Realistic Starfleet Numbers

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by JJohnson, Oct 28, 2017.

  1. JJohnson

    JJohnson Captain Captain

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    Hey everyone,

    I'm working up a wiki of an alternate Star Trek, where everything is a bit more realistic (as much as Trek can be). I'm wondering the size of Starfleet, what kinds of jobs they would have if this were really a stellar navy, things like that.

    I'm thinking of a few particular time periods: Enterprise, TOS in 2245, 2265, 2285, 2295, and TNG (2364-2380).

    So here, the questions I had were:
    -How many ships would Starfleet field in each era? Which kinds? How many crew and planetside personelle? How many humans vs other species?
    -what would enlisted do vs the commissioned officers?
    -which kinds of jobs does this Starfleet have that we don't really see onscreen?

    That's what I can think of right now, but I'm sure there are more questions I don't know to ask.

    So, for Enterprise era:
    2151-2161
    NX class: 10 ships, 80? per ship
    shipyard: ?
    other ships?
    enlisted in Starfleet:
    commissioned in Starfleet:
    monitors, cutters, other ship types?
     
  2. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    We should note that what Starfleet at any given era would want to have and what it "actually" has are explicitly two different things. The borders leak like a sieve, the cavalry always arrives at the last moment if then and only with one starship, and responding to an outright invasion may take two years of gradual ramping up of forces.

    For the ENT scenario, Archer spoke of four NX class ships being planned. Since the second one already was redesigned based on experiences on the first one, it's a bit difficult to believe the third one ever got built. But surely Starfleet built something else and better in its stead, especially after forging the interstellar alliances and getting embroiled in a big war. Would Earth have resources for ramping up from four ships to, say, forty? Or for barely finishing the quartet, now that the ships had to be even better and more expensive than originally planned?

    Starfleet in 2154 ("United") was sending "every ship available", but even combined with 23 Vulcan ones, those didn't come close to the required 128. Only because they were too slow to be there in time, or because there weren't 105 of them?

    We saw Sol defended by three ships in "The Expanse". Earth was not credited with major off-Earth assets, and if it had any assets at all, those weren't credited with Starfleet protection. On the other hand, Starfleet supposedly wasn't doing anything about piracy along the spacelanes, either. So if there were significantly more ships of the caliber of the "The Expanse" trio, what were they doing?

    Mind you, they may well have been doing something important, meaning they could never take part in the ENT adventures due to their lack of speed. But if a starship force cannot redeploy to protect Earth, then Earth probably would wish to build enough ships that there'd be some to spare for every location. Perhaps dozens of the Intrepid type, then? But again, if wishes were horses...

    It is only in DS9 that we can approach this from the other end, quoting numbers mentioned on screen. We learn that a wartime formation called Fleet is some 300 ships strong or more, "elements" of two of them amounting to 600, while a Fleet hurt in combat may be down to a hundred ships and still deployed to fight more. We also hear of Fleets up to 10th Fleet, with statistical reason to disbelieve in more than perhaps 12-15 Fleets, then (unless we can dream up a factor biasing the dialogue away from the 47th Fleet somehow). This might give us around 5,000 fighting vessels - and pretty much every Starfleet vessel is a warship, even if none admits to being one.

    In contrast, Klingons manage to field 1,500 ships after the Breen superweapon grounds most of the Alpha Axis. Regardless of whether that's the entire Klingon fighting strength, or just the part capable of receiving the anti-Breen cure overnight, we're in the ballpark for a force that may go toe-to-toe with a Starfleet 5,000 ships strong.

    Is there evidence to challenge these figures? Before DS9, Trek never could afford to show more than four Starfleet ships on screen simultaneously - but it made lemonade out of those lemons, having characters speak of flotillas of twenty-something ships and then other characters declare that such formations are almost outrageously small...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  3. JJohnson

    JJohnson Captain Captain

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    Thanks for replying, Timo, I appreciate it. I do realize what we saw on screen is quite small, much smaller than a true stellar navy would have, considering the amount of space and the populations they have to protect. That's why I thought the TNG remastered was a wasted opportunity - they could have added more ships than just a Miranda and original Excelsior for budgetary reasons, which is partly why I started this thread.

    I'm looking to include the FASA starship recognition manual ships in the new 'official' Trek timeline to fill out Starfleet's numbers, and the one prototype Excelsior ship we might've seen in space dock in Star Trek 3 in that one random shot, that one guy here made a CGI of a while back.

    Going back to Enterprise, I know what they said on screen, but I'm willing to 'edit' Enterprise to make it more fitting with the overall Trek timeline. Keep the crew, the ship design, but edit some of their alien encounters, that sort of thing.
     
