuable resources. They may refine their goods are ship them out raw, but one can expect freighters to eventually stop by periodically.

Common Ship Types

Note: These are real world references. What 'types' of ship designs are in your fiction depends on whether it's fan fiction or you own original creation.

Ship types refer to the overall design of a vessel, in universe they are typically called a Ship Class, usually named after the first ship of that design. All Ships of a class look identical but have different markings showing their individual names.

  • Star Destroyer: They are typically dagger shaped vessels with the bridge near the back. They can be smooth and have propulsion on the side.
  • Star Trek/Enterprise: The typical design with a giant saucer section for the head, the propulsion is generally in the back on the side, almost like wings.
  • Klingon/Romulan: These are ships that bear a passing resemblance to birds of prey.
  • Rocketship/Flash Gordan/Classic: These resemble classic style rockets the most.
  • Typical/Common: These are the most common these days, long rectangular vessels with the bridge and propulsion located on the back

Common Ship Rooms and Parts

Note: Some if not most of these parts are also used for Space Stations.

  • Bridge: The bridge is the command center, it's where the captain runs the ship and barks orders. It is also where the ship is piloted/driven and the controls for all the major system are usually located here.
    • Secondary Bridge: Usually only seen with ships with 'Battle' in their type name, the Secondary Bridge is usually only used when battle is anticipated. The second-in-command is usually station here and its is located deeper into the ship. It exists so that the ship can continue running even if the main bridge is taken out. It may also be used to assist the main bridge.
  • Medical Bay/Room: Space is a dangerous pace and even civilians vessels have at least one Medical Room.
  • Cargo Bay: Where cargo is store (obviously) and it is usually located on the under belly of a ship. Military Cargo bays have opening doors to let out fighters, not to hold cargo, but some have both types.
  • Engineering: The part of the ship where the people responsible for the ships, maintenance, repair and support needs are usually found working. It is commonly found near or where the primary power core is located.
  • Nacelles: These are the ships propulsion, they do not have to be the main one, but they are the propulsion units hanging on the side of the ship, usually in pairs.
  • Core: You can add Power, Energy or Warp in front of this, it doesn't matter, this is the ships main power source
  • Batteries: Also known as Auxillary Power, ships usually have a system as a back up in case their main power supply gets cut. This is only for emergencies and generally don't last as long as the main one.
  • Cameras/ Internal Sensors: Ships usually have some form of internal security.
  • Sensors: For navigating the rigors of space.
  • Warp/Hyper/FTL/etc Drive: For travelling to other solar systems.
  • Inertia Dampeners: This allows the ship to take of an stop without sending the crew flying every single time.
  • Beacon: The devise that broadcasts a ships identification signal.
  • Gravity Generators: Because Zero gravity is only fun for so long (it also causes health problems for most organics in long term exposure.
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