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Old December 30 2012, 12:29 PM   #1
Lighthammer
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Anyone have any good reason for ship registry changes?

The ship we've followed throughout most of Star Trek is the USS Enterprise that maintains the registry number NCC-1701 with a suffix change indicating linage.

Does anyone have a really good explanation why other federation ships that have known long lineages don't follow this registry format?

I can, to a degree, make sense of registry changes when the ship becomes an entirely different class. To that end I can understand rationalize why the Constitution Defiant is NCC-1764 while the most recent Defiant of the Defiant Class is NCC-74205. However, in my mind it makes less sense when a ship name jumps classes. To me it seems logical that once the name Defiant is established as a Heavy Cruiser, the name would always be recycled for use of another heavy cruiser (unless perhaps, heavy cruisers are completely moth balled).

Can anyone give a better in universe explanation better then "They REEEEALLY liked the name and wanted to feature a ship with that name" ?
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Old December 30 2012, 12:44 PM   #2
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Anyone have any good reason for ship registry changes?

I'd think recycling the name alone would be enough of a tribute to past ships. I'm not so sure why the hull numbers in Trek are so prominent when transponders etc. give other vessels all the relevent details, and to alien ships the registry would have no meaning at all. It should say USS ENTERPRISE in big writing with a little NCC-1701 tucked away somewhere.

Apologies for the slight tangent.
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Old December 30 2012, 01:49 PM   #3
A'Tun-Te
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Re: Anyone have any good reason for ship registry changes?

When ships 'move a class' it could be they received an upgrade, albeit being already close to the previous/next class, putting it in the previous/next class.
A heavy Medium Cruiser could after upgrading weapon system become a light Heavy Cruiser, but still a Heavy Cruiser per set definition.

The name: the Enterprise linage kept it's name, for 2 reasons: each Enterprise came from the previous drawings, the previous Enterprise.
The 1701-B is based upon the 1701-A, the 1701-C on the 1701-B, and so on.
The A series was probably so good, the Federation figured to reuse it's base, where other ship types had likely a more intrusive overhaul.
Considering the story lines: the Enterprise WAS a bloody decent ship, a survivor (albeit this had a LOT more to do with the crews than the ship itself: even a super cruiser woud bite the dust vs a fighter if that super cruiser had a bunch of morons on board, right?).
As said by Mr. King: the Enterprise is a tribute to past Enterprise ships.

Why the name and the serial numbers are like humongous?
Well, a lot of Federation ship captains could be still blind idiots, maybe it's just for them, making sure (hopefully) they are not targeted by 'friendly foes' (read: friendly fire)?

As for the Defiants: Sir, comparing the previous Defiants with the NCC-74205 is like comparing apples with Abram tanks.
There simply is no compare, but two: both fly in outer space and have a heap of folks aboard. XD
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Old December 30 2012, 06:42 PM   #4
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Re: Anyone have any good reason for ship registry changes?

Its odd that Enterprise's registry has been reused so often. The US Navy has a lineage of Enterprises and they're CV-6, CVN-65, and (the future) CVN-80 NOT CV-6, CV-6-A, CV-6-B.
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Old December 30 2012, 08:10 PM   #5
A'Tun-Te
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Re: Anyone have any good reason for ship registry changes?

Using the A-B-C and on suffixes would be more logical, instead of issuing completely remakes of a type number.
Now, there's another thing however...
B-52: Bomber 52.
F-14: Fighter 14.
C-130: Carrier 130.
And so on.
Thus: CV and CVN are two different designations to a ship's capabilities/function.
Albeit, for ships I do not know their full function's name.
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Old December 30 2012, 08:51 PM   #6
The Mirrorball Man
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Re: Anyone have any good reason for ship registry changes?

EliyahuQeoni wrote: View Post
Its odd that Enterprise's registry has been reused so often. The US Navy has a lineage of Enterprises and they're CV-6, CVN-65, and (the future) CVN-80 NOT CV-6, CV-6-A, CV-6-B.
But there's no reason why Starfleet should do anything like the US Navy.
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Old December 30 2012, 09:28 PM   #7
C.E. Evans
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Re: Anyone have any good reason for ship registry changes?

Lighthammer wrote: View Post
The ship we've followed throughout most of Star Trek is the USS Enterprise that maintains the registry number NCC-1701 with a suffix change indicating linage.

