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Trek Tech Pass me the quantum flux regulator, will you?

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Old December 31 2012, 12:00 AM   #31
blssdwlf
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Re: Caseless Torpedoes

A few more data points:

In "Dark Frontier", a photon torpedo detonated inside a Borg ship (after it was beamed over) and it lacked the characteristic glow as it built up to detonation.

Also, Voyager had differentiated their standard "Type 6" photon torpedoes from the high-yield "Type 10" photon torpedoes which were used on occasion. It might be starting in the movies that photon torpedoes went from standard large volume effect weapon to standard directed-blast weapons. Since we also know that warhead charges can be swapped out, not every photon torpedo would have antimatter as it's warhead. As Timo points out, this versatility and variability would make photon torpedoes hard to pin down... IMHO.
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Old December 31 2012, 08:36 AM   #32
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Caseless Torpedoes

The torpedo from Dark Frontier is an interesting case, to be sure. The lack of a glowy exterior again suggests that the glow doesn't have any direct connection to the casing at all, but is only present when the torpedo actually fires. In that case the torpedo wouldn't have built up to a detonation so much as built up to the colossal (and uncontrolled, since there's no firing tube) discharge that tore the ship apart from the inside.

Why use a photon torpedo instead of, say, a tricobalt device or a demolition bomb? Could be just for convenience (they had plenty of torpedoes), but more likely because Seven of Nine had identified a critical component somewhere in the probe that couldn't be attacked from the outside and Voyager beamed a torpedo into the ship with its business end pointing directly at it.

Swapping warhead charges, though, is something to think about: to what extent is a matter/antimatter reaction even useful as an anti-ship weapon? Shields and hull plating seem perfectly well suited for dissipating x-ray flashes, so the warhead would probably be in the form of something harder to repel; something similar to a phaser blast, but considerably more powerful.
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Old January 2 2013, 10:04 AM   #33
Timo
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Re: Caseless Torpedoes

The idea that the torpedo is caseless "in-universe" can IMHO be safely dropped at this point, except as speculation on Starfleet briefly flirting with a different technology during TOS and then returning to physical projectiles by the time of the TOS movies. But it is certainly possible that a photon torpedo would be a weapon type capable of carrying all sorts of warheads, the "photon" part being unrelated to the warhead - and that the warheads in TOS perhaps never were of the antimatter type.

Semantically, that would basically mean that a quantum torpedo is also a weapon type capable of carrying all sorts of warheads, and indeed such a torpedo does carry tricobolt warheads in "For the Uniform", even if only as "boosters".

But the ability of a "torpedo" to carry a physical payload from A to B is explicit in the quantum case, and implicit in the TNG photon case where the casing is known to be traveling in space after launch in a variety of applications, and something physical and recoverable is known to be traveling in space after a standard photon torpedo launch. Even the TOS movie era has more or less explicit physicality-after-launch in that a novel guidance system is physically installed inside the casing in ST6:TUC.

In light of this, I'd loathe to separate the names "photon torpedo" and "quantum torpedo" from the warhead/payload type completely, especially when we also hear of things like "merculite rockets" or "pulse wave torpedoes" where the semantic connection is clearly intended (although we can of course dispute it). Of course, we also are supposed to believe in microtorpedoes, where the first part of the name refers to the properties of the delivery system, but that isn't exactly onscreen dialogue. In contrast, ENT dialogue on photon(ic) torpedo antimatter warheads is onscreen and explicit - but again we can argue it's but one (even if overwhelmingly the most common, and perhaps the only one in the 2150s) of the available warhead types.

In the end, "Dark Frontier" and the like considered, the glow still appears to be a propulsive thing. It's not the same exact type of propulsion as in the probes the E-D usually fires, or as in the starships and shuttles, but it might well be closely related anyway. Despite Trek being a visual thing first and foremost, looks aren't particularly relevant in this respect, because we already have several different established looks for a Starfleet piece of technology traveling at impulse or warp speeds. Does the exact same type of propulsive hardware move the casing at high warp in "The Emissary" without the trademark glow? Or is it different hardware? Or is it the same hardware, but on a coasting mode, having "burned out" long ago but still maintaining the projectile at warp?