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  4. Samuel

    Samuel Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I based some stuff like number of Galaxy class ships on the dialogue when Wesley Crusher is going to Starfleet Academy. Data tells Wesley that "91% of Academy graduates are not assigned to Galaxy class starships".

    Of course that means that "9% of Academy graduates ARE assigned to Galaxy class starships.

    So how many Academy graduates are there every year? I assumed that it would probably be the equivalent of the graduating class in a modern American university today which would be about 10,000 a year. Meaning 9% of those graduates would be 900. Assuming that no more than 50 new graduates from the Academy are assigned to Galaxy class starships at one time, then that would mean 18 Galaxy class ships in service at that time. This number would tie in nicely with "Sacrifice of Angels" when there were entire "wings" of Galaxy class ships and IIRC at least NINE Galaxy class ships were all onscreen at one time during the battle.
     
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  5. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It is also possible to interpret Data as saying that only 9% of those who attain commission get the chance to be aboard a Galaxy at one stage of their potentially century-long careers, and thus to hike up the graduation numbers from US universities to Indian or virtual ones, with attendance in the millions - perhaps only 0.09% would get to a Galaxy right off the bat...

    How this ties to Data coming from a class of 78, or many heroes being among the top ten of their classes, is unclear. "Class" here can't mean the sum total of those who graduate in a given year, but more like a specific study team, a "Mrs Perkins' Class". Perhaps those are less than a hundred strong, and graduation is evenly spread across the year rather than being a mass event involving most of the populance of San Francisco?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  6. JJohnson

    JJohnson Captain Captain

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    For ENT era, let's say we have Humans, Andorians, Vulcans, Tellarites, Alpha Centaurans forming the Federation. We have 10 NX-class, and 20 Intrepid class. 830 serve on the NX in total, and 1000 on the Intrepids. What would we need in an orbital space dock to support that? On the ground? Just like the US Navy isn't just aircraft carriers and destroyers, it's the shore personnel, the accountants, quartermasters, pilots, engineers, ground-based construction crews, all that stuff.

    So, if we go to TOS era, I would like to include the Loknar, Saladin, Hermes, and other ship classes in the new timeline. Let's assume we get:

    Constitution Cruiser: 13 ships
    Anton Cruiser
    Larson Destroyer
    Loknar Frigate
    Nelson Scout
    Saladin
    Aakenn Freighter
    Antares Transports
    Derf Tender
    Tyrannis Research Cruiser
    Cassard - Missile Destroyer
    Pompei - Destroyer

    Is that enough variety for a navy? Does that fill every role they would need to fit, given that time period has a UFP of around 1000 cubic light years, and maybe 100 or so planets to defend?
     
  7. Samuel

    Samuel Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Possible but unlikely. the conversation was entirely in the context of Wesley Crushers apparent hopes that after he got out of the academy he would be returning to the Enterprise.
     
  8. JJohnson

    JJohnson Captain Captain

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    For ENT era, let's say we have Humans, Andorians, Vulcans, Tellarites, Alpha Centaurans forming the Federation. We have 10 NX-class, and 20 Intrepid class. 830 serve on the NX in total, and 1000 on the Intrepids. What would we need in an orbital space dock to support that? On the ground? Just like the US Navy isn't just aircraft carriers and destroyers, it's the shore personnel, the accountants, quartermasters, pilots, engineers, ground-based construction crews, all that stuff.

    So, if we go to TOS era, I would like to include the Loknar, Saladin, Hermes, and other ship classes in the new timeline. Let's assume we get:

    Constitution Cruiser: 13 ships
    Anton Cruiser
    Larson Destroyer
    Loknar Frigate
    Nelson Scout
    Saladin
    Aakenn Freighter
    Antares Transports
    Derf Tender
    Tyrannis Research Cruiser
    Cassard - Missile Destroyer
    Pompei - Destroyer

    Is that enough variety for a navy? Does that fill every role they would need to fit, given that time period has a UFP of around 1000 cubic light years, and maybe 100 or so planets to defend?
     
  9. STR

    STR Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    A few thoughts.

    1) The modern US Navy is a mature fleet. They've got a ship for most roles because they've had decades (and fairly stagnant technology) to fill them out. The Navy's strategy is centered on moving a handful of carriers around to the handful of true troublespots around the world. All of these spots are well outside American territory. The Navy is an expeditionary force.