Does anyone have a really good explanation why other federation ships that have known long lineages don't follow this registry format?
Because it's a Starfleet tradition to do that for Federation starships named Enterprise. It may have originally started with NCC-1701-A being done to honor NCC-1701, but with subsequent vessels it's more of just an Enterprise thing in general and a time-honored practice unique to Starfleet, IMO.
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Old December 30 2012, 09:48 PM   #8
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Re: Anyone have any good reason for ship registry changes?

Using the A-B-C and on suffixes would be more logical, instead of issuing completely remakes of a type number.
Umm, doesn't sound sensible. The registry number has got nothing to do with type, as far as we can tell. And the various ships named Hood or Intrepid or whatever have got nothing to do with each other: one isn't the operational successor of an earlier one. The only thing such ships have in common is the name, which is completely frivolously applied and indicates no "lineage" of any sort.

In real navies, registry numbers are often related to ship type, and for this reason are quite prominent: seeing the USN pennant code DD-556 tells you immediately that this is a destroyer of the same type as DD-551, for example, and you may even recognize this fact from the 556 part alone, knowing by rote that there doesn't exist a FF-556 or a CGN-556 because frigates and nuclear cruisers have their own sequences of running pennant numbers. However, in real navies, a name tells extremely little about a ship (although in USN service a vessel with a state name might be guessed to be either a battleship or a ballistic missile submarine, etc.). Out of the string of USN ships named Enterprise, two are coincidentally aircraft carriers, but one is not the successor of the other in any sense.

In Starfleet, registries are apparently simply running numbers indicating date of construction at most. But it is again extremely rarely and mainly by coincidence or exceptional circumstances that a ship named X would be directly succeeded by another ship named X which, say, inherits the former namesake's mission. We know of no "succession" from the TOS-era Hood to the TNG era one. We even lack any knowledge of "succession" from the Enterprise-C to the Enterprise-D, as there is a decades-long gap between the service dates of the two ships, and no indication that the former would ever have been handling the "Federation Flagship" mission of the latter.

In real navies, the A-B-C thing would be completely nonsensical, as the concept of a "successor vessel" does not exist, and in any case the standard part of a pennant code is more than sufficient to uniquely identify a vessel, its type, and even its rough place in the construction schedule. In Starfleet, A-B-C seems to be reserved purely for PR purposes, and should stand out from the crowd to give heightened recognition to ships named Enterprise or Yamato, for obvious or obscure historical reasons. It would lose all meaning if applied on all ships (and would furthermore serve no purpose if applied on all ships, because again the standard parts of the registry already fully identify each vessel).

Again, ship "lineages" don't exist in reality - a string of ships carrying the same name is just a string of ships, denoting no evolution, no passing of torch. A name may jump from a small gunboat to a mighty battle cruiser and next be applied on a minesweeper or a submarine. In Starfleet, the issue is confused a bit by each Enterprise being longer than the previous one (although the E is much smaller than the D in every other respect), but e.g. the Intrepids don't get monotonically larger...

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Old December 31 2012, 02:32 AM   #9
The Wormhole
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Re: Anyone have any good reason for ship registry changes?

Lighthammer wrote: View Post
The ship we've followed throughout most of Star Trek is the USS Enterprise that maintains the registry number NCC-1701 with a suffix change indicating linage.

Does anyone have a really good explanation why other federation ships that have known long lineages don't follow this registry format?

I can, to a degree, make sense of registry changes when the ship becomes an entirely different class. To that end I can understand rationalize why the Constitution Defiant is NCC-1764 while the most recent Defiant of the Defiant Class is NCC-74205. However, in my mind it makes less sense when a ship name jumps classes. To me it seems logical that once the name Defiant is established as a Heavy Cruiser, the name would always be recycled for use of another heavy cruiser (unless perhaps, heavy cruisers are completely moth balled).

Can anyone give a better in universe explanation better then "They REEEEALLY liked the name and wanted to feature a ship with that name" ?
The Enterprise is supposed to be the pride of Starfleet. Therefore it keeps the registry for purely symbolic reasons, in honour of Starfleet's greatest ship. Other starships just don't have the same impact which is why their registries aren't recycled.

Although, the original plan on DS9 when the USS Sao Paulo was renamed Defiant was that its registry was going to be NCC-74205-A. However, all footage of the ship was stock footage of the previous Defiant, resulting in the new ship also having the NX-74205 registry (which it still has in novel continuity).

Voyager seemed to imply that it was actually a Starfleet ship named the USS Dauntless that had the registry NX-01, since the fake ship named Dauntless had the registry NX-01-A and no one questioned that.