The undisputable part of it all (feel free to dispute case by case!) seems to be this:

-Torpedo features at least two physically stored components: casing (all shows but TOS) and a separate warhead (DS9 "Tribunal") or several
-Torpedo is typically physically launched from a tube or a rack of some sort, even though we don't know why this would be necessary and whether the launcher plays a role in initial or subsequent propulsion
-Torpedo glows in flight, and cannot be made dark during powered flight or else stealthy firings would definitely take place (say, in ST6)
-Torpedo stops glowing after powered flight, becoming a difficult-to-locate physical object that can e.g. be studied for postflight establishing of flight parameters ("Genesis")
-Torpedo can detonate without being launched or made to glow
-Torpedo can maneuver in flight, and has an onboard tracking system at least as an option
-Torpedo can hit targets at both sublight and warp, although the speed at which it leaves the launcher does not appear to vary
-Torpedo tactical range is markedly shorter than the propulsive (or warp-coasting?) range of a torpedo-type casing, even if we don't know the exact specs of either
-Torpedo warhead can probably be removed, can explicitly be accompanied by add-on warheads, and yet is not explicitly known to be utilized without the casing part (although we can always speculate on any random demolition device being a torpedo warhead at heart)

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Old January 2 2013, 06:23 PM   #34
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Re: Caseless Torpedoes

Timo wrote: View Post
The idea that the torpedo is caseless "in-universe" can IMHO be safely dropped at this point
I don't, and here's why:

But the ability of a "torpedo" to carry a physical payload from A to B is explicit in the quantum case, and implicit in the TNG photon case where the casing is known to be traveling in space after launch in a variety of applications, and something physical and recoverable is known to be traveling in space after a standard photon torpedo launch.
The VFX from Genesis shows, for the first time in TNG, a photon torpedo that leaves a visible exhaust plume trailing behind it. Data says these are "the new photon torpedoes" and they're being fired as part of a weapons test; when one of them veers off course, Picard orders Worf to destroy it with phasers, which is ANOTHER first in the history of Star Trek. Significantly, we never do see whatever it was Picard and Data recovered, so we don't know if they recovered the entire casing or a football-sized booster pod that -- in the experimental design -- rides in the middle of the photon bolt to increase its accuracy and yield.

This mirrors "For the Uniform" where Sisko asks Worf to arrange a "cargo pod" with "two hundred kilograms of trilithium" (not tricobalt) as payload. Worf says this will make the torpedoes less effective, implying that the extra pod would make the torpedoes less accurate for some reason; this undoubtedly reflects Worf's experience with similar modifications in "Genesis".

Even the TOS movie era has more or less explicit physicality-after-launch in that a novel guidance system is physically installed inside the casing in ST6:TUC.
The premise, once again, is that the casing is a device that generates the torpedo bolt but otherwise never leaves the tube (at least, not until it burns itself out and has to be replaced). It would contain both the initial charge and payload for the bolt (physical or otherwise) and the guidance system that provides steering instructions for the bolt itself.

Debatably, we got to see what the actual TOS torpedo system looked like in "STXI" when we got a look at the Enteprise' torpedo room. The 2250s photon torpedoes were the size of howitzer shells and loaded into a revolver-like assembly, which implies that each cylinder could only be discharged a single time. These would seem to be absurdly small weapons for a ship with such a large torpedo launcher, unless the size (and power) of the torpedo bolt has nothing at all to do with the size of the casing. This may also explain the odd weapons composition of the Kelvin 30 years earlier; script for the movie calls the blue energy bolts "photons", and if photon torpedoes or similar weaponry are energy-based projectiles instead of physical ones, they could be exactly that.

In light of this, I'd loathe to separate the names "photon torpedo" and "quantum torpedo" from the warhead/payload type completely
You pretty much have to, actually, since otherwise a photon torpedo could be made full quantum just by swapping out the warhead, which we already know should be possible for physically-cased weapons. Even more importantly, your point about "merculite rockets" and other projectile weapons that AREN'T photon torpedoes cannot be overlooked either; if you can stick a matter/antimatter warhead on a photon torpedo, you could stick it on a conventional rocket too.

