Federation Law of restricting cloaking device

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Brainsucker, Sep 7, 2012.

  1. Silversmok3

    Silversmok3 Commander Red Shirt

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    In point of fact, there are real-life examples of situations akin to the Treaty of Algeron.

    Look at the USAF's B-1 Bomber. The aircraft was designed for a payload of 24 nuclear tipped cruise missiles. So configured, if the balloon went up during the Cold War the Russians would be screwed like a Mexican hooker considering just ONE AIRCRAFT had the ability to hit 24 targets with nuclear ordinance-and we initially built 100 of them for service during the late 80's.

    This troubling fact was not lost on the old Soviet Union, and as such one of the treaty concessions of the last START talks was permanently modifying the B-1 Lancer's frame to deny installation and use of those nuclear cruise missiles. They haven't been flown on a B-1 aircraft in over 20 years , and yet to this day Russian inspectors hop on a jet and fly over to US bases for a treaty-mandated inspection to ensure the blocking partitions are still in place.

    Awesome capability though it was , the U.S. Military has somehow found a way to survive without it. :lol:


    In looking at the TOA, we must remember that a cloaking device isn't a perfect weapon. Its just another technical tool , subject to tactical limitations and drawbacks. As Kirk's engagements in STIII prove, just because you have a cloak doesn't mean the other guy can't hit you first.

    To wit, we also have to wonder what use a cloaking device would serve for a Starfleet dedicated to exploration and scientific research. The primary purposes of the Romulan and Klingon imperial fleets is military defense and conquest, and their equipment reflects this mission.

    The primary purpose of Starfleet ships is NOT military operations, although in the event of emergency action this is a role that can be adopted. Not every Captain in the fleet ends up solving exotic problems Kirk and Picard regularly deal with, so for 99% of the benign Starfleet a cloaking device has about as much daily relevance as a fallout shelter.
     
  2. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    We also have to seriously consider the possibility that the treaty banned the use of cloaking devices on both sides. In theory, Romulans would have honored the treaty until TNG "The Neutral Zone", because they went unseen... The Feds in turn would have honored it because they went seen! Of course, both sides would probably be constantly cloaking like mad, and developing new cloaks, but as long as they didn't get caught, it wouldn't matter. And a cloak is all about not being caught in the first place.

    That Romulans openly defied the treaty on several occasions after "The Neutral Zone" would not necessarily mean the Feds would be motivated to drop the treaty. It would be purely beneficial for them to keep on pretending that they are the good guys, while the cloaking programs would continue unhindered just as before. Not only would the Feds gain political points for being "trustworthy", but they could demand that the Romulans obey all the other conditions of ToA, even when the Feds magnanimously turn a blind eye to all the cloaking going on.

    To nitpick, it was designed for three times eight cruise missiles of a very specific type, the AGM-86A (or, alternately, the somewhat smaller SRAM). The reason it was later unable to carry those was not because the Soviets forbade it, but because the AGM-86A was replaced by larger weapons that no longer fit inside in the 3x8 packages. And this in turn was because the B-1 had been briefly cancelled because it was felt it could not survive Soviet air defenses and thus was useless - and when it was reactivated with some modifications, the larger and better cruise missiles were already standard, the missile designers having seen no continuing reason to keep the size down.

    The modified bomber could still carry a few of them, because two of the shorter weapons holds could be combined into a single longer one. So, a warload one-third that of the original design was still available. (Or then a full load of freefall nukes, or of SRAMs, but nobody wanted to risk the expensive bombers on the suicidal missions of deploying those types of weapons.)

    The thing that really had the Soviets worried was not B-1, but the weapon it was going to deploy - the AGM-86B, or later the Tomahawk, and later still their even more modern cruise missile successors (some of which do fit inside a B-1 again). But those weapons could be carried in far more fearsome gaggles on the old B-52 bombers, and the B-1 with its smaller warload offered no additional threat, as it was no longer trusted with the ability to penetrate deeper into Soviet airspace.

