How About Replacing the Galaxy saucer with dedicated weapons platform?

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Dayton3, Aug 10, 2008.

  1. Dayton3

    Dayton3 Admiral

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    Re: How About Replacing the Galaxy saucer with dedicated weapons platf

    Interesting idea.

    Though the "Q-ship" concept is for a disguised merchant ship to be heavily armed so they can pick off destroyers, frigates, and perhaps even cruisers that operate as commerce raiders.

    I doubt that any enemy ship would approach a Galaxy class ship without going in with shields up and weapons armed.
     
  2. Wingsley

    Wingsley Commodore Commodore

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    Re: How About Replacing the Galaxy saucer with dedicated weapons platf

    Here's a fun alternative:

    One thing that's missing from the TNG/DS9 era is a cruiser-starship like Kirk's original Enterprise. Of course, the term "heavy cruiser" changed its meaning significantly in a hundred years, but I think it would be interesting to take this saucer idea in the opposite direction, and take the secondary hull from a Sovereign-class starship, trim it down a little, give it a smaller saucer, so that the ship has a crew of 400-500. (Call it Sovereign lite, if you like) This ship would be larger than Voyager, but smaller and simpler than Sovereign or Nebula or Galaxy. It would be built for limited deep space exploration (like Kirk's Enterprise) and could also be used for combat.

    Now, here's a new possibility: give it the capacity to dock one or two Defiant-class escorts on the outer hull, maybe down where that cavity that's on the aft-keel of the secondary hull. Essentially, most of the design work for the Sovereign-class has already been done for this new class of "lite" cruiser (probably sized between the Enterprise-A and -B) and most of the Sovereign components (nacelles, secondary hull pieces) can be used for economies of scale. I wouldn't be surprised if the manpower, raw materials, and energy needed to build a Sovereign or Galaxy could be just as easily redirected to build a "lite" ship and maybe a Defiant or two. If you're wanting more defensive/offensive capability and still retain non-military flexibility, that would seem to be the ticket.
    I'm not sure if the fan-made Posiedon would fit that bill, but from the looks of it, it sure seems to come close.
     
  3. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Re: How About Replacing the Galaxy saucer with dedicated weapons platf

    I'm a bit wary of the idea of bolting multiple fully functional starships together. I mean, it makes sense in certain circumstances and is a visually cool concept, but Trek so far has not demonstrated those circumstances and Starfleet has not adopted the technique. It's still considered radical in the 2370s, as of "Message in a Bottle", and doesn't seem to be catching on.

    Then again, small, crewed fightercraft were similarly anathema to Star Trek originally, but modern Trek has carved a niche for them as soon as portraying them became technologically and budgetarily possible. And we certainly shouldn't argue "this is not logical, therefore it can't be" when Star Trek actually gives us something as an explicit fact. Rather, we should start rubbing our heads together in an attempt to justify what has been shown to exist.

    FWIW, we weren't shown modular "warheads" for the Galaxy class in DS9, even though that would have been a natural time and place for them to appear. But we could argue we were shown "warheads" on the Nebulas, with Starfleet moving from a more peaceful stance as with the Phoenix of "The Wounded" to a more warlike one as with the supposedly recently refitted Sutherland of "Redemption"...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  4. Sean_McCormick

    Sean_McCormick Captain Captain

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    Re: How About Replacing the Galaxy saucer with dedicated weapons platf

    I would think, that the Nebula upper pod is some sort of easily detacheable mission specific module, so probably there a "weapons pod" does exist.

    Although not done the way i would envision it, such a module on a Nebula can be seen in this fanfilm trailer:

    http://www.hiddenfrontier.com/episodes/HC103.php
     
  5. Cary L. Brown

    Cary L. Brown Rear Admiral

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    Re: How About Replacing the Galaxy saucer with dedicated weapons platf

    I've thought of this sort of thing in the past, but not in the sense you discuss it here.

    One thing that's clearly established in the "tech manual" is that the Galaxy p-hull is a superstructure with a lot of little modules suspended inside of it (they even talk about how the bits and pieces are attached to the structure). The point of this, from a show-production standpoint, was to allow the interior of the ship to be redesigned and even redefined from time to time without necessarily implying that the ship had to go through major redevelopment. They beam in, and beam out, internal modules as necessary.

