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Old July 8 2013, 08:29 PM   #76
Timo
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Re: Size of starfleet?

just that they are "Vulcan" and they are "vessels."
Or that they are "vessels" performing "Vulcan defense". The ambiguity is quite significant.

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Old July 8 2013, 08:36 PM   #77
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Re: Size of starfleet?

jmampilly wrote: View Post
I don't understand why the UFP would allow individual member worlds to maintain separate fleets. That would discourage members from contributing technological advancements and personnel to the central defense for the Federation.
How so? They have every incentive to share technologies among themselves, not least of which because they can expect to get something in return. More importantly, it would be a lot harder to distribute their shipbuilding techniques -- the results of decades or even centuries of trial and error and passed-down knowhow -- to an alien species they have little in common with.

Also, in the DS9 episode "Rapture" a Starfleet Admiral states "The Bajoran militia must be integrated into starfleet,"
I seem to recall that KIRA said that, and in that case it was more of a guess.

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If the members maintained individual fleets, why is it that all of starfleet's vessels were standardized and looked similar during the Dominion war?
Because we only saw ships from the Sol branch of the fleet. We didn't see a single Andorian or Tellarite anywhere in the entire war; I suspect those forces probably had their hands busy coordinating with the Romulans on the other side of the quadrant.
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Old July 8 2013, 10:45 PM   #78
Timo
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Re: Size of starfleet?

But we were explicitly told that the fleets were hopping from one side of the UFP to the other during the war; this would not be consistent with ships of a certain design being stuck at a particular theater of war.

As for the "militia must be assimilated, resistance is futile" bit, the actual dialogue goes like this:

Admiral Whatley: "Now, Bajor's admission is only the beginning. Now comes the hard part. Federation council members have to be chosen, the Bajoran militia has to be absorbed into Starfleet. There are thousands of details that have to be overseen and you're our point man here. That means we need to depend on you more than ever."
Sisko: "Don't worry. I won't let you down."
The absorption appears to be inevitable, non-negotiable and total (as per the definite article), so what's actually left to debate is just the exact meaning of absorbing. Does it mean Bajorans will have to learn to say "Sir!" in English but can retain their uniforms, ranks and sidearms and do pretty much whatever they please outside UFP-wide crises? This is somewhat unlikely in face of the total lack of evidence for UFP "national" forces behaving like that. No matter what the color of your face or the number of your limbs, you wear Starfleet fashion and fly generic Starfleet ships. And unless you are human, you'll have to be very lucky to find even one compatriot to share the ship.

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Old July 8 2013, 11:47 PM   #79
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Re: Size of starfleet?

Timo wrote: View Post
But we were explicitly told that the fleets were hopping from one side of the UFP to the other during the war; this would not be consistent with ships of a certain design being stuck at a particular theater of war.

As for the "militia must be assimilated, resistance is futile" bit, the actual dialogue goes like this:

Admiral Whatley: "Now, Bajor's admission is only the beginning. Now comes the hard part. Federation council members have to be chosen, the Bajoran militia has to be absorbed into Starfleet. There are thousands of details that have to be overseen and you're our point man here. That means we need to depend on you more than ever."
Sisko: "Don't worry. I won't let you down."
The absorption appears to be inevitable, non-negotiable and total (as per the definite article), so what's actually left to debate is just the exact meaning of absorbing. Does it mean Bajorans will have to learn to say "Sir!" in English but can retain their uniforms, ranks and sidearms and do pretty much whatever they please outside UFP-wide crises? This is somewhat unlikely in face of the total lack of evidence for UFP "national" forces behaving like that. No matter what the color of your face or the number of your limbs, you wear Starfleet fashion and fly generic Starfleet ships. And unless you are human, you'll have to be very lucky to find even one compatriot to share the ship.

Timo Saloniemi
I agree with you

It is possible that Starfleet Command posts members of species that get along well on similar ships. Andorians and Vulcans may prefer operating on ships with crews that are predominantly of their own race, and as a result, we get more segregated postings for these species. However, this doesn't stop Starfleet command from posting these segregated ships anywhere in Federation territory. Just because there's a starfleet ship full of Vulcans doesn't mean it needs to be stationed near Vulcan.
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Old July 9 2013, 09:27 PM   #80
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Re: Size of starfleet?

I feel like there are several general observations to bear in mind.

1) The nature of registries. Be they contact codes or construction contracts, one must rationalize that they are at least somewhat unique to the vessel to which they are assigned. The general pattern we've observed has been numeric and incremental over the years. To my mind, this does not necessitate that registries have always followed the same pattern. For example, a 23rd century Starfleet assigning registries based on tonnage/class (compare the somewhat small Antares with an NCC-501 registry to the NCC-1701 Enterprise, for example) but the 24th century Starfleet assigning them soley based on production order, seems possible. I also think it's likely the 22nd century Starfleet had a different paradigm, given the prefix (NX, etc) seems to have been unique to each class. Consider also that Starfleet may want to obfuscate exactly how many starships she does have in service at a given time. Using blocks of registries and then skipping ahead might actually prove beneficial.

