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Old January 2 2013, 07:38 PM   #36
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Caseless Torpedoes

Timo wrote: View Post
Data says these are "the new photon torpedoes"
...Worf says this, and proceeds to tell the explosive yield has been increased by 11%. This indicates there existed an eariler, "old" torpedo with the lower yield, and thus nothing much is necessarily new about these things, save of course for the two things Worf carefully specifies. That is, the improved-yield warhead and the enhanced targeting system, neither of which is worded as being all-new hardware.
Except it obviously IS new hardware, hence he calls them "the new torpedoes." What we don't know is what part of the hardware has to be recovered, and whether or not the hardware attachment is normal for torpedoes. It probably isn't, since we have never seen photon(ic) torpedoes accidentally go off course before. It actually appears that the physically-present guidance system (which fails) is a new technology, as is the self-destruct mechanism (which also fails) neither of which are common technology. And for good reason, evidently; in all the years of Star Trek we have never before or since seen a "dud" photon torpedo, which is bound to be a consequence if Starfleet starts using physical casings in all of its weapon systems.

And this is Starfleet we're talking about; leaving unexploded ordinance lying around has got to be a MASSIVE no-no for them.

This is extremely implausible, as the sensor in the torpedo is the element capable of sniffing out Chang's ship. If a device sitting aboard the starship were the element telling where the torpedo should strike, then there would be no point at all in installing it inside the torpedo casing.
The element sitting on the ship would be the guidance system itself, like the launch tube for a TOW missile with the cable trailing behind it. In this case, a computer-guided tow missile, taking its instructions from the sensors in the launcher (modern heavy torpedoes do exactly this, although they're linked to the SHIP'S sensors until they enter their terminal phase).

We don't have any evidence that a quantum torpedo would be anything but a photon torpedo re-warheaded, as no q-torps are ever shown.
Actually we see a quantum torpedo casing in "The Valiant" and it looks more or less exactly like a photon torpedo. Significantly, quantum torpedoes are VISUALLY distinct from photon torpedoes and are fired from distinct launch tubes as well, implying an entirely different type of delivery system regardless of the warhead used.

We do know that things called "photon grenades" also exist, though. What might be common between them and the torpedoes if not the warhead? Or is the naming just a coincidence?
There's the fact that photon grenades do not appear to EXPLODE as such, but emit a very bright flash that stuns/incapacitates things around them (I may be misremembering, but I can recall one case where a photon grenade is tossed into a room, detonated, and then picked up by a MACO who promptly sticks it back in his pocket).

Photon torpedoes would work on a similar principle, except instead of simply emitting the energy pulse in all directions, the pulse is condensed in the launch tube and then hurled at a distant target to deliver its effects downrange. The guidance system for such an energy pulse would be difficult to conceptualize; OTOH, we already know from Nomad and V'ger that such systems are not unheard of, or even that unusual.

But we see that physically it is the same casing.
It's the same SIZE AND SHAPE, yes. But the Class 8 probe does not use the same casing as its 24th century counterparts. They are, in fact, two completely different systems despite their similarities.

That's a common occurrence, though. Some rocket-assisted cannon shells bear an uncanny resemblance to ordinary rockets.

Different stages of flight would suffice as an explanation with verisimilitude; many missiles of today also operate by boosting and coasting.
Photon torpedoes -- as far as we can tell from 27 seasons of television and 11 feature films -- don't.

Why dissolve at launch?
Because then you won't have to use any energy from the bolt to heat up the payload. Since the average torpedo flight time under combat conditions is three to six seconds, there isn't enough time for a molten mass to cool down in flight, even if the torpedo itself doesn't contain the heat anyway.

in that case, photon torpedoes would be a projected-energy weapon, a type of directed energy that can be controlled from a distance.
But the point of ST6:TUC is that the torpedo is not controlled from a distance: it controls itself, and does the job of the heroes for them.
And yet, the casing hardly needs to be IN SPACE to do that. And much like TWOK, it doesn't APPEAR to be there anyway. As usual for the TOS movies, the glowing core of the torpedo is smaller than the actual casing would be and isn't large enough to hide a two-meter projectile. It could hide something much SMALLER, possibly, but not the entire casing, not by a longshot.
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