This reflects modern conventions for guided missiles, guns and even directed energy weapons. The descriptors for these things usually describe the delivery system, not the warhead itself; thus a cruise missile is still called a cruise missile whether it's carrying a nuclear warhead or a gift from Santa Claus (or both). Same for machineguns; armor piercing and incendiary rounds are described for what they do, regardless of their caliber or the weapon that fires them.

Does the exact same type of propulsive hardware move the casing at high warp in "The Emissary" without the trademark glow?
No. Because the casing in "The Emissary" is called a "Class-8 probe", not a photon torpedo.

Significantly: if an object the size of a torpedo casing can travel at warp 9 WITHOUT glowing like a fireball, then why do photon torpedoes do this?

Still bigger is the question of why Starfleet doesn't have a weaponized version of the Class-8 probe, like a warp-powered interplanetary cruise missile with a photon torpedo warhead on it. We already know such a device DOES have tactical viability in some contexts (The gigantic Cardassian Dreadnaught, the putative missiles used by the Maquis, even the long-range missiles from "Warhead"). There's all kinds of uses for physically-cased weapons, but photon torpedoes do not resemble any of them and aren't used that way.

The undisputable part of it all (feel free to dispute case by case!) seems to be this:

-Torpedo features at least two physically stored components: casing (all shows but TOS) and a separate warhead (DS9 "Tribunal") or several
Which is as far as we need to go. As far as we can tell, photon torpedo warheads come in MANY varieties of both varrying lethality and -- possibly -- even physicality. I would imagine some warheads are designed to "dissolve" on launch in order to deliver their effect against the target (say, a tungsten slug that is heated up to 9,000 kelvins and contained in the torpedo bolt until it is released into the target).

Actually, we've seen them do something similar to this on Voyager, modifying hand phasers to fire nanoprobes at their targets. Since phasers ordinarily don't seem to require a physical ammo source, the presence of a physical projectile -- if even a microscopic one -- implies that Starfleet tech has grown BEYOND the need for mundane projectile weapons; in that case, photon torpedoes would be a controlled-energy weapon, a type of directed energy that can be controlled from a distance.

Wanna bet that the "quantum" in "quantum torpedo" actually stands for "quantum entanglement"?
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Old January 2 2013, 06:48 PM   #35
Timo
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Re: Caseless Torpedoes

The VFX from Genesis shows
...A perfectly normal torpedo launch, with the usual sparkling - just followed by a rare, long-awaited close-up from a unique angle.

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.

The premise, once again, is that the casing is a device that generates the torpedo bolt but otherwise never leaves the tube (at least, not until it burns itself out and has to be replaced). It would contain both the initial charge and payload for the bolt (physical or otherwise) and the guidance system that provides steering instructions for the bolt itself.
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 torpedo is a fire-and-forget missile weapon there, or perhaps fire-and-pray. Whether the torpedo is always that, we don't know: just like there might be different warheads, there might be different onboard sensors and different modes of guidance (possibly selected with that MODE SELECT button so prominent on the TOS movie ships' appropriate bridge consoles?).

You pretty much have to, actually, since otherwise a photon torpedo could be made full quantum just by swapping out the warhead, which we already know should be possible for physically-cased weapons.
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. So there's no need to separate the terminology: one and the same casing just changes name when the warhead changes.

But we could alternately assume that neither "photon" nor "quantum" is a term relating to the warhead. It might relate to propulsion instead, or to guidance, or to some special shield-piercing trick the torpedo performs before the warhead fires. Or whatever.

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?

if you can stick a matter/antimatter warhead on a photon torpedo, you could stick it on a conventional rocket too.
And indeed there exists such a thing as a "photonic missile", in VOY...

No. Because the casing in "The Emissary" is called a "Class-8 probe", not a photon torpedo.
But we see that physically it is the same casing.

We don't see the contents, but we already agreed that those are swappable and external to the argument. We know nothing about the propulsion machinery yet, which means we know nothing that would prevent the Type 8 probe and the photon torpedo from sharing same. Assuming that the glow-less cruise mode is something a photon torpedo would also eventually be capable of, once it stops accelerating and maneuvering and whatnot.

Significantly: if an object the size of a torpedo casing can travel at warp 9 WITHOUT glowing like a fireball, then why do photon torpedoes do this?
Different stages of flight would suffice as an explanation with verisimilitude; many missiles of today also operate by boosting and coasting.

