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Old January 4 2013, 09:38 PM   #42
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Caseless Torpedoes

Timo wrote: View Post
As for "leaving it where it was," I doubt the sensor would have done much good if they left it in a storage locker somewhere.
A sensor known to be capable of charting gaseous anomalies is in fact incapable of doing that unless installed inside the torpedo tube?
Correct. Sort of like this thing, which is capable of tracking thermal anomalies, but would be incapable of doing so unless it was installed on a gunsight.

You know where you probably WOULDN'T stick an infrared sensor? On the actual bullet.

Except... where's the torpedo, then? Invisible?
Huh? Torpedoes are always blatantly visible, as fireballs several meters across.
Yet no physical casing is ever present in front of or in the center of those fireballs. And since as far back as TOS it was shown that entirely non-physical energy bolts can be guided, there goes our last reason to believe a physical casing ever leaves the tube.

The Class 1 or Class A probes are somewhat different in that their comparable fireball is distinctly around the aft part of the instrument, not all around it.
Not even partially around it. The glow is distinctly AFT of the device and is visibly the exhaust plume of an engine mounted on the rear of the device. From visuals in TNG as it just leaves the tube, the probe is either the same size or only slightly larger than a photon torpedo casing.

Far more importantly, 22nd century spatial torpedoes are SMALLER than photon torpedoes. In flight, spatial torpedoes look like this. You can see the missile at the front of a large exhaust plume from its engines; thus spatial torpedoes visibly work similar to probes. Contrast with photonic torpedoes, where the casing is never visible despite the fact that the photonic casing is almost twice as large as the spatial torpedo. Even more interesting is the fact that photonic torpedoes do not even use the same loading mechanisms as spatial torpedoes, and may not even fire from the same tubes, despite the fact that a physical launch tube for photonic torpedoes is never seen on NX-01's CG model. Which means either the launch tube for the photonics is too small to be seen (a couple of inches across, maybe?) or photonic torpedoes are capable of being fired from a spatial torpedo tube without being physically LOADED there.

There's nothing wrong with the idea of the coffin thing being hidden by the glare of the glowing (propulsive?) thing.
Sure... if the coffin thing is shrunken down to the size of a basketball, which is what would be required in the case of a photon torpedo.

Two points of disagreement there: lack of evidence of any sort of intent on the part of the makers of TOS, one way or the other - and the obvious advantages of simply making TOS compatible with the bulk of the evidence, rather than vice versa.
That's my point: TOS is already largely compatible with later productions even with an aphysical torpedo casing. It turns out the only real outliers are the Nicholas Myers productions that envisioned photon torpedoes as physical missile-like weapon systems. Everything else -- including Probert, actually -- has treated them like projected energy weapons with an expendable ammo supply.

Considering Myers only added the casing in the first place because he wanted to give the cadets something interesting to load into a tube when gearing up for battle, why not take his Hornblower analogy even further and imagine that as the loading of a cannon shell and not an actual missile?

How is that relevant? The craft firing those fireballs couldn't have carried coffin-sized projectiles anyway
Actually there's ample room for at least one, tucked into the nose section behind the circular launch tube on the physical model. Not much room for a second or a third, but if a single casing can fire multiple times it would make sense for those fighters.

The much bigger question facing you is why the Maquis wouldn't have mounted those torpedoes EXTERNALLY on wing-mounted hardpoints. The nosecone launcher would have room for at most three torpedoes, but underwing hardpoints could store a dozen of them, especially if they were truly the self-contained fire and forget weapons you think they are.

You can't claim such a thing. What they gave us is physical enough
So is a phaser beam, but nobody's claiming that phasers are fast-moving and incredibly long metal rods that are being extended to whack their targets.

And the sparkling continued at the point of impact, spreading over the victim. A special feature of this special weapon
Then why do photon torpedoes have this exact same feature?

No, it's a thousand times more likely that the Klingon torpedo is the same basic weapon as a Starfleet photon torpedo.

Perhaps that's what torpedo "launchers" always do - wrap the projectile in that (propulsive?) field...
It's likely this is EXACTLY what they do. The question is whether the actual weapon is the pill-shaped casing sitting in the tube, or the propulsive field itself. If the latter, then the casing is just an expendable fuel cell and control module that can be discarded (and probably recycled) after firing.

The fact that we have never seen torpedoes being "drop launched" like missiles is significant. But the fact that they can be fired from things that don't have proper launch tubes is also significant. The casing ITSELF is the important element here: it's not a missile, but it's not a directed energy weapon either. It's more like a recoiless rifle that fires an energy bolt instead of a bullet.
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