A flagship is a particular ship in a fleet or task force that carries the "flag officer", the officer who has command of the entire fleet. This is usually, but not always, the largest and most powerful ship in the fleet.
Flagships in real life
- The carrier USS Enterprise was the flagship of Admiral "Bull" Halsey during much of the early part of the Pacific War.
- The HMS Hood was the flagship of the British Royal Navy and the most prestigious ship of their fleet.
- The IJN Yamato was the flagship of Admiral Yamamoto and during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
- The IJN Akagi was the flagship of Admiral Nagumo at Midway and during the Pearl Harbor attack.
- The USS Missouri was serving as the US flagship during the Japanese surrender.
Flagships in Star Trek
In TNG, the USS Enterprise is repeatedly described as the "Federation flagship", even when it is not operating as part of a fleet. This indicates that Starfleet uses the term to mean "the best/most prestigious ship in our entire fleet" rather than the command ship of a specific fleet or task force.
Flagships other than the Enterprise
- The USS Melbourne was Admiral Hanson's flagship in 2367.
- The USS Gorkon was Admiral Necheyev's flagship in 2370.
- The USS Bellerophon was Admiral Ross' flagship as of 2375.
- The USS Prometheus was Admiral Paris' flagship in 2377.