Star Trek: 10 Design Secrets Behind Iconic Ships
9. Romulan D'deridex-class Warbird
When the Ferengi failed as the antagonists of The Next Generation’s first season, the producers needed something to make the reintroduction of the Romulans a powerful and memorable event, and in the intimidating D’deridex-class Warbird they most definitely got it.
With the Warbird being a Romulan vessel, designer Andrew Probert naturally turned to the avian motif of the original Bird-of-Prey, experimenting with various bird and wing shapes before arriving at the spacecraft’s striking profile.
The Warbird’s most distinctive feature, however, had a more Trek-science origin. Star Trek creator Gene Rodenberry dictated that there could be no three or single-engine starships. Probert reasoned that with engines coming in pairs, and with the Enterprise having open space between its engines, that proper functioning of these engines required that nothing obstruct the energy fields between them. Applying this logic to the design gave the Warbird its signature split hull.
Interestingly, Probert intended for the Warbird to have a vertical orientation in contrast with the Enterprise-D (also a Probert design), but Rodenberry wasn’t a fan and the idea was canned.
Lastly, Probert would be disappointed with the Warbird’s apparent size on screen. Though it appears only slightly larger than the Enterpise-D, in reality the ship is near twice the Enterprise’s size, making one of the largest starships in all of Star Trek.