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Jem'Hadar battle cruiser

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The Jem'Hadar battle cruiser was a large battleship used by the Dominion for fleet engagements during the 2370s.


A group of these warships formed part of the first wave of Dominion ships to pass through the Bajoran wormhole, following their annexation of the Cardassian Union in 2373. (DS9: "In Purgatory's Shadow", "By Inferno's Light")

Gul Dukat would command one of these vessels during his year-long reign as leader of Cardassia. (DS9: "Ties of Blood and Water", "Call to Arms") Its first notable appearance in battle against the Federation was at the outbreak of the Dominion War in late 2373, where it served as a capital ship of the combined Dominion and Cardassian fleet. (DS9: "Call to Arms")

Technical data

Tactical systems

The Jem'Hadar battle cruiser was equipped with both directed energy weapons and torpedos in its arsenal.

The forward torpedo launcher was the primary utilized in a majority of engagements with the Federation during the Dominion War. (DS9: "Call to Arms", "Sacrifice of Angels", "What You Leave Behind") This torpedo launcher was capable of firing multiple bursts in a single volley. (DS9: "Sacrifice of Angels") They were also equipped with a forward beam emitter. (DS9: "Call to Arms")

During the initial invasion of the Alpha Quadrant, these vessels were individually supported by a cluster of Jem'Hadar fighters. (DS9: "By Inferno's Light")

A single vessel of this class was perceived by the crew of Deep Space 9 as a potential threat after targeting the station in mid-2373. (DS9: "Ties of Blood and Water")

While never stated on screen or in a script, the beam weaponry of these ships was phased polaron beam weaponry according to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Technical Manual.

Ships of the class





JemHadar warship, VOY lcars

"Jem'Hadar warship"

The designation of this class was identified verbally in "Ties of Blood and Water" as a "battleship", as well as in the script for "Call to Arms", however, this designation was evidently superseded by the Jem'Hadar battleship that later appeared in "Valiant".

According to the Star Trek Encyclopedia, this class was referred to, simply as a "warship," a term that also appeared in an okudagram taken from the Encyclopedia, which appeared in several episodes. The designation of "battle cruiser", as used here, was the name described in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Technical Manual.

The battle cruiser was stated to be 2500 feet (760 meters) long in a size list posted by DS9 Visual Effects Supervisor David Stipes. [1]

Studio models

Jem'Hadar battle cruiser design

Eaves' design for the Jem'Hadar battlecruiser.

For the episodes "In Purgatory's Shadow" and "By Inferno's Light" the script called for a new large Jem'Hadar ship. John Eaves was given the task of designing the ship in 1996. Eaves got his inspiration from the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk aircraft when designing the battle cruiser, "For the Jem Hedar/Dominion battle cruiser, the A-4 played a major role in the overall look of the ship. This was one of the first war ships that I got to work on during the 4 years on at DS9, For DS my primary job was props and work would spill over into some fun vessel projects every once in a while."[2] Eaves produced a 3/4 view that was quickly approved, "(...)usually it's the 3/4 so I can see most of what is going on in one drawing!!! it's the fastest way to get a big overview of what your trying to create.(...)this one image was about it!!! I did a rough blue of what you see here, it made a quick approval and went right to ink(...)."[3]

Visual Effects Supervisor David Stipes felt that the intricate scene of the Jem'Hadar fleet approaching through, and interacting with, the wormhole could only be done as CGI effects, so a CGI model of the battle cruiser was built at VisionArt Design & Animation by Tony Sansalone. This model had a slightly different design as its nacelle struts were attached to the hull at a somewhat steeper angle. Simultaneously a physical model was deemed necessary for close-up shots. This model, measuring 48×48 inches, was built by Don Pennington [4], or as Stipes has put it,"John Eaves generated top, bottom, front and side drawings, that VisionArt used to create the CGI ship. Animator Tony Sansalone did the work. Concurrently a model maker named Don Pennington was building a dimensional version. So we wound up building two ships, a physical version and a computer version..." (Cinefantastique, Vol.29, No.6/7, p. 39)

Jem'Hadar battle cruiser studio model

The physical studio model.

