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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 December 13 2014, 04:43 AM   #1
SicOne
Commodore
 
Location: Omaha, NE
Torpedo magazine questions

(1) Where are the torpedo magazines in the Miranda and Constitution-refit-class ships?

The torpedo launchers are too small to hold any more than a few torpedoes at a time. I'm not inclined to think they're deep in the hull (engineering hull for the Con-refit), though it's more believable for the Con-refit than it is for the Miranda, with the torpedo launcher way up on the rollbar.

I am thinking the magazines are in the rollbar for the Miranda, and in the neck for the Con-refit. I am also thinking that there are quick-blowoff panels in the rollbar and on the neck, in case the torpedoes are at risk for some kind of chain reaction detonation due to damage; they can blow off hull panels and eject the magazines or at-risk portions of them. In the case of the Miranda, I'm thinking that there are explosive charges to separate the entire rollbar assembly in case of an emergency that could cause sympathetic detonation of the entire magazine in the rollbar.

There's plenty of room in the rollbar for ammo belt-like rows of torpedoes, as well as room in the neck of the Con-refit. By that reckoning, as well as the two extra rear-firing tubes, I'm inclined to think the Miranda has significantly greater numbers of torpedoes than the Con-refit.

(2) Additionally, do we think all torpedo tubes on a ship are fed from a centralized torpedo magazine? With dedicated turbolift-type elevators running, say, 10 torpedoes at a time from the centralized magazine to the various fore and aft tubes?

(3) And finally, are torpedoes "factory-loaded" with antimatter at the Starbase (I'm assuming that's where photon torpedoes are fabricated, see below), or injected with an appropriate amount of antimatter at the order of the Tactical station just before firing? If you believe the former, it diminishes the theory of dial-a-yield (adjustable yield of detonation) since no matter how low you set it, I have difficulty believing you can somehow inhibit how much of the antimatter in the torpedo gets channeled to destructive force; if you believe the latter, that requires some kind of dedicated antimatter line from the ship's supply up to the torpedo bay...as well as making it more likely, IMO, that a strike to the torpedo bay has the ability to chain-react down the dedicated antimatter line to the antimatter storage.

(4) Are photorps fabricated at Starbases, or are they created or replicated from materials aboard the starship? I know Voyager left with something like 38 torpedoes on their Badlands mission, but don't know how many of them they fired in seven years of televised missions. The ability to fabricate additional torpedoes would help expand the belief of the ship firing more than it is said they left with, but then also diminishes the impact of knowing they left with 38 torps in the first place.

Thoughts, beliefs, conjecture, good folks?
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Old December 13 2014, 03:18 PM   #2
Mister_Atoz
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Re: Torpedo magazine questions

Torpedo Magazines

In regards to the Constitution Refit, and the Miranda Class I would say that yes, the magazines are adjacent to their launchers.

Even on larger star ships like the Galaxy Class or the Intrepid Class (Voyager), it doesn't seem terribly unrealistic to have the Forward and Aft launchers fed from a central magazine in the Engineering Hull.

It gets trickier with the Sovereign Class because, because by the time of 'Nemesis', the Enterprise -E seems to have Torpedo launchers "stuck on" all over the place.

Factory Loaded versus Dial a Yield
I've gone back and forth on this issue myself.

I agree that having the starship "load" the antimatter prior to firing is more consistent with the "Dial-a yield" concept.

On the other hand, are they really "injecting" antimatter into their torpedoes during combat?...while the ship is rocking and shaking and power is fluctuating?...that seems like a bad idea to me...

I would say that starships keep a magazine of "Preloaded" torpedoes. Larger starships like the Galaxy Class may have the ability to make more "on the fly" though probably...i would hope...not in combat.

Voyager may not have had this ability, but may over the years have jury-rigged something to allow them to manufacture new torpedoes.

Afterall, they apparently rebuilt something like 30 shuttlecraft AND a Delta Flyer twice!


Another thought on Photon Torpedoes comes to mind.

What if Photon Torpedoes are more sophisticated than giant matter/antimatter bombs.

What if they are more like a bomb-pumped laser with an antimatter detonation instead of nuclear fission.

