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This article is for the PC version of Stellaris only.
Mammalian Fleet

A ship is a spaceborne vessel controlled by an empire. They are the primary way of interacting with objects and entities in the galaxy via specific ship orders. Ships are classified into civilian and military vessels, the former being controlled individually while the latter form fleets. All ships must be constructed at a Starbase or Orbital ring with a shipyard module, or with Federations Federations enabled a Mega Shipyard or a Juggernaut. Each shipyard module can construct or upgrade one ship at a time. Ships can be repaired at any controlled, operational starbase above outpost level.

Civilian ships

Civilian ships represent all unarmed vessels of an empire and are controlled individually. Their shields, armor, and core components are automatically upgraded once the next tier component tech is unlocked at no cost, and they do not need to return to a Starbase to receive component upgrades. Each civilian ship, excluding transports, has a monthly maintenance cost of Energy.png 1 energy. Construction and Science ships cost Alloys.png 100 alloys to build.

Civilian ships use the evasive fleet stance by default, meaning that they will attempt to escape the system whenever a hostile fleet enters it. They can also be set to a passive stance to ignore hostile fleets.

Construction ship

Construction ships are used to build every space structure. They are not used up during construction, meaning that they can go on to do other tasks after they have finished their building project. Construction ships also have a Fleet Order that makes them build mining and research stations automatically. Construction ships can construct the following:

Build order Base cost Monthly upkeep Description
Fleet task build outpost action.png Outpost Influence.png 75 per hyperlane from closest owned system
Alloys.png 100 if not Auth machine intelligence.png Machine Intelligence
Alloys.png 150 if Auth machine intelligence.png Machine Intelligence
Energy.png 1 Energy The Starbase is a space station used to claim star systems and expand your borders. It can only be built in orbit around a star. The full cost is dependent on which star system is being claimed.
Fleet task build mining station action.png Mining Station Minerals.png 100 Minerals Energy.png 1 Energy Mining Stations are used to collect Minerals, Energy Credits and Strategic Resources from uninhabited planets, stars and asteroids. Mining Stations that collect Energy do not cost any upkeep.
Fleet task build research station action.png Research Station Minerals.png 100 Minerals Energy.png 1 Energy Research Stations are used to collect Physics, Society and Engineering research data from uninhabited planets, stars and asteroids.
Fleet task build observation station action.png Observation Post Minerals.png 100 Minerals Energy.png 1 Energy Observation Posts can be built in orbit around planets inhabited by primitive civilizations to study their society.
Fleet order button build megastructure.png Megastructure Site Alloys.pngUnity.pngInfluence.png depends on Megastructure Energy.png 5 Energy Megastructures are truly massive construction projects only possible in the zero-g environment of space.

Specialist tier bulwark 3 on.png Tier 3 Bulwark subjects can construct Battlewright construction ships, which provide all friendly ships in the same system Mod ship hull regen.png 0.25% Daily Hull Regen.

Science ship

See also: Surveying

Science ships are the primary method of exploring the galaxy and the stars and systems within it. They require a scientist to operate.

Once crewed, the science ship can conduct a survey of individual objects within a system. During these surveys, it can discover resources present on a celestial body (i.e.: planets, stars, asteroids, etc.). A survey may also result in the discovery of an anomaly. The science ship can also investigate debris left after a space battle which may yield research points or possibly even unlock unique technology options.

Science ships can also assist the research of a planet. Upon activation, the science ship will orbit the planet and boost its research output depending on the skill level of the scientist on board.

Specialist tier scholarium 3 on.png Tier 3 Scholarium subjects can construct Arctrellis science ships, which penalize all enemy ships with AI combat computers in the same system with −25% to Mod ship tracking add.png Accuracy, Mod ship fire rate mult.png Fire Rate, and Mod ship speed mult.png Ship Speed.

Colony ship

See also: Colonization

Colony ships allow an empire to settle habitable planets or megastructures in owned systems. When ordering the construction of a colony ship, the player is given the option of choosing the species or sub-species of the Pop.png pop(s) that will be sent to the new colony. Pops are neither consumed nor transported in this process. Once constructed, the colony ship may be sent to any habitable world within an owned system to start a colony. Colony ships take one year to build and their upkeep cost is maintained throughout the whole colonization process. Colony ships can also be built through the interface of the planet to be colonized, which automatically queues the colonization order as long as the path is not blocked.

