A Starfleet?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by James Wright, Sep 2, 2008.

  1. James Wright

    James Wright Commodore Commodore

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    Does anybody have any idea how many ships Starfleet had in commission during the Enterprise, TOS & TNG eras?
    Thanks!

    JDW
     
  2. Nedersong

    Nedersong Captain

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    It's not really clear.

    The nx-01 was the first of its kind and no others had been made.

    There were allegedly only twelve Constitution class.

    But towards the end of DS9 they had hundreds of ships. They were mentioning losses of around 150 os so, but i am unclear as to the exact number.
     
  3. Augustus

    Augustus Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It seems that by the time of DS9, there were thousands of ships... otherwise they couldn't sustain losses of "150 or so"
     
  4. warriorsfan

    warriorsfan Admiral Admiral

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    I got the impression that Starfleet during the Ent era only had a few dozen ships or so at best. We saw several smaller Starfleet vessels (like the Saratoga) in addition to the NX-class.

    TOS? It's anyone's guess. If there really were 12 Constitutions (which I really can't believe given the events of The Ultimate Computer), then there still would undoubtedly be numerous smaller vessels. You can't defend the Federation with 12 ships. If I had to guess, I would say the TOS-era Starfleet probably had a couple of hundred ships at least.

    TNG-era would have had several thousand.
     
  5. James Wright

    James Wright Commodore Commodore

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    The thing I can't figure out is, as the Federation added member planets why didn't Starfleet incorporate those fleets into Starfleet?
    Starfleet was an earth originization correct!?
    Thanks,

    JDW
     
  6. JNG

    JNG Chief of Staff, Starfleet Command Rear Admiral

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    There *was* an Earth Starfleet, which presumably became part of the Federation Starfleet when the Federation came together. I'm not sure why you have concluded other member planets did not integrate their fleets as well. It seems perfectly reasonable that they would have.

    The mature Federation Starfleet ships are designed and constructed by the combined efforts of all members. Earth is merely one member. The ships have English written on them because it's an American TV show, and humans appear common in Starfleet because makeup costs money and time. However, the creative intention was to show the Federation Starfleet as a combined service of, by and for all the Federation members.

    There are probably between five and eight thousand ships of the line in Starfleet in TNG era. Before the Dominion War, it is probably around the higher figure, and afterwards it's probably the lower figure.
     
  7. ShinRa Actual

    ShinRa Actual Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    It also depends on what you consider a 'ship' Do you mean frontline, fairly large and 'notable' ships like Enterprise, or are you counting the fleet train and other logistics, too (Tugs, freighters, repair ships, shuttles, etc). Even if you're just counting 'major combatants', there's likely to be other ships besides the NX-01 or Constitution Class in service. Enterprise showed the Intrepid and another design, so it's likely they were the Destroyers to the NX class cruisers, with similar smaller and possibly larger ships to the Constitution class cruisers.
     
  8. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    To be sure, the ENT Intrepid was basically just as large as NX-01. Archer's ship isn't marketed as Earth's first starship at any point of the show: it is only marketed as the first of Earth's supposedly many starships that is capable of warp 5 travel and subsequently exploration of areas that remain unknown to Earth.

    One might assume that Earth's Starfleet (or UESF for short) had a lot of relatively weak but still reasonably large warships for show. Since UE couldn't do any meaningful exploration with the old engines, but still had the technology and resources to build ships such as the Boomer transports, construction of a showpiece warfleet would seem like a natural step for the government to take.

    Once other navies joined in and created the UFP Starfleet, it might be that Earth's dedicated exploration ships remained the combined fleet's only dedicated exploration asset. The older players might have already explored all they wanted, and would no longer have dedicated ships in their inventories. Thus, when the UFP Starfleet began to profile itself as an exploration organization, Earth hardware would be a major influence.

    Half a dozen other lines of speculation are equally valid, though. Neither ENT nor TOS requires us to know anything about the size of Starfleet off screen, and the episodes would play out much the same regardless of whether there were two other ships, or twenty thousand.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  9. USS KG5

    USS KG5 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Enterprise: A few dozen
    TOS: A few hundred, possibly a couple of thousand.
    TNG: Upwards of 10,000.
     