2) Sequential registries vs. continuous registries. It appears to me that the general intent has been that lower numbers predate higher numbers, with a few exceptions. Meaning, NCC-1700 came before NCC-2000. However, I see nothing to prove that every number between NCC-1701 through NCC-1999 actually exists, nor anything to prove that ships higher than the NCC-2000 range might've been commissioned before the Excelsior. On the other hand, we see nothing to disprove it either. This point becomes particularly contentious in the 24th century when registry numbers become so high. To me, this indicates that registry numbers are (at least by this time) single use and retired when a ship is lost. Furthermore, Starfleet may reserve certain registry blocks for specific purposes that may never come to fruition. It seems rather convenient that the fancy Great Experiment was NX/NCC-2000.

2) Attrition/retirement. I see nothing to indicate that large numbers of ships stay in service for a long time. Clearly there are certain older vessels that have remained in some form of service into the 24th century, or at the very least were put into mothballs and later reactivated. I would compare the number of B-52s that the U.S. built during the Cold War. So, just because you have NCC-75000 in service in 2375 (I pulled that out of the air) doesn't mean there are a total of 75,000 starships in service.

Filmed evidence would seem to corroborate the notion that there is maybe one starship per sector of the Federation (given how often our heroes find themselves "the only ship in the quadrant"), and the gathering of these in one place is very rare. Given that the 24th century Federation is 8000ish light years across, and sectors are a few light years across, 2,500 commissioned starships seems very plausible to me, with perhaps a few hundred in reserves and/or in inactive 'home guard' duty. The registry of those 2,500 ships might range from NCC-10000 to NCC-77000, but not include 67,000 vessels.

As much as I'd like to allow for the idea that registries somehow correspond to identification beacons, I don't see anything that actually supports this, nor is there really a real-life equivalent. I think simple serial numbers, be they based on class and model or simply incremental and somewhat arbitrary, is most likely.
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Old July 9 2013, 10:11 PM   #81
Timo
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Re: Size of starfleet?

I guess the only thing to add here is that we probably agree the letter part of the registry would be an utter waste of paint unless there were alternatives to NCC. That is, yes, we know that there exist registries such as NAR-something and NSP-something etc., and yes, we have good reason to think that these correspond to the operating organization of the vessel in question, leaving NCC the specific "Starfleet operates me" symbol. But this further carries the connotation that a pairing of letter identifier and string of numbers would be unique, so it's possible that the strings of numbers alone need not be unique.

See what I mean? There may exist both NCC-12345 and NAR-12345 within the same system, these being separate ships. But OTOH, there might not.

If, for clarity, a registry already used for a NCC vessel never gets used for a NAR or NSP one, then the number of actual Starfleet ships goes way down. Starfleet might be the leading "consumer of registries", but it might also come a distant second to some other organization, at least at certain periods of UFP history.

Do we have any canonical cases of the same number being used with two different letter prefices?

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Old July 10 2013, 06:02 AM   #82
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Re: Size of starfleet?

Praetor wrote: View Post

Filmed evidence would seem to corroborate the notion that there is maybe one starship per sector of the Federation (given how often our heroes find themselves "the only ship in the quadrant"), and the gathering of these in one place is very rare. Given that the 24th century Federation is 8000ish light years across, and sectors are a few light years across, 2,500 commissioned starships seems very plausible to me, with perhaps a few hundred in reserves and/or in inactive 'home guard' duty.
In the TNG episode "Redemption Part I," Commander Riker says "Starfleet is spread relatively thin across this sector. There are only 7 ships within a day's travel of here."
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Old July 10 2013, 09:06 AM   #83
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Re: Size of starfleet?

The question then becomes how big is a sector?

I think the TNG tchnical manual put it at 20ly across. But I don't think there has been any on-screen definition of the size of a sector
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Old July 10 2013, 03:02 PM   #84
Timo
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Re: Size of starfleet?

The size of a sector is about as ambiguous as the size of the UFP... But 20 ly grids were favored in the DS9 background maps, FWIW. That is, by knowing that the distance between Bajor and Cardassia was supposed to be about five lightyears, we can see the artists used a 20 X 20 ly grid (or sometimes 20 X 40 ly) - but in canon terms, this is a circular argument because nothing in canon has established the exact distance between Bajor and Cardassia, either.

Back in ST2:TWoK, having two starships in the same sector was already puzzling... Although Sulu's surprise might have been more due to the Reliant not announcing her presence in the sector by long range means, so that Sulu only observed her by sensors or a short range beacon or something. But in such a case, one'd think Sulu would say something... "They appeared out of nowhere, Sir!", for example.

