Cruisers are by far the most numerous and varied craft in most space navies,
and come in many sizes and varieties including Heavy, Command,
Medium, Supplemental, Light,
and Medical Cruiser types amongst others. One of the
oldest designations, the term Cruiser refers to a large array of vessel types
and sizes. Cruisers can be both general purpose and mission specific, with many
capable of autonomously switching between the two extremes when needed. Cruisers
are not as large or powerful as Battleships or Dreadnoughts, but can often be as
effective in military conflict. Cruiser are also highly varied in their
abilities to explore and expand the boundaries of established governments. First
contacts, stellar and planetary research as well as diplomatic negotiations are
all well within the purveyance of Cruiser class vessels. Cruisers can also
easily switch to medical emergency mode, search and rescue and evacuation when
needed. Most cruisers have a large science base, consisting of numerous sensor
system, independent science labs and numerous on-board departments that
specialize in a wide variety of space and planetary science.
Cruisers often have a large engineering contingent, giving a cruiser unique
forward capabilities while in deep space. Cruisers can maintain lengthy patrols
and explore well beyond the boundaries of established boarder space. Cruisers
are often well armed and very capable of defence and combat when necessary.
Cruisers are the mainstay of the Romulan Navy, and an expansive part of the
Federation and Klingon Navies.
Light cruisers are designed to provide the same research, exploration and
scientific multi-phenomenon capability as their larger brethren. Light cruisers
often sacrifice range and onboard amenities to create sufficient room for
research equipment. Light cruisers are often better at focusing all their
resources on a single project, due to their smaller size and more analogous
crew. Light Cruisers do not have the speed associated with other cruiser
classes, but are often more manoeuvrable.
During military operations, Light Cruisers are used in conjunction with
Destroyers and Escorts to target a single enemy vessel and engage it with fire
support from larger vessels, such as Heavy Cruiser or Dreadnoughts.