I would imagine some warheads are designed to "dissolve" on launch in order to deliver their effect against the target (say, a tungsten slug that is heated up to 9,000 kelvins and contained in the torpedo bolt until it is released into the target).
Why dissolve at launch? Better leave it to the last second when you have done all the accelerating and maneuvering and target-sniffing you need, and are known to be capable of.

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.

Wanna bet that the "quantum" in "quantum torpedo" actually stands for "quantum entanglement"?
Sure, if you agree to bet against it.

Too bad this will never be solved at the rate Star Trek is going. But the above certainly makes as much sense as anything else.

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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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Old January 2 2013, 10:39 PM   #37
Timo
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Re: Caseless Torpedoes

Except it obviously IS new hardware, hence he calls them "the new torpedoes."
That would be like saying "the new torpedoes for our submarine have arrived. They have 11% more Torpex, and I have personally tuned the passive sonar. Oh, and they now work by hanging from hot air balloons pushed by wind, but I will not mention that at all because it is not particularly relevant."

If the "Genesis" torps indeed are rocket-propelled guided missiles while the older ones were abstract light shows emerging from a fixed cartridge, the above example would be belittling the absurdity of the situation.

And this is Starfleet we're talking about; leaving unexploded ordinance lying around has got to be a MASSIVE no-no for them.
Which of course is the reason they all have the scuttling system installed as standard, despite your no-proof pretense to the contrary.

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).
So you can come up with no explanation whatsoever as to why Spock and McCoy would install the sensor in the torpedo, as opposed to leaving it where it originally was?

Epic fail. ST6:TUC is sufficient proof for the missile nature of the weapon, and any postulated adventures away from that obvious standard configuration must be exceptionally solidly argued for, or they are not worth even a brief laugh.

Actually we see a quantum torpedo casing in "The Valiant" and it looks more or less exactly like a photon torpedo.
Nog works on a torpedo of unknown type, in order to give it unique special qualities that will supposedly give victory. Thereafter, the torpedo is fired.

However, neither during the working nor during the firing is anything said to indicate that "quantum" torpedoes would be involved - and Aaron Eisenberg stands right in front of the part of the casing that might read "quantum"! As far as we can tell, quantums were abandoned as a weapon when our heroes and guests decided that the special warhead would be the way to go.

Incidentally, this would mean that the cheek launchers of this class of starship can indeed fire ordnance other than the type called "quantum torpedo", nicely staining an otherwise clean record. And that all colors are okay for all types of torp, too. Which is already established for anybody watching the TOS movies anyway.

Of course, I have no strong desire to believe in such things. But I can't accept something like this as solid proof either way.

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
The issue is somewhat confused. The MACO in ENT use flash-bangs that are called "stun grenades"; "photon grenades" are unseen things from TNG "Legacy" and DS9 "Homefront"; and the impressively exploding mortar ammo from TOS "Arena" goes unnamed.

So we still don't know whether the Starfleet photon grenade is like or unlike a miniature photon torpedo. (We do see alien photon grenades in action in two VOY episodes, though, and these do seem to behave much like propulsion-less mini-torps.

Photon torpedoes -- as far as we can tell from 27 seasons of television and 11 feature films -- don't.
Why should this matter? Your side of the argument is completely based on the absence of evidence against your wilder claims, too.

A torpedo at long ranges would have a fair excuse for coasting without a glow, as torpedoes are never seen (or mentioned used) at long ranges. In contrast, if a Class 8 Probe can fly at warp without glow, what excuse does a photon torpedo have for not doing the same? It's speculation against speculation on all aspects of this.

Because then you won't have to use any energy from the bolt to heat up the payload.
What does that mean? If "the bolt" is your supposed abstract ball of destructive light, what is "the payload"?

If you mean that sending a physical projectile close to the enemy for the dissolving act somehow ties down more heat in the projectile than doing the dissolving act in the "launch" tube, then you are making no sense. Surely the heat would be tied down in the "cartridge" equally regardless of whether the cartridge sat in the launch tube or was almost touching the target.

