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

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Old May 12 2009, 10:49 PM   #1
cwl
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chang's BoP

chang's BoP that can fire whilst cloaked in ST:VI.

why didn't the Klingons build another?
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Old May 13 2009, 12:38 AM   #2
Praetor
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Re: chang's BoP

I presume they might have, but by that time the Federation figured out how to detect that type of cloak, rendering it useless and forcing the Klingons to develop a more powerful cloak which did not allow the BoP to fire while cloaked.

It's also possible that it was not possible to develop any more 'fire while cloak' BoPs, or that the Klingons decided they weren't worthwhile for what the BoP was supposed to do. It's also possible that the Klingons simply didn't have the resources or inclination to replace the cloaks on all their ships with the new type, with their economic crisis brought on by Praxis.

Alternatively, the Khitomer Accords may have simply illegalized fire-while-cloaked cloaking devices. We know that they illegalized isolytic weapons per 'Insurrection' so why not other armaments, ship types, etc?
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Old May 13 2009, 12:50 AM   #3
JNG
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Re: chang's BoP

cwl wrote: View Post
chang's BoP that can fire whilst cloaked in ST:VI.

why didn't the Klingons build another?
Probably because it ultimately didn't work so well. They were able to detect it using existing, albeit specialized, sensor equipment.

I don't know if shoving a torpedo outside of the cloak field was as revolutionary a development as it was made to seem (there was still some sort of radiation surge), and it's possible this was only expected to hold up as an advancement in cloaking for as long as was necessary to use it in its specific intended role in the subterfuge. Chang had to fly around feeling superior and stalk two starships with the thing, and they got him, putting an end to my suspicions that this could represent the next great superweapon of the Klingon Empire.

It's possible many ships since have had the option to fire through their cloaking devices, but since the whole point is not to reveal themselves before their defenses are ready, this is not always of great utility. Seems like Scimitar in ST:Nemesis had integrated defense and cloaking fields, and ran both to confound some targeting while shrugging off the fire that did land. I don't know if this represents a development on its own, or if it was always possible but generally impractical; if the latter, Scimitar just has multiple singularity cores and lots of extra power to toss around, and so can get away with it, at least for brief periods.
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Old May 13 2009, 08:38 AM   #4
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Re: chang's BoP

Indeed, I would presume that there was nothing utterly new or special about the ability to hide most of the ship from visual or sensor scans most of the time. It's just that the time spent exposed was minimized in Chang's design, but (as discussed above) this did not give a true tactical edge in the end.

Chang's ship was an assassin's weapon, in good and bad. A silenced pistol isn't as good in battle as a non-silenced one; in certain circumstances, a sniper in a shingle suit will quickly lose the battle to a couple of guys in conventional camo and battlefield armor and toting assault rifles of a fraction of the range but many times the firing rate of the sniper's rifle.

Any military has its uses for a small number of assassination weapons, sniping rifles, low-yield munitions and the like. The bulk of the military gear need not be that "refined", though: the "refinements" would be too costly, too complex, too limiting, too vulnerable for everyday battlefield use. An average Klingon BoP commander wouldn't want to obey strict stealth procedures that allow him or her to fire a single torpedo every now and then, when the battle could be decided much more swiftly by spraying the enemy with disruptors and by ignoring the fact that such an attack automatically negates all stealth measures.

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Old May 13 2009, 12:42 PM   #5
DiSiLLUSiON
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Re: chang's BoP

It doesn't seem a stretch to think that firing weapons while cloaked isn't all that big of a deal.

You just shove a torpedo out and it'll work. Or, provided that there are 'holes' in the shield for sensors and weapons, you could just as well have the cloaking field work on the same basis -- thus enabling a hole for weapons.

However, it might not be the smartest thing to do. Star Trek has established that a cloaking field precludes a shield -- you can have either, but not both at the same time. So when you fire a weapon when you're cloaked, you've got to be damn sure it'll destroy or seriously cripple your enemy in a single shot or you'll be dead.

You can, of course, fire a weapon and quickly move to a different location and rinse and repeat. But that assumes the enemy wants you, for some reason. Therefore, it's usually not the best option; you want your quarry to stay in system, not fly away because it's fed up with trying to locate you.
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Old May 13 2009, 01:02 PM   #6
Timo
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Re: chang's BoP

Star Trek has established that a cloaking field precludes a shield -- you can have either, but not both at the same time.
Oh, "established" is a bit strong a word for this. Many a cloaked vessel has survived direct hits that should have crippled an unshielded ship...

It's probably just that if you raise a shield within a cloak, the glow of the shield will reduce or even nullify the value of the cloaking. The cloak will still work fine, masking most of the stuff the ship was emitting, but it won't mask the additional emissions of the shield, not perfectly. Similarly, we hear that high power warp fields, or arming of weapons, can ruin the stealth effect even when the ship generally remains invisible; emissions must be minimized to keep even a good-quality cloak working as it should.

