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

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Old October 8 2012, 06:26 PM   #1
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DS9 weapons

This is really just mild curiousity after watching DS9:

*is there a good canon explanation for why the DS9 era Excelsior/Miranda class (or similar) ships don't have those cool circular phaser arrays? (other than real-life reason that vfx couldn't be arsed to change models or cg )

*if I recall, Starfleet found a counter to the Breen dampener. Did the Breen ever come up with a new/improved version, or did it just become a defunct weapon?

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Old October 8 2012, 10:43 PM   #2
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Re: DS9 weapons

For the first question, I'd just assume it had to do with the older structures being incompatible with the phaser strips. Mounting improved point defense weapons was fine, and the DS9 TM says that a number of the station's newer weapons were recycled from older vessels slated to be decommissioned.

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Old October 9 2012, 08:43 PM   #3
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Re: DS9 weapons

Re: Phaser arrays, it's not like slapping an onion ring on top of a beef patty. Everything under the ring has to be able to support the mass, volume, and energy requirements of the actual array. The older ships probably just didn't have the infrastructure to support the larger weapons, so they just improved the ones they DID have with the ability to fire continuous orange beams instead of pulsey pink ones or solid blue ones, or whatever. Up close, the older arrays are supposed to be basically spherical turrets with a single emission barrel that is swiveled around as needed. Given that such detail is rarely built into the models of the show, and basically impossible to view on TV anyway, it's easy enough to think that they replaced the swiveling turret with a bump that could fire in any direction in a 180-degree arc, without any need to physically traverse the array.

Re: Breen Beams, I'm sure that once they learned Starfleet had defeated the weapon's effectiveness, the Breen immediately started working on ways to distrupt the anti-disruptor. However, the war was over a matter of days or weeks after that, so it's pretty much a moot point. The Breen seem to have survived the war with very little lost compared to pretty much every other party in the conflict, so logistically I can see them continuing to tinker away on creating a better version, unless the victors imposed a ban on further development on such weapons (as well they should, and this sort of thing happens today).

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Old October 16 2012, 09:27 AM   #4
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Re: DS9 weapons

Even with the old-style phaser banks, the Lakota received upgrades that gave her phasers a good punch when going up against the Defiant.

Seeing how many Excelsior's and Miranda's remained in service by the time of the Dominion War, refitting them would be a big job. Besides their existing weapons work just fine (if it ain't broke, don't fix it ).
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Old October 16 2012, 10:47 AM   #5
Re: DS9 weapons

Like Mark said, it might be impossible to see that some of the hardware is completely uprooted and replaced by modern equipment of roughly the same shape and size. But conversely, we have seen some elements of the Miranda and the Excelsior undergo a prominent visual change even though the models weren't retouched: the warp engines now glow an intense blue, unlike in their original 23rd century appearances. Perhaps some major refitting has taken place, but it does not manifest on the outside?

The strip phasers might also be considered a fad whose time came and went, and really modern phasers are very small and are being predominantly installed on ships the most severely lagging behind in firepower, and (not so coincidentally) incapable of receiving other sorts.

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Old October 26 2012, 02:58 AM   #6
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Re: DS9 weapons

As far as the Phaser Arrays vs turrets on older ships. I think it has to do with the way the weapon slots were built into the hull along with all the support wiring that comes with it. Think about it, ship mounted Phasers need Power, Electronic communications, internal access room / space for maintenance.

If your hull wasn't designed for it in the first place, having to shove it on would be a major refit. You could probably be in space dock for who knows how long.

Especially in war time, you do what is fast and efficient. You can't have a ship sitting there for months or weeks.

Get the latest turret versions of the same phasers, install it, call it done.

Upgrade your shield systems to the latest model, same with engines and computers. Call it done.

Look at our real world US examples.

USS Midway started at the end of WWII and was decommisioned in 1992.

Excelsior and Miranda classes getting upgrades lasted over 90 years.

Any ship that is well designed and maintained can probably last several centuries with technological upgrades backing it.
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Old November 9 2012, 09:07 PM   #7
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Re: DS9 weapons

I agree with the majority here. Starfleet tech has always been depicted as modular. Jettison this, replace that, upgrade this, refit that. The ships can be taken apart and put back together with new parts around their long-serving spaceframes even over the course of several decades.

Also, the arms race in Star Trek has never really been about raw power, it seems to me more about frequencies, modulations, "phase" adjustments and other such babble.

It's not usually "our shields are more powerful than their disruptors, fullstop" it's more about "they're using some kind of oscillating nadion pulse to realign the cycle of their particle phase discriminators, and it's creating an interferametric feedback loop building to an overload faster than our frequency modulation generators can keep up." So it's not really about who can punch harder with blunt force or put up a stronger energy field, it's about making the energy systems learn to blink, twist, flip, dance, focus and re-focus faster such that the energies applied translate through your enemy's technologies in ways their designers haven't accounted for yet.

Similarly with warp speed... I don't get the impression that 24th century warp cores are much "more powerful" than 23rd century or even 22nd century equivalents, realistically it's always going to be about matter/anti-matter reaction rates which would give a fixed amount of output according to the mass of the combined reactants. Technological progress in this area has always seemed to be about how efficiently this energy can be harnessed and used. ie. How focussed is the reaction (advancements in the dilithium crystal assembly), how effectively can the warp field dynamic be calibrated and still maintain a stable warp field (probably nacelle design and super structure come into play here), how to maintain structural integrity fields necessary to protect the ship from the stresses of warping faster (like learning how to treat the Defiant just right so she doesn't shake herself apart, or how the Kelvans were able to shore up the fields protecting the Enterprise so she could sustain super-high warp to Andromeda).

The actual weapon emplacements on the ships are little more than blunt devices simply designed to emit focussed energy in a block of frequency ranges as directed in real time by a computer system. It is not entirely unreasonable that a phaser emitter from, say, fifty years ago might be able to be significantly "upgraded" with nothing more than faster computers, and newer firmware that comes with up-to-date Starfleet "technobabble tricks."

Photon Torpedo launching systems probably haven't changed much in 200 years; it's the ordnance themselves which are constantly upgraded and re-designed. As long as it's tube shaped, they can launch it. The Torpedo really does the rest.

To give you a really mundane contemporary analogy, we have technology today that can generate the same brightness (in lumens) using much less energy (in wattage), but the new bulbs still screw in and fit the old lamp fixtures. Am I right?
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Old November 10 2012, 01:08 PM   #8
Re: DS9 weapons

...Plus, modern torpedoes, mines, missiles and decoys are still being built to 21 inch caliber in navies that otherwise have been Metric since the Great War at least, and despite there being really good reasons for adopting larger or smaller calibers. Continuity across decades, and soon across centuries, is good for weapons export, and secondarily for one's own general logistics...

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