    Generally, if the opponent is truly interested in fighting, the only two policies available are appeasement (i.e. stop attacking at some point) and genocide (i.e. only stop when the opponent stops, that is, when there no longer is an opponent). And just because WWII made a policy of genocide (or "total victory" or whatever) the popular one doesn't mean that it would be favored in the Trek context. After all, victors in a World War can stop triumphant when they have subdued the entire planet. The UFP could only stop triumphant at subduing the entire galaxy! All other stops mean appeasement; conversely, to stop appeasing means to proceed with the genocide again.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  3. diankra

    diankra Commodore Commodore

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    A central point is that a treaty only has to make sense to those signing it AT THE TIME, whereas every onscreen reference has been in later years when it may be widely assumed to have been a bad mistake.
    Clearly the Federation negotiators got something in return for the ban on cloaks that they felt was worth the price (they may have assumed anyway that Starfleet will always find a way to detect a cloak, an assumption supported by the speed with Data&Laforge or O'Brien&co always do just that, so they were giving away a useless technology).
    It could be that it became obvious they were wrong within a very few years, and that the Cloaking Clauses in the treaty of Algeron are taught as Example Number One of How Not To Do It at the Federation Diplomatic Academy, but the UFP is stuck with them, until a) the Romulans agree to renegotiate those clauses, or b) The UFP decides to unilaterally abrogate the entire treaty, and lose all the benefits it presumably gets from other clauses.
     
  4. Methos

    Methos Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    more than likely, in return for giving up research on cloaking technology, the Federation got the Romulans to agree to shifting the neutral zone that gave the Federation some systems on the edge, so these systems were inside Federation space...

    M
     
  5. Mars

    Mars Commander Red Shirt

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    Though it proved useful to have a Klingon Cloaking Device in Star Trek IV, the cloak in this case helped to preserve the "Temporal Prime Directive".
     
  6. The Green Mushroom

    The Green Mushroom Commander Red Shirt

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    Germany signed a treaty after World War I "agreeing" to give up submarines.
     
  7. Unicron

    Unicron Continuity Spackle Moderator

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    True, but that was a term imposed on them based on how the German Navy behaved in WWI. They were required to give up their air force as well. Under some circumstances, such conditions wouldn't have necessarily been harsh or impossible. But the Treaty of Versailles has a lot of problems when it comes to the victors' terms against Germany (IMO anyway :angel:).
     
  8. The Green Mushroom

    The Green Mushroom Commander Red Shirt

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    I agree with everything you say, especially the part about the problems with the treaty. I was pointing out the fact to highlight that there is a historical precedent for banning certain technologies from certain countries.

    As a bonus, my point also lends evidence to a theory earlier in the thread. We don't know what happened in the war, we don't even know if Earth was on the winning side.
     
  9. Unicron

    Unicron Continuity Spackle Moderator

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    Fair enough. I agree with you on that, as it could have been that something happened with how Starfleet used technology in the incident which reflected badly on them, and they chose to accept the limitation in the treaty as a way of saving political face. It could still have been a fairly minor point at the time the treaty was written.
     
  10. SimpleLogic

    SimpleLogic Guest

    That was one of my favorite Lost Era books. The explanation in it is as good as any since there will never be an official one more than likely.
     
  11. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The Pegasus was used as a testbed for a phasing cloak, only half of which is illegal. Why didn't Starfleet continue its phasing research? Just imagine how useful that would have been during the Dominion War.
     
  12. The Green Mushroom

    The Green Mushroom Commander Red Shirt

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    Several possibilities:

    1) A phased ship that was visible would be useless--it can't fight and it can't be covert.

    2) A phased ship that was invisible would annoy the Romulans-perhaps enough to push to side with the Dominion.

    3) The Klingons could be given all the jobs where a cloak was needed.

    4) Based on the two episodes that I can think of involving a phased cloak (Pegasus and the one where LaForge and Ro were cloaked), I am not sure that Starfleet ever managed to make it truly safe enough to be used for long periods. A device that randomly cloaks individuals seems pretty dangerous to me, as is one that randomly materializes a ship inside a rock or one that can be deactivated with equipment so common its available in Ten Forward.
     
  13. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^ Yeah, the phased cloak is actually two-for-two in nearly destroying any ship that tries to test it. Later experiments probably proved even more problematic, thus leading to their abandoning the research.

    There's only one thing about this treaty that ever bugs me, and it's this: the Romulans do not object to Starfleet USING cloaking devices (the only reason an observer was necessary was because the Romulans had loaned them one of their cloaks in exchange for their promise not to use it in the alpha quadrant and share their Dominion data). The treaty forbids their DEVELOPING cloaking devices. There's really nothing in this treaty that would preclude Starfleet buying cloaking devices from the Klingons, or even asking the Klingons to develop one specifically FOR them. Moreover, there's nothing to forbid Starfleet from using holographic technology to camouflage their ships as something else; that much we already know was possible even in the 22nd century, and even better mastery of holographics and sensor trickery would probably permit a perfectly viable forgery for a Starfleet vessel that wishes its identity to remain anonymous.