And yet, the casing hardly needs to be IN SPACE to do that.
Obviously it does. The casing is the only way to send the sensor to space. And the sensor obviously needs to be in space, or else Spock and McCoy would never have unbolted it from its rack in the laboratory where it had successfully charter gaseous anomalies until then.

As for the visuals, they are always large enough to hide a runabout, especially in the picture you linked to.

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Old January 4 2013, 12:11 AM   #38
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Re: Caseless Torpedoes

Timo wrote: View Post
Except it obviously IS new hardware, hence he calls them "the new torpedoes."
That would be like saying "the new torpedoes for our submarine have arrived. They have 11% more Torpex, and I have personally tuned the passive sonar. Oh, and they now work by hanging from hot air balloons pushed by wind, but I will not mention that at all because it is not particularly relevant."
Actually it would be a bit like the first live-fire tests of an ERGM shell. New guidance system, booster stage in the shell. Neither of which really rates mention since the entire crew would have been briefed on them hours before the test.

If the "Genesis" torps indeed are rocket-propelled guided missiles
Doubtful they're even that. Probably just a standard photon torpedo with a more complicated payload wrapped up in the bolt to increase accuracy and yield. Didn't seem to work all that well.

So you can come up with no explanation whatsoever as to why Spock and McCoy would install the sensor in the torpedo, as opposed to leaving it where it originally was?
Already did. The guidance system for the torpedo is in the casing, which has the physical connection to the energy bolt.

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.

Epic fail. ST6:TUC is sufficient proof for the missile nature of the weapon
Except... where's the torpedo, then? Invisible?

Nog works on a torpedo of unknown type
Which fire with the distinct and non-twinkly blue-white glow associated with quantum torpedoes.

Why should this matter?
Because physical projectile weapons -- rockets, missiles, spatial torpedoes, etc -- appear to have much longer flight times up to and including long-range interplanetary cruise modes. Photon torpedoes are a distinct type of weapon used at considerably shorter range, typically in either ship to ship or ship to surface modes; they do not cruise any distance and move at much higher speeds, despite the fact that they do not accelerate noticeably after leaving the tube. They are, IOW, more similar to bullets than missiles.

After the 22nd century, photon torpedoes continue to evolve, becoming (arguably) more accurate, more sophisticated, more powerful. Spatial torpedoes, however, fall out of use, despite the apparent portability of photon warheads, despite the improved propulsion technologies (indeed, a 24th century spatial torpedo would be essentially a Class-8 probe with a tricobalt device in the warhead). So for whatever reason, Starfleet does not appear to carry straight projectile weapons anymore.

When you consider the famous Voyager Torpedo problem, it's easy to understand why. Photon torpedo casings may be expendable with the intention of being recycled and properly disposed of after firing (like shell casings on a modern naval gun), but if you really need to and had a lot of time on your hands you could probably regenerate those casings and use them again later.

if a Class 8 Probe can fly at warp without glow, what excuse does a photon torpedo have for not doing the same?
The fact that the glow IS the torpedo; it's the thing that makes it a torpedo in the first place. If it wasn't glowing, it wouldn't be a photon torpedo (at least, we've never SEEN one that didn't).

I'm not even questioning the viability of missile weapons in Star Trek. I'm drawing both on backstage evidence that photon torpedoes were not originally meant to BE missile-type weapons, but a totally distinct technology similar but with slightly different properties as phasers. Physical casings made their debut in TWOK and appeared again in TUC; both times can be made consistent with the original TOS conception, and that would explain a lot of OTHER things that don't make sense about photons.

Because then you won't have to use any energy from the bolt to heat up the payload.
What does that mean? If "the bolt" is your supposed abstract ball of destructive light, what is "the payload"?
The payload can be whatever you want it to be, including nothing (in which case it would be just as deadly, depending on the yield). Like a naval gun round that can be loaded with high explosives, submunitions, smoke canisters, napalm, or nothing at all, and still fired to hit a target.

And yet, the casing hardly needs to be IN SPACE to do that.
Obviously it does. The casing is the only way to send the sensor to space.
The WHOLE SHIP is in space, as is the launch tube where the torpedo comes from. It makes no difference.

As for the visuals, they are always large enough to hide a runabout, especially in the picture you linked to.
Incorrect, demonstrably so from "Maquis ptII" where photon torpedoes flying past a runabout have a glowing core visibly smaller than the runabout's bussard collector.