See, when you allow matter/antimatter to react, the initial reaction pushes the rest of the matter and anti matter away from each other, and not all of the reaction is converted into the harmful gamma and x-rays you need to damage the target.

What if the matter/antimatter in the torpedo is more like a miniature "warp core" that powers a "warhead" that rapidly generates a burst of gamma rays annihilating the torpedo in the process.

"Dial a Yield" would then be a setting on the warhead, indicating how much of the detonation would be converted to gamma rays and how much would be "wasted". This would also make lower settings somewhat wasteful, meaning that you would only use it when phasers are not an option...which is why we don't often see photon Torpedoes being used "to knock the comm array of a shuttle pod"

...I'm sure there are all kinds of problems with this, but it was just a thought...
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Old December 14 2014, 09:07 PM   #3
Timo
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Re: Torpedo magazine questions

There might be all sorts of problems with keeping antimatter contained when it's aboard a torpedo. It's already difficult enough to keep the stuff safe in the larger centralized tanks with their hugely redundant ("Contagion") safety measures... Placing a bit of AM inside a torpedo warhead might start a countdown to disaster, requiring the antimatter to be withdrawn if the torpedo doesn't get used in time.

Also note that the containment systems of torpedoes are decidedly non-trivial hardware: the Maquis were supposed to have gone to some lengths to steal those, despite already possessing things like food replicators and well-working combat warpcraft ("Tribunal"). Also noteworthy is that what they supposedly stole did not appear to have explosive power as such: apart from how carelessly the stuff seemed to be stored aboard DS9 (and later aboard the O'Brien runabout, assuming it was planted there at all) the Cardassians readily paraded the "confiscated" material in a courtroom...

I guess the biggest argument against last-minute loading is ST3:TSfS. The badly wounded starship is being run on extensive automation, yet the one combat system that Scotty has rigged for remote use is the torpedo launcher already hurt by Khan, not one of the phasers that never got damaged in the previous movie. That sort of suggests torpedoes are fairly rugged devices for keeping on standby.

It gets trickier with the Sovereign Class because, because by the time of 'Nemesis', the Enterprise -E seems to have Torpedo launchers "stuck on" all over the place.
A twofold rationalization: the various launchers handle different roles, i.e. different munition types (quantums are only ever seen fired from the dedicated under-saucer launcher of a fancy barrel shape, and nothing else comes out of there!), and the Dominion War showed that phasers are a poor close-in defense system against the small Dominion attack vessels, an all-new opponent type.

Basically, Starfleet scabs on compact, modular launchers for sublight, short range defensive mini-torpedoes, accounting for the saucertop aft launcher at least. For warp combat, single and twin launchers with longer barrels are (for some reason) required and included from the start, even if we don't see all of them in action until ST:NEM.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old December 16 2014, 08:48 PM   #4
Mark_Nguyen
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Re: Torpedo magazine questions

I like the Torpedo magazine. Next February's issue will feature a full spread of a Mark 10 with her aft maintenance hatches open.

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Old December 16 2014, 09:36 PM   #5
Timo
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Re: Torpedo magazine questions

The thing is, nothing should stop the ship from replicating more torpedoes - nothing but her replicators being down, that is. And this ought to cease to be a problem after, oh, about "Basics" or so, when our heroes leave Kazon territory and reach civilized space at last.

Dialogue references to shortages of any sort disappear just about that time, too...

(It isn't trivial to replicate torpedo warheads, or else "Tribunal" would not apply. But it isn't impossible, either, if you have replicators.)

Timo Saloniemi
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Old December 17 2014, 02:22 AM   #6
blssdwlf
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Re: Torpedo magazine questions

The scene where they only had one high yield torpedo to use and Janeway deciding to fire it from the aft torpedo launcher would suggest a central torpedo magazine on Voyager that fed the forward and aft launchers...

Mark_Nguyen wrote: View Post
I like the Torpedo magazine. Next February's issue will feature a full spread of a Mark 10 with her aft maintenance hatches open.

