The Romulan scout ship was a small scout ship used by the Romulan Star Empire during the latter half of the 24th century. This class of vessel rarely ventured out as far as the Romulan Neutral Zone. (TNG: "The Defector")
The Romulan scout ship had the familiar "bird-of-prey" appearance that was shared with the much larger D'deridex-class warbird; like that class of vessel, the scout ship had a green hull, a pointed nose section, and a pair of wing sections that were decorated with scribed detailing which evoked feathers. The scout ship also had a few small inset areas on the surface of the hull, such as atop the wing sections, with a grille on the front of each of those sections. This class of vessel was equipped with deflector shields. (TNG: "The Defector")
In 2366, the Romulan scout ship Pi crash-landed on Galorndon Core, inside Federation space, while conducting an unspecified covert mission. The Pi was destroyed with an ultritium explosive, after the crash, to prevent its capture by Starfleet. (TNG: "The Enemy")
A few weeks later, another scout ship was encountered crossing the Neutral Zone by its occupant, Admiral Jarok, who used his vessel to defect to the Federation. Following a pursuit across the Neutral Zone from a Romulan warbird, Jarok, too, destroyed his ship to prevent its capture by Starfleet. (TNG: "The Defector")
Ships commissioned Edit
Unnamed, by pilot
Background information Edit
Designed by illustrator Rick Sternbach, the Romulan scout ship was initially created for its single appearance in the episode "The Defector", whose script called for a new Romulan vessel. Romulan ship architecture had already been established by the D'deridex-class warbird, which Sternbach himself had designed. The scout ship was definitely influenced by that configuration, since there wasn't much else, stylistically, to proceed from. However, Sternbach found the task of designing the scout ship fairly straightforward. "There was nothing particularly challenging about the design once I started scribbling some loose shapes," he noted. It was Sternbach who gave the scout ship its bird-like look, pointed nose section, and green hull. All these elements were inspired by the D'deridex-class. (Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection, issue 90, p. 10)
Rick Sternbach produced multiple drawings of the Romulan scout ship, at least two of which were line drawings. In at least one of the other illustrations, he labeled some parts of the vessel. Both that process and the creation of the pair of line drawings were to help the model makers. Some of the design elements were there merely to add detail as "just interesting tech shapes." For instance, Sternbach added the small insets atop the wings, which he meant to be simply interesting breakups of the hull surface that might be almost any technical system. To him, they usually represented sensor packages, coolant widgets, or part of the vessel's communications system. On the other hand, Sternbach also liked to add features that he believed made sense from a practical perspective. Such was the case with the grilles on the front of the wing sections. "I thought of them as impulse propulsion system intakes for use during atmospheric flight," he explained. "They were part of a heated-air fusion system. In space, those weren't used, and with a scout ship the fusion exhaust may have been concentrated and stored as part of the craft's stealth capabilities, especially if there were no obvious impulse exhaust vents." After Sternbach completed his design work on the scout ship, his illustrations of the craft were sent to Greg Jein's workshop, where the model was constructed. (Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection, issue 90, p. 11)
Rick Sternbach was aware the Romulan scout ship was intended to be significantly smaller than the D'deridex-class. However, it was the model makers, not him, who decided on the size of the scout ship studio model. Ultimately, the model ended up being bigger than Sternbach had imagined it, certainly in comparison with the size of the USS Enterprise-D studio model. "Based on my drawings, I could see the length of the scout ship being as much as 48-50m, but probably no more than that," Sternbach remarked. "I thought maybe it would be big enough for a crew of three to four, and maybe six more troops or secret operatives. I had no control over what VFX did with the scale appearance, and we didn't really talk about it beforehand." (Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection, issue 90, p. 10)
The Romulan scout ship was later modified as the Romulan science vessel in "The Next Phase". It was the last Romulan ship model built for Star Trek until the Romulan shuttle in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "In the Pale Moonlight". For more information on this studio model, see TNG studio models.
In Star Trek: Armada and its sequel, the Romulan scout ship was named as being of the Talon-class. Additionally, vessels of this type are listed in the Starships expansion volume of Decipher's Star Trek Roleplaying Game as Theta-class shuttle/surveyors. The Decipher Star Trek Customizable Card Game, however, refers to the class as the Lanora-class scout. None of these designations have been used on-screen; therefore, they cannot be considered canon.