The bright red core of the torpedo isn't much larger than a torpedo deck window -- one of these, in other words -- and is therefore about the size of a beachball. Even the torpedo from TMP has a bright central core and an outer plume that would barely conceal a travel pod. The torpedo casing should be plainly visible in front of it from at least the forward angle, if it's intended to be there at all. Even the VFX artists don't seem to believe there's any PHYSICALITY to the weapon in flight; it's effectively a phaser blast rolled into a shiruken and accelerated towards the target by a sophisticated (and forward-fixed) cannon and some rudimentary physical guidance mechanism.
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Old January 4 2013, 03:40 AM   #39
blssdwlf
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Re: Caseless Torpedoes

The bright rectangle torpedo from TMP looks to be about the size of a photon torpedo casing. If you rotate it vertically, it's about the height of the circular docking port on the side of the torpedo bay.

Could the torpedo casing glow in flight and thus no visible "dark" casing would be in front of the glow? Essentially the casing when in flight generates it's own super flowing field (and shielding) ?
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Old January 4 2013, 04:15 AM   #40
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Re: Caseless Torpedoes

When I was around 8 or 9 and saw the torpedos in TMP with the long rays of light I was fascinated. My little brain conceived of them being balls of pure engergy being drug along by filiments of energy in space. In TSFS when the Bird of Prey was arming the torpedos the torpedo tube was glowing with static-like charges, which looked like it was building up an energy ball. So I always thought they were caseless and highly advanced engergy slingsots.
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Old January 4 2013, 12:28 PM   #41
Timo
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Re: Caseless Torpedoes

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? You do realize you are making no sense...

Sulu obviously charted those anomalies without installing his sensor in one of his torpedoes. Spock would be a complete idiot if incapable of conceptualizing and executing the same.

Except... where's the torpedo, then? Invisible?
Huh? Torpedoes are always blatantly visible, as fireballs several meters across. ST6 is no exception.

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. But that actually makes good sense if we assume such a probe is a much larger device, with a "torpedo" grafted in its ass and glowing the normal way, but with a payload riding ahead of it.

There's nothing wrong with the idea of the coffin thing being hidden by the glare of the glowing (propulsive?) thing. Today's missiles may look like telephone poles with a trailing flame, but that's only because the flame is not particularly bright and in fact effort is made to minimize it visually. Photon torpedoes have every excuse of featuring a brighter, more engulfing flame.

After the 22nd century, photon torpedoes continue to evolve, becoming (arguably) more accurate, more sophisticated, more powerful. Spatial torpedoes, however, fall out of use, despite the apparent portability of photon warheads, despite the improved propulsion technologies (indeed, a 24th century spatial torpedo would be essentially a Class-8 probe with a tricobalt device in the warhead). So for whatever reason, Starfleet does not appear to carry straight projectile weapons anymore.
Or Starfleet drops an outdated propulsion system of projectile weapons in favor of a more modern one, namely the one dubbed "photon torpedo".

There are many upsides to considering the "photon" part as describing the propulsion element rather than, say, the warhead. But none require making the weapon "non-projectile" in nature.

I'm drawing both on backstage evidence that photon torpedoes were not originally meant to BE missile-type weapons, but a totally distinct technology similar but with slightly different properties as phasers. Physical casings made their debut in TWOK and appeared again in TUC; both times can be made consistent with the original TOS conception, and that would explain a lot of OTHER things that don't make sense about photons.
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.

Incorrect, demonstrably so from "Maquis ptII" where photon torpedoes flying past a runabout have a glowing core visibly smaller than the runabout's bussard collector.
How is that relevant? The craft firing those fireballs couldn't have carried coffin-sized projectiles anyway; ergo, whatever the craft did carry, could fit inside the fireball.

The torpedo casing should be plainly visible in front of it from at least the forward angle, if it's intended to be there at all.
Obviously not, unless the glow is somehow limited to the aft sector only. There is no particular reason to think it would be limited that way; warp engines don't glow from their aft ends only, except when the designers specifically want them to (say, the Kelvin).