    SO... as far as the INTERNALS of the galaxy-class p-hull being changed... that's easy and cost-effective. External modifications are quite a bit more challenging.

    I mention this because I've thought of alternative internal configurations for this same primary hull. And the three which seemed most plausible were:

    1) "Aircraft carrier"... basically convert massive amounts of the interior into additional hangar space. (Yeah, the mostly-unseen main bay was big, but it could be a lot bigger!) The additional firepower would be provided by dedicated gunships... but this would do basically what you describe.

    2) "Colonial transport"... massive cargo-bays and short-term-occupancy "bunkrooms" (along with increased life-support capacity).

    3) "Mobile Starbase"... in this case, the saucer would have the exploration facilities removed and it would be flown to a specific location and dropped off, providing an easily relocatable base-of-operations, either for an area which was of only temporary interest, or to help secure a location prior to construction of a permanent facility.

    The thing about those is that it's not a matter of STRUCTURAL CHANGES to the existing Galaxy primary hull.

    Now, if you went for a totally different primary hull, you'd probably need to redefine elements of the design of the secondary hull as well... since I'm sure it's designed to be most efficient, strongest, etc, with the intended structural configuration.

    I like it much more (in a combat-related role) as a carrier anyway...
     
  6. Wingsley

    Wingsley Commodore Commodore

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    Re: How About Replacing the Galaxy saucer with dedicated weapons platf

    In a vague sense, that's what a Galaxy-class saucer section is to begin with: a fully functional ship bolted onto the stardrive section.
     
  7. jolau

    jolau Captain Captain

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    Re: How About Replacing the Galaxy saucer with dedicated weapons platf

    I once theorized that if the Q's timeline in "All Good Things" were to come true in some way shape or form, and include the events of "Generations" and the movies afterwards, that the saucer from the Enterprise-D was recovered from Veridian 3, and that a new stardrive section would be built to replace the stardrive that was destroyed in "Generations". After all, the most interior modifications would be to the stardrive section (especially the structures for the third nacelle and new impulse deck), with only exterior modifications to the saucer (phaser cannons and torpedo pod).
    The new stardrive and the modifications to the Enterprise-D saucer could be finished just in time for Admiral Riker to take command.
     
  8. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Re: How About Replacing the Galaxy saucer with dedicated weapons platf

    By no means impossible. In "AGT", the future timeline makes no references to the past that would contradict the events of ST:GEN, and we can assume that the past timelines of "AGT" are not relevant to the discussion. Things could indeed proceed in a sequence that involves both ST:GEN and the future part of "AGT".

    The jury is still at each other's throats over whether the saucer had proper warp drive aboard. That would IMHO be the deciding point: bolting together two ships of roughly similar size (that is, not merely a mothership and a warpshuttle) that both are independently capable of interstellar travel sounds wasteful and nonproductive.

    The combination of a powerful tug and an assortment of mission spacecraft towed by her is sensible enough, assuming that it is not easy to pack the gear for multiple missions in a single hull. A Galaxy-like ship with two or three saucers could well be a logical construct, too: all three could be combat saucers in wartime, but only one in peacetime, the other two then catering for exploration and colony logistics or whatever. Once this setup is modified so that the tug actually drops off a mission spacecraft somewhere and later comes to pick her up, though, things get a bit overcomplicated and inflexible again: the mission spacecraft might then be better off having her very own warp engines.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  9. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    Re: How About Replacing the Galaxy saucer with dedicated weapons platf

    I had a vaguely similar notion once - a "tug" to recovery galaxy class saucers whose star drive sections have been destroyed after ejecting. It would be a simplified star drive, just two nacelles and a docking "neck" on a minimal hull.

    I quickly realized that it would be infinitely more practical, in that situation, to have another Galaxy class ship drop its own saucer off at a starbase and go get the orphaned saucer. No point in building a whole new class of ship that might only be needed once or twice in a century.
     
