This class is one of the earliest class of starships encountered by Earth Starfleet during the early 2150s. The first encounter occurred on the outer perimeter of the Sol system in early 2153. (ENT: "The Expanse") Starfleet, however, had known of the existence of these ships as early as late 2151. (ENT: "Sleeping Dogs")
This Bird-of-Prey design was revamped over the next two centuries, and was used to represent several different variations of this class that were collectively known under the same name. (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)
Comparable in design to its sister classes, the Template:ShipClass scout and D5-class battle cruiser, the exterior design of the Bird-of-Prey utilized the same basic avian design, including vaguely feather-like hull plating on its wings.
The bulk of the ship's overall mass was incorporated in the aft section of the ship. The bridge module was located on a bulbous forward section, which was separated from the aft section by a relatively thin 'neck' that attached to and flared into the aft portion which swept down below the main body, forming wings.
Located on the caudal section of the ship were the ship's shuttlebay, impulse engines and two warp nacelles. The port and starboard nacelles were directly connected to the extreme upper aft section of the ship, perpendicular to the impulse engine. (ENT: "The Augments", "Divergence")
The offensive arsenal of the Bird-of-Prey was rather impressive, for the time, as the ship possessed at least eight forward disruptor banks, including a twin-pair of neck-mounted disruptor cannons, a pair of wing-tip mounted disruptor cannons, and a 360º rotating turret containing twin belly-mounted disruptor cannons. The class was also equipped with dual photon torpedo launchers, positioned fore and aft, and defensive shields. (ENT: "The Expanse", "Borderland", "Cold Station 12") This class, however, had minimal aft weapons. (ENT: "The Augments")
Prior to the refitting of Enterprise, one Bird-of-Prey was more than a match with the Template:ShipClass; however, it was unable to repel three older Earth vessels at one time. After Enterprise was upgraded, it was nearly an even match with the Bird-of-Prey. (ENT: "The Expanse") This class of Bird-of-Prey could outgun an Orion interceptor, two to one. (ENT: "Borderland")
This class of vessel was equipped with tractor beam technology. It had one emitter located on the underside of each wing that, when used in conjunction, could be used to manipulate a ship to its belly docking port. (ENT: "Borderland")
One major flaw of the Bird-of-Prey's design was found at the nape of the ship's neck and primary hull; a direct hit on the main plasma junction, located above the sensor array, could disable the entire power grid. (ENT: "The Augments")
The shuttlebay was located on the extreme aft of the ship, directly below the impulse engines. It was large enough in capacity to store a Denobulan medical ship. (ENT: "Cold Station 12", "The Augments")
The configuration of the Bird-of-Prey's main bridge shared with many features found in contemporary designs.
In the front of the bridge, against the forward bulkhead, was the ship's viewscreen. Directly behind the viewscreen, near the center of the bridge was the captain's chair. Directly behind the captain's chair, was the entryway to the bridge, with two manned consoles located on either side of the doorway. Along the perimeter of the bridge were several stations, each designated for a specific task. (ENT: "Borderland", "Cold Station 12", "The Augments")
Ships of the class
The term "Bird-of-Prey" was first referenced on Enterprise in "Sleeping Dogs", and may have been implied to be the "two ships approaching at high warp" at the end of that episode. An earlier reference made in "Broken Bow" to "a fleet of warbirds" might have originally intended to be a reference to the Bird-of-Prey.
The design was inspired by Nilo Rodis's Klingon Bird-of-Prey, which first appeared in The Search for Spock. At that time the "Bird-of-Prey" designation was originally believed to be a Romulan term that was adopted by the Klingons in the late 23rd century. With the appearance of ships of this name in use by both Klingons and Romulans during the 2150s, the "in-universe" origin of the term is much more obscure.