  10. USS KG5

    USS KG5 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    See I don't get this idea that the Federation had fewer ships in commission at the end of the war.

    Historically wartime fleets are always massively larger than their peacetime equivalents. Even Starfleet has some limitations on resources, and cannot have fleets of 500 ships each sitting around in peacetime.

    I would expect Starfleet probably doubled in size during the Dominion War, probably lost overall around 3000 odd ships of all sizes by the end, but would likely have built as many if not more.
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    To be sure, we don't have direct evidence of any ships being built during the war. The only "new" ship to emerge would have been the Sao Paulo, but she might also have been in existence and service/mothballs since before the war, even though the implication is that she's fresh off the docks.

    It might be that it takes several years to build any reasonably sized combat starship. Which would probably mean that Starfleet would gain significantly in ships - but at the very end of the war, rather than during it. Whether that gain would balance the losses is unknown.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  12. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    There's also the issue of need to contend with as well. Given the size of the Federation, one might argue that Starfleet should have somewhere close to a million or so ships. But if Starfleet can cover it's responsibilities with much fewer vessels, then it's likely to do that as well, IMO.

    I don't think there's any way to adequately defend any area spanning thousands of light-years unless you simply fill the skies thick with vessels. But I get the impression that a single starship covers quite a lot of territory and that large numbers of vessels are only needed during times of war.

    In such occasions, we may see Starfleet rely on everything from previously mothballed older vessels to even "kitbash" ships culled from multiple designs to increase its numbers dramatically in a hurry...
     
  13. Sector 7

    Sector 7 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I always thought this to be the reason for all the kitbashes seen on Star Trek. They cobbled together whatever they could to either maintain a war effort or replace losses. :vulcan:
     
  14. USS KG5

    USS KG5 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I disagree here. There is a lot of talk of ship building during the lull in the Dominion War, though the classes under construction may be of some debate. I find the idea that the Federation, an organisation of massive resources, with its economy tilted definitely towards war, would take 3-4 years to build desperately needed ships, a bit odd.

    Many ships were built is the impression I get, as well as the hundreds taken from mothballs of Miranda and Excelsior design, Starfleet might have needed hundreds of Akiras, Steamrunners, Intrepids and Defiants.
     
  15. Deks

    Deks Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I also very much so disagree with the assumption that the Federation needs years to construct a large star-ship.
    While granted it IS possible, it's also unlikely given the amount of Federation resources, how large it actually is, it's technological capabilities (not to mention the humongous mushroom type star-bases).

    Also, let's keep in mind that what was seen onscreen can hardly be taken as a direct interpretation all the time since A LOT of things were simplified (dumb-ed down) for the TV in favor of ... ding ding ding ... DRAMA.

    I would at the very least be generous and say that SF has a minimum of 8000 combat/exploratory star-ships at their disposal.
    Given the amount of space the Federation has, it's hardly a wild number.

    DS9 on the other hand would have you think that SF has about 1500 ships at it's disposal.
    I'd shoot the Federation officials myself if they had such a pitiful number of ships.

    Granted, SF is not a military organization, but if you want to be effective and prepared for a potential war with a species that wants you exterminated ... then have an actual fleet capable of doing the job of protecting the amount of territory you have at your disposal.
    Nothing more, nothing less.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2008
  16. USS KG5

    USS KG5 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well TNG certainly gave that impression BUT we saw a very confident Federation at peace in TNG, their fleet would be widely spread out over thousands of light years - under these circumstances the fact that when we see fleets assembled we see 40 and 23 starships assembled in a few days suggests a big fleet to me. In Redemption Pt 2 it is actually 23 ships available within one sector!

    DS9 suggests a heck of a lot more than 1500 ships. There are fleet sizes mentioned from 112 to over 300 ships at various points, one can argue that the ninth fleet headquarted at DS9 was even bigger (it seems to take on large operations by itself). We know there are at least nine fleets, each with say an average of 200 ships, so at least 1800 just in mobile offensive fleets.

    When you take into account the fact Starfleet was willing to commit over 900 ships to a single operation in Favor The Bold, we can assume that this is not 50% of Starfleet, but more like 25% at most IMHO, and we know they still have significant forces on the front lines.

