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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Misc. Star Trek > Trek Tech

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

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Old November 20 2010, 10:13 PM   #1
Lorna
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Armour Piercing Torpedoes

What interests me a lot about Trek Tech is the none existence of armour piercing torpedoes. We've seen many different types of torpedo and all the ones we've seen seem to be with rounded ends and made of a weak material.

Whatever happened to designing Torpedoes capable of penetrating armour? of penetrating deep into a vessel?

Torpedoes seem to be designed to detonate on immediate impact. Torpedoes used against the Borg detonated on the Cube surface in First Contact.

Any attack against a Borg cube would have been more successful if the torpedoes penetrated the surface of the Borg cube and managed to get deeper in before detonation.

Even today we have bunker busters and depleted uranium shells for penetration. Why don't we see such technology in Trek?
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Old November 20 2010, 11:36 PM   #2
sojourner
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Re: Armour Piercing Torpedoes

Shields.
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Old November 20 2010, 11:46 PM   #3
DonIago
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Re: Armour Piercing Torpedoes

I'd say torpedoes tend to be armor-piercing by default, given that one went right through the saucer section of the Enterprise in TUC. What more would you be hoping for?
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Old November 21 2010, 02:30 AM   #4
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Re: Armour Piercing Torpedoes

If I remember correctly, the original philosophy behind Star Trek weapons and defenses was that the weapons were so powerful that they would be able to tear through just about any material (remember, the original Enterprises phaser banks can destroy half a continent). Thats where shields come in. You need the shields to stop these weapons, without shields you're pretty much fucked.

Of course, this has changed over the years to a certain degree but what I mentioned is the basic idea behind trek weapons.
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Old November 21 2010, 04:47 PM   #5
Forbin
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Re: Armour Piercing Torpedoes

If the torp is moving at near-relativistic speeds, or even at warp, it doesn't even need explosives to destroy the target.
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Old November 21 2010, 09:12 PM   #6
hofner
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Re: Armour Piercing Torpedoes

Maybe the writers of First Contact should've had someone say "Crap! Our armour-piercing torpedos can't penetrate the Borg cube, they just explode on the surface."

A shame theyy didn't.

Robert
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Old November 21 2010, 09:16 PM   #7
DonIago
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Re: Armour Piercing Torpedoes

...you're joking, right?
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Old November 21 2010, 11:08 PM   #8
T'Girl
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Re: Armour Piercing Torpedoes

DonIago wrote: View Post
I'd say torpedoes tend to be armor-piercing by default, given that one went right through the saucer section of the Enterprise in TUC.
Which begs the question, why didn't it detonate?

Lorna wrote: View Post
... and depleted uranium shells for penetration. Why don't we see such technology in Trek?
One of the explanations for the term duranium, the substance used to make starship hulls, is that it's actual a contraction for Depleted Uranium. Completely (and utterly) depleted uranium. If impacted by a projectile compose of the same material all you get is a dent.

The argument could be made that the torpedoes are in fact penetrating the Borg cube to a certain depth prior to exploding.
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Old November 21 2010, 11:33 PM   #9
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Re: Armour Piercing Torpedoes

I haven't watched the sequence in quite some time, but do we clearly see the torpedo exit the upper side of the saucer, or is it possible the torpedo did detonate inside the ship and what we're seeing is debris being blown clear?

Now, the idea of a torpedo that can blow clear through a ship's hull and retain enough of a guidance system to keep going raises some interesting possibilities...
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Old November 22 2010, 12:02 PM   #10
Timo
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Re: Armour Piercing Torpedoes

Which begs the question, why didn't it detonate?
Perhaps it did.

Remember that Chang carried torpedoes for a very special purpose: damaging Gorkon's flagship so that gravity would be knocked out but Chang himself, supposedly aboard said flagship, would not be placed in any jeopardy. Furthermore, those torpedoes had to look like Federation ones, even when carefully scrutinized, especially in case the plan would go as it did in the movie and forensic evidence from the Enterprise would be analyzed afterwards.