Even the VFX artists don't seem to believe there's any PHYSICALITY to the weapon in flight
You can't claim such a thing. What they gave us is physical enough: it flies through space at finite speed, reasonably often in curved patterns. It isn't an intricate shape requiring hours of motion control work; it is an affordable fireball. But that in no way makes it "aphysical", any more than a star is aphysical.

The bright rectangle torpedo from TMP
Umm, the elongation of the bright dot would be an optical phenomenon inherent in traditional moviemaking, not a particularly convincing argument for the shape of the glow "in reality". But it's a very nice optical phenomenon... Conveniently lending itself to some smooth retconning.

In TSFS when the Bird of Prey was arming the torpedoes the torpedo tube was glowing with static-like charges, which looked like it was building up an energy ball.
Indeed. And the sparkling continued at the point of impact, spreading over the victim. A special feature of this special weapon - but whether it's carried to the target all by itself, or riding on a physical object, we can freely speculate on.

Perhaps that's what torpedo "launchers" always do - wrap the projectile in that (propulsive?) field... Klingon wraps would of course be more coarse than Federation ones, just like their ships are dirtier, their sliding doors noisier, etc.

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Old January 4 2013, 09:38 PM   #42
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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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Old January 4 2013, 11:12 PM   #43
Timo
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Re: Caseless Torpedoes

You know where you probably WOULDN'T stick an infrared sensor? On the actual bullet.
Except that this is exactly what you do when you want the sensor to guide the steerable bullet.

Moving the sensor from sensing position A aboard the ship (the scientific sensor array) to sensing position B aboard the ship (the torpedo tube) is insane, and completely invalidates your idea of the ST6 torpedo casing remaining attached to the ship. There's no way around it.

Yet no physical casing is ever present in front of or in the center of those fireballs.
Merely not visible. As are most things in the televised world, where a light show is an affordable stand-in for something that even in the real world would be hidden by a light show. The human eye just isn't good enough to tell the difference - except when assisted by screencap-type tricks that would also mercilessly expose the fundamentally fake nature of the "starships" and "death rays".

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.
We have zero reason to believe it would stay in the tube to begin with. And we don't know of any steerable non-physical energy bolts from TOS.

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.
Nope. The model for the probe at that point has plenty of discernible detail, which wouldn't be visible at all if it were anywhere near photorp-sized. The tube of the E-D just happens to be pretty large, easily capable of spitting out something like the Scorpion fighter, thus possibly confusing the issue.

a physical launch tube for photonic torpedoes is never seen on NX-01's CG model
To nitpick, the aft tube in the aft pod is CGI-inserted in the model all right.
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.
Retraction and shuttering are also possibilities, as the TOS phaser emitters were invisible as well but did physically exist. As for physical loading, we know that there are four fwd tubes on NX-01, but just two loading tracks at the Armory; that's no different from the ST2 ship having one loading track but two tubes for photorps. Sideways tracks past the inner hatch, for storing a number of shots, solve a great many problems, including pressing ones such as those of set dimensions.

OTOH, the idea of the casings being stuck in the tubes solves nothing, as they would have to get into the spatial torpedo tubes somehow anyway.

Incidentally, I adore ENT for its introduction of this new-old torpedo type, as everything we see or hear there supports the idea that the X in "X torpedo" refers to propulsion. Spatial is very different from photonic in performance and appearance; quantum is different from each in appearance, and may very well have different performance specs as well considering it is never fired at warp.

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.
That's just bullshit. Bright glare like that would hide anything from a coffin to a fire engine; it's not a factor of size at all. Warp flashes aren't ship-sized, either...

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?
For the number of pressing reasons why the torpedo must be a guided projectile, and because there are no reasons for believing otherwise.

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.
Such a wacky assumption would make the concept of torpedo reloading redundant. Yet from what we see in ST2 (or the TNG and VOY repeat takes of a "torpedo room"), casing reloading machinery in fact is the most prominent and sizeable part of the launch system...

The much bigger question facing you is why the Maquis wouldn't have mounted those torpedoes EXTERNALLY on wing-mounted hardpoints.
It's not facing me at all. Apart from the complete lack of external hardpoint mountings in Trek (unless one counts inseparable components of the ship itself), there is no reason to think the Maquis would have wanted to carry full-sized photon torpedoes, and no reason to think smaller projectiles (with rather pitiful destructive effects to boot) would not exist for smaller craft.

