Star Trek Combat

Robert Mercer

The following represents my current analysis of starship combat and tactics in the Star Trek universe. The material contained within these pages is the result of my analysis of the materials and information provided in the sources listed in the bibliography and of various episodes of all the Star Trek shows (which are too numerous to list). Various people have contributed knowingly or unknowingly to this analysis via the newsgroups on the Star Trek: Continuum. My thanks to them for their assistance and perseverance in arguing with me.

A basic familiarity with Star Trek terminology and treknology is assumed. This material is aimed at the knowledgeable fan, and is not introductory material. Please consult the ST:C newsgroup FAQ or the applicable source materials for explanation of the basics of Treknology and the political and social frameworks of the ST universe.

All errors in this text are my own. Any questions, corrections, or comments on the material presented here should be referred to me at my e-mail address: I will try to reply as time and circumstances allow.

My thanks to Paramount and the actors and staffs of the various incarnations of Star Trek for providing me with 30+ years of quality entertainment and inspiration.



The purpose of this document is to provide interested parties with some reasonable information and discussion about starship combat and tactics in the ST universe. This information is compiled from a variety of sources. Because of the limited amount of information available, I have been forced to flesh out what does exist. The additional material that I have provided is based on my analysis of the available information, my own scientific and tactical knowledge, and logical/reasonable assumptions on my part concerning the nature of the Treknology involved.

Material that I am certain of or that is canonical is in black.

Material that is based on reasonable analysis and extrapolation is in green.

Material that is suspect or the result of guesses on my part is in red (as is my commentary).

The document is broken down into sections for ease of reference. A table of contents will be provided when the document is closer to completion. This document is a work in progress and is continually under construction. Please excuse the mess.

Comments, questions and suggestions are welcome.


Section 1: Basic Treknology

This section discusses the treknology that makes starship combat possible. Tactical systems will be treated in greater detail than general starship systems such as the warp propulsion system, structural integrity fields, impulse propulsion, etc. For the most part, it is merely necessary to know that this treknology exists.

[1.1] WPS (Warp Propulsion System):

[1] The WPS provides ships with the capability to travel at FTL velocities. FTL velocities are measured in warp factors (multiples of the speed of light(c)). The current warp factor scale’s upper limit is warp 10 (infinite speed), which is unattainable.

[2] The WPS derives its power from the ship’s M/ARA (matter/anti-matter reactor assembly) in which matter and anti-matter are brought into mutual contact in controlled conditions, producing the massive quantities of energy required for FTL flight and other ship systems.

[3] Tactical note: Destroying or disabling one of a starships two (or more) warp nacelles while a ship is under warp will cause the instantaneous disassociation of the ship due to different parts of the ship traveling at different velocities (this effect is caused by uneven warp field distribution) and differential structural stresses in excess of structural integrity field capacity.

[1.2] IPS (Impulse Propulsion System):

[1] The IPS provides the ship with motive force at STL velocities and auxiliary/emergency power during STL and FTL operation. The IPS can provide accelerations in excess of 1000 g’s and IPS exhaust can be vectored to provide the ship with maneuverability.

[2] The IPS consists of a series of interconnected fusion reactors, whose exhaust is passed through a space-time driver coil to provide additional motive force. Individual modules (fusion reactors) are replaceable.

[3] Tactical note: STL velocities are normally limited to Full Impulse (0.25c) because of time dilation effects. This limitation may be exceeded in combat or emergencies, but it will be necessary to reset ship’s chronometers afterwards. Extended operations above 0.25c should be avoided.

[1.3] RCS (Reaction Control System):

[1] The RCS provides the ship with low speed maneuvering capability (such as in spacedock) and with the capability to rapidly re-orient the ship (point the bow in different directions). The RCS is the key system for providing decoupled maneuvering capability (see Section 4). The RCS consists of a number of small IPS modules located strategically around the periphery of the ship. They are a direct (though far more powerful) descendent of contemporary RCS systems.





[1.4] Sensors:

[1] Ship’s sensors operate FTL, with a propagation speed of warp 9.9997. A wide variety of sensor types are used, covering a broad spectrum of phenomena. Detection and tracking are essentially instantaneous at solar system distances.

[1.5] Computers and Control:

[1] A ship usually has multiple main computers (for redundancy). Main computers are usually placed within subspace fields, allowing FTL processing.

[2] Most ship functions are controlled semi-autonomously by the computer, under the direction of the ship’s crew. This is necessary because of the rapid pace and complexity of starship operations.

[3] Tactical functions are semi-autonomous. Ship’s crew decides engagement parameters for the system and the system essentially takes over from that point—deciding such things as which weapons to fire, particular target locations, number of weapons, and weapon power/yield, in accordance with the parameters set by the crew. The tactical programs contain learning algorithms (self-rewritable code) in order to optimize performance against known Threats and to provide the capability to adapt to previously unknown Threats.

[4] Tactical note: Failure of semi-autonomous control significantly weakens the ship’s offensive and defensive capabilities and may make the tactical systems inoperative or totally ineffective in certain conditions.

[1.6] SIF (Structural Integrity Field):

[1] The SIF provides the structural support to the ship necessary for operations at accelerations in excess of 3 g’s and under the stress of flight at FTL velocities.

[2] Tactical note: Loss of the SIF in combat will usually result in the destruction of the ship due to stress in excess of the ship’s structural loading capacity.

[1.7] IDF (Inertial Dampening Field):

[1] The IDF protects the crew and ship’s equipment/cargo from acceleration effects. There is a slight delay in the operation of the IDF which accounts for the occasional tossing about of the crew under extreme accelerations or weapon impacts.

[2] Tactical note: Loss of IDF in combat will usually result in severe (or even complete) crew casualties due to excessive acceleration forces.