Such highly special torpedoes might be incapable of doing much damage, for one of two reasons:

1) Chang's technicians had to compromise in order to provide the ersatz Federation look for the torps; the warhead might not be scaleable for a bigger yield

2) Cartwright's cohorts were the ones to provide Chang with Federation torpedoes; Cartwright made sure the torps would be incapable of carrying a full yield

Chang would be quite a shrewd tactician, then, to shout and holler like a madman when firing at Kirk. When he did that, he looked like a sadist who enjoyed shooting his victim to pieces bit by bit. If he hadn't done that, Kirk might have paid closer attention to the fact that the Klingon's torpedoes were doing minimal damage, and decided they were in fact incapable of hurting him much.

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Old November 22 2010, 04:59 PM   #11
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Re: Armour Piercing Torpedoes

Except that Scotty quite clearly notes that the BoP's torpedoes are "packing quite a wallop". It would also seem odd that Spock wouldn't make an observation regarding the torpoedoes' limited effectiveness if that was in fact the case.

As for knocking out Kronos One's gravity field without endangering Chang, that would seem to simply be a matter of Chang making sure he wasn't near any equipment used to generate the gravitational field at the time he knew the BoP was to attack. Surely he knew exactly when and where the attack was to occur.
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Old November 22 2010, 10:38 PM   #12
Timo
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Re: Armour Piercing Torpedoes

...For all we know, he wasn't even aboard at all. After all, nobody on the Klingon cruiser could locate him. The viewscreen image of him challenging Kirk could have been real - he could have beamed back from the BoP to the cruiser once the danger was over - or it could have been faked, piped in from the BoP.

It might also be that the torpedoes did not damage the gravity generators; this is such an unusual occurrence that Chang could not have hoped to achieve the effect no matter how good his marksmanship. Rather, the Federation-lookalike torpedoes provided an excuse for the loss of gravity, which in reality was created through sabotage by onboard agents.

It would also seem odd that Spock wouldn't make an observation regarding the torpoedoes' limited effectiveness if that was in fact the case.
But ineffective torpedoes could well be the acknowledged standard for the Klingon BoP. We've never seen this ship type fire effective torps, after all. The green bolts from ST3, ST5 and even ST:GEN seem to disable rather than destroy, and may have been optimized for the style of warfare the BoP was supposed to pursue. Perhaps this invisible little ship was created for the same job as the WWII German submarine: commerce hunting, with an emphasis on capture if possible, and only a secondary role in attacking enemy warships?

If this were the case, Scotty would be within his rights to say that the BoP packs atypically great firepower. A bit like noting that a torpedo boat fires 5 inch shells at you: your armor may be designed to shrug off 14-inch battleship shells, but even then it's surprising and worrying to learn that the torpedo boat has such atypical artillery aboard.

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Old November 22 2010, 10:53 PM   #13
Forbin
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Re: Armour Piercing Torpedoes

It just bugs me that antimatter torpedos always seem to be less powerful than good ol' WWII torpedos that could blow a damn freighter right in half.
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Old November 22 2010, 10:58 PM   #14
Timo
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Re: Armour Piercing Torpedoes

Then again, those torps had the incompressibility of water working for them, directing the explosive power; plus a keel hit would compromise the structural integrity of the surface vessel, whereas it's unclear whether starships have anything comparable to a keel.

Take the same amount of Torpex and detonate it close to a Liberty ship hull, like a magnetic detonator of a torpedo would - but this time in the vacuum of space. Observe light charring on the hull. Go back to the drawing board in your quest for an anti-spaceship weapon...

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Old November 24 2010, 05:02 AM   #15
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Re: Armour Piercing Torpedoes

^ Not so much for a fifty megaton nuclear device, though. If it's within a few meters or even a few dozen meters of the hull the fireball from the exploding device itself will hit with a considerable amount of force, arguably similar if not greater than the equivalent torpedo underwater. Worse still if the torpedo is designed to deliver explosive energy in some sort of [tech] form, like some sort of handwavium energy particle.
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