    Starfleet, at the time of Archer, is a nascent service in an era of rapidly changing technology (more like the USAF circa 1945 to 1960 or even better Army Air in the 1910-1930 era) where ships are obsolete almost the moment they're built. They're not going to build one design for 30 or 40 years (yet). They'll build a relative handful over a period of 5-10 years, and only for the most critical roles. Lesser roles are filled by older ships, not custom designs. Hence Solar System defense being handled by Intrepid types and Warp Deltas.

    2) Given that Archer himself was part of the first Warp 2 project, I doubt there were that many more series-produced warp ships beyond what we saw. There really isn't enough time to design more.

    4-5 NX ships seems about it during S1-4 of ENT. Maybe 5-20 Intrepid types. More if they kept building them alongside NX ships and less if they just switched to the newer design. There were at least two configurations of the Warp Delta (one from intro, one seen in the show). Those are likely to be dog slow (warp 2ish tops), but there could be a lot of them. Depends on how well you think Vulcan shielded Earth from outside threats. So 3-5 types and 100 or fewer hulls is probably a good estimate.

    3) There really is no equivalent to aircraft carriers or guided missile ships in Trek. There appear to be compounding advantages to size. All weapons are guided already there's no antiship equivalent to cruise missiles.

    4) A good rule of thumb for warships and warplanes is that 1/3 of your fleet is going to be in maintenance at any given time. Navies have work up/training periods that reduce your effective force down to ½ to ⅓ of your hull count.

    Given that all Archer era ships are probably tech demonstrators pushed into service, I'd expect them to be down even more often. NX-01 managed better with the fleets best crew and plot armor, but even it was ready for an overhaul after a year in space.

    Anyway, maybe ¼ to ⅓ of their fleet was fully operational at any given time. So you'd need one spacedock "parking space" for about every other ship.
     
  10. Samuel

    Samuel Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I wonder how Starfleets basing structure that we've seen impacts their numbers of active starships? It seems like at least in the TNG period they have a staggering number of starbases and lesser outposts.
     
  11. USS Triumphant

    USS Triumphant Vice Admiral Admiral

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    True, but it's also worth noting that DS9 didn't get a picket ship assigned until after the existence of the wormhole elevated the place's importance to Starfleet. A lot of those bases and outposts may not have a regular ship assigned.
     
  12. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The bases would directly affect the total number of personnel being discussed here, in addition to indirectly affecting our assumptions about downtime. How does it work in Starfleet anyway? When the Sutherland is down for maintenance and projected to stay that way for four months sharp, does her crew get assigned to other ships, through a complex roster that always keeps every active ship crewed and every crewmember employed even when 2/3 of the fleet is moored and depowered?

    I guess the best Earthly analogy for the early Starfleet would be the navies of South America. Those basically came into being at a time when naval technology had changed more radically than in the preceding half a thousand years, so this matches the awe and confusion of UESF. They also came into being in a world already dominated by much larger, ages-old navies that were already more or less comfortable with the modern supertech (the ones that weren't we can ignore here for analogy's sake). They knew they couldn't hope for parity, but they also knew they could and should skip a few stages and jump right into the ironclad, steam-driven, rifled-cannon technology and adopt all that the Elders knew went well with that tech. And they fully realized that to maintain that fleet, they'd have to industrialize and educate themselves, even if they initially would have to buy foreign.

    We don't know how much UESF bought foreign. Also, NX-01 ran on dilithium, and we aren't aware of Earth having any indigenous supply (the opposite is often heavily implied). But we know there was trade, and the parts conducted by humans invariably involved ore. Perhaps much like the nascent South American navies, UESF had to buy fuel and raw materials in quantity originally?

    These navies occasionally had to accept foreign observers aboard their ships, perhaps formally representing the manufacturer but typically just spying. On the other hand, they also hired foreigners, which UESF doesn't appear to have done (although the counterindications aren't strong overall, we do see that the starship COs and admirals are all locals, a situation different from South America).

    Finally, the junior navies didn't really have to fight the big boys. The oceans were big enough that the Elders had no need and often no means to dictate local policy, although they could always blackmail by withholding expertise or resources (some served as Vulcan-like "mentors" or "standoffish landlords" to certain nations and navies). So the juniors fought each other, in engagements where the modern warships were hugely decisive but which still significantly differed from how large navies would have fought in earnest. Lack of speed and range was very characteristic of this local style of fighting. But Earth never got that chance as far as we know. Although there most definitely is room for a Dilgar War in the prehistory of ENT - and there's always the Kzinti...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  13. Shamrock Holmes

    Shamrock Holmes Commodore Commodore

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    While T'Pol was initially more of a foreign observer/spy, I would say that Phlox fits the "employed foreigner" quite well.

    As far as starbases go, there is a significant difference between what we know and what we can potentially imