How large is Starfleet?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Nyotarules, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. Nyotarules

    Nyotarules Commodore Commodore

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    "U.S. Code of law explicitly limits the total number of vice admirals that may be on active duty at any given time. The total number of active-duty flag officers is capped at 160 for the navy.[1"
    So using the above as an example for just Vice Admirals, this is about 0.0005% of the US population of 320 million (estimate).
    Now the Federation has a population in the trillions, 9.85 trillion by the 24th century (Memory Beta). So for just one section of flag officers, 0.0005% of 9.85 trillion is 4.925 billion!
    So how big does Starfleet have to be, to be the effective exploratory and militant arm of the Federation? They need their own damn planet for head quarters, San Francisco would be way to small!
     
  2. The_Baron

    The_Baron Commander Red Shirt

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    160 is 0.00005% of 320,000,000

    and it would be 4.925 MILLION not billion, to apply the same percentage to 9.85 trillion.

    still a huge number, but your maths is off by a factor of 10.

    It's extremely unlikely that starfleet would apply the same ratio as the us navy do - even discounting the maths.
     
  3. GabyBee

    GabyBee Commander Red Shirt

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    I tend to be rather skeptical of B-canon sources, as they are often wildly contradictory, and at times have their licenses revoked by Paramound/CBS for doing rather dubious things with the franchise.

    But concerning on-screen instances, we've been told that the loss of 39 ships at Wolf 359 was a significant blow to Starfleet. So I would interpret that to mean that the total number of starships in service at any given time is in the three figures - fewer than 1,000. If we suppose that Starfleet has perhaps half as many starbases as it has starships, but starbases require three times the crew capacity...

    So I'll get a bit liberal with the estimations:
    1,000 starships, average crew of 250 persons: 250,000 starship crew
    500 starbases, average crew of 750 persons: 375,000 starbase crew

    And let's say for sake of argument that we can double the number of starship and starbase personnel to account for Starfleet personnel stationed on Earth, Earth Spacedock, Utopia Planetia, Jupiter Station, etc.

    My rough estimation of just spitballing numbers on this winds up at approximately 1,250,000 Starfleet personnel.
     
  4. Mizrach

    Mizrach Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    In the Dominion War. if I'm not mistaken, there are 6000 federal ships in just one battle. Or the translation it's wrong?
     
  5. USS Firefly

    USS Firefly Captain Captain

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    There were 600 Federation ships in one battle
     
  6. GabyBee

    GabyBee Commander Red Shirt

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    In VOY "Life Line" Dr. Zimmerman mentions that there were 675 instances of the EMH Mark I active in Starfleet before it was discontinued. Possibly a rough estimate of how many starships were active at the time.
     
  7. Spot261

    Spot261 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The thing is losing 39 ships at 359 can be called a significant loss whilst still reconciling with the thousands of vessels we see in DS9. The difference is that those 39 ships were lost in peacetime, where such losses are unexpected, the DS9 were mustered in wartime and represent the culmination of months of preparation, if not years in some cases.

    If the US Navy were to lose 2 escort type vessels tomorrow due to a tragic accident it would dominate the news for days and be remembered in the public consciousness for years. It would constitute a significant loss of life and assets, requiring years to replace and a significant spending of public money in the form of inquiries, rebuilds, crew training, insurance investigations.....

    That does not alter the fact that the US Navy is capable of mustering forces orders of magnitude greater if needs be, it simply reflects the fact that ships and the lives aboard are not viewed as disposable. In wartime the perspective on such losses changes because those assets are being deployed into situations and roles where both the risks and the consequences are far greater. They are being expected to defend their nation against enemy action so the chances of their loss are greater as are the stakes involved. Thus the powers that be fully expect to lose some portion of those deployed and will deploy them en masse in an attempt to sway the odds.

    39 ships lost unexpectedly in peacetime is a terrible shock and a major incident. 39 lost in a major engagement against overwhelmingly superior forces involving thousands of ships, whilst never a good thing, is part of the on going cost of fighting a war.
     
  8. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Neil The Hippy Premium Member

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    It's a needs of the plot situation.
     
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  9. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Well around 600 ships made up of elements of three fleets.

    We know starfleet had at least 10 fleets during the Dominion War. So if they used 50% of the strength of 3 fleets to get to ~600 ships and assuming each fleet has an equal number of ships we get a number of ~4000 ships.

    But lets examine the size of the UFP by the TNG/DSN/VOY era it spans 8000ly and has over 150 members. So for me a population of 1 trillion or so seems reasoanble but not much more than that.
     
  10. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    The number changed, it's that simple. 12 was large for a class of ship in TOS. In STNG 39 ships was a big fleet. In DS9 they had 6 fleets with 100s of ships each, the largest we saw was about 600, and 6 wasn't even all the fleets. I made an estimate of about 19,000 ships, with about 5,000 auxiliaries after the dominion war. The USA had about 9,000 ships of all types at the end of WWII, probably about 1,500 were large combatants. I think a dozen or so major industrial planets out of the 150 in the UFP could handle such a production number.