[1.8] Deflector Shields:

[1] Deflector shields protect the ship from natural phenomena such as physical objects and various types of radiation and they are the primary defense against Threat weapons. Shield strength is measured in two ways: PEDR (primary energy dissipation rate) and maximum capacity.

[2] PEDR is the shield’s normal rating and represents the amount of energy (from weapons, natural radiation or physical objects) that the shield can deflect without risk of overloading the shield or causing damage to the ship or crew.

[3] Maximum capacity represents the maximum amount of energy a shield can withstand (over a very short period of time) before failing. Failure of a shield due to overload beyond maximum capacity will usually result in damage to the shield generators, power distribution protective functions (EPS relay trips causing loss of power to various systems), and damage to crew and ship’s systems.

[4] Deflectors are gravitic phenomena (consisting of an energetic graviton field suspended in a spatial anomaly). Shield frequency and bandwidth are variable.

[5] Tactical note: Shield frequency and bandwidth are randomly varied at random (but short) intervals to prevent analysis of the shield by Threat systems and subsequent penetration of the shield by Threat weapons specifically tuned to bypass the shielded frequencies/bandwidths. Shield parameters can be optimized for protection against known Threat weapons and learning algorithms (self-rewritable code) are utilized to improve protection against previously unencountered Threats.

[1.9] Tactical Systems:

[1] Tactical systems fall into two broad categories: energy/particle weapons (such as phasers); and semi-autonomous missiles (torpedoes).

[2] Energy/particle weapons:

This category includes weapons such as phasers, disrupters, and polaron beams. The primary federation weapon is the phaser, which is a coherent beam of sub-atomic nadions. Nadions have the property of disrupting atomic bonds (causing disintegration—with explosive effects). Phaser frequency and bandwidth can be varied to maximize effectiveness against Threats.

Weapon power level and disintegration effect can be varied within the limitations of the weapon emitter—thus, shipboard weapons can be utilized at non-destructive settings for energy transfer, sensing, and stun effects.

Tactical note: Energy/particle weapons are currently ineffective against Threats operating in the warp regime due to the degrading effect the Threat’s warp field has on beam strength and coherence.

[3] Torpedoes (general):

Torpedoes may utilize a variety of warheads and sensor/control systems. Current Federation weapons in this category include photon torpedoes and quantum torpedoes. Torpedoes are semi-autonomous with onboard sensors and control. This means that they possess tracking/homing capabilities against a wide variety of targets.

Target bearing imposes no limitation upon torpedo deployment. This means that forward launchers may be used to fire on targets in your rear arc.

There seems to be several versions of the torpedo launcher in service. The actual version in service aboard a ship is determined by ship size and date of construction/last refit. The "capital ship" version (as aboard the E-D) can launch 10 torpedoes at a time. The "standard" version (presumably smaller) such as that used aboard Voyager and Defiant can launch up to 3 torpedoes at a time.

Torpedo yield for particular loads of anti-matter can be calculated using the formula: E=mc2, where E is yield, m is the anti-matter mass, and c is the speed of light (rounded, for convenience to 3x108 m/sec). The result is in Joules (Newton-meters).

Torpedo velocity on launch is determined by the formula: vf = vI + (0.75 x vI)/c, where vf is the torpedo velocity, vI is the launching ship’s velocity (in SI units, not warp factors), and c is the speed of light.

[4] Photon torpedoes (ptorps):

Ptorps use a matter/anti-matter (m/a) warhead with variable yield. Maximum warhead load is 1.5 kg and yield varies with the distance the ptorp has traveled (since warhead load is used to power the ptorps warp sustainer coil).

Maximum yield is 1.35x108 gigajoules (approximately 50 megatons).

Maximum effective tactical range for midrange yield (6.75x107 GJ) is 3.5 million km.

Tactical note: ptorp arming circuits require a minimum flight time of 1.02 seconds before target impact in order to complete warhead component mixing. Any flight time less than 1.02 seconds will result in a substantially reduced yield.

[5] Quantum torpedoes (qtorps):

Few details are currently available on qtorps. What follows is my current estimation of qtorp capabilities.

Qtorps utilize a zero-point energy device in place of a warhead. It is assumed that this device produces a yield comparable to the ptorp. Yield is not a function of weapon range. Warp capability is provided by a warp sustainer coil powered by a m/a reaction.

Qtorp range is the same as that of the ptorp.

Qtorp arming circuits require 0.1 seconds flight time as a safety feature to prevent inadvertent damage to the firing vessel.



Section 2: Ship Statistics

This section provides an estimate of the capabilities of various ships that have appeared in the ST universe. Except for the information provided for the Galaxy class, most of the information provided here is based upon my observations, deductions, and inferences and has no canonical status. Numbers are rounded for convenience.

Ship profiles are based upon comparison to GCS capabilities (seeing that the GCS is the only ship class we currently have any hard data on). Primary determinants of ship capability are size in comparison to a GCS, record of combat of that type of ship (against both GCS and other ships on the list); and passing comments made on the ships in various episodes and canonical references. I have attempted to avoid the use of non-canonical materials beyond what I, myself, have added.

I am reasonably certain that, while the ship specifics are not necessarily correct/accurate, the information provided here represents a good comparison between the capabilities of the ships listed. Aficionados or fans of particular ships or types of ship may not like what they see here—but lacking any canonical data or reasoned and well-supported arguments to the contrary (which you may provide if you so desire), these estimates stand.

As additional information becomes available (particularly as ship profiles from ACTD become available, which are approved by Paramount; and the DS9 TM becomes available), these profiles will be updated. Remember that what you see on the screen is subject to the vagaries of dramatic necessity and is not necessarily a reasoned or accurate portrayal of comparative ship capabilities (meaning that if Defiant needs to destroy a Dominion Destroyer this week for the episode to work out, it will be able to do so, regardless of the actual statistics or capabilities).


