Frigates are a general purpose military medium range vessel used primarily for attacking a specific space born enemy vessel or light space facility. Frigates typically incorporate a small to medium contingent of Marines or other ground/special combat forces, permanently bivouacked aboard the ship. Frigates allow for a rapid combat response with a follow-up boarding party or moderate ground assault when necessary.
Federation Frigates, like all Star Fleet Vessels, do have a moderate science research capability, and many are used as support vessels while exploring hostile environment. Frigates also operate a number of specialized onboard systems that allow them to conduct military operations in more hostile environments, including double and triple redundancy systems, specialized crew safety systems and moderate fighter wings.
Frigates operate in a variety of modes, most often being found in conjunction with other frigates or destroyer escorts. Frigates are most often posted to Neutral Zones and hostile boarders. Most Frigates are well armed and well defended, being capable of engaging enemy vessels that are often larger than them selves. Onboard troop complements range from platoons of 20-50 men onboard smaller frigates, through company sized forces between 100 and 250 troops (which is standard on most frigates) to small Battalion sized forces of between 400 and 600 troops associated with the largest of frigates.
Like Heavy Cruisers, Heavy Frigates are larger, more capable versions of a standard Frigate. Heavy Frigates have a large science capability, and are often employed during hostile research missions.
Heavy Frigates have a larger troop contingent of standard Marine personnel, up to a battalion of 400, although a large Company of 250 is standard. Heavy Frigates also transport troop equipment, including hover tanks, ground weapons and construction equipment.
Heavy Frigates often operate independently, in comparison with other frigate designs. Heavy Frigates, like Heavy Cruisers, draw the best crews and command compliment, further enhancing their reputation.