A Starfleet?

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

  1. Augustus

    Augustus Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    If you think about the vastness of space and how the Federation covered or explored roughly a fourth of the galaxy, they should have at least 8,000 ships to defend themselves. But my guess is that before Wolf 359, they weren't serious about ship building.
     
  2. Jono

    Jono Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I've read that Moore also considered that Starfleet could be up to 30,000 starships.

    In TNG didn't they say the Federation only had explored a tenth of the galaxy? Maybe it was in a book or something.
     
  3. hofner

    hofner Commodore Commodore

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    ^Rofeta, you're correct, in "Encounter At Farpoint" Picard said 10 percent of the galaxy had been explored.

    Robert
     
  4. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    ...And in "The Dauphin", Wesley spoke of 19 %. Although the definition of "explored" is no doubt rather flexible, and in all probability only about 1% of the volume has actually been visited by crewed starships or scanned directly by their rather short-ranged sensors.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  5. BigC

    BigC Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Remember. It's not just ships, but crews as well. How many Ensigns does Star Fleet Academy graduate each year?
     
  6. Brolan

    Brolan Commodore Commodore

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    I think DS-9 is an exception that should be ignored. In all the rest of Trek it's implied that ships are in short supply and each one is precious. In ST1 the Enterprise is rushed out of construction to meet the Vgr threat solo. In TNG only 39 ships are available to intercept the Borg cube with Picard aboard.

    It's only in DS-9’s Dominion War we start hearing about hundreds and perhaps thousands of ships. My thought is the writers got carried away with hyperbole and wanted to make the battles sound epic. They didn't sit back and realize how they screwed up Trek canon and how it doesn’t fit in with the rest of the Trek universe.
     
  7. USS KG5

    USS KG5 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The Dominion had both a tactical and strategic initiative in the early days of the war. When they lost this they seemed to be significantly outnumbered by the alpha powers and started to lose the war.

    Two points: -

    1. I don't remember any on-screen references indicating it takes two years to build a ship. The only evidence is the Galaxy class, or more accurately the first few, which were prototypes and also rather large, so bound to take longer.
    2. In wartime they would chuck out ships poorly finished, with no labs fitted and packing extra phasers and torpedoes in order to get them to the front lines. I doubt many war-build ships did not require heavy refitting when it finished.

    Also - in WW2 the Royal Navy built many quick-and-dirty corvettes in the early years of the war, supplemented at the end by full-spec frigates that served long after the war. Starfleet might have done the same, at the start of the war we see many Steamrunners and at the end a lot more Akiras and Nebulas.

    Actually - she says "We'll have the fleet back up in LESS than a year" (emphasis mine) - that to me reads a year, at most, in peacetime when it would not have the same emphasis as it does at war to replace the lost 39 ships, presumably without affecting other shipbuilding efforts.

    It is a perfectly solid figure, at the higher end at least. But that does not have much to do with shipbuilding in wartime.
     
  8. USS KG5

    USS KG5 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Errr... No - it is the only series where we see the wartime Starfleet, you can't just ignore it because it doesn't fit!

    Well in any one sector of space at any one time sure, you forget how big space is. It is not comparable in real terms to the oceans of the 19th century, even with warp speed taken into account. If one even one axis it is 8,000 light years across Federation space is massive, and that does not take account of the presumably dozens of ships (usually the best ones) off exploring.

    Considering they were assembled in less than a week - thats a heck of a lot.

    Not at all - Starfleet was just brought together in that war, not spread over thousands of light years - how does that not fit with canon?
     
  9. ShinRa Actual

    ShinRa Actual Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I think DS9 fits in with the rest of the TNG era depictions of starfleet's strength pretty well; in Emissary, the only ships capable of responding is the Enterprise (which just left), and a few Oberths that show up in the end FX shot. When Sisko goes missing, the Odyessy (which happened to be on it's way there anyway) is the only ship to respond. Even up to Way of the Warrior, when DS9 needed reinforcements, Starfleet could only send 6 ships that also showed up after most of the party was finished with. You don't start seeing large groups of Starfleet ships until the 'cold war' simmers for a while, and really kicks off in Call to Arms, even during the skirmishes with the Klingons.

    You have to remember, that even with thousands of starships, the galaxy (or even just the part the Federation is operating in) is still a pretty big place, so even those thousands of ships are spread out to the point that when there's a big crisis without much warning, it's hard to get too many to the point of crisis in time to matter. But in the 6 months to a year the Federation had to gear up for the Dominion War, it's very likely that a great deal of the Starfleet that was off in the sticks got recalled and concentrated in the lead up to the fall of DS9, in addition to stepping up wartime construction of ships that could be ready and useful for the war to come, with other less useful projects being cancelled or put on hold (Lot of precedent for that; several battleship and large carrier projects got cancelled in the lead up to and the start of WWII by all powers involved, and likewise saw a lot of 'kitbash' conversions like the Independence CVLs, CVEs, and mass produced escorts).
     
  10. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Also, the DS9 kind of thinking was already there in TNG. The VFX people could not afford to show more than four ships at once, but the writers always described fleets consisting of dozens of vessels, while making the point that such fleets were still pitifully small compared with what was expected of a true warfleet ("BoBW" and "Redemption"). A combat formation in TNG was supposed to be hundreds of starships strong - it was just that the writers created situations that prevented the heroes from assembling a combat formation, so that the VFX people wouldn't need to show it.