Jem'Hadar battle cruiser second studio model

The second physical studio model.

Due to budget constraints, the internally lit model was built from traditional material, cast resin with plastic elements, as the newer light weight composites were outside of the budget, resulting in a heavy and cumbersome model. "The model was very large and with traditional materials it became very heavy. It took three to four people to safely lift and turn the model over for various shots. It was affectionately dubbed the "Lead Hadar". (The nick-name was earned; I know first hand as I got to help turn it over once.)", Stipes jokingly remembered.[5] It proved to be the next to last specifically built physical starship studio model for televised Star Trek (the models built later for "A Time to Stand", being "kitbashes") and was used in subsequent episodes of Deep Space Nine, debuting in "Ties of Blood and Water" and for the last time appearing in "Sacrifice of Angels" as stock footage. For that episode, in which the CG model was also featured, VisionArt's CG model was reprogrammed and remapped in the LightWave 3D software at Foundation Imaging by Michael Stetson under supervision of Ron Thornton. (Sci-Fi & Fantasy Models, issue 32, 1998, p. 53)

Some slight visual differences existed between the CGI model that appeared in "By Inferno's Light", and the CGI cruiser that later appeared in "Sacrifice of Angels". Despite these differences, namely the angle of the nacelles in relation to the hull, the two designs were, in actuality, intended to be the same ship. Confirmation of this was explained by DS9 Visual Effects Supervisor David Stipes at There, Stipes would further clarify that "there are differences that come from changes in the CGI model to make it match the physical model. Remember, the CGI work for these shows were done by different companies at different times."

Jem'Hadar battle cruiser, In Purgatory's Shadow

VisionArt's original design version alongside a Jem'Hadar fighter

Jem'Hadar battlecruiser revised CGI model

Foundation's upgraded CGI model

The differences between the two designs, in fan circles referred to as the "V-type" and "U-type", may well have stemmed from misinterpretation of Eaves' original design sketches. By this time production of full orthographic blueprints has become uncustomary for the television productions. As Eves explained in regard to an earlier design of his,"Most of the time with models all you need is a three-quarter view, and a couple of three-quarter angles on different parts of the ship." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 2, p. 22). While reprogramming VisionArt's CGI model, Stetson, who had the physical studio model at his disposal as reference, made use of the opportunity to correct the the angle of the nacelle struts, to have it correspond with that of the physical model.

The Jem'Hadar battle cruiser model (measuring 48"x48") was listed in the 40 Years of Star Trek: The Collection auction as Lot 484, with an estimated sale price of $2,000 to $3,000; it sold on 6 October 2006 for $6,000 ($7,200 with premium). A foam core camera test model sold as Lot 8459 in August 2008 for $204.73 in a It's A Wrap! sale and auction.

A second Jem'Hadar battle cruiser studio model, in a slightly different paint scheme, but not internally lit, showed up as Lot 1487 in the Profiles in History's Hollywood Auction 40 of 12 June 2010, estimated at $6,000-$8,000.[6], but was pulled at the last minute from the auction without further clarification.[7] Doubts arose about the claim that the model was actually screen-used and owned by the studio, but rather that it was a display piece for Pennington's own effects shop.[8] That model eventually did wind up in the collection of an American collector outside the auction circuit [9], who discovered upon receival of the model, that some parts of it were were in fact the master templates from which the parts were taken to construct the actual studio model. [10]

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: Heavy Cruiser.
  • Accommodation: 2,500 plus flight crew, and troops (est.).
  • Power Plant: One and possibly two M/A warp system; two or more impulse systems.
  • Dimensions: Length, 639.75 meters; beam, 568.44 meters; height, 204.97 meters.
  • Mass: 4,215,000 metric tonnes (est.).
  • Speed: Warp 9.6 (observed)
  • Armaments: Six or more phased polaron beam weapons; possibly other weapons.

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