  10. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Re: How About Replacing the Galaxy saucer with dedicated weapons platf

    ...Also, Starfleet probably needs tugs that can tow starship wrecks that are not nice and intact Galaxy saucers but are at least as massive. Say, a badly damaged whole starship of that class.

    A Galaxy can no doubt tow another Galaxy, and perhaps dozens if need be. But we have already seen that a relatively small tug can pull a load ten times its size at least (DS9 "Time to Stand"). Starfleet's easiest choice for recovering a Galaxy saucer would then be the same as with every other towing job: to use these already existing small tugs in sufficient quantity.

    No doubt there are advantages to a single large tug in some circumstances, and no doubt Galaxies can swap saucers in emergencies (even though no two halves might be perfectly compatible unless they had already spent months together getting properly acquainted). However, battlefield and post-battlefield logistics might best rely on the flexible use of smallish tugs.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  11. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    Re: How About Replacing the Galaxy saucer with dedicated weapons platf

    :alienblush: :)

    That's something that was also in the back of my mind. Just because two ships are of the same class and built the same, doesn't necessarily mean their parts are 100% interchangeable. It's possible every GC's saucer/neck join may require a bit of fine tuning and personalized fitting, and one ship's saucer may not fit perfectly on another's neck without considerable fiddling.
     
  12. Deks

    Deks Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: How About Replacing the Galaxy saucer with dedicated weapons platf

    No evidence to support such a claim.
    While I will acknowledge that there might be some interior changes from ship to ship regardless of class, I think SF builds all of their vessel classes from one set of blueprints.
    So essentially speaking, the design itself will be identical when it comes to class.
    The only changes you might possibly expect are some interior changes and fine-tuning of power generators (and whatnot).
    Depending really.
     
  13. Cary L. Brown

    Cary L. Brown Rear Admiral

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    Re: How About Replacing the Galaxy saucer with dedicated weapons platf

    True, but it's pretty much common sense... in that this is something that every single real-world application you can find shows exactly this as being the case.

    One of the teams where I'm working is doing a design revision for the next-generation version of the C-130 transport. They're working on just one small subsystem, mind you. The thing is, they need to put their devices into every ship in the fleet, and so far no two C-130 airframes have been close enough to allow a "single solution." Basically, the mechanism (which I wont' go into here) is going to require a CUSTOMIZED INSTALLATION for each and every aircraft. Most parts can be common... but it's not just a matter of shipping a "box set" of parts to the field and have them be installed... nope. A set of measurements need to be taken first, then the custom installation hardware is fabricated off of those measurements. THEN the hardware can be installed... not before.

    Weird? Nah... it's totally commonplace. And the more complicated the hardware you're dealing with... in terms of part-count, assembly steps and processes, or simply tolerance stack-ups... the more common this is.

    A Galaxy-class is a VERY complicated piece of hardware.
     
  14. Major Chord

    Major Chord Choir Boy Extraordinaire Captain

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    Re: How About Replacing the Galaxy saucer with dedicated weapons platf

    Wouldn't slaping on a weapons platform that the ship was not designed to work with in the first place cause some problems? Not only from the standpoint of the stardrive and original saucer being designed to work best together, but also from a power supply standpoint.

    I'm not sure this makes much sense, but couldn't the ship's power system develope some sort of "battery memory"? Like, the ship has worked with the same saucer eating up the same amount of power for x amount of years, enough time that the power system has adapted and is "comfortable" with supplying that said amount of power all the time. Adding a weapons platform that eats up loads more power would probably stress the current power system, and be massively inefficient. If it was a new-build Galaxy that was built with interaction with this platform in mind, that problem might not be present.

    So, if these platforms were indeed to be built, maybe they would be designed with the "second wave" of Galaxys in mind, while still retaining the ability to be used with older Galaxys, but much more inefficiently, and with some possible problems.
     
  15. Rivas_Jakarta

    Rivas_Jakarta Lieutenant Junior Grade

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    Re: How About Replacing the Galaxy saucer with dedicated weapons platf

    IIRC, didn't the novel "Rogue Saucer" mention something about the recovery of saucers? It was an interesting novel.
     