    PS: Found the old list: I used "canon" ships only:

     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
  11. Sgt_G

    Sgt_G Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    For what it's worth to the discussion, over in the Star Fleet Battles universe, the game Federation & Empire (F&E) is considered to be a massive game. The General War starts in Year 168 (after contact with the Vulcans) between the Klingons and Lyrans vs. Kzintis and Hydrans (Lyrans and Hydrans are on the far side of the Klingon Empire). The Federation has at that time 125 ships (including 30 Constitution-class Heavy Cruisers & Command Cruisers), plus 47 older ships in mothball status. They build another 34 ships befor getting pulled into the War in Year 171. The General War runs for another fourteen years, to Year 185, during which time the Federation builds roughly another 773 ships, of which 332 are Light Cruiser size and 354 are War Destroyer / Frigate size. In the game, they lose tons of ships of course, but assuming they don't lose a single ship they would have a fleet of 979 main-line ships by the end of the war.

    So, when you're talking fleets of 6,000 to 19,000 combat ships, it boggles the mind. I would not want to game that out.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
  12. GabyBee

    GabyBee Commander Red Shirt

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    They did mention on DS9 that allowing the Dominion to have 2800 ships pass through the wormhole would essentially grant them an immediate total victory. So I think it's fair to say that whatever estimates for Starfleet's total size is, it shouldn't be any larger than one or two thousand starships.
     
  13. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In TNG Starfleet is portrayed as being extremely selective in its admissions implying only a small amount of those interested in Starfleet get accepted. It's unclear if Nog's admission implies academic standards had been lowered for Dominion War fears or if Sisko's recommendation is just that valued.

    9 trillion seems a reasonable estimate if member planets are on the order of high three figures, but not all of them necessarily have the same interest in serving as officers.
     
  14. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    You're neglecting to think of the size of the galaxy, and the UFP's space in it. Space is big, and even the UFP's tiny slice is still gigantic by our standards:

    Travelling through the "official" Federation (8000 ly)
    at warp 6 = 20 years
    at warp 8 = 8 years
    at warp 9 = 5 years
    at warp 9.6 = 4 years


    Even with the Dominion war it would take time to move fleets and not all fleets would abandon their part of the normal Federation patrol zone. So 9 out of 20 fleets involved in the Dominion War doesn't seem unreasonable.

    Incidentally, this size is another reason to have such a large overall number of ships. Even mothballed, they could be based close to their respective borders for whatever contingency.

    RAMA
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
  15. Nyotarules

    Nyotarules Commodore Commodore

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    Using the US as an example again, just for the sake of it
    Active duty personnel armed forces 1,281,900
    This is .004% even with that ratio using the Federation population, Starfleet should have at least 395 million members on active duty.

    Or using the UK active armed forces 196,840 including reserves, population 64.1 million
    Ratio 0.003% or 302 million members. Lets assume a third are human since it is a Terran based organisation thats 100 million humans in Starfleet.
    A plausible in universe scenario?
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
  16. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    2 800 in one large fleet, how quickly could the Federation Alliance pull together a fleet that size. In Operation Return the Federation had assembled a fleet of 600 or so ships and it was still outnumbered 2 to 1 and it wasn't until Klingon re-enforcements (with the element of surprise)arrived that they were able to turn the battle towards their favour.
     
  17. Sgt_G

    Sgt_G Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    @Nyotarules Your math is off. 1968400/64100000 = 0.003 = 0.3%.
     
  18. Nyotarules

    Nyotarules Commodore Commodore

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    ^It takes years to cross from one side of the Federation to the other or with transwarp beaming five minutes so it depends...
     
  19. Nyotarules

    Nyotarules Commodore Commodore

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    196840 not 1968400 The bosses of the UK armed forces can only dream of over a million personnel lol
     
  20. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    Some other games and books have come up with figures:

    Federation Reference Series:


    36 Saladin
    13 Achernar
    12 Federation
    22 Renner
    26 Knox Class
    22 Avenger Class
    3 Menhaga
    7 Mitannic
    28 Belknap
    8 Enterprise
    10 Asencion
    9 Federation(uprated)

    514 Independence Class Transports
    306 Sherman Class Transports
    15 Ptolemy Class

    In addition, the related SPO book "Starship Design" suggests 362 ships of ALL types are constructed over a 5 year period, Of which 46 are cruisers and above. The total here is 1031. This doesn't include all possible ships, but major classes. I suspect they felt it was the bulk of the fleet.

    Starfleet Dynamics puts the fleet size at 3137, of which only 937 are major combatants.

    The STNG FASA manual:

    38 Excelsiors
    50 Enterprise
    26 Constellation
    240 Decker Class
    12 Royal Sovereign Class
    13 M'Benga Hospital Ships
    17 Sagan Class Science Vessels
    33 Wellington Class
    25 Paine Class
    22 Moscow Class
    15 Ambassadors
    2 Galaxy Class

    3945 Shuttles
    1500 Long Range Shuttles

    That's 593 major ships.

    In the "canon" universe there is no set number, yet if we assume as many fleets as numbers (I believe 9 is still the highest?), then we multiply it by the 600+ of Sisko's fleet, we have at least 5400, though the composition is uncertain. Are they all warships? To sustain a war with the Dominion, a power which summoned over 2000 ships for an invasion, Starfleet must come somewhere near them in total numbers, though not over(add to that allied fleets of course).

    Automation should have reduced the need for personnel, much like on ships of the current navy. Even at half your total and .002% the Federation could have a lot of beings in Starfleet.