A Warp Fighter

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Mars, Aug 31, 2012.

  1. Mars

    Mars Commander Red Shirt

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    Suppose this appeared in Star Trek

    A single seat fighter with quantum flux warp engines, shields, phaser cannons, and quantum flux torpedoes, top speed is warp 9.8. The quantum flux engines use a zero point energy cell that needs to be replaced after 24 hours of usage, this cell is not rechargable. The ship requires no antimatter to operate.

    What Star Trek time period would this likely appear in?
     
  2. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    26th Century? Maybe mid-25th? I'm pretty familiar with Trek Tech but somehow "quantum flux" warp drive and torpedoes missed me. I've heard of quantum torpedoes, but not quantum flux (but I missed large swaths of DS9 and Voyager so...maybe.) I'm not sure how I feel about the un-rechargable battery. Seems more wasteful that Starfleet would be into.

    --Alex
     
  3. bryce

    bryce Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It would be interesting to see warp (and then later transwarp/slipstream) drives after the 21st, 22nd, 23rd & 24th centuries *finally* powered by something other than the same matter/antimatter technology. 300 years with any progress is a looong time. Maybe ZPE...but there would have to be some trade-off...and some plausible reason why ZPE is worth it over other forms of power generation/storage.*

    (Since anti-matter would take so much energy to produce - probably it would take exactly as much to make as your would get out of it..and then not to mention a hell of a lot to store it safely - it's really more of a way to *store* vast amounts of energy rather than to generate it. Unless Starfleet has discovered a natural source of antimatter that is relatively easily harvested...or some magic way of turning matter particles into antimatter particles...)

    Well the Romulans use forced quantum singularities...maybe there is something too those as a replacement for m/am reactors...? (It *is* nice to see that not EVERY race in Trek uses the *exact* same technology to achieve warp and FTL...
     
  4. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Agree with Albertese. 25th or 26th century although maybe as early as 24th century in the TNG-continuity.

    "Quantum"-named weaponry only start to appear in late 23rd century. ZPEs unheard of AFAIK in TNG-continuity.

    A fighter as you described would have a maximum range of 50 LY on one 24 hour ZPE in the TNG continuity. (Warp 9.9 = 21,000c from "The 37's".
     
  5. tighr

    tighr Commodore Commodore

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    I was also going to mention the Romulan Quantum Singularity drives as an alternative to the matter/antimatter reactors used by the Federation. We never really get to hear what other races use for their energy sources, but I wouldn't rule out anything, even ZPE.

    As far as needing a compact reactor, even shuttles as small as the Type 6 had a warp drive. The much larger Runabouts and the Delta Flyer also had advanced warp drives. I'm not sure what the absolute smallest warp-capable ship would be, but the tech is certainly there.

    I'm not sure of the rationale behind not having fighters in Trek, because from a tactical standpoint it would seem to be the superior method of interstellar battle (multiple attack vectors, minimized casualties, etc). If I had to guess, either Roddenberry or the other producers were trying to distance Trek from Star Wars, where battles were primarily carried out by compact fighters.

    I personally would love to see Federation fighters, even if they weren't solo craft and required additional pilots/nav/tactical crew. Fighters was one of the things that made Battlestar Galactica exciting.

    As far as what time period, its only a guess but I would say the technology already exists in the current cinematic time period, so we're talking late 23rd century (what year are we up to now in the prime universe, 2390-91?)
     
  6. Mars

    Mars Commander Red Shirt

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    They don't actually hold a charge, what they do is extract energy from the quantum fluctuations found in the vacuum of space, over a minute scale there are fluctuation in energy fields, that average to zero energy at a larger scale, if you have a small enough atomic structure, you can actually extract some of this energy and use it to do work. The problem is extracting this energy over time wears out the zero point energy cell that does this work, the atomic structure becomes misaligned and less efficient at extracting vacuum energy, eventually it fails to work at all and needs to be replaced. A new Zero Point Energy cell is manufactured to replace the old one and is modular in design so that it is easily replaced.

    Warp Fighters such as this are usually based off of carrier Starships such as the USS Enterprise G.
     
  7. Mars

    Mars Commander Red Shirt

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    Yep, and for exploration purposes, they would be based on carrier starships, it is those carrier starships that would service these fighters and replace the Zero Point Energy Cells, the main reason is that antimatter storage is bulky and there is the matter of radiation shielding at such a small scale, and while Zero Point Energy Cells are more expensive, they allow greater miniaturization and greater warp potential for such a small starship. Another possible use for this fighter is as a time machine, by conducting the sling shot maneuver around a star for instance, its greater computer processing power allows for more accurate and less risky time warp calculations, there is still some risk in these, but as it is only a one-person starship, the risk to crew is minimized. Time traveling warp fighters also have cloaking devices, as they have no onboard transporters, so the ship has to be physically landed on a planet's surface, and then hidden by a cloaking device so it is not discovered by downtime natives.
     
  8. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Fanfiction.

    That or season 8 of Voyager. But it's kind of hard to tell since what you're describing is really just a technobabble sandwich and could just as easily be an alien design in a latter episode of Enterprise.
     
  9. Mars

    Mars Commander Red Shirt

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    I believe the rational for no fighters in the Trek Universe is that the larger capital ships have higher warp potential than the smaller craft, there seems to be economies of scale that allow those large ships to reach those higher warp numbers than is possible for smaller craft, that is why my fighter uses an alternate power plant than the typical Matter/Antimatter design, I'm assuming antimatter storage is bulky and more easily done in larger ships, and the matter/antimatter reaction chambers require shielding to protect the crews from the radiation released. The fighter's zero point energy cells release less stray radiation and thus require less shielding to protect the pilot.
     
