Unofficially, many starships are classified by their design type. Although Starfleet tries not to classify their vessels in any such categorization, there have been numerous occasions where a Starfleet officer referred to Starfleet or enemy vessels by type during a fleet engagement, such as in Operation Return when Captain Sisko calls upon Galaxy wings to engage Template:ShipClass destroyers. (DS9: "Sacrifice of Angels")
- Attack fighter
- Auxiliary craft
- Blockade runner
- Cargo drone
- Science vessel
- Survey ship
- Supply ship
In some unclear terms, the designations for several starship classes have been the issue of some confusion. Some examples are:
- The Template:ShipClass has sometimes been confused with the scout designation, though it is officially a science vessel rather than a scout.
- Similarly, the Template:ShipClass starship has been classified in multiple categories as well, most notably as a heavy cruiser and as a battle cruiser.
- The Template:ShipClass has also been the subject of some confusion. It may have been a new kind of heavy cruiser in its early life, then later called a medium cruiser, light cruiser, and possibly even a destroyer in its late life. Another possibility was being classified as an explorer, which is similar to a heavy cruiser. If this is still its unofficial designation, then it would contradict its current status, thus the confusion.
- The Template:ShipClass was officially an explorer, but has also been referred to as a heavy cruiser (in one script reference). In an alternate, more militaristic, timeline, the equivalent of the Galaxy-class was classified as a battle cruiser.