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Old July 10 2013, 07:36 PM   #85
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Re: Size of starfleet?

Well in the case of the Reliant given the nature of the Genesis Project they might have decided to try and keep the Relaint's presense in that sector hidden.

Remember it was pure luck that the Enterprise was anywhere near, as Sulu had earlier been told to pick any course you wanted.
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Old July 11 2013, 05:17 PM   #86
Praetor
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Re: Size of starfleet?

Timo wrote: View Post
I guess the only thing to add here is that we probably agree the letter part of the registry would be an utter waste of paint unless there were alternatives to NCC. That is, yes, we know that there exist registries such as NAR-something and NSP-something etc., and yes, we have good reason to think that these correspond to the operating organization of the vessel in question, leaving NCC the specific "Starfleet operates me" symbol. But this further carries the connotation that a pairing of letter identifier and string of numbers would be unique, so it's possible that the strings of numbers alone need not be unique.

See what I mean? There may exist both NCC-12345 and NAR-12345 within the same system, these being separate ships. But OTOH, there might not.

If, for clarity, a registry already used for a NCC vessel never gets used for a NAR or NSP one, then the number of actual Starfleet ships goes way down. Starfleet might be the leading "consumer of registries", but it might also come a distant second to some other organization, at least at certain periods of UFP history.

Do we have any canonical cases of the same number being used with two different letter prefices?

Timo Saloniemi
You make a very good point as usual - and set up an interesting related question: does the number belong to the vehicle, or is it reassignable? Would NCC-1701 become NAR-1701 or NSP-1701 if she was sold off to another division? How often, if ever, are naval registry numbers or aircraft registry numbers moved from one craft to another in the real world?

Unless memory fails me, the second DS9 Defiant is the only clear case of a registry number even possibly being transferred/changed that we have. Of course, the Defiant is also made more murky by conflicting evidence as to whether or not she actually retained her original registry number. Sisko's line says Starfleet gave permission to change the name, but doesn't specifically say whether they gave permission to change the registry.

The Enterprise-A is also a possible case, since popular opinion has it that she was another ship to start with, be it Yorktown or whatever your personal canon might suggest. What happened to that ship's registry? Was it retired, with another planned for construction, or was it transferred to another vessel?

Starfleet seems to be of the opinion that registries should stick with their original starships more often than not, if only for the sake of administrative clarity. (I certainly would hate culling through records trying to guess which Enterprise was being referenced if they were all NCC-1701.) Barring further evidence as to whether they are as unique as serial/VIN numbers, I think we are safe assuming that registry numbers are not usually transferred between ships nor are they retained when a vessel is renamed/reprovisioned. So different letter prefixes having a unique registry range independent of each other works for me.

Regarding ships and sectors, it did seem to work out nicely to guess on the size of the Federation and the size of sectors to get 2,500 ships. It would be interesting to compute what a proportionally smaller Federation in the 23rd century would yield in terms of ship count, if it is Starfleet protocol to have at least one patrol ship per sector, that is.

As an aside, I always assumed sectors were divided into quadrants somehow. This would make the whole "she's the only ship in the quadrant" work out better. Plus, the Federation is probably divided into quadrants, too...
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Old July 14 2013, 05:04 PM   #87
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Re: Size of starfleet?

Bry_Sinclair wrote: View Post
It's as big or small as it needs to be to tell a story (look at how often the Enterprise is the only ship in the sector ).

I work from idea that the big capital ships (Ambassador, Galaxy, Nebula, Sovereign) are relatively light in the fleet, with the bulk of it being made up by mid-sized multifuntion ships (which is why the Excelsior-Class is so prevanent) as well as small cruisers and scouts.

Post Dominion War, there would be a large number of combat ships (especially Defiant-Class, since its small and well-armed), which would then be tasked with escort and patrol duties until things quietened down.
Great answer.
and I like your picture on profile with the background.
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Old August 3 2013, 04:26 AM   #88
kgartm1185
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Re: Size of starfleet?

I'd say that it's either:

1. Small and has 800-1500 ships

or

2. Huge and has tens of thousands of ships.
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Old August 3 2013, 04:27 AM   #89
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Re: Size of starfleet?

Bry_Sinclair wrote: View Post
It's as big or small as it needs to be to tell a story (look at how often the Enterprise is the only ship in the sector ).

I work from idea that the big capital ships (Ambassador, Galaxy, Nebula, Sovereign) are relatively light in the fleet, with the bulk of it being made up by mid-sized multifuntion ships (which is why the Excelsior-Class is so prevanent) as well as small cruisers and scouts.

Post Dominion War, there would be a large number of combat ships (especially Defiant-Class, since its small and well-armed), which would then be tasked with escort and patrol duties until things quietened down.
I completely agree with you.
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