Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by Rayleo02, Apr 16, 2018.
How many starships are in service for Starfleet at any given time?
Depends on the Starfleet budget for that fiscal year. But seriously, as many or as few as needed by the plot.
I'd say maybe 2371
476, not including shuttles
Depends which series you're watching. In TOS, there were 12 Starships, and they were a special posting. Other ships were just lesser spaceships.
In TNG, the best Starfleet could pull together was a fleet of 39 ships to battle the Borg.
In DS9 a couple of years later, there are countless fleets of hundreds of ships.
In ENT, there are two NX-class ships and a a couple of lesser ships (and in one scene of one episode, a huge fleet of these lesser ships)
In DSC, set just before TOS, there are dozens if not hundreds of ships with the same abilities of the classic Enterprise.
So whatever you want the answer to be, there's a precident.
This seemed always bizarre to me. Like in DS9 the fleet was suddenly at least ten times larger than couple of years ago. I think it happened because at that point it was pretty easy to just copypaste more CGI ship on the screen. I didn't like that development though, it made the starships feel like TIE-fighters. They always felt like a big deal before, and destruction of even one was a great tragedy. That kinda lost its impact in DS9.
The small fleets never made sense, look at how many ships the US navy has for example. Hundreds! And that's for one country in earth, the federation could easily have 10.000 ships and the fleet would still be spread thin considering the federation's size.
With the focus on exploring the fleet would also have to be very large because there won't be much exploring going on with a fleet of a few dozen ships that also has to defend borders, answer distress calls and serve as space taxis for various diplomats.
I think 150.000 ships sounds realistic, with 150 members that would be 1.000 ships per planet, that's not that much and would make starfleet a pretty small organization all things considered.
The 39 ships for Wolf 359 was just what they could get to the area in time to battle. Also, after the Borg threat, production was massively increased, as evidenced by larger fleets later, mention of an increase in production, and specific ship designs just to combat the Borg (Defiant class, though never used as such), and ships that seemed to be specific to the Dominion war effort (Akira class).
Yep, and if there were a lot more ships, some people would be complaining of small universe syndrome, with all those ships arriving to Earth too quickly.
DSN number of ships seemed more reasonable that TNG, given the size of the Federation. Besides the 40 ships they assembled for Wolf 359 was all they could gather given the timescale.
DS9 mentioned the Tenth Fleet (thanks to them dropping the ball the Dominion invaded Betazed), but no higher number has been established. The Seventh Fleet went into the Battle of Tyra with 112 ships, if that was standard deployment for all fleets then there would be at least 1120 combat-capable starships, not including those assigned to support roles.
If there's a question about the structure of Starfleet, it's always a good idea to study the services it was based on.
Like real life navies, it would make far more sense for them to organise into a varying number of command subdivisions of variable size and composition according to operational requirements.
I feel Starfleet is more based on NASA and NOAA. I always felt it was so much more romantic when there were fewer ships, each was like its own world out in the reaches of space with occasional contact with home, and was really something special. I really didn't like it at all when they'd show so many being blown up, to me I always found that so gratuitous and dehumanizing.
I feel there are "ships" and there are "starships", if I'm making sense? Like there are so many Earth ships, and Vulcan ships, and so on and such, but Starfleet ships are really something special, and there aren't very many, serving on one is such an amazing privilege.
Yep. I feel the same way.
Didn't Operation return plan to use elements of several fleets the 2nd, 5th and 9th but had to leave early before the 9th arrived. If they pulled 50% of each fleet then you could be talking over 600 ships per fleet so over 6000 ships. What is more likely there is no set number of ships per fleet and the number varies depending on the tactical significance of the region the fleet is defending. Plus of course ships to far out from the front lines to be part of the war.
Plus the composition of the fleets would be vairable. One fleet may have a large number of Galaxy-class ships, while most others have none.
This is a common fan assumption, but it's never once stated outright in the series. Kirk does comment that there "are only twelve like her in the fleet" when talking about the Enterprise, but he could easily be talking about Constitution class ships specifically, not ships in general. It's entirely possible that there were all sorts of ship classes we didn't get to see.
This was the best Starfleet could pull together in the two days or so they had. And remember, Shelby confidently stated that they could recoup those ship losses in less than one year. To me that implies that the BOBW fleet was actually a rather small fraction of Starfleet.
In fact if we take 40 ships a year as a ballpark figure for Starfleet construction, and then say that ships last 30 years in service on average (and that's seriously conservative given that Excelsior and even Miranda class ships are still in service in large numbers during DS9), it seems that Starfleet could very easily support a fleet of 1,200 or more.
Indeed. The difference being, in DS9 Starfleet had years to gather their forces. Remember that we several times saw that there are farflung parts of the Federation a loooong travel time away - in The Icarus Factor Riker expected to spend "months at high warp" just to reach his new ship. So instead of 40 ships we get hundreds.
It would even make sense of all those Mirandas and Excelsiors, because we could assume that when they retired they were put into reserve, and with a couple of years warning Starfleet had time to reactivate them all to bulk up the fleet.
Between one and 3,000
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