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Old December 17 2014, 05:00 AM   #7
SicOne
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Location: Omaha, NE
Re: Torpedo magazine questions

I can see a central torpedo magazine being located near the forward torpedo tubes in classes like the Excelsior and Intrepid, with a dedicated turbolift-type mechanism running from the central magazine to the rear tubes. Most of the time, only the front tubes would be likely to be used, but it never hurts to have a small stash by the aft tubes, likely to be pre-stashed there if the ship is expecting combat but left in the central magazine if not expected.

This theory kind of falls down in regards to the Sovereign as depicted in "Nemesis", with launchers all over the goddamned place. In this case, I am thinking that these bonus launchers have small 12-20 torpedo magazines situated close at hand rather than dedicated lifts from a central magazine. The Sov's forward and aft secondary hull tubes probably all fire from the same central magazine, probably located near the forward tubes, and the quantum torpedo launcher is a separate entity with its own magazine, but also likely supplied or supplemented from the central magazine in the secondary hull. I can't imagine the small tubes on the aft of the primary hull by the shuttlebay doors have giant magazines of their own.
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Old December 17 2014, 05:15 AM   #8
SicOne
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Location: Omaha, NE
Re: Torpedo magazine questions

If there is antimatter to be loaded, as opposed to factory-preloaded so to speak, I'm inclined to think it's done at the centralized magazine rather than a dedicated feed line from the ship's AM supply to the torpedo tube itself. As much as things might go awry with preloaded AM torpedoes, I can think of much worse in the heat of battle with dedicated AM feed lines running to vulnerable parts of the ship.
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Old December 17 2014, 10:51 AM   #9
Timo
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Re: Torpedo magazine questions

The scene where they only had one high yield torpedo to use and Janeway deciding to fire it from the aft torpedo launcher would suggest a central torpedo magazine on Voyager that fed the forward and aft launchers...
Contrast this to "The Changeling" where Kirk first orders torpedoes prepared, then tells Sulu to launch number two. Does this mean Sulu is to fire from tube number two, and Kirk's main concern is the same as that of a submarine skipper - emptying his tubes in logical and balanced order, minding the fact that each tube takes aeons to reload? Or are all the torps waiting in a central magazine and Kirk wants the one with the class two yield loaded and fired? Kirk's exact order is "Ready photon torpedo number two", which could cater for either interpretation.

In "Journey to Babel", Kirk's order in turn is "On my order, fire photon torpedoes two, four and six." Hardly a case of firing three torps of different types, and more likely to refer to three forward-pointing tubes (or six, but # 1,3 and 5 might be aft tubes, too), each already housing a prepared torpedo. And "In a Mirror, Darkly" suggests the aft torpedo launchers of this ship type or at least one variant thereof are located far away from the forward ones, in a completely different hull, so probably no central magazine there.

Archer also had at least one launcher mounted separately from others - the one in the aft pod. The others might all theoretically have fed from the same magazine, even if it didn't seem that the Armory set would serve aft tubes.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old December 17 2014, 10:58 PM   #10
drt
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Re: Torpedo magazine questions

It's going to be harder to try and fit how they were used in TOS/TMP to everything that comes after, since it seems appparant that photon torpedoes were intended to be energy weapons until Meyer needed them to be Royal-Navy-in-space cannonballs/dead Spock caskets in TWOK.
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Old December 18 2014, 12:30 AM   #11
Timo
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Re: Torpedo magazine questions

Had TOS ever featured a plot involving a torpedo team (the way it used a phaser team in "BoT"), practical considerations would no doubt have turned the torpedoes into something recognizable and tangible, i.e. cigarlike projectiles that are of impressive but manageable size and cheap to manufacture at the Desilu shop but still with futuristic, anti-Buck-Rogers-Flash-Gordon-Dan-Dare touches, probably making use of clean lines and unexpected shapes. In essence, we might have gotten exactly what Meyer later gave us for slightly different practical reasons!

Also, TOS dialogue on photon torpedoes was lifted directly off WWII submarinespeak. Torpedoes were prepared first, then waited in numbered tubes until launched - hardly the way to operate fuzzy "energy weapons".

Timo Saloniemi
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