[2.1] Sovereign Class Ship (SCS)(estimate in progress):

This is the Enterprise-E.

[1] Weapons:

Type X+ phaser arrays:

Saucer dorsal array: 1225 MW

Saucer ventral array (p/s): 600 MW each

Saucer dorsal (mid) array (p/s): 30 MW

Saucer dorsal (aft) array (p/s): 40 MW

Lower hull ventral array: 160 MW

Nacelle pylon array (p/s): 60 MW

Torpedo launchers:

5 launchers: saucer ventral, 2 lower hull forward, 2 lower hull ventral aft. All are available in docked configuration.

Launchers can fire up to 10 torpedoes per impulse. (Alternatively, launchers may be low capacity launchers (3 torps/impulse) or a mix of high and low capacity launchers—insufficient data for determination at this time)

Launcher cycle time is approximately 12 seconds for a full salvo, 10 seconds for 8 torpedo salvo, 5 seconds for 4 torpedo salvo, almost immediate for single torp firings.

275+ casings carried, ~25% of which will be probes.

[2] Shields:


PEDR: 1025 MW.

Maximum: 4.64x106MW for 170 ms (2.73x107 MJ).

Backup: Unknown.

SCS shields utilize multiphasic shield generators, the latest advance in defensive treknology.

[3] Velocity:

Cruising: TBD.

Maximum sustained cruise: TBD.

Maximum: warp 9.975+.

Tactical note: Despite its size and mass, a SCS is at least as maneuverable as an ICS in all flight regimes.

[2.2] Galaxy Class Ship (GCS):

This is the Enterprise-D.

[1] Weapons:

Type X phaser arrays:

Saucer dorsal array: 1020 MW.

Saucer ventral array: 816 MW.

Saucer aft array (p/s, d/v) total of 2: 25 MW each.

Battlesection dorsal connector array (available only in undocked configuration): 255 MW.

Battlesection ventral array: 130MW.

Battlesection aft array (p/s, d/v) total of 4: 25 MW each.

Nacelle pylon arrays (p/s) total of 2: 50 MW each.

With the ship in docked configuration (cruise mode), the phasers may be fired continually for 45 minutes. If the ship is separated, the saucer section arrays are limited to 15 minutes of continuous fire (due to energy limitations).


Upgraded launchers may fire ptorps or qtorps.

3 launchers: battlesection fore and aft, saucer aft (unavailable in cruise mode).

Launchers have the capability to fire up to 10 torpedoes in 1 impulse.

Launcher cycle time is approximately 12 seconds for each full salvo, 10 seconds for 8 torpedo salvo, 5 seconds for a salvo of 4 or fewer torpedoes, almost immediate for single torp salvos.

275 torpedo casings carried (~25% of these—70—are probes of various types).

[2] Shields:


PEDR: 730 MW.

Maximum Capacity: 3.31x106 MW for 170 ms (1.95x107 MJ).


PEDR: 475 MW.

Maximum: 2.15x106 MW for 170 ms (1.26x107 MJ).



PEDR: 521 MW

Maximum: 2.37x106 MW for 170 ms (1.39x107 MJ).


PEDR: 730 MW

Maximum: 3.31x106 MW for 170 ms (1.95x107 MJ).

[3] Velocity:

Cruising: warp 6.

Maximum sustained cruise: warp 9.2.

Maximum: warp 9.6 (12 hours).

Ship can travel at warp 9.9 until auto engine shutdown at t=10 minutes.

[2.3] Nebula Class Ship (NCS): insufficient data.

A GCS saucer on a more easily and cheaply produced engineering hull.

[2.4] Ambassador Class Ship (ACS): insufficient data.

Lead starship class previous to GCS.

[2.5] Akira Class Ship (AKCS): insufficient data.

[2.6] Steamrunner Class Ship (STCS): insufficient data.

[2.7] Norway Class Ship (NOCS): insufficient data.

[2.8] Excelsior Refit Class Ship (ERCS): insufficient data.

[2.9] Intrepid Class Ship (ICS)

This is Voyager.

[1] Weapons:

Type X phaser arrays:

Upper hull dorsal (p/s): 200 MW.

Upper hull ventral (p/s): 200 MW.

Lower hull ventral (p/s): 75 MW.

Nacelle pylon (p/s): 15 MW.


Launchers may fire ptorps or qtorps.

3 launchers: 2 lower hull forward, 1 upper hull aft of bridge.

Launchers may fire up to 3 torpedoes in one impulse.

Launcher cycle time is 5 seconds.

Unknown number of casings carried—definite minimum of 38, estimated total of 60 (25% of which will be probes).

[2] Shields:


PEDR: 330 MW.

Maximum: 1.5x106 MW for 170 ms (8.82x106 MJ).

Backup: Unknown.

[3] Velocity:

Cruise: estimated warp 8.

Maximum sustained cruise: TBD.

Maximum: warp 9.975.


[2.10] Defiant Class Ship (DCS):

This is the Defiant (ignoring the cloak).

[1] Weapons:

Phaser cannons (designation unknown).

4 fixed forward arc: 60 MW each (240 MW total).


Launchers may fire qtorps or ptorps.

2 launchers, forward arc

Launchers may fire up to 3 torpedoes in one impulse.

Launcher cycle time is 5 seconds.

39 torpedoes and 1 probe carried.

[2] Shields:


PEDR: 300 MW.

Maximum: 1.36x106 MW for 170 ms (8x106 MJ).

Backup: Unknown.

[3] Velocity:

Cruise: estimated warp 6.