So a skipper can choose. Perfect stealth and no shielding? Or partial stealth and partial shielding? Or no stealth and full shielding? A Klingon might go for the middle option: stealth is just a means to a bold attack, not a goal unto itself (thus "Redemption" et al.). A Romulan might want to hide rather than attack, and would rig her warship so that cloak and shields won't work together (say, "Face of the Enemy"). And a pair of Klingon sisters at odds with the Empire, plotting with Romulans and no doubt getting much of their tech support from them, too, might choose to go the Romulan route (ST:GEN).

Chang's assassination mission depended on stealth and would have been a failure if the enemy fired back, quite regardless of whether this fire damaged the BoP or not. So he'd make sure not to have shields up during the cloaked attack. Perhaps his ship wouldn't even have shields, having been stripped down for the special mission?

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Old May 13 2009, 02:50 PM   #7
nx1701g
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Re: chang's BoP

I've read conflicting stories about Chang's BOP and why there weren't more. I remember one behind the scenes book saying that Chang's BOP was the only one because it was a prototype that was deemed a failure because it was detected by the Enterprise. I read another that said that, starting with the Enterprise-B, Starfleet was developing vessels with counter cloak technology that rendered the advantage useless because the computers would automatically target weapons and raise shields the moment it detected weapon's fire (possibly to explain how in the TNG Era the Enterprise could automatically raise shields in threat situations).
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Old May 13 2009, 06:33 PM   #8
DiSiLLUSiON
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Re: chang's BoP

Timo wrote: View Post
Oh, "established" is a bit strong a word for this. Many a cloaked vessel has survived direct hits that should have crippled an unshielded ship...

It's probably just that if you raise a shield within a cloak, the glow of the shield will reduce or even nullify the value of the cloaking. The cloak will still work fine, masking most of the stuff the ship was emitting, but it won't mask the additional emissions of the shield, not perfectly. Similarly, we hear that high power warp fields, or arming of weapons, can ruin the stealth effect even when the ship generally remains invisible; emissions must be minimized to keep even a good-quality cloak working as it should.

So a skipper can choose. Perfect stealth and no shielding? Or partial stealth and partial shielding? Or no stealth and full shielding? A Klingon might go for the middle option: stealth is just a means to a bold attack, not a goal unto itself (thus "Redemption" et al.). A Romulan might want to hide rather than attack, and would rig her warship so that cloak and shields won't work together (say, "Face of the Enemy"). And a pair of Klingon sisters at odds with the Empire, plotting with Romulans and no doubt getting much of their tech support from them, too, might choose to go the Romulan route (ST:GEN).
Your point is well argumented and I agree.
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Old May 13 2009, 07:59 PM   #9
cwl
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Re: chang's BoP

well clearly Chang made a tactical error in switching his fire from the Enterprise to the Excelsior .

the plot hole in the movie was that the excelsior was equipped for recording gaseous anomalies not the enterprise. that aside the torpedo they modified could have just as well end up hitting the Enterprise or Excelsior as their impulse engines create plasma too!!

clearly the excuse that you cant fire weapons while cloaked due to power limitations doesnt wash. how much power does it require to fire weapons? especially when we see cloaked ships travel at warp.

chang's prototype was destroyed but it's a little convenient that the project ended there. I mean if a torpedo can be equipped to detect engine emissions then clearly with sensors advancing a lot upto the TNG period shipboard sensors could be used to detect cloaked vessels emissions. so presumably more modern cloaks counter this.

in Nemesis of course we see the ultimate Cloaked ship- with the ability to fire weapons & raise shields while cloaked & travel at high warp.

a ship that can fire whilst cloaked is such a big advancement that there's no why anyone would drop such a project.
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Old May 13 2009, 08:05 PM   #10
Timo
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Re: chang's BoP

the plot hole in the movie was that the excelsior was equipped for recording gaseous anomalies not the enterprise.
The novelization IIRC tries to suggest a sort of an "interstellar year of astrophysics" thing wherein every Starfleet vessel carried that gear during that time period. Makes sense, sort of.

This was also part of the original TUC script: there was a scene left out where Kirk gave a tour of his vessel to Gorkon, and mentioned the gaseous anomaly analysis gear his ship was carrying.

clearly the excuse that you cant fire weapons while cloaked due to power limitations doesnt wash. how much power does it require to fire weapons? especially when we see cloaked ships travel at warp.
Indeed, the concept that cloaks consume lots of power seems thoroughly flawed. We only know that the Romulan prototype vessel in TOS "Balance of Terror" ran out of fuel while conducting a cloaked raid - and from this, fans and pros alike have somehow deduced that cloaks consume a lot of power. Yet we see that a cloak can be hooked up to any random power grid (DS9 "Profit and Loss"), or even power itself up for invisibility (DS9 "Emperor's New Cloak"), and is the very last thing to go down when a starship loses power (ST4:TVH).