    In DS9, this was actually reversed to a degree. The writers remained conservative about how many ships they could expect on screen, but the VFX people could afford to show basically an unlimited number. Thus, the kill tally verbally given in "Way of the Warrior" is rather conservative vis-á-vis what we actually see, and the dialogue that describes Sisko leading combat formations from aboard the Defiant often refers to smaller-scale, slower-paced action than what is shown.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  11. Red Ranger

    Red Ranger Admiral Admiral

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    In thinking about the change -- showing many more ships in DSN than in TNG -- here's a simple explanation, taken from history, to a degree. Before the United States entered World War II, it wasn't quite ready to engage the Axis powers. Franklin Roosevelt put the U.S. on a war footing before 1941, building ships and helping the British. Then, after Pearl Harbor, the US, now in a war, ratcheted up its effort, with many men volunteering for active duty.

    I maintain that because of the Borg threat and the events of Wolf 359, Starfleet was already making plans for a Borg incursion -- witness the Defiant. After the events of The Search, and with Picard's reports on the Borg and Sisko's reports on the Dominion and the Founders on their desks/terminals, Starfleet's brass, and Federation civilian authorities, decided, "We better start improving our fleet strength to deal with these threats." We have no idea if there was any increase in enlistment in Starfleet, too, although that would have been interesting if they explored that.

    So it's simple: Increased threat equals increased size of Starfleet's forces.

    Red Ranger
     
  12. USS KG5

    USS KG5 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Quite - we must also remember the Federation is a democracy and democracies are generally quite poorly prepared for war. Even if we work on the assumption that the Federation is significantly technologically advanced and resource rich that market forces as we know them do not exist (which is reasonable) there will still be some decisions to make on distribution of resources.

    It is unlikely Starfleet is allowed a standing fleet of thousands of warships sitting in dockyards waiting for war, no modern navy is after all. They probably mothball a lot of ships in peacetime, and have facilities specifically designed to ramp up massively in the case of war.

    "In peace, prepare for war" is a much misunderstood concept and does not necessarily mean having massive standing forces. It means having scalable infrastructure and abilities that can grow quickly when the worst does come.
     
  13. jimbo1973

    jimbo1973 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I'd have to agree with the poters that said anywhere from 500 to 6,000 I remeber we saw ALOT of ships in the battle groups in DS9.
     
  14. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Why not? If scarcity is no longer an issue for the Federation, why couldn't it have massive fleets sitting in spacedock in case of a new war?
     
  15. ialfan

    ialfan Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Enterprise - around 30-50 i would say composed of the Intrepid, Neptune and Sarajevo types along with a few variants and older ships. My guess is by the height of the Romulan War Earth might have had as many as 75-100 ships in service but around the start of the show 30-50 seems like a good number.

    TOS - I would guess there were 300+ in service at the time with the 12 constitution classes being top of the line only behind the possibly-existing dreadnaught class of which there were fewer.

    TNG/DS9/VOY - I would say there were around 6000+ in service considering they were losing hundreds of ships in various single engagements yet still had plenty more. At the same time mobilizing a fleet of 600 ships was a significant part of the fleet as noted by Dukat and Starfleet themselves. Many of these were the older Mirandas, Oberths and Excelsiors however limiting the true effectiveness of Starfleet.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2008
  16. USS KG5

    USS KG5 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I didn't say it was no longer an issue - just that resources and technology are sufficient that market forces as we know them do not exist. Technology could easily supply enough food to keep all the planet fat one day just from the resources we have here on Earth - sunlight, water, nitrogen etc. This would end the need for a market in food for example. Cheap affordable housing is again partly a function of technology.

    However some resources are likely to be scarce, like they are now. Skilled people, dilithium. antimatter, almost anything else that cannot be replicated. Starfleet would doubtless be allowed to employ as much of this as possible in war time, and its facilities would be scalable to cope with this. Utopia Planetia might have 100 construction docks and only use 25 in peacetime.

    Starfleet clearly does have a massive mothball fleet in peacetime. It is mentioned in ST6 (albeit briefly) and we see so many old Excelsiors and Mirandas in DS9 we can safely assume they were not all active before the start of the war. They were kept cold in storage (space presumably preserves perfectly, if protected from meteor showers and the like), and activated over a six month period.

    I like the idea of the Steamrunner class as a super-cheap warfighter as well. We see so many at the start of the war and towards the end they seem to be supplanted by increasing numbers of Akira and Nebula class ships.
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Actually, there is talk about the possibility of mothballing Starfleet, and everybody seems to think it's a piss-poor idea! Clearly it's not standard practice at the time...

    In "Unification", we see some Starfleet vessels (mostly Mirandas and Excelsior-related study models) in "mothballs", although that expression is not used. We don't learn whether the ships are in any condition to be reactivated, or merely hulks too badly worn out to ever sail again. At least one unseen vessel is stolen in the episode, but apparently piecemeal, with the help of another vessel.

    Yet we did see a lot of them active before the start of the war. I'd rather believe in Starfleet keeping all its Excelsiors and Mirandas fully up and running in peacetime, so that the newer Akiras and Steamrunners (which for some reason don't appear in the peacetime of TNG) can remain in pristine condition for as long as possible...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. USS KG5

    USS KG5 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    But the practise does exist - and besides the implication is the whole fleet would have to pack up and go home, where did the 7-year old Ent-A go if not into mothballs?

    Nice thought - though I do like the idea of the Steamrunners being a fleet built to fight the Cardassian War - the quick and dirty CGI model lends itself well to a quick and dirty warship... ;)
     

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