The cost of a colony ship in an organic empire depends on the government and the empire's primary species class.

Primary species Auth democratic.pngAuth oligarchic.pngAuth dictatorial.pngImperialAuth corporate.png Auth hive mind.png Origins tree of life.png
  • Alloys.png 200 Alloys
  • Food.png 200 Food
  • Consumer goods.png 200 Consumer Goods
  • Alloys.png 200 Alloys
  • Food.png 500 Food
  • Alloys.png 50 Alloys
  • Food.png 1000 Food
Trait lithoid.png Lithoid
  • Alloys.png 200 Alloys
  • Minerals.png 200 Minerals
  • Consumer goods.png 200 Consumer Goods
  • Alloys.png 200 Alloys
  • Minerals.png 500 Minerals
  • Alloys.png 50 Alloys
  • Minerals.png 500 Minerals
  • Food.png 500 Food
Trait mechanical.pngMachine unit.png Robot Alloys.png 400 Alloys No.png No.png

Empires with the Civic corporate dominion.png Corporate Dominion or Civic private prospectors.png Private Prospectors civics can also construct Private Colony Ships, which cost Energy.png 500 energy instead.

Empires with the Origins lithoid.png Calamitous Birth origin can also construct Lithoid Meteorites, which cost Minerals.png 500 minerals instead and have no upkeep cost.

The Trait ruler frontier spirit.png Frontier Spirit ruler trait reduces the cost of colony ships by −35%.

Transport ship

See also: Land warfare

Transport ships are the space based form of assault armies. After an army is recruited, it is automatically embarked in a transport ship which will be orbiting the planet where it was created. While armies have an upkeep cost, transport ships cost no additional Energy.png energy to maintain. Transport ships are collected in fleets like military ships, but cannot be combined with military ships and are not listed in the fleet manager.

During war, transport ships must be carefully escorted by a military fleet since they are unarmed. Their only purpose is to carry assault armies into enemy planets so that they can occupy them. Transport fleets use the passive fleet stance by default, and can be set to use the aggressive stance, which will cause them to follow a military fleet and land on enemy planents with similar or less army strength. Additionally, some special projects require a transport ship to be completed.

Military ships

See also: Space warfare

Military ships represent all armed vessels of an empire and unlike civilian ships they can be grouped together into fleets and led by an Admiral.png admiral. Military ships require both Energy.png Energy and Alloys.png Alloys as monthly maintenance. They are designed via the ship designer.

Military ships are classified by their hull size, which influences their combat stats, cost, available sections and components, and Command Point cost. Each ship takes twice as much time to be built compared to the previous one in the category. There are four regular hull sizes available: Corvette, Destroyer, Cruiser, and Battleship, plus the Titan and Colossus with the Apocalypse.png Apocalypse expansion, and the Juggernaut with the Federations Federations expansion. Each ship size has two technologies that increase its hull points and (up to battleships) one technology that decreases its build cost and increases its build speed.

Upgrading ships

Military ships must be upgraded manually when an upgraded design is created. The cost for upgrading each ship is simply the difference in construction cost between the new design and the old one. Each ship upgrades individually, with multiple ships being upgraded simultaneously if the starbase contains multiple shipyards.

When upgrading a ship, the system will attempt to use the most recent version of the same class name. If no design of the same class name is available, then the upgrade process will retrofit them to the most-recently saved design of the same size instead.

If a ship obtained via an event contains components not yet researched, the ship should not be allowed to upgrade. Upgrading it will replace the components with the latest researched ones, even if those are inferior.

Ship size

Each military ship uses a certain amount of naval capacity and fleet command. The standard military ships have the following sizes:

Ship Size
Corvette 1
Destroyer 2
Cruiser 4
Battleship 8
Titan 16

Naval capacity

Naval capacity represents the number of military ships that an empire can effectively support. Going beyond this limit will increase ship maintenance costs by a percentage proportional to the exceeded capacity. For example, if an empire exceeded its naval capacity by 50%, it would increase the maintenance cost of each ship by 50%. Every 200 naval capacity increases an empire's Titan cap by 1, up to a maximum of 20 Titans at 3800 naval capacity. An empire's base naval capacity is 20, and is modified by:

