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Write the secoWritten by Joel Katten
The basic tactical systems of any modern vessel in Starfleet, ranging from shuttlecraft, to starships, to even cargo ships, are their defensive and offensive weapon systems. All Starfleet vessels are equipped with some sort of deflector shielding and at least an energy based weapon. The shields use a force-field of varying frequencies to protect against physical and energy based attacks and should not be confused with the Navigational Deflector. Starfleet offensive weapon systems have varied over the years, but standard armament for starships has consistently been a combination of phaser banks and arrays (ships and stations), the modern pulse phaser cannon, and various types of [projectile] torpedoes.
Offensive Weapon SystemsEdit
The standard and most basic Starfleet weapon is the Phaser, which stands for Phased Energy Rectification. All Starfleet phasers are based around the short bursts of nadion particles and are fired at sub-light speeds (thus they cannot be fired at warp speeds). On both ship and hand phasers, the intensity of the beam is adjustable, producing a variety of effects.
Early phaser designs favored small numbers of singular emitters firing in short beams or bursts of phased energy. The Ambassador-class starship was the first class to be fitted with the ‘phaser array’, a grouping of many emitters which are able to cover a much wider arc than the typical single emitter. The phaser pulse was redesigned and modernized to the pulse phasers, which use several emitters firing at once to form the final phased energy bursts. The pulse phaser design was first implemented on the Defiant-class starships.
The standard torpedo systems were designed as a high-explosive, projectile based alternative to the directed-energy phasers. They are a versatile and powerful weapon, and usually can be modified to almost any situation, even non-combat operations (probes). They are fired after a target is acquired via an automatically-loading torpedo launching system. Torpedoes are the only weapon that can be fired while at warp speeds.
Standard issue modern Starfleet torpedoes have a 1.5 kg charge of matter and anti-matter which combine on impact for an output of 25 isotons (the equivalent of a 64.41 mega-ton blast at 100% efficiency). More modern but less standard Mark 6 torpedoes can have a yield of up to 200 isotons. Torpedoes are versatile in that they can be fired in patterns which allow multiple systems to be hit at once, or for several simultaneous hits on one key system.
In recent years, the invention of the quantum torpedo has made the standard issue Starfleet torpedoes nearly obsolete. They use a zero-point energy module along with an advanced standard torpedo warhead to yield standard outputs of 50 isotons and greater. In addition, the zero-point energy incorporated in the devices decreases the effective damage dispersal of an enemies shield system, adding further efficiency and effectiveness over standard photon torpedoes.
Once manufacturing difficulties and the streamlining of the creation process for quantum torpedoes are improved, it is intended for them to become Starfleet’s standard issue projectile weapon on all starships.
Defensive Weapon SystemsEdit
Starship shields are created either via a ‘deflector dish’ as in the navigational deflector or through a network of shielding emitters laid out over the primary and secondary hull. Older shield configurations created a deflector field several meters off the ships hull, while most modern starships shields are projected in an elliptical form around the ship’s hull. In emergency situations, shield’s shapes can be altered to extend around nearby ships at the cost of shield strength and effectiveness.
Shields effectively block most incoming matter and energy emissions using a highly concentrated graviton field. This field is emitted at a certain frequency and any energy or matter not matched to it is effectively blocked while draining energy from the shield proportionate to the force of the energy/matter attack. Matter and energy matching a shield’s frequency effectively and effortlessly passes through said shield – this is how a starship/starbase is able to fire out through its own shields.
Shielding systems are also subject to several design weaknesses. As the entire hull of a ship is typically shielded, the grids in the exhaust path of the impulse engines are intentionally weaker than the rest of the shields to allow the gases to escape into space. Shields must also be momentarily lowered if a shuttlecraft or other smaller ship wishes to dock with said ship or station. Lastly, the weapon systems of certain races, specifically the Borg, are quick to detect and adapt to shield frequencies. Therefore, employing a rotating frequency modulation strategy against such weapons is standard procedure.
There are also several experimental shield concepts in development, most of which are barrowed from other species’ designs. These include regenerative shielding, metaphasic shielding, temporal shielding, and unimatrix shielding just to name a few.
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