Also, the USS Relativity's registry is NCV-474439-G. The dedication plaque confirms that there were previous ships named Relativity, and presumably the registry is passed down as well. Unfortunately, the plaque states this Relativity is the seventh ship to bear the name, when it should be the eighth. If it really were the seventh, than that would mean the original USS Relativity was NCV-474439-A as opposed to NCV-474439, which it should be.
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Old December 31 2012, 02:37 AM   #10
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Re: Anyone have any good reason for ship registry changes?

Considering the era and mission of the USS Relativity, that could always refer to time travel duplicates or alternate histories!
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Old December 31 2012, 05:44 AM   #11
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Re: Anyone have any good reason for ship registry changes?

As stated before the reason the Enterprise name is NCC-1701 (Insert Letter) is to simply honor the first Federation Starship Enterprise. While they trace a linage to the old naval ships, the NCC-1701 registry draws a more direct link to Kirk's Enterprise (instead of Archer's Enterprise of the Earth Starfleet, or the current USS Enterprise of the US Navy). Plus its a show.

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Old December 31 2012, 09:22 AM   #12
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Re: Anyone have any good reason for ship registry changes?

I figured someone would bring up the point of the USS Enterprise having linage purpose for maintaining the number, but the thing is, the Enterprise B wasn't a/the flagship of the Federation. At the time of the Enterprise B's launch, the Excelsior was the flagship. It wasn't till years down the road that the Enterprise B was appointed as a flagship.

I don't think we have any continuity demonstrating the Enterprise C was a/the flagship, but that being said, consider the extreme amount of time between the Enterprise C and Enterprise D (relatively speaking), there was certainly other flagships.

Oh that point, in DS9 and later in novels, we start to form an understanding that a flagship isn't necessarily the flagship of the entire federation fleet, but rather the flagship of it's particular fleet. If I am not mistaken, the Enterprise D/E was the flagship of the 7th Fleet or 9th Fleet (opinions seems to differ).

Anywhoo, less I digress; it would make sense to me if registry numbers had some sort of further significance beyond NCC. For instance, maybe the starting of the number might designate other purposes too. This would be a whole ton easier to swallow if the USS Defiant, USS Voyager and USS Equinox had different numbers.

The other thing that tends to hurt my head when talking registry numbers and there is a TON of overlap with names too. A great example is the Saratoga was shown as both a Reliant Class and Nebula Class in very short order. It's potentially believable but hard to swallow.
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Old December 31 2012, 02:25 PM   #13
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Re: Anyone have any good reason for ship registry changes?

Lighthammer wrote: View Post
I figured someone would bring up the point of the USS Enterprise having linage purpose for maintaining the number, but the thing is, the Enterprise B wasn't a/the flagship of the Federation. At the time of the Enterprise B's launch, the Excelsior was the flagship. It wasn't till years down the road that the Enterprise B was appointed as a flagship.
There is no indication that the Excelsior was ever Starfleet's flagship. Given the big media event the launch of the Enterprise B was it would have to have been the flagship. Or do all the Federation's news reporters attend the launch of every starship?

Oh that point, in DS9 and later in novels, we start to form an understanding that a flagship isn't necessarily the flagship of the entire federation fleet, but rather the flagship of it's particular fleet. If I am not mistaken, the Enterprise D/E was the flagship of the 7th Fleet or 9th Fleet (opinions seems to differ).
DS9 never did this, indeed the Enterprise D was referred to by Odo as the flagship of the Federation in Bar Association. The novels have these days suggested this interpretation as a means of being more realistic.

The other thing that tends to hurt my head when talking registry numbers and there is a TON of overlap with names too. A great example is the Saratoga was shown as both a Reliant Class and Nebula Class in very short order. It's potentially believable but hard to swallow.
Huh? In all Star Trek, there have been four Saratogas:

-A ship mentioned as the previous assignment of one of Trip's engineers in Enterprise.
-The Miranda class ship seen in the opening of Trek IV.
-The other Miranda class ship Sisko served on in the opening scene of Emissary.
-A ship of unknown design mentioned in TNG's sixth season and DS9's sixth season.

There has never been a Nebula class Saratoga.
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Old December 31 2012, 05:07 PM   #14
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Re: Anyone have any good reason for ship registry changes?

Why is everyone hung up on this flagship nonsense? The only Enterprise ever called a flagship on screen was the D, and since it wasn't commanded by an admiral, even that was just an honorific. The TOS E was "just one of the fleet," and commanded by the most junior captain in the fleet.
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Old December 31 2012, 06:54 PM   #15
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Re: Anyone have any good reason for ship registry changes?

^And the Enterprise from Star Trek and the forthcoming Into Darkness. Pike called her "our newest flagship"
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