Maximum sustained cruise: TBD.

Maximum: warp 9.

Ship may reach warp 9.5 if phaser reserves are bled to SIF.

[4] Cloak:

Applicable to Defiant, only.

Time for cloak/uncloak cycle is 2 seconds. While a ship is cloaking/uncloaking it is essentially defenseless.

Tactical note: The cloaking device provided by the RSE (Romulan Star Empire) for use aboard the Defiant is not, in all likelihood, the latest version possessed by the RSE. It has been proved to be of limited efficacy in certain situations (allowing the detection of Defiant by Dominion warships at short ranges while cloaked). It is highly likely that the RSE possesses the knowledge and technology necessary to detect the Defiant while it is cloaked.

[2.11] Peregrine Class Ship (PCS): insufficient data.

The SF equivalent to a Coast Guard cutter.

[2.12] Klingon B’rel Class (Bird of Prey 1 (BOP1)):

This is the small, 12 man scout version seen in ST:III and ST:IV. Now obsolescent.

[1] Weapons:


2 wingtip disrupters (p/s): 40 MW each (80 MW total).


1 launcher (fwd).

Launcher fires 1 torpedo per impulse.

Launch cycle time 5 seconds.

20 torpedoes carried.

[2] Shields:


PEDR: 150 MW.

Maximum: 6.8x105 MW (4x106 MJ).

Backup: Unknown.

[3] Velocity:

Cruise: warp 6.

Maximum sustained cruise: TBD.

Maximum: warp 9.

[4] Ship has cloaking ability (2 second cycle time). While a ship is cloaking/uncloaking it is essentially defenseless.

[2.13] Klingon K’vort Class (Bird of Prey 2 (BOP2)):

This is the cruiser size version seen in TNG and DS9.

[1] Weapons:


2 wingtip disrupters (p/s): 200 MW each (400 MW total).


2 launchers (f/a).

Launchers may fire 3 torpedoes per impulse.

Launcher cycle time is 5 seconds.

50 torpedoes carried.

[2] Shields:


PEDR: 300 MW.

Maximum: 1.36x106 MW for 170 ms (8x106 MJ).

Backup: Unknown.

[3] Velocity:

Cruise: warp 7.

Maximum sustained cruise: TBD.

Maximum: warp 9.5.

[4] Ship has cloaking ability (2 second cycle time). While a ship is cloaking/uncloaking it is essentially defenseless.

[2.14] Klingon Vor’cha Class Attack Cruiser (KVC)(insufficient data):

[2.15] Dominion Destroyer Class (DDC) (Insufficient data):

This is the ship encountered by USS Valiant.

[2.16] Dominion Warship Class (DWC):

This is the medium size Dominion ship (which is actually slightly larger than a GCS).

[1] Weapons:

Polaron Beam:

Forward: 1000 MW.

Side (p/s): 250 MW.

Aft: 600 MW.

Actual distribution and firing arcs of emitters is currently unknown.


2 launchers (f/a).

Launchers may fire up to 10 torpedoes per impulse.

Launcher cycle time is 5 seconds.

200 torps, 10% of which are probes.


This class acts as a mothership to between 6-12 Dominion attack ships.

[2] Shields:


PEDR: 800 MW.

Maximum: 3.63x106 MW for 170 ms (2.14x107 MJ).

Backup: Unknown.

[3] Velocity:

Cruise: warp 6.

Maximum sustained cruise: TBD.

Maximum: warp 9.6.

[2.17] Dominion Attack Ship (DAS):

These are the "fighters" regularly encountered by the Defiant.

[1] Weapons:

Polaron Beam:

Forward: 75 MW.


2 launchers(fwd).

Launchers may fire up to 3 torpedoes per impulse.

20 torpedoes carried.

[2] Shields:


PEDR: 130 MW.

Maximum: 5.9x105 MW for 170 ms (3.5x106 MJ).

Backup: Unknown.

[3] Velocity:

Cruise: warp 6.

Maximum sustained cruise: TBD.

Maximum: warp 9.

[2.18] Cardassian Galor Class (CGC):

This is the standard Cardassian warship, first encountered in TNG (I believe it was in Casualties of War?). They seemed to be rather weak, posing a limited Threat to a GCS in a one-on-one situation.

[1] Weapons:

Phasers (classification unknown):

Forward: 800 MW.

Port/Starboard: 150 MW.

Aft: 150 MW.


2 launchers, 1 fwd, 1 aft.

Launchers may fire up to 3 torps per impulse.

100 torps carried.

[2] Shields:


PEDR: 520 MW.

Maximum: 2.32x106 MW for 170 ms (1.36x107 MJ).

Backup: Unknown.

[3] Velocity:

Cruising: TBD.

Maximum sustained cruise: TBD.

Maximum: Warp 9.5.

[2.19] Romulan Warbird A (RWA) (Insufficient data):

Warbirds are about twice the size of a GCS and are powered by artificial singularities. They represent a significant threat.

[2.20] Romulan Warbird B (RWB) (Insufficient data):

D’deridex class, a more powerful, faster version of the RWA.

[2.21] Romulan Battlecruiser (RBC) (Insufficient data):

Seen briefly in Tears of the Prophets, looks like a Warbird with the lower hull section removed.

[2.22] Romulan Scout Ship (RSS) (Insufficient data):

[2.23] Borg Cubeship:

Your guess is as good as mine. Can withstand attack from a minimum of 35-40 conventional starships while destroying the attackers.


Section 3: Weapon/Shield Interactions and Considerations

This section is concerned with how weapons effect shields (and vice versa). Weapon and tactical system functions are discussed and examples are provided for clarification.

[3.1] Phaser Operations and Considerations.