Flat Modifiers
Source Amount Notes
Resolution custodian reforms.png Galactic Mobilization Custodian Reform resolution +150
Galactic Force Projection Galactic Force Projection ascension perk +80
Per stage of Strategic Coordination Center megastructure +50 3 stages, total: +150
Tech doctrine navy size 1.png Doctrine: Fleet Support tech line +30 4 technologies, total: +120
Tech repeatable naval cap.png Fleet Management Procedures tech +20 Max 5 times, total: +100
PerBuilding military contractors.png Mercenary Liaison Office corporate building +10
PerBuilding pirate haven.png Pirate Free Haven corporate building
Per level of Resolution mutual defense.png Mutual Defense resolution 5 levels, total: +50
Per Sb anchorage.png Anchorage starbase module +4 Additional +2 with Sb naval logistics.png Naval Logistics Office building on the starbase
Per Job soldier.png Soldier/Warrior Drone job Additional +2 with Tech defense army.png Ground Defense Planning technology
Per Job necromancer.png Necromancer job +2
Per Job duelist.png Duelist job
Percentage Modifiers
Source Amount Notes
Mod shroud unavailable.png Covenant: End of the Cycle +100%
Civic fanatic purifiers.pngCivic devouring swarm.pngCivic machine terminator.png Genocidal civics +33%
Supremacist Supremacist diplomatic stance +20%
Tradition prosperity fleet logistical corps.png Fleet Logistics Corp/Automated Underway Replenishment/Nutrient Arks tradition
Menu icon edicts.png A Grand Fleet ambition edict
Civic citizen service.png Citizen Service civic +15%
Civic subspace ephapse.png Subspace Ephapse civic
Civic naval contractors.png Naval Contractors civic
Leader trait fleet organizer.png Fleet Organizer ruler trait
Trait brainslugged.png Brain Slug Host ruler trait +10%
Diplomatic stance belligerent.png Belligerent diplomatic stance
Menu icon edicts.png Master's Teachings: Warring States edict
Level 2 or 3 of Resolution galactic commerce.png Galactic Commerce resolution −10%
Per level of Resolution military sanctions.png military sanctions (if denounced or in breach of galactic law) Max −30%
Per Diplomacy federation.png Federation Fleet Contribution law level (except the president of a Federation hegemony.png Hegemony)
Level 4 or 5 of Resolution galactic commerce.png Galactic Commerce resolution −15%
Level 5 of Resolution rules of war.png Rules of War resolution (Demobilization Initiative) −25%
Being a Diplomacy issatrapy.png Satrapy of the Great Khan −30%

Maximum Naval Capacity may never exceed 9999. This is not a hard cap on the number of ships an empire can support; it is fully possible to exceed this limit as long as an empire can afford the increased maintenance fees for all of its ships. In fact, the AI will frequently build over its naval capacity if it has the resources to maintain its fleets. Because of this, it may likewise be necessary for a player to build over naval capacity, especially when preparing to go to war against an AI with equivalent or better fleet power.

Command limit

Command limit is a limit on how large any one individual fleet in an empire can be. An empire's base command limit is 20, increased by the following (the defined maximum is 500 but this cannot be reached without mods):

  • +10 per ship type technology (Total: +40; +30 without Apocalypse.png Apocalypse DLC)
  • +20 per Tech doctrine fleet size 1.png Doctrine: Space Combat tech line (Total: +100)
  • +10 per Tech repeatable command limit.png Admiralty Support Staff technology (repeatable 5 times +50)
  • +10 Civic distinguished admiralty.png Distinguished Admiralty civic
  • +20 War Games War Games / Three-Dimensional Awareness / Combat Variable Mitigation supremacy tradition
  • +20 Galactic Force Projection Galactic Force Projection ascension perk

The maximum attainable Command Limit without mods is 260 (250 without Apocalypse.png Apocalypse DLC)

Ship rank

As ships partake in battle, they will increase their rank. Ships, when built, start off with zero experience. Ships get Special +5 experience every day they are in combat and Special +0.1 experience every day they are suppressing piracy.