    So maybe there are 3000-4000 ships employed directly fighting on the front lines. They still need to do their normal patrols, keep garrisons around to stop other potential enemies and send ships (like the Ent-E) around doing diplomacy and recruiting allies. There must be another 1000 odd ships doing that.

    In addition to these 5000 ships there would be all the support vessels, science ships, couriers etc - maybe another 5000 easily (Novas and Oberths would likely be vaguely useless for fighting, and Mirandas like the Lantree would likely be out as well).

    Add in the fact that at any one time 20-25% of the fleet would be under repair or refit (even during a war) and would therefore need to be covered in terms of absolute numbers on the front lines.

    This makes me think we are talking a peak figure for Starfleet size of about 13-15000 ships as of the Dominion War.
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    A couple of details:

    We hear of seven fleets only: 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 9th and 10th. There are two main possibilities here: either all fleets from 1st to 10th exist, or then only the seven mentioned here do.

    Of course, either option can accommodate a couple of additional fleets. Statistically it's possible that we missed mention of the 12th Fleet. But it's less likely that we'd have missed mention of all the fifteen fleets from 11th to 25th.

    The average fleet size is probably larger than 200, because the 2nd and 5th Fleets were between themselves able to contribute some 600 ships to retaking DS9, without apparently being present in their entirety (the 2nd had been recently weakened, and in any case Sisko spoke of taking "elements" of the two fleets into action). The 9th was supposed to contribute another 300, apparently, but didn't make it in time.

    Possibly all the fleets started out understrength, waiting for the arrival of dispersed assets (vessels on exploration missions) - thus, the 7th would feature barely over a hundred even when going in, and would come out gutted to a tenth of that. Ultimate fighting strength might have been at about half a thousand ships per fleet.

    We might also speculate that the fleets were dissimilar in makeup. The 9th that we most often observed might have had more than its share of antiquated vessels (considering that it was deployed in an area of little activity after the wormhole lost its strategic significance, yet close to the enemy so the most modern warp engines wouldn't be essential). All the cool modern designs like the Galaxy-kitbash types from "BoBW" could have been in other fleets that operated elsewhere across greater distances.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. USS KG5

    USS KG5 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    While your point is valid I would imagine these are specific fleets created for the war, numbered sequentially from 1-10, or as you say maybe as high as 12.

    Unless these are deployed on far-distant fronts or protecting planets that saw little action, if the 3rd fleet protected Earth other planets (Andor, Vulcan for example) might also justify a numbered fleet protecting them, the 7th was later assigned to Betazed for example at one point. Even accepting that it is unlikely the starships protecting every Federation homeworld justified their own fleets, there is room for a few fleets floating around.

    That said I tend to agree the fighting, mobile offensive force of Starfleet consisted of around a dozen fleets.

    Agreed - there is a great deal of room for interpretation here, at 500 ships per fleet at their peak, this could easily be 6,000 combat ready ships.

    Agreed- it is also possible that some designs leant themselves to other work, the Sovereigns to long-range lone diplomacy, the Intrepids to high speed courier and espionage work, and so on.
     
  19. JNG

    JNG Chief of Staff, Starfleet Command Rear Admiral

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    You are probably right that serious ship-building efforts were underway, and I was trying to account for the fact that they appeared to be getting really pasted. However, Starfleet doubling during the war seems incredibly unlikely when you factor in said pasting with the fact that it typically appears to take a lot more than two years to build a starship. In Best of Both Worlds, Shelby appears to be suggesting that it will optimistically take less than a year to repair or replace the thirty-nine ships lost at Wolf 359. I can't reconcile this with building many thousands of ships per year, especially measured against losses of ships and shipyards.

    As for the 5000-8000 figure, that came from conversation with Ron Moore, and he claimed it sprung from some DS9 writers' room discussions on the topic. While his contribution on tech issues is usually nil, I think it's a solid figure
     
  20. Red Ranger

    Red Ranger Admiral Admiral

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    I think it's kept vague precisely because of nit-pickers like us with a thousand different opinions on how large the Federation Starfleet's forces are. I'd guess by the TNG era, there are thousands of ships, and TOS, maybe less than a hundred. -- RR