[1] As noted previously, phasers are particle beam weapons (unlike lasers). Phasers utilize what is called the rapid nadion effect (RNE). Phasers essentially suppress or eliminate the bonds between particles, causing the disintegration of the target and the release of the binding energy (usually in the form of an explosion). Phaser power output, beam width, frequency, and disintegrative effect (SEM:NDF ratio) are adjustable. This means that phasers can be used as weapons, as a means of energy transmission for power transfers, as a non-destructive weapon (stun settings), and as an adjunct to sensors for active sensing.

[2] The phaser is Starfleet’s primary STL tactical system.

[3] Phasers are not currently effective in the warp regime. The presence of subspace/warp fields causes significant interference with the beam, causing a substantial loss in beam strength and coherence. In addition, because the beam propagates at c, hit probabilities versus FTL opponents are significantly reduced in most types of FTL engagements. Research is currently underway to provide means for utilizing phasers in FTL combat.

[4] Phasers have a maximum effective tactical range of 300,000 km.


Beam parameters are determined by the tactical systems (computer) in accordance with the combination of crew directives, known Threat defensive capabilities, current ship capabilities, and active tactical protocols.

The tactical system coordinates with the flight control systems in order to determine which emitter arrays bear on the target and what particular maneuvers will be necessary to achieve the intended effect.

Real-time FTL data acquisition and target tracking is provided by the applicable sensing instruments in the long and short range sensor packages. Predictive routines are used to determine potential Threat maneuvers (evasive or otherwise) and defensive actions. Beam parameters, aim point, emission point(s), and flight control are coordinated to maximize beam dwell time on the target (in the case of weapons application).

This semi-autonomous operation allows the rapid, hands-off tactical employment of phasers. This rapidity is critical due to the rapid pace of combat engagements, the rapid and constant change in engagement parameters, and the potential high velocities involved even in STL engagements. A solely human controlled and directed employment of the weapons would be significantly less effective and should only be attempted in the face of a complete failure of the tactical system.

The phaser beam may pass one way through the firing ship’s shield due to EM polarization of the beam. This means that the Threat cannot use information gather on phaser parameters to adjust their weapons to penetrate the ship’s shield.

[6] Example:

This example is intended to show the effects of phasers against current defensive systems and is not intended as a realistic example of the tactical employment of phasers.

Parameters: An ICS is used as the target, with a GCS as the firing ship. Relative velocity is 0, range is 100,000 km. GCS is oriented so as to bring all ventral phaser arrays to bear on the target. Weapons will be fired at full power and the ICS will perform no evasive maneuvers. Optimal efficiency of the shield versus the weapon employed is assumed.

GCS opens fire with the port nacelle pylon array (output 50 MW). Continuous beam contact is maintained with the target. Beam output is approximately 15% of PEDR, so the shield handles this input easily.

GCS maintains fire from port nacelle pylon and adds fire from the starboard nacelle pylon (another 15% of PEDR). ICS shields continue to hold at 70%.

GCS ceases fire from nacelle pylons and opens fire with the saucer ventral array (816 MW). This is approximately 250% of PEDR and shield begins to overload. There may be localized penetration of the deflector shield at the point of contact. Additional beam inputs at shield locations other than of the primary contact are likely to cause localized penetrations. Energy buildup begins in shield. Total shield collapse will occur in approximately 283 seconds. It is most likely, however, that localized penetration of the shield will cause sufficient damage to destroy or disable the target prior to shield collapse occurring.

With all ventral arrays firing with continuous beam contact (1221 MW) aimed at a single point on the shield, total shield collapse will occur in 189 seconds. Again, localized shield failure and penetration is likely to cause target destruction prior to total shield collapse.

[7] Tactical Notes:

While phasers are the primary STL weapon system, they are most effective when used in combination with other weapons such as ptorps or qtorps. As the example above shows, target destruction with phasers alone can take long periods of time, if the targets defenses are optimized against the phasers. It is not reasonable to assume that beam contact can necessarily be maintained for long enough to insure target destruction.

Phasers are used in combination with torpedoes in a tactic called "dimpling." Phasers are used to weaken the shield, allowing the torpedo to penetrate into the shield prior to detonation. Torpedo detonation inside the shield substantially increases the effective yield of the weapon and may result in the outright destruction of the target.

Phasers may also be used to disable a ship via the targeting of selected systems or components (such as engines, sensors, or major structural members). This tactic requires local penetration of the shield.

Another potential tactic is to use one phaser beam to "freeze" the target’s shield parameters (the shield will attempt to optimize its parameters against the impacting weapon) and use another phaser beam with (usually radically) different parameters to penetrate the shield. This particular approach is most effective against older or less agile shield systems and has little efficacy against multiphasic shields.

When a beam is in contact with a shield, shield power tends to become localized in the area of beam contact. This increases the possibility of a beam in contact in another location of achieving localized penetration of the shield.

The above example demonstrates a situation where the shield is fully optimized against the weapon in contact. If the shield parameters are not sufficiently optimized against the weapon being employed, shield collapse may occur much more quickly. If sufficient mismatch between weapon and shield parameters exist, the shield may have no effect against the weapon, allowing the shield to be essentially ignored. One of the primary goals of the tactical officer and tactical system is to determine or fix Threat shield parameters and then adjust weapon parameters to increase weapons effectiveness. This tactic is less effective against multiphasic shields.

[3.2] Torpedo Operations and Considerations:

[1] Torpedoes are the most powerful weapons currently available to Federation starships. This power, in combination with the torpedo’s fire and forget capability and range (and as the only currently warp regime weapon available), makes the torpedo a particular useful weapon in situations where multiple targets are being engaged and/or when target destruction rather than neutralization is desired.