Ranks are classified as follows:

Rank Exp Points Mod ship weapon damage.png Damage Health Hull Points Evasion Evasion
Regular 0-99 0 0 0
Experienced 100-999 +10% 0 0
Veteran 1000-9999 +20% +5% +5%
Elite 10000 +40% +10% +10%

Ship starting experience can be increased by the following:

Source Effect
Menu icon edicts.png Fleet Supremacy edict +100
Federation military.png Martial Alliance federation +100
Fleet Academy.png Built from a Starbase with a Fleet Academy building +100
Federations Built from a Mega Shipyard +100

Colossal ships

Colossal ships are the largest ships that can be built. There are three classes of colossal ships, the Colossus, the Juggernaut, and the Star-Eater. Each require the starbase to have the Sb colossus assembly yard.png Colossal Assembly Yards building before they can be constructed, and aside from the Star-Eater, each empire can have only one of each at a time. They can be reconstructed when they are destroyed. Colossal ships cannot be merged with regular fleets.


Humanoid empire using a World Cracker

The Colossus is a colossal ship that has a single weapon slot which can be equipped with a weapon of mass destruction capable of affecting an entire planet or habitable megastructure. Each Fallen Empire has a 10% chance to start the game with a Colossus and can build more if they have awakened. For player empires, constructing them requires the Colossus Project Colossus Project ascension perk.

Colossi are unable to attack enemy fleets, as they lack the weaponry to do so. During space battles, a Colossus will follow direct orders and will maneuver straight to its designated target. This means that the Colossus will do things such as going straight through an ongoing space battle to fire upon an enemy planet, unless its stance is set to Evasive.

An Empire that owns a Colossus gains the ability to declare Total Wars on other Empires. Similarly, any Empire can declare Total Wars on the Colossus owner. During a Total War, any systems captured by either side will be immediately annexed and the war can only end in the total destruction of either side or a status quo.

  • If a Colossus is destroyed during a Total War, nothing happens. The war is still a Total War.
  • If a Colossus is built during a regular war, nothing happens and the Colossus can be used as normal. If one side is totally destroyed by the Colossus, the war ends and the war goal is not enforced. The same is true if an Empire that owns a Colossus is dragged into a regular war, usually because of Diplomacy federation.png Federation or Diplomacy defensive pact.png Defensive Pact.

Using a Colossus causes large amounts of War Exhaustion on the targeted empire, and gives it +50% Ethics Attraction towards Militarist.png Militarist and Xenophobe.png Xenophobe, which can cause the diplomatic and political climate in the region to grow even more hostile over time.

The Colossus Project Colossus Project ascension perk does not directly unlock the Colossus hull or its weapons; rather, the perk grants access to an associated special project which, once finished, will unlock both the ship and its weapon. After the special project is halfway completed, the empire will be prompted to choose a starting Colossus weapon. The empire can later research other types of Colossus weapons and retrofit it into their Colossus via the ship designer.

A Colossus can carry the following weapons, which can only target planets, ringworlds and habitats:

A Colossus equipped with neutron sweep or pacification cannot target Hive Worlds as the game believes they are not habitable planets (bug?)

