USS Enterprise NCC 1701-E vs Imperial Star Destroyer

Nearly any Starfleet vessel back to NX-01 would have similar advantages and disadvantages in this matchup, though not to the same degree as the Sovereign class.

The iconic ships from two iconic Science Fiction franchises- who wins?  The TLDR of this- Between mobility in combat as well as rapid intelligence gathering and analysis capabilities, Enterprise would wipe the floor with the Star Destroyer, at least in a chance, hostile first contact encounter.

In terms of sheer destructive power, the Imperial Star Destroyer, and even their Republic antecedents, outstrip the Enterprise by such a margin that it’s really not even worth detailing their weapon systems much.  The Star Destroyers just have so much more.  It’s hard to say who has the most powerful individual weapons(though considering shield evidence I’d put that on Starfleet), but the Star Destroyers have so many more it’s probably a safe bet that total firepower is on their side.

Shield strength, I’d have to give that to Enterprise.  Starfleet shields have been shown to handle absolutely insane stresses, including things they weren’t designed for because those things were considered literally impossible until Starfleet randomly stumbled on them.  While the Star Destroyer can send out a ton of firepower, Enterprise could probably survive it for at least a little while.  This will buy Enterprise crucial time.

It’s difficult to say if Enterprise weapons are powerful enough that the shield strength would put relative damage output on their side, but it is possible it would.  Worth noting here is that despite the insane crap they can handle, weapons comparable to Stafleet weapons can weaken and get through the shields.  This could indicate that while Star Destroyers have more total firepower, firepower as a function of enemy shield strength may be in favor of Enterprise.

It may also be worth noting that Starfleet deflector shield emitters can be used as weapons, though this requires too much modification to be used in a chance encounter.  It’s conceivable that Starfleet would have redesigned them to more easily be used offensively after the first Borg invasion, but there’s no actually filmed evidence I’m aware of that they’ve done so.

In size, the Imperial I class Star Destroyer, the most typical type, is 1,600 meters long.  Enterprise-E is much smaller, at 685 meters long.  A lot of the Star Destroyer is empty space for the hangar deck, and redundant arrays of weapons and weapons and more weapons.  Relevant to size is the sort of weapons the Star Destroyer carries- their main battery is meant to go after large ships, and while much smaller than the Star Destroyer, Enterprise isn’t so incredibly tiny as to be hard to track.

Support vessels- Enterprise carries a few lightly armed shuttlecraft.  Armed just to hold someone off long enough to get to warp and get the hell out of there, not as combat vessels.  Star Destroyer wins big here in terms of number and armament of support vessels carried.  Though, and I’ll get to the significance, Enterprise support vessels are capable of FTL.

Sensors- The Star Destroyer has good tactical sensors, but she appears to have no capability to track targets in FTL or at any really significant distance.  Enterprise can do this, and her sensor array is designed not just for combat but for very detailed scientific study, and Enterprise is staffed full of people who can quickly make sense of the information their science sensor array gives them.  This could be a huge advantage in finding weak spots in the design or construction of the Star Destroyer.

Agility and combat speed, Enterprise wins by a hillariously large margin here.  Imperial Star Destroyers do not appear to be at all capable of FTL combat.  Enterprise is.  The Star Destroyers weapons might be able to easily track with a ship of Enterprises size, but not when she goes to warp.  And oh, Enterprise can deploy several FTL targets with at least light weaponry and sensor arrays that make a mockery of what the Star Destroyer can do.

So here’s my thoughts.  In the initial “what the hell is this”, with the Enterprise sensor arrays and scientific/engineering experts, perhaps supplemented by a deployment of probes and/or shuttles to get a closer look, Enterprise will know far more about the Star Destroyer than the Star Destroyer will know about Enterprise.  In terms of total knowledge, and in certainty they have it right, Enterprise wins the intelligence war, quite possibly before the Star Destroyer even has seen Enterprise at all.

Enterprise will immediately know about the weakness in the bridge tower of the Star Destroyer.  Given the Enterprises advantages in combat maneuverability with tactical FTL capability, they could quickly exploit this with a Picard Maneuver.  The Star Destroyers bridge tower would be destroyed, and at that point it’s all over.  Starfleet Rules of Engagement are likely to require Enterprise to wait until they are fired upon, though, this is the Star Destroyers one chance.  If they don’t make this shot count- at least knock out the Enterprise warp drive- they lose.

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