From the old Epiphany Trek website and discussions on star trek online, I sort of grabbed hold to the forty thousand ship figure for the 24th century Starfleet. Covering the spectrum from patrol cutters, up to the Galaxy Classes. With the majority being relatively small, cutters and destroyers. And then a minority of the fleet being "the big boys." These would be Starfleet's combat capable ships,
In addition to that, tens of thousands of Starfleet science vessels and various support ships. Including runabouts.
Ian Keldon wrote:
(Remember, the Federation sphere of influence extends throughout most of the Alpha Quadrant.)
Hmm, yes and no. Picard said the Fed was spread across 8,000 light years. The galaxy is 100,000 light years across, so a one quarter pie slice is pretty damn big.
The Federation is about two and a half percent of one quadrant of the galaxy. But they likely do have some degree of "influence" outside their own domain.
Personally, I think Picard's eight thousand light years is entirely inside of the Orion Arm of the galaxy.