Romulan Bird of Prey
The Romulan Bird of Prey is a warship of the Romulan Star Empire built and deployed in the 23rd century. It appears in the TOS episode "Balance of Terror", in which it destroys several Federation outposts bordering the Romulan Neutral Zone. After a long chase, the ship is eventually crippled by the USS Enterprise and then scuttled by its captain.
- The plasma torpedos carried by the Romulan ship were far more powerful than the phaser armament of the USS Enterprise, but their range was considerably shorter.
- While capable of warp speed, the Romulan ship did not have warp power, relying instead on impulse engines for all of its power generation. Incidentally, this demonstrates that faster-than-light propulsion is possible in Star Trek without a warp core. It also demonstrates that a ship that relies only on impulse power (nuclear fusion) is capable of threatening a ship that uses warp power (matter-antimatter annihilation). The lower energy density of its fuel, however, meant that the Romulan ship had a far more limited range than its Federation counterpart; fuel conservation was a major concern of the Romulan captain.
- The Bird of Prey was the first Star Trek ship to demonstrate a cloaking device. The device made the ship invisible to normal light and targeting sensors, but it could still be detected with subspace motion detectors. The Enterprise was able to attack it by laying down patterns of fire in the area where its movement had been detected.