  16. Deks

    Deks Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: How About Replacing the Galaxy saucer with dedicated weapons platf

    Correction.
    The Galaxy class WAS a complicated piece of hardware (at the time it was constructed).
    The Enterprise-D was put into service in 2365 and the Nebula class star-ship (whose saucer section is supposed to be as large as the GC's) is apparently according to some sources a predecessor to the Galaxy class.
    I wouldn't call the Galaxy class THAT complicated piece of hardware.
    From our perspective yes ... but from SF's, hardly.

    By the time of Nemesis it's already been 15 years since the Galaxy class was put in service (21 years if we count in real time until today).
    The most complicated piece of hardware from the late 24th century perspective would in fact be the Prometheus class.

    Besides, this is the 24th century we're talking about, not to mention a fictional highly advanced space-faring organization that traded technology, info and other commodities between 150 different races in the Federation.
    Virtually any piece of hardware for a single class of ship (lets say the galaxy class) will be interchangeable (for numerous vessels this also extends for any piece of hardware in ANY class of ships throughout the Federation) ... but will probably require some minor fine-tuning to incorporate into the other galaxy ships (or other class of ships) due to differences in power-ratio from ship to ship.

    Plus we also have examples of Voyager trading with other races and numerous technologies were stated to be incompatible with foreign systems as they were designed to work on Federation ships alone (suggesting that most, if not all hardware is interchangeable regardless of class but probably requires some fine-tuning to incorporate which isn't that problematic to do).
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2008
  17. jolau

    jolau Captain Captain

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    Re: How About Replacing the Galaxy saucer with dedicated weapons platf

    Also, I doubt the Federation would allow the people of Veridian 4 to one day develop the ability to travel to and from Veridian 3 and 4 and eventually find the abandoned Enterprise-D saucer and all its technological marvels.
     
  18. Colonel Midnight

    Colonel Midnight Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: How About Replacing the Galaxy saucer with dedicated weapons platf

    Exactly -- seeing as how Trek has never addressed the idea of Configuration Management (CM)... I doubt it truly exists in that universe. In order to make 'Interchangeable Saucers' possible, you would need such an exact, rigid, CM plan that would be impossible to manage no matter how many "giga-quads" of computing power (or memory, whatever it is) you have available.

    Cheers,
    -CM-
     
  19. Sean_McCormick

    Sean_McCormick Captain Captain

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    Re: How About Replacing the Galaxy saucer with dedicated weapons platf

    AFAI understand it, starfleets starships are still build in a very similar way as they are build today and not replicated in large sections. so with an piece as large and as complicated as the docking sleeve on the galaxy, there are sleight differences from ship to ship, such as the cocking clamps x and y a few microns nearer together an ship a as on ship b , a weidling seam a tad thicker on the one ship, etc. But the force of the docked vessel maneuvering must be distributed evenely on all docking clamps, so to make any saucer/Stardrive combination able to stand the stress of maneuvering, the system must be calibrated to make sure, that every docking clamp gets the exact same amount of force. Alone that point of mechanical interaction between the two parts seriously hampers the swapping of saucers. And i don't think, that the SIF can completely compensate thze uneven force distribution in a uncalibrated system. It may allow for reduced maneuverability (say max warp 2) though.
     
  20. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    Re: How About Replacing the Galaxy saucer with dedicated weapons platf

    No eveidence to support such a claim right back atcha, charlie. :shifty:

    What's the width of the GC neck pad where it mates to the saucer?
    What are the construction tolerances over that dimension?
    Is the Enterprises pad dimension's idential in every way to the Yamato's? Is the Yamato's identical to the Odyssey's? If the dimensions call for a tolerance of +/- 1cm over the full width, the Yamato's pad may be 2cm wider than the Galaxy's, and not fit in the narrower saucer cove.
    Are the docking clamp configurations identical across the fleet, or did later builds use an updated configuration, based on experience with earlier builds? Odyssey's 38-clamp configuration wouldn't mate with Galaxy's 32-clamp.
    Are all the power conduit mating points the same across the fleet?
    Turbolift shafts?
    Have the ships' engineers tinkered? Made their own improvements?
    Was a ship damaged, and had to have their mating pads repaired at a starbase or alien yard where they had to kludge a fix?

    Etc, etc.