Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Praetor, Mar 23, 2009.
How about 747 on Active Duty... just cause it's a Trek thing...
That's not a bad idea at all...
I think 200 would be my own absolute upper limit for the number of Excelsiors, but this is your universe.
Eh, but I was hoping to come up with something 'canon friendly...'
Are you suggesting there's evidence for more than 200 Excelsiors in canon?
Maybe. I just find it hard to believe that there aren't more, given the number that we saw on DS9 and the likelihood that we didn't see the entire fleet at any one time...
I find a war-time fleet smaller than 10,000 ships hard to believe. When you take into account the fact that there are at least 45 ships that could have been in service at the time, and if there were at least 100 ships per design, that's at least 4500 ships right there.
Maybe 470 Excelsior class ships is more fair?
If the life expectancy of a top-of-the-line vessel is 100 years, and Starfleet's ship yards at full capacity can pump out 39 ships per year (see Shelby's comment in BOBW part II about having the fleet back up in a year), then that caps the fleet at 3,900 ships (but it's probably less due to many ships being declared lost or not reaching their life expectancy). If the TNG tech manual is taken as canon, Starfleet had a difficult enough time procuring warp coils for just six Galaxy-class ships, and that's during peacetime...
One design criteria for the Galaxy class was to "replace aging Ambassador and Oberth class starships as primary instruments of Starfleet's exploration programs" (TNG TM p.1), yet only six were constructed (and the spaceframes of six more were constructed, then "broken down into manageable segments and dispersed by cargo carriers to remote sites within the Federation as a security measure" (TNG TM p.14).
Could twelve Galaxy-class ships really replace most of the ships used in Starfleet's exploration programs? If so, then the fleet must be small...
You make good points. But then again, DS9 almost directly refutes the references in BoBW about 'the fleet' being the whole fleet. And just which fleet was that anyway? It could very easily have been just the home fleet - the tenth fleet for example. And from what DS9 indicates, a fleet is generally comprised of 100ish ships - so that might have only been half of the tenth fleet, that guards the core of Earth, and it might have been that to which Shelby referred, rather than the whole of the fleet.
And DS9 seems to directly imply that there were more than just six Galaxy class ships built. Maybe even more than the alleged maximum 12, even if that was the original plan. And there seems to be a fair share of Nebula class ships. Plus, Excelsior class nacelles are relatively small, so if the coil material is the primary limiting factor of shipbuilding, lots of Excelsior class ships might be advantageous over lots of larger ship types.
It occurred to me that we could take the number of Federation planets, multiply that by the median planet's population, and multiply that by the fraction of a planet's population that might be serving in Starfleet at any one time, then divide that by the median crew complement of a starship to get a very very rough estimate for the number of ships in service.
Say 300 planets, 1 billion average population, 0.1% in active Starfleet service, 500 crew per ship?
That works out to ... 600,000 ships, as a ballpark figure...wow.
Hence my comments about scope!
Yeah... I think now you see where I was coming from.
MA suggests that there were 150 member planets in 2373 per 'First Contact,' so we can half the 600,000 to 300,000. Of course starbases and planetary facilities probably take out at least a third of that, but still. The potential for 200,000 ships...
Doesn't 10,000 to 15,000 seem so much better now?
I can now accept 10,000 to 15,000 ships, yes.
Does anyone know how many ship yards have been referenced in the various dedication plaques? 15,000 ships with a 100-year service lifetime works out to an average of 150 ships constructed per year, or one ship per Federation member planet per year.
(edit) And if each ship takes an average of 10 years to construct, then there has to be 1,150 ships under construction at any moment in time. If the average ship yard has 50 drydocks, then that makes 23 yards...
One other thing to take into consideration is the likelihood that ships pre-Excelsior (for my money anyway) probably weren't designed with 100-year lifetimes.
When the original Enterprise was retired and destroyed, it was presumably 40 years old. I'd like to think that TOS and TMP era ships were designed with a 50-year lifespan in mind, akin to modern aircraft carriers, but most (especially the Excelsior and Miranda) went beyond that. By the time of the Galaxy, 100-year lifetimes became a design goal, maybe even with potential for longer actual lifespans?
As to shipyards - we know of at least 13. Your 23 figure may be a good guess then.