[2] The Federation currently uses two types of torpedoes: photon torpedoes (ptorps) and quantum torpedoes (qtorps). Each type has its own particular strengths and tactical considerations associated with it. Starfleet is currently in the process of shifting over to utilization of the qtorp only and the current situation represents a transitional stage.

[3] Both types of torpedo have the same maximum effective tactical range of 3.5m km. Sensor, tracking, and control packages are the same for each type, as well.

[4] Photon Torpedo:

The ptorp utilizes a m/a warhead. This warhead has a variable yield (which is determined by anti-matter (AM) mass loading and range traversed to target).

Effective warhead yield is the result of a number of factors, the most important of these being warhead loading, proximity of weapon to target on detonation, and weapon transit time/range.

Maximum warhead AM load is 1.5 kg, which gives a maximum theoretical yield of 1.35x108 Gigajoules (the equivalent of a 50 Megaton fusion explosion).

Proximity affects effective warhead yield due to the fact that the energy released in the m/a reaction is subject to the inverse square rule. A fully loaded warhead that explodes 1000 m away from the target has a proximity adjusted yield of 135 GJ (equivalent to 50 tons of TNT). The same warhead detonating at a range of 10,000 m has a proximity adjusted yield of 1.35 GJ (equivalent to 1000 pounds of TNT).

Transit range affects warhead yield because the AM loaded for the warhead is also used to power the warp sustainer coils that provide the torpedo with its maneuverability. Transit to full tactical range (3.5m km) consumes 0.75 kg of AM, reducing warhead yield by half (if full warhead loading is used).

Transit time affects effective warhead yield because the torpedo arming circuits require 1.02 seconds for optimal mixing of the warhead components to insure maximum yield. If weapon transit time is less than 1.02 seconds, effective warhead yield will be substantially reduced—by up to three orders of magnitude (a factor of 1000--the duration of the m/a reaction will be extended due to incomplete mixing of the warhead components—the same amount of energy will be released, the release will simply take place over a longer period of time. With proper component mixing, the reaction is essentially instantaneous). Warhead component mixing can be accomplished in the launch mechanism, but this substantially increases the danger to the ship should a launcher casualty occur.

[5] Quantum Torpedo:

The qtorp has no warhead, per se. Instead, the qtorp utilizes a zero point energy device to trigger an energy release equivalent to that produced by the m/a warhead on the ptorp. This means that effective warhead yield is not a function of weapon transit range or transit time. Effective yield is determined solely by detonation proximity and selected yield (yield level is programmable). There is, however an arming delay built into the torpedo as a safety precaution (to prevent inadvertent damage to the launching ship). The length of this arming delay is a function of torp launch velocity and is determined by the tactical system at launch. As with the ptorp, weapon maneuverability is provided by sustainer coils that derive their power from a m/a power cell.

[6] Torpedo Guidance:

Torpedoes are semi-autonomous weapons. They may be controlled by either direct subspace link by the tactical system or by onboard seeking and control systems (fire and forget). If weapon velocity is low enough and transit time long enough (usually in STL engagements) it is possible for the Tactical Officer to manually direct the torpedo to a target (manual mid-course correction).

Torpedo guidance packages use a variety of parameters for guidance (depending upon guidance package installed and system programming). Torpedoes also possess home-on-jam capability.

[7] Torpedo Countermeasures:

A number of torpedo countermeasures are available, ranging from simple jamming of torpedo sensor systems to the use of decoys (also torpedoes or probes; but with the addition of an emissions ECM package in place of the warhead package—usually only used by capital ships due to stowage limitations) to intercept of incoming weapons by phasers (STL only) and torpedoes. Torpedo intercepts during high warp engagements are essentially impossible given the response times inherent in contemporary tracking, decision cycle, and launch systems (the launch system being the limiting component).

[8] Tactical Notes:

Torpedoes (torps) are area effect weapons and are not intended for precision attacks against planetside targets or individual ship systems/components.

While torps possess a high degree of accuracy in certain engagement envelopes (when deployed in STL combat at shorter ranges (below 500,000 km) or at velocities less than or equal to warp 2 CEP (Circular Error Probable) is 100 m), they are less accurate at higher warp factors or if weapon flight time is less than 1 second (CEP of 1000 m or more, depending upon the specifics of the situation)—unless they are utilized in a direct fire mode (target is less than or equal to +/- 10 degrees off of launcher axis).

[9] Example:

This example is intended to show the effects of torpedoes against current defensive systems and is not intended as a realistic example of the tactical employment of torpedoes.

Parameters: A GCS is the firing ship with an ICS once again the target. Ships are at rest relative to each other and maintaining a steady course. Velocity is 0.25c. ICS shields are optimized against weapons employed. Range is 500, 000 km. Full warhead AM loading is used.

GCS fires one ptorp, proximity fused to detonate 5000 m from target. Ptorp velocity is 75,000 km/sec. Weapon flight time is ~6.67 seconds.

Ptorp detonates 5000 m from target with an effective yield of 4500 MJ.(0.05% of shield capacity). No effect.

GCS fires 1 ptorp, proximity fused to detonate 500 m from target. Ptorp velocity and flight time unchanged.

Ptorp detonates 500 m from target with an effective yield of 4.5x105 MJ (5% of shield capacity). No effect.

GCS fires 1 ptorp, impact fused. Ptorp velocity and flight time unchanged.

Ptorp detonates on shield contact with an effective yield of 1.125x1011 MJ (12,755 times the shield capacity). Target suffers catastrophic shield collapse and is destroyed.

[3.3] Shield Operations and Considerations:

[1] Basic shield function was discussed in Section 1. It is important to remember that the tactical system will continually adjust shield parameters to insure that the shield cannot be bypassed by specifically tuned Threat weapons and (a conflicting goal) to maximize shield efficiency against weapons being employed against the shield. The priority given to each goal will be determined by the Threat profile (how much the system knows about Threat capabilities).

