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

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Old November 15 2009, 05:26 AM   #1
James Wright
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Spatial Torpedoes

Can somebody help me? I read the article on Spatial Torpedoes over at Memory Alpha, the article didn't mention warhead yield or the velocity they reach once fired or range!
If anybody can point me in the direction of this info please point!

James
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Old November 15 2009, 12:10 PM   #2
Timo
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Re: Spatial Torpedoes

No specific yield was ever established for these weapons. We only saw them fired very rarely - essentially, "Flight or Fight" was our only good look at them in action. And there we cannot know if Reed would have fired full-yield weapons for his ranging shots at that asteroid (he probably wouldn't have). Firings against a shielded enemy vessel in turn tell us virtually nothing about the yield, because the effect would depend on the shields. And we never heard any references to them being fired at their maximum range, or any other things that would help us define that range.

What we do have reason to think is that spatial torpedoes did have a fixed yield, since Reed thinks that variable yield is a novelty worth mentioning when the photonic torps are introduced in "The Expanse". Oddly enough, Reed mentions their increased range (50 times that of spatials) but not the fact that photonic torpedoes apparently can be fired at warp speeds. We never saw the spatials demonstrate that capability - but since Reed doesn't mention it, we might have to assume the spatials did have it, too.

Interestingly, Memory Alpha claims that the spatial torpedoes are the same thing as the "Triton class torpedoes" mentioned in "Minefield". But the dialogue doesn't seem to support this. What Reed says is this:

Reed: "The closest thing I'm familiar with that this device resembles is a Triton class spatial torpedo."
He doesn't seem to be describing his usual tools of trade at all, but instead is referring to some less common piece of hardware that he has once or twice stumbled upon. The wording would be really weird if Reed's normal workplace was loaded up with this "closest thing". Perhaps NX-01 had some Tritons aboard, but most of the spatials on the racks were Poseidons or Nereids?

It's also possible that the spatials are ship-specific, and Reed was describing torpedoes used by the Triton class of starships.

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Old November 18 2009, 05:42 AM   #3
James Wright
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Re: Spatial Torpedoes

Spatial Torpedoes look like torpedoes ought to look, how long are they compared to Photon Torpedoes?

James
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Old November 18 2009, 06:26 AM   #4
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Re: Spatial Torpedoes

One thing to consider is that early ENT episodes used VFX shots that were directly consistent with dialog calls. The ship from "Fight or Flight" had come to within extremely close range when Reed fired at it. The last distance call is "8000 kilometers," and the alien ship opens fire shortly after that. If the visuals are taken completely literally in this episode (which I think is the scriptwriter's intention) then both spatial torpedoes are fired at a range of a few kilometers.

The torpedoes were also used against Duras in "Judgement," this time at a range of about 800 meters. Between this one and some loose interpretation of the scenes in "Fight or Flight" I think we can estimate a torpedo's acceleration at something like 200m/s^2, more or less on par with a modern guided missile really. Maximum range depends on alot of things, not least of which is the ship's targeting sensors and the torpedo's onboard propellant, but I think it's effective range against a moving target is probably quite small, ten to twenty kilometers or so, at least enough to make them competitive with the plasma cannons (which have a range of about nine kilometers).

Yield is tricky to estimate, but against un-shielded targets (the borgified transport in "Regeneration" and the alien ship from "The Crossing") they seem to pack a bit of a punch. They could well be thermonuclear devices, considering their effect on the interior of the Crossing ship; considering the punyness of their warheads, I would estimate a yield between 10 and 40 kilotons.

Not to rehash an old argument, but simple nuclear weapons don't seem to do alot of damage in space. Simple radiation seems to be an easy thing to screen for, so weapons imparting kinetic energy or extreme heat are probably a bit more effective.
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Old November 19 2009, 08:16 PM   #5
Timo
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Re: Spatial Torpedoes

Agreed. And even though variable yield doesn't seem to be in the bag of spatial torpedo tricks, there could be some features there that are adjustable. The effects of the explosion can probably be shaped a bit by shaping the fusionable sheath of a thermonuclear device, or by shaping an outer shell of ejectables (heavy metals), or by configuring the shell of the warhead so that it briefly lases when activated by the explosion and pumps out X-rays or stuff before/while being vaporized, and then adjusting the configuration.

Some of that stuff would probably be necessary for breaching enemy hulls with nuclear explosions. And our heroes would know about polarized armor, so they'd try and field weapons that are effective against that type of protection at least. But the torpedoes would have plenty of other uses as well: demolition and clearing work, mainly. So enter malleable warheads.

Targeting system is anybody's guess, but there would probably be at least some onboard sensors instead of pure command or dead-reckoning guidance. If the engine is fully throttleable, down to zero, and can be reignited, the torpedo might have theoretically infinite range, then. Just shut down, coast to a distant target, then reactivate at a present point or at a specific cue. More probably, this sort of thing would have defensive uses: one could park one's ship and then surround it with a cloud of "guard dog" missiles that pounce at the enemy from behind if he tries an aggressive approach. We'd probably be speaking of ranges in dozens of kilometers at most again.

It doesn't seem as if the launch tubes have any significant accelerator or "railgun" functionality. The torpedo just spits out at a rather pedestrian speed and ignites, then accelerates. Granted that photon torpedo launchers seem to do just this and no more, too - but those weapons at least assuredly can be fired at warp, which may require special functionality from the launcher and not just from the projectile.

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Old November 19 2009, 08:45 PM   #6
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Re: Spatial Torpedoes

Actually, I think photon torpedoes have to be accelerated from the launcher using something akin to a railgun, which may or may not be a requisite for penetration of modern deflector shields. Deflectors, after all, are designed to repel big dumb objects hurtling towards the ship, so any ordinary missile moving at 1km/s is going to bounce off like a dodgeball.
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Old November 19 2009, 09:01 PM   #7
Timo
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Re: Spatial Torpedoes

For all we know, the whole idea of a photorp is to disrupt the shields with an antimatter blast, which also hurls a collapsed-matter slug forward, exploiting the temporary weakness of the shields...

Naah, I don't think kinetic energy plays any part in shield penetration. Fast-moving objects have never been considered to be much of a danger to a shielded ship. Only large moving objects, or explosive or radiating or death-ray-spitting objects, have.

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