  10. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    Eh, I've always looked at zero-point energy as being a nice science project but basically worthless as an actual power source for anything more than a second (you'd probably still need a matter-antimatter reaction to power a zero-point generator, IMO).

    Still, it can probably make a really nice bomb, though.
     
  11. Mars

    Mars Commander Red Shirt

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    Well its Star Trek, it doesn't have to be worth something, it just has to sound cool. ;) Most of the stuff we might be doing in the 25th century will sound implausible to us today, in fact we can't tell what will work and what won't, so we just make a guess and plug it in for Star Trek.
     
  12. tighr

    tighr Commodore Commodore

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    Well, it sounds like he's talking about a consumable power cell containing zero point energy, one that is rechargeable/ replaceable. There would be no need for a plant on board these ships, as no power is being generated. All generation occurs off-site prior to launch.

    This is opposed to the m/am reactors that are essentially self-sustaining, but presumably larger. It'd be akin to using a nuclear reactor to generate the electricity needed to charge your electric car: its still nuclear powered, but not on board.
     
  13. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    In that scenario, it would be like trying to transfer a pre-detonated explosion into a small container. The proposed power cell would need its own power source and mechanisms to receive, contain, and regulate the zero-point reaction.

    I have to wonder if the artificial quantum singularities that the Romulans use might be better and more efficient.
     
  14. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Well, don't forget that there were fighters in Trek, albeit not seen until part way through the Dominion War. My personal speculation as to why they didn't appear earlier is that it wasn't until then that technology could be made compact enough to make such a small vessel into an effective combatant. Maybe a spin off from the development of runabouts.
     
  15. tighr

    tighr Commodore Commodore

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    I just had two realizations:

    The first: shuttle Cochrane, from everyone's favorite apocryphal VOY episode Threshold, was able to reach Warp 10 (even if you don't accept that, it did reach a warp speed beyond what Voyager was able to achieve). Likewise, the Delta Flyer could reach high warp velocities. These ships could even be outfitted with transwarp and slipstream drives, which probably require even more energy than traditional warp. I think the available data is contradictory as far as how small a M/AM plant can be made.

    The second: If you're going to have fighters, you might not even need them to be warp capable at all; even if they were, you wouldn't need to ever be more than 24 hours away from the mothership. Fighters would be deployed from a carrier ship, likely heavily armored/weaponized itself. This carrier would have warp capabilities, and could deploy the independent fighters into a battle. Not very many battles (a few) depicted in Trek were at warp speed, most are at impulse. A maneuverable fighter would be tactically superior to a massive ship that is much slower to turn on a dime.

    Several such ships were seen in VOY Drive, although these were all two-seaters. Even though the Delta Flyer had a warp drive, the race was required to be conducted at sublight speeds.
     
  16. Hando

    Hando Commander Red Shirt

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    Well let's look at the various eras:
    ENT - If a capital ship has such a low number of weapons then it would be impossible to create a fighter with at least one cannon.
    TOS - still no weapons for small vessels and I won't even speak about the low warp speeds
    TNG - finally something akin to fighters is shown, I cannot consider the Maquis or the Federation attack crafts as fighters, and the Runabouts are a step in the right direction. But we have a true fighter in Insurrection (the Ventrue/Talon-class).

    In regard to fighters, you better take a look at Invasion and Shattered Universe, as both these games depicted the fighter in 24th and 23th centuries respectively.

    So it seems like the Federation had fighters since the end of the 23rd century.
     
  17. tighr

    tighr Commodore Commodore

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    Maybe its just me, but I always imagined that Runabouts were more equivalent to a Mack truck than to a Ferrari: Slow, lumbering vehicles only good for traveling long distances while carrying cargo, rather than a sporty coupe that can hug the corners and leave other cars in the dust.
     
  18. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Exactly. The existence of runabouts (and fighters) would be evidence that by the late 24th century there is enough compact technology for a starfighter to be able to attack, defend and maneuver against starships.

    You can see the progress from TOS thru DS9.

    In TOS, a small Orion ship could be modified to overload its engines to put maximum power into phaser strikes while retaining superior mobility. Still, she didn't have enough power to adequately stop a single phaser strike ("Journey to Babel").

    In TOS Movies, a BOP was still no match against the Enterprise (as evidenced by Kruge's comments) and it was only luck that the Enterprise was already crippled that led to her loss in "The Search for Spock". Even a "fire-while-cloaked" BOP in "The Undiscovered Country" was only able to score so many hits on the Enterprise because she had to stop an assassination. One hit on the BOP rendered it disabled or destroyed. If it were a general battle, the Enterprise would've just left the area, regrouped and found a better strategy.

    It is not until TNG, where we see groups of smaller craft (the Maquis) to be able to stay in a fight long enough to be able to deliver damage. DS9 furthered that with fighters surviving hits from Dominion-boosted Cardassian warships. That's the best evidence that fighters by the late 24th century are able to fight alongside and against the big ships.
     
  19. Mars

    Mars Commander Red Shirt

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    The idea is not for a single fighter to be a match for the Enterprise, but a squadron of them could be quite troublesome, as shooting one down leaves the rest to continue their attacks.
     
  20. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Sure. And if we apply this back to their respective eras:

    TOS: All fighters shot down before they can get close enough to attack.

    TOS Movies: All fighters shot down before they can get close enough to attack.

    TNG+: Some fighters shot down, but some are able to attack.

    DS9: Few fighters shot down before most fighters are able to close to attack.

    :)