(Nice new young Ro av, btw. )
Yes, almost all of them would be gone, with the rare exceptions of training ships like the Hathaway, and the Bozeman.
Call it a back-of-the-envelope calculation.
Thanks. I thought Rascals abused the transporter too much, and the plot with the Ferengi was hokey, but the young Ro was cute.
For what it's worth, Mr. Sternbach's magazine article on the Constellation class not only shows 'em having a 100-year regular service lifetime (heck, they put Stargazer back into service after she was recovered in "The Battle") but suggests they will probably stay on ready reserve for a good while longer, needing only fuel and computer software and whatnot to be ready to go. Pretty impressive for a design Picard seemed to be suggesting was not particularly well engineered.
I never even thought the Constitution class was necessarily out of service in the TNG era, although they were probably pushing it. One appears to have bought the farm at Wolf 359, judging from the debris; perhaps it was on training duty and relegated to intrasystem or local warp cruises or something.
Anyhoo, I don't like the idea that the Federation can build so many ships in a year that the Wolf 359 losses are rendered less significant than they came across on screen. The battle wasn't planned to be shown at the time, so the figure wasn't chosen because of budget constraints or anything, but is definitely an important clue to the overall size of the Starfleet. This is another thing that I plug in and keeps bringing me back to the 5000-8000 ships figure. Making of Star Trek suggests "hundreds" of ships in the TOS era Starfleet, if I remember correctly, so this is also useful to guide the thinking.
It isn't so much that this still isn't enough ships to allow for hundreds of Excelsiors. Rather, the question is where we want them to be on the totem pole, so to speak. They still seem to be relatively large compared to a lot of the later designs, they appear to be to be multimission ships and used as such, and they are definitely still in frontline service, even for hazardous duty. I believe she was the fleet-leader of her day, and that building one easily takes the resources equivalent to four Miranda-class ships and probably several years.
On the other hand, we must remember that the author's work supposes a notable modularity and solid warp dynamics for the basic design, which would encourage the building of more even a good while after the earlier runs, and the uprated version that appeared in Generations probably wouldn't have been worth doing for Starfleet if the class were small and intended to stay that way.
Thinking of the kind of resources that allowed a later Starfleet to plan for an initial run of six Galaxy-class ships and six more in the freezer, and working back from there to what an earlier Starfleet would have tried for with its fleet-leader of the day and accordingly smaller resources, I feel like 50 or maybe 64 Excelsiors, something like that, shows a nice healthy run for a successful design--without seeming like they must have ditched everything else for a while, because as noted before, they seem to be in the business of trying what are presumably smaller runs of many different and specialized designs. I doubt that's something that only started in the TNG era.
Interesting way of looking at it actually. The 150 member planets probably doesn't take into account the colony worlds that may still be under jurisdiction of their parent world - there's a reference to "Betazed and her outlying colonies" in a DS9 episode - and when you think about all the moons that may well be habitable or terraformed, there could be thousands of worlds in the Federation.
There's also the fact that people from non-aligned planets could join Starfleet - there were something like 17 people on the Enterprise-D from outside the Federation at one point, so the same might go for other ships.
However, with all these billions of people, you've still got the Federation facing a manpower shortage during the Dominion War (according to Vreenak), which begs the question of where they are all going. A great deal of them will be ground troops captured or killed, along with Starbase and planetary personnel, but there's still scope for a lot of men and women.
I suppose the Senator might be referring to officers more than troops in general, and of course experienced starship captains don't grow on trees. Every officer seems to go to Starfleet Academy at some point, so there probably aren't very many. It makes you wonder what Riker was doing on the Enterprise throughout the war.
Thanks for the thoughts everyone! I think I have to make a decision about this numbers thing before going any further forward.
How does a production run of 470 Excelsiors sound to everyone, based on a 5,000-8,000 ship fleet?
It seems like a nice number to me.
Okay, 470 it is.
use -> deployment
operation -> repair
rebuilt -> reconditioned
had sat idle -> had been idle (or derelict or mothballed)
But we know what really happened
Wouldn't they all be outclassed? Well, except for maybe the Lakota.
What does that mean? 40% of the ships were lost in a typical engagement?
too many commas for one sentence?
Separate names with a comma.