That Hudson and pals fire few photons and prefer beam weapons speaks of a key difference between the "consumables expenditure" characteristics of the two. But if torps don't offer the advantage of being guided projectiles, why carry them at all? The wingroot beams were the most devastating ship-to-ship weapons of the Maquis, apparently, kicking parts off the runabouts.

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.
We'd have to claim just that if phaser beams, too, dodged and weaved after their targets according to onboard sensor input.

No, it's a thousand times more likely that the Klingon torpedo is the same basic weapon as a Starfleet photon torpedo.
Nobody is disputing that. But the extra sparkles can easily be extra; anything else would be a needless complication. Since the BoP torp has a distinct effect at the target, it has every excuse of having distinct extras onboard / sprayed on at launch / whatever. We're talking about a different warhead or penetration aid or force enhancer or whatnot, but we're probably still talking about the same propulsion system as with the Starfleet photon torpedo, as all the same characteristics are there: the tube launch, the inflight glow, the necessity of loading.

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.
Discarding by firing would be hidden by the glare. Discarding by other means would not. If discarding takes place, why is Scotty counting by hand the remaining torpedoes in ST6, when a look at the discarding bin should solve the mystery immediately? You are just needlessly complicating your life with the concept of spent cartridges.

The fact that we have never seen torpedoes being "drop launched" like missiles is significant.
We have seen torpedoes launched from spacecraft exterior locations that have no tube-type forward openings (i.e. from somewhere underneath a runabout in "The Search II"). Drop launch through a hatch (which this craft does have among the ventral details) is a natural deployment mode for a missile, especially one that operates autonomously in terms of both propulsion and steering. And we know that propulsion is almost completely independent of launchers, as all tube-launched torpedoes leave the tubes at a crawling pace, but can nevertheless span vast distances and operate at high warp relative to the launching ship.

A "fireworks" weapon fired from a sometimes tube-shaped holder is conceptually possible all right, but not compatible with how photon torpedoes are operated by Starfleet and its opponents. Too many factors speak against it: the onboard sensors, the possibility of recovery after flight, the use of the casing in so many applications where casings that turn to fireballs would be a bad idea...

Whether there ever was an intent to have torpedoes be "not-torpedoes" in the real world terms of the time is quite debatable. TMoST speaks in very vague terms and in any case doesn't really serve in a writers' bible role for the show. Any episode that would have featured a close look at torpedo operations would probably have made things accessible to the audience by featuring torpedo props, even if ST2 was the first time the funds for this existed in combination with the dramatic need. In contrast, no episode or movie attempted to contradict the classic torpedo concept or support a different concept.

Which is a pity, really. Trek rayguns are just generic rayguns, even if some of the props are innovative. There's nothing fancy about Trek ships or shuttles or sensors or shields, either. And torpedoes are just torpedoes, in good and bad. Only the teleportation device is somewhat exotic, needing just one terminal, and it's probably no accident that it is among the most characteristic elements of Star Trek.

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Old January 5 2013, 09:38 PM   #44
publiusr
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Re: Caseless Torpedoes

Well, maybe you can have it both ways. Here you have a scotchlite case that is both white and black:
http://www.doobybrain.com/2008/12/17...lective-vinyl/
So I might say that, when the torpedo ignites, it is a super scotchilte raytheon type model effect.

Or maybe a better example would be the nuclear lightbulb.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_lightbulb

Maybe this sucker is just an antimatter lightbulb., with TOS being quanta of photons in a globule that has a strange type of magnetism to let it seek a ground like ball lightning.

http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/1...t-power-source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ball_lightning

Then too, there is the Q-ball:
"Loosely speaking, the Q-ball is a finite-sized "blob" containing a large number of particles."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q-ball
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Old January 5 2013, 11:03 PM   #45
blssdwlf
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Re: Caseless Torpedoes

Speaking off glowing objects... in TOS, high power output ships like the Orion ship was glowing hot. Also Mudd's ship too was glowing when he pushed it too far. It would seem reasonable then a photon torpedo in flight has such a high power output that it could glow so bright to obscure the casing (since it is the source of the glow).

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