Weapon Effects Opinion when used Requirements for research Notes
Ship part global pacifier.png Global Pacifier
  • The celestial body is irreversibly turned into a Shielded variant
  • It gains a deposit of 10 Society research Society Research
  • −200 Victim
  • −20 Victim's Federation
If used on a Holy World the Holy Guardians will awaken and declare a Total War on the perpetrator
Ship part world cracker.png World Cracker
  • The celestial body is irreversibly destroyed.
  • If it was a habitable planet, it gains a deposit of 4–16 Minerals.png Minerals.
  • −1000 Victim
  • −100 Victim's Federation
No.pngPacifist.pngFanatic Pacifist.png Pacifist
  • Civic fanatic purifiers.png Fanatic Purifiers and Civic machine terminator.png Determined Exterminator empires gain 600–3000 Unity.png Unity on first use
  • If used on a Holy World, the Holy Guardians will awaken and declare a Total War on the perpetrator
  • If Earth is shattered, there is a 50% chance of creating a wormhole with another system
  • Can be test fired on uninhabited planets
Ship part neutron sweep.png Neutron Sweep
  • All Pops on the planet are killed.
  • The planet gets Mod habitability.png −30% Habitability for 10 years.
  • −800 Victim
  • −80 Victim's Federation
  • No.pngSpiritualist.pngFanatic Spiritualist.png Spiritualist or No.pngAp mind over matter.png Mind Over Matter
  • No.pngPacifist.pngFanatic Pacifist.png Pacifist
  • Civic fanatic purifiers.png Fanatic Purifiers and Civic machine terminator.png Determined Exterminator empires gain 600–3000 Unity.png Unity on first use
  • Infested worlds can be targeted and turned into barren worlds
Ship part divine enforcer.png Divine Enforcer
  • All Pops on the planet become Spiritualist.png Spiritualist.
  • Trait mechanical.png Mechanical, Machine unit.png Machine Unit, and Hive-minded.png Hive-Minded pops are killed instead
  • The planet gets Spiritualist.png +999% Spiritualist ethic attraction for 10 years
  • Owned planets can be targeted but will also gain Mod pop happiness.png −20% happiness for 10 years
  • −400 Victim
  • −40 Victim's Federation
  • Spiritualist.pngFanatic Spiritualist.png Spiritualist
  • Tech telepathy.png Telepathy technology without Utopia DLC
  • Ap mind over matter.png Mind Over Matter with Utopia DLC
AI worlds can be targeted and turned into broken worlds
Ship part nanobot diffuser.png Nanobot Diffuser
  • All biological Pops on the planet are assimilated and gain the Trait cybernetic.png Cybernetic trait.
  • Trait mechanical.png Mechanical, Machine unit.png Machine Unit, and Hive-minded.png Hive-Minded Pops are killed instead
  • Owned planets can be targeted if there is any Pop that can be assimilated
  • Perpetrator gains ownership of the planet if not already owned
  • −600 Victim
  • −60 Victim's Federation
Civic machine assimilator.png Driven Assimilator Can be used on pre-FTL worlds but will give Diplomacy opinion.png −40 opinion with every empire
Ship part deluge.png Deluge Machine
  • All pops without the Trait aquatic.png Aquatic trait are killed
  • Planet is terraformed into an Planet ocean.png Ocean World
  • Owned planet can be targeted
  • If any pops remain, perpetrator gains ownership of the planet if not already owned
  • −600 Victim
  • −60 Victim's Federation
Ap hydrocentric.png Hydrocentric ascension perk Ringworlds, Habitats, and Ocean Worlds cannot be targeted


Real scale of a humanoid Juggernaut

The Juggernaut is a colossal ship which can construct, repair, and upgrade ships the same way a Starbase can. It has 10 times the hull points of a Titan and features six Hangar Hangar slots and two turreted Slot XL.png Extra Large slots. It also has its own set of aura components, which are significantly more powerful than the Titan's own.

Juggernauts have two shipyards and can build or upgrade up to two ships at a time. It cannot build Titans or Colossi, but it can upgrade or repair them. The Juggernaut can also upgrade itself and will automatically start repairing itself after a battle. It cannot be repaired or upgraded at a starbase. Juggernauts can retreat and go Missing in Action to reappear at the nearest friendly starbase like all regular fleets. Fleets can set a Juggernaut as their homebase.

Fallen Empires cannot build Juggernauts.

Federation fleets, the Galactic Defense Force, and the Imperial Armada can all have a juggernaut as well.


Real scale of a Star-Eater

The Star-Eater is a colossal ship equipped with a Star Cracker, a weapon that can destroy stars. Constructing Star-Eaters requires the Become the Crisis Become the Crisis ascension perk as well as reaching the final crisis level. When the Star-Eater finishes firing, the star will become a black hole and all planets and megastructures are permanently destroyed. All fleets present except the Star-Eater will go MIA. If a system contains multiple stars, firing upon any of them will destroy all stars in the system.

When the star is destroyed, the empire owning the Star-Eater will gain Dark Matter.png Dark Matter based on the galaxy size:

Galaxy size Dark Matter.png Dark matter
Tiny 3000
Small 2500
Medium 2000
Large 1500
Huge 1000


Game concepts
Governance EmpireEthicsGovernmentCivicsPoliciesEdictsLeaderFactionsPopulationSpecies rightsEconomyTechnologyTraditionsCrime
Exploration ExplorationMapSpeciesAnomalyEventsArchaeological siteFTLFallen empirePre-FTL speciesPrecursorsSpaceborne aliensGuardians
Colonization ColonizationCelestial bodyPlanetary featuresPlanetary managementDistrictsBuildingsJobsStarbaseTerraformingMegastructures
Diplomacy DiplomacyTradeSubject empireFederationsGalactic communityAI personalitiesIntelligence
Warfare WarfareSpace warfareLand warfareShipShip designer
Others TraitsPop modificationSlaveryCrisisPreset empiresAI playersEaster eggs