NOTE: In the episodes, the crew often refers to separate shields (forward shield, aft shield, etc.). It is indeed possible to operate the shielding system in this manner—however, given that the shields operate in parallel phase lock during alert conditions (in order to increase the defensive power of the shield), it seems likely that the shield, at alert condition, is unitary—there are no separate forward, port , or aft shields, etc. What seems likely is that the shield is able to divert power to specific areas of the unitary shield (where weapons are in contact), depriving the rest of the shield of power (except for some minimum amount). Thus, a phaser beam impacting on the aft shield would "attract" power from the other sections of the shield in order to repulse the attack. Operating the shields as isolated units would significantly weaken the defense of the ship and is probably not Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).

Multiphasic shields (MP shields) are a fairly recent innovation in defensive systems (first full-scale operational deployment in Sovereign Class ships). MP shields operate in a similar manner to standard shields, however, the MP shield is made up of multiple layers (nested shields) each of which has its own set of parameters which varies from the parameters of the other layers. This arrangement has several advantages:

The outer layer of the shield masks the inner layers from Threat analysis, making weapon tuning to bypass the shield all but impossible;

Layers can be specifically tuned to protect against specific weapons or forms of radiation, etc., making the overall efficiency of the shield much higher and the shield as a whole much more difficult to penetrate than a standard shield;

The additional layers provide the ability to cover a larger range of parameters—increasing the frequency and bandwidth ranges covered by the shield; and

The inner layers provide protection in the event of weapons burn-through of the outer layers.

[2] Overall shield strength is determined by generator numbers and capacity, not the shielded volume (size of the shield). Increasing the size of the shielded volume will weaken the shield at all points (spreading the same shielding capacity over a larger surface area), while decreasing the shielded volume will strengthen the shield at all points. It is possible to alter shield size and shape, but is generally not a good idea except in emergencies.

[3] Tactical Example:

The following is a simplified tactical example intended to demonstrate how the tactical systems function in something approaching an actual combat engagement.

Parameters: ICS is on course 045.0 at 0.25c. Ship is at alert status and weapons and shields are hot. A DAS is approaching on bearing 010.005, v=0.30c, weapons and shields hot, range 4m km.

T=0: ICS comes to course 055.005 and attempts to maintain bearing 000.0 to DAS in order to minimize target aspect and torpedo CEP. Relative velocity with DAS is now 0.55c. Ships will reach the outer edge of the torp envelope in ~3 seconds.

T=3 sec: Outer edge of torp envelope. DAS fires a full salvo of torps (6) at edge of envelope. Time to impact is 10.6 seconds if ICS maintains course and speed. Torp velocity is ~0.30c. (torp is moving an additional 225 m/sec faster than the DAS). DAS breaks 45 degrees to port to gain separation from torp.

T=4 sec: ICS breaks to starboard (90 degree turn) and commences active ECM against incoming torps.

T=5 sec: DAS turns into DCS to close range. Launchers will complete reload in 3 seconds. Range is now ~3.25m km. ICS fwd port launcher fires 3 decoys configured to emit false ICS signatures (on three separate courses). ICS course change to match DAS, placing DAS at 180.0 relative. Relative velocity with DAS is now 0.05c. Time to intercept is 217 seconds. DAS torps will go ballistic prior to reaching ICS (ICS will have moved out of effective tactical range). ICS maintains speed to allow DAS closure.

T=155 sec: DAS has closed to 1m km range. ICS fires full salvo from aft launcher (3 torps). Torp velocity is ~0.25c, relative velocity to DAS is 0.55c. Weapon flight time is ~3 seconds if DAS maintains course and speed.

T=156 sec: DAS breaks 90 degrees to port and commences evasive maneuvers and active ECM, torp impact now in ~9 seconds

T=165 sec: DAS manages to decoy 1 torp, second torp detonates 5000 m aft of DAS, third detonates 1000 m to starboard of DAS. Torp yield is 1.13 x1011 MJ. Effective yield of torp 2 is 4520 MJ (no effect). Effective yield of torp 3 is 1.13x105 MJ (no effect—about 3% of DAS maximum capacity).

T=166 sec: DAS returns to intercept course for ICS and accelerates to 0.65c, range is still ~1m km (keeping the math simple). ICS adjusts course to maintain DAS at 180.0 relative, relative velocity is 0.40, time to intercept is 8 seconds.

T=170 sec: ICS breaks 90 degrees port and fires full salvo from aft and stbd launchers (6 torps). Weapon flight time is 2.6 seconds. DAS returns fire, weapon flight time 3.3 sec. ICS initiates WPS.

T=171 sec: DAS initiates WPS.

T=172 sec: ICS reaches warp 1

T=172.6 sec: All six torps detonate (but I only show the result of three), torp 1 at 1500 m torp 2 at 500 m, torp 3 at shield impact. Warhead yield is 1.25x1011 MJ. Effective yield of torp 1 is 55,556 MJ (no effect—about 1.5%), effective yield of torp 2 is 460,000 MJ (12%--no effect), effective yield of torp 3 is 1.25x1011 MJ which is 35,714 times DAS shield max capacity. DAS suffers catastrophic shield collapse and is destroyed.

T=173 sec: ICS has avoided torps fired by DAS (due to acceleration to warp and outrunning the torps). Engagement concluded.

[4] Analysis:

This example is not, strictly speaking, realistic. It is unlikely that STL combat would occur at extended ranges (beyond 1m km) due to excessive weapon flight time, allowing extensive deployment of countermeasures, evasive maneuvers, and even moving beyond the effective range of the incoming weapon(s). The extended engagement range is used to show the ineffectiveness of long range attacks in the STL regime.