    Missed opportunities all around.
     
  14. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Add a phasing device to a barrage of long-range tri-cobalt missiles and you have a weapon that would have ended the Dominion War far sooner and with fewer casualties.

    Target fleet yards and Jem'Hadar breeding compounds, deploy missiles, engage phase, let them get to target, flying through anything in their way which would be powerless to stop them, miliseconds from impact disengage phase, KA-BOOM! Job done, war over :)
     
  15. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    If it was that simple, they could have done it with ordinary cloaking devices, or at least made an attempt to do so.

    On the other hand, they probably DID try this a number of times. Certainly the Maquis' implicit threat of cloaked interstellar missiles was credible enough for Starfleet to yank Eddington out of jail, which I suppose was the whole point of sending that fake message in the first place. If the Maquis could do it, the Klingons could almost certainly do it better.
     
  16. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ...So, which excuse do we make for such missile strikes never being in evidence?

    - There exists a defense?
    - Bushido rules?
    - Nobody wants to destroy a planet if one can conquer it?
    - Strikes take place but we don't discuss it with outsiders?

    I don't think any of these would be much affected by the introduction of phase-cloak technology. Countermeasures against classic cloaks are haphazard at best already, and the other snappy answers aren't technology-related.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  17. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Nothing so mysterious. This may be a bit esoteric, but in fiction -- especially science fiction -- there's much to be said for the "unseen front" where a lot of odd shit happens that you've never seen before. In anime, for example, we have the OVA sidestories in the Gundam universe that tell us that throughout the entire run of Mobile Suit Gundam that was a whole bunch of really interesting shit happening right down the street that nobody even HINTED at. Comic followups and videogames only expand the situation, so instead of the canon being "There is only one Gundam, and Amuro is its pilot," it's now "There are, like, twenty Gundams, and their pilots are a combination of dorks, mutants and psychopaths... and also, Amuro."

    Star Trek isn't so brazen about it, but it's kind of telling that outside the pilot episode, Deep Space Nine contains no overt references to Voyager, and Voyager in turn never mentions Deep Space Nine or even makes any specific references to the events of the Dominion War. Oddly, neither do any of the Trek movies (they mention DS9 only in reference to Worf's background, which coincidentally is exactly as often as DS9 mentions the Enterprise).

    Overall, I actually think this is one of those "interesting shit that happened around the corner" situations. I'm sure it and things like it would have happened many times during the war, but nobody named Sisko was involved, so it was never worthy of mention.
     
  18. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It would be a bit odd to leave a major warfighting technique go so completely uncommented, though. A minor (if destructive or otherwise immensely important) technique, yeah - I could almost believe in that Diane Carey novel where the Dominion is trying to build a wormhole of its own during the war, and Picard puts a stop to it, and there's no time or resources for a second attempt. That would be like forgetting to mention the V-weapons in a WWII epic. But these cloaked missile strikes are more comparable to such a movie forgetting to mention that air forces existed...

    Certainly the Dominion War reinforces the idea that cloaks are great for infiltration and obfuscation but nearly useless in hot combat - something we strongly want to believe in the first place, because we want to see the fights. But the cloaked missile concept combines infiltration with destruction, and is a fairly obvious and intuitive idea overall, with close analogies in the real world. They really let the cat out of the bag by explicitly describing a sufficiently lethal warhead in "Dreadnought" and the concept of cloaked saturation attacks in "Blaze of Glory" - not as experimental technologies, but as the regular weapons of rather low-grade enemies.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  19. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I watched the movies Saving Private Ryan, Flattop, Run Silent Run Deep and PT-109. None of those movies make any reference to the V weapons; for that matter, only Saving Private Ryan makes any mention of the Battle of Brittain at all, and also doesn't mention V-weapons.

    No mention of the air force in Run Silent Run Deep. Perhaps because it's a movie about a submarine?
     
  20. Knight Templar

    Knight Templar Commodore

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    In the later novels where the Federation repeatedly fought the Borg, culminating in the huge Borg invasion, it was stated that Starfleet had a very effective way of circumventing the ban on cloaking devices whenever they wanted to.

    All Starfleet vessels had the complete schematics of cloaking devices aboard and the materials allowing them to very quickly be assembled.

    So if the tactical need arose, any Starfleet ship could have a working cloaking device in short order.