(covers information from several alternate timelines)
|Port quarter view|
|Operator:||Klingon Defense Force|
|Active:||24th century - 26th century (alternate timeline)|
|Armament:||Disruptor cannons, disruptor emitters; photon torpedo launchers|
|Defenses:||Deflector shields, cloaking device|
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. The class would eventually become fully integrated into the Klingon Imperial Fleet over the next five years.
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'cha's 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'cha's that were utilized by the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance in the mirror universe were additionally armed with nacelle mounted disruptor cannons. (DS9: "Crossover")
The Vor'cha's were well reputed for having enough firepower to threaten a subterranean base. (DS9: "Return to Grace") Despite this reputation, the Vor'cha does 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 more forward then any of the other 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"
- "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. 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.
The studio model for the Vor'cha-class attack cruiser was designed by Rick Sternbach. According to Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, Sternbach's design incorporated elements from the first Klingon vessel designed by Matt Jefferies for The Original Series. Additionally, the Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion stated that the design of the Vor'cha-class ship was meant to illustrate the marriage of Klingon and Federation technologies due to the ongoing détente between the two powers, as confirmed by Sternbach, "The idea here was to combine elements of the original battle cruiser (and the hyper-detailed versions from the movies) with some slight Starfleet influence, as though there was some deliberate technology sharing between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. The color was a bit lighter and less of a saturated dark green, the wing lines a bit curvier, but overall still recognizable as Klingon."  This translated in engines reminiscent of those of 24th century Starfleet vessels with the addition of Bussard collectors and a color scheme somewhere between the dark green of the Bird-of-Prey and the light gray of the USS Enterprise-D.
The size Sternbach settled on was three-quarters of the length of a Galaxy-class, which was faithfully followed by Greg Jein whose company built the model and which came in at three feet, three-quarters of the length of the new four feet model of the USS Enterprise-D. Due to time restraints, Jein solicited the help of an acquaintance, David Merriman, Jr., who recalled, "A new Klingon ship miniature would be introduced in an episode where Worf learns of the existence of a bastard son. Anyway, in Greg's cover letter that accompanied the drawings, he explained that (surprise! – [rem:Merriman had made several more warp engines for Jein for previous models] –) they needed us to make the warp engine for that miniature. And (surprise!) time was a critical issue! Though possessing a great deal more surface detail than Federation warp engines, this one was at least symmetrical i.e. the left and right sides of the unit were of identical form. So, in the interest of time, I elected to make an intermediate master of only one side, make an in-house rubber tool and cast two sets (left and right half piece). A single winglet, wart and warp engine front assembly were made as well." (Sci-Fi & Fantasy Models, Issue 30, 1998, p.39) In the bonus featurette "Select Historical Data" on disc 7 of TNG Season 4 DVD both Sternbach and Jein are interviewed about the design and construction of the Vor'cha-class.
A limited run of 12, built from the same mold as the original studio model but without the internal lighting, was later sold, in 1997, at $7,000.00 apiece with a certificate of authenticity signed by Jein at the Viacom Entertainment Store in Chicago.wbm The molds were later modified for the future Klingon attack cruiser seen in "All Good Things...", a design which, in turn, developed into the Negh'Var warship.
In "The Way of the Warrior" several other physicals models of the Vor'cha were used for the massive battle scene, supervised by Dan Curry, Gary Hutzel and Glenn Neufeld. These were modified commercially available Playmate toys (No.6155) and AMT Star Trek model kits (No. 6812 ). (Cinefantastique, Volume 28, No.4/5, page 72) Being the first mass battle scene ever shown on Star Trek, it was also the last one entirely done with physical models (save for a few shots with a CGI Defiant, the only one available at the time). David Stipes repeated the procedure for DS9: "Call to Arms", using the same Playmate toys as before, the last time physical models of the Vor'cha were used.
For appearances in later seasons of DS9, a CGI model was built at Foundation Imaging by Trevor Peirce, who gave his model the darker green color usually associated with Klingon ships, under the supervision of Ron Thornton, making its debut in DS9: "Sacrifice of Angels".
Sternbach's original sketches for this design were sold in the Profiles in History auction for US$850.00.  Model debris from an exploded Vor'cha-class was sold in the It's A Wrap! sale and auction for US$1,025.00. 
As of 2011, the studio model itself, having never been modified, save for some paint adjustments (most likely done in order to match it up with the CGI model), having escaped the 40 Years of Star Trek: The Collection and It's A Wrap! sale and auction auctions, is still in the possession of Paramount Pictures and has been on tour displays such as Star Trek World Tour, Star Trek: The Exhibition and Star Trek: The Adventure as late as 2011.
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 comparison chart drawn up by Gary Hutzel and Larry Nemecek states yet another length of 1680 feet (512 meters).
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.