What is most likely is that one or both of the ships would approach at low warp in order to close the range. In deep space (where the likelihood of colliding with massive objects such as planets is lower), it is likely that the engagement would remain FTL rather than dropping into the STL regime. This would be particularly advantageous for the ICS with its more powerful torp armament and greater velocity capability.

This particular situation is a mismatch due to the ICS possessing superior ECM, decoy capability (due to larger torp load and more launchers), and more powerful sensors and control systems. These advantages are a result of the ICS’ greater size and internal volume (bigger is better). DAS advantages are greater maneuverability (especially STL) and being a smaller target.

It is easy to outrun STL torpedoes if the ship is in alert status and the proper preparations have been made. A torp launched STL cannot accelerate to the FTL regime. It is merely necessary for the target to engage its WPS, extend out of the torps effective range and then turn to re-engage.



Section 4: Propulsion and Maneuvers:

This section is concerned with propulsion plant operations and ship maneuvering in tactical situations. Basic knowledge and understanding of the WPS, IPS and RCS are assumed.

[4.1] IPS Operation:

[1] During alert condition, all available IPS modules and auxiliary reactors will be placed on-line in order to provide enhanced maneuverability and additional power for ships systems (particularly tactical systems).

[2] IPS operation will be limited to full impulse (0.25c) as per SOP, when possible due to the negative effects of time dilation on tactical system response times.

NOTE: the Tech Manual states that the IPS provides accelerations considerably in excess of 1000g’s. I read this as meaning that IPS accelerations are greater than 1000g’s, but less than 2000g’s (otherwise they would say in excess or up to 2000g’s). I assume a flat figure of 1500g’s. At this acceleration it would take a starship 93 seconds to accelerate to 0.25c (or to decelerate from 0.25c to rest). While fast by contemporary standards, this is slow in a tactical environment where weapon flight times can be as low as 2 seconds. Starships maneuver more like airliners than fighter planes (contrary to what we see Defiant do on the TV screen).

[4.2] WPS Operation:

[1] During alert condition while operating STL, the WPS will remain in hot standby at 100% rated power in order to provide power for ship’s systems and weapons and to allow rapid initiation of warp flight for evasive and escape maneuvers.

NOTE: After reading the Tech Manual and noting that: 1) the WPS does not transmit direct acceleration forces to the ship structure or crew (that is, it is reactionless); 2) apparent mass of the ship is reduced in warp flight; and 3) maneuverability in warp is a function of warp field geometry and pulse repetition frequency (which are computer controlled and can be manipulated very rapidly); it seems logical to me to assume that maneuverability is higher in the warp regime for most ships than it is in the STL regime—changes of direction can be more abrupt and the degree of change greater. The only consideration being that it takes more actual space to perform the maneuvers, due to the much higher velocity involved.

[2] It is also important to remember that STL velocity is conserved upon entry into warp flight. That means that upon exit from warp, the ship will continue to travel at the same velocity it was traveling at when it entered warp.

[4.3] Decoupled Maneuvering (STL regime):

[1] People (especially the writers for ST) tend to forget Newton’s Laws of Motion. It is these laws that make decoupled maneuvering possible. Objects at rest will tend to remain at rest (barring the application of an outside force); objects in motion will tend to remain in motion, at the same velocity, unless acted upon by an outside force; for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. It should be noted that the term velocity is NOT the same as speed. Velocity implies direction as well as speed. A speed is 0.25c, a velocity is 0.25c on course 010.0.

[2] Once a ship reaches a stated velocity it is free to reorient itself (point the bow in various and sundry directions)and still maintain the baseline course. This means that you can point your weapons in any direction in all three planes and continue moving in your original direction. The computer control only serves to make this easier.

[3] Example:

You are on a DCS that is engaging a stationary target. You approach the target with a 10 degree offset (passing just off of its port side) at 0.1c. You lock the targeting system onto the target, telling the system to maintain fire until target destruction or you pass out of effective range. As you approach and pass by, the targeting system interfaces with flight control to keep the weapons bearing on the target, thus the ship yaws to port in order to maintain target (and you ultimately end up facing almost directly aft from your direction of flight once you pass the target). All the while you: 1) continue to travel along your original vector; and 2) don’t have to apply acceleration to continue moving along that vector (unless you have to overcome an external force such as gravity or a tractor beam). Once you get moving, you keep moving. Constant acceleration is neither necessary or desired.

[4] Decoupled maneuvering is (as I currently understand it) NOT possible in warp. Constant acceleration needs to be applied to maintain warp velocities. Ship reorientation could only occur through manipulation of the warp field 9altering the axis of flight relative to ship orientation). This could, theoretically, be done—but would likely take a highly skilled flight control officer and intensive activity on the part of the flight control subsystem of the computer.

[4.4] Basic Maneuvering Terminology:

[1] I tend to use terms that are comfortable to me and that are derived from a number of contemporary military sources. Here is a brief list in order to minimize confusion.

Port (your left, when facing forward).

Starboard (your right, when facing forward).

Break turn or break: a turn of 90 degrees or more made in order to avoid or evade attack or to better your tactical position.

Extend: to increase the range between you and the Threat in order to avoid attack (run away) or to reposition yourself in order to re-engage in more advantageous circumstances.

Reciprocal Course: going head to head with the Threat on a direct intercept (Threat course is 180.0, yours is 000.0).

Matching Course: mirroring the Threat course to maintain separation (Threat is on course 100.10, you are on course 100.10).

Off Axis Intercept: The ship is on an indirect course that will place it in position to engage the Threat on a matching course at a pre-selected separation and position.


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