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Old May 13 2009, 08:16 PM   #11
cwl
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Re: chang's BoP

the reason why ships cannot fire whilst cloaked is it would ruin traditional ship to ship battles in the star trek universe.

the only ships that can fire cloaked appeared in TUC & Nemesis. both ships ended up getting destroyed- the first design never being seen again & in the case of Nemesis - if a sequel was made I presume the Scimitar would turn out to be a 'one off prototype' - even though the premise of the Scimitar itself is ludicrous.
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Old May 13 2009, 11:09 PM   #12
JNG
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Re: chang's BoP

cwl wrote: View Post
the reason why ships cannot fire whilst cloaked is it would ruin traditional ship to ship battles in the star trek universe.
This being the Trek Tech forum, perhaps we can think of tech reasons.

But beyond that, there's not likely to ever be going to be a version of the cloak which allows a ship to hide completely while firing at a target. By definition, it would always reveal itself in doing so.

Perhaps advanced devices which allow a ship to conceal itself in a layer of subspace and transfer things back into normal space, as suggested in the DS9 TM, would be the next step. Of course, countermeasures would be developed and the dance would continue.

As for Scimitar as a one-off, since she is a flying thalaron radiation weapon, I think it quite reasonable there is only the one. However, Romulans putting together ships with capabilities that are otherwise similar doesn't seem particularly unlikely. Again, we are not sure that the firing through the cloak thing is new; I don't know that Our Heroes reacted with jaw-dropping surprise at it, but rather grim resignation. A D'deridex is quite a bit bigger than Scimitar and might be more energy-intensive to cloak while shooting and doing other exotic things, but I don't know that it's impossible.

I am sure the cloak, seeing as it is not entirely different in principle from shielding, has the capability to absorb a salvo or two on its own. The shields in tactical configuration are going to be much better at that, of course.
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Old May 14 2009, 04:37 AM   #13
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Re: chang's BoP

Well, we do know that cloaks can at least be temperamental. TNG's "Face of the Enemy" made it clear that a Romulan warbird's cloak, which one might assume is reasonably advanced and state of the art, has to be regulated carefully to keep the ship from becoming detectable to normal sensors. Even a small upset in the cloaking field allows for detection. And the BOP in Generations lost its shields automatically when the D forced it to cloak.

* shrugs * I think cwl actually has a very good point that a fully practical cloak wouldn't allow for dramatic battles, but I also think that the cloak being more energy consumptive than a conventional system is a reasonable explanation. It has a lot to hide, so I see no reason why it should be as simplistic as any other system.
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Old May 14 2009, 04:47 AM   #14
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Re: chang's BoP

Well, there are a few obvious issues...

#1. Under impulse, the cloak was worthless after the first shot since the feddies could track the impulse trail. (Under warp may be a different story.)

#2. Looked like the BOP had no shields, as the FIRST torp the thing took really tore the crap out of it, the other four torpedoes were just overkill and a pissed off Kirk and Sulu.

#3. Praxis. It's more than likely that the Klingons just couldn't dedicate the resources for the system in the several years after Praxis's explosion. They simply had other things to keep in mind, and the Federation wasn't as much of a military threat at that point.. indeed, just the opposite.
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Old May 14 2009, 08:53 AM   #15
Timo
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Re: chang's BoP

#1. Under impulse, the cloak was worthless after the first shot since the feddies could track the impulse trail. (Under warp may be a different story.)
This presumes that an impulse trail really exists. While "the thing has a tailpipe", we have generally been told that one only gets "sporadic" readings of impulse maneuvers. By not going full thrust all the time, a cloakship captain should be able to create gaps in his trail.

OTOH, warp supposedly does leave things referred to as trails. Whether all cloaked warp does that, too, is unknown. And tracking while at warp speed might be prohibitively difficult in most cases.

#2. Looked like the BOP had no shields, as the FIRST torp the thing took really tore the crap out of it, the other four torpedoes were just overkill and a pissed off Kirk and Sulu.
Very much so, yes. Although it would seem that this first torp had a relatively low yield, as it did so little damage compared with most such weapons. Perhaps Kirk didn't trust his special tracking torp all that much, and only used it as a pointer rather than an actual killer? Or perhaps the tracking system displaced most of the warhead.

In ST:GEN, a single torpedo from a possibly severely damaged launcher created the result (that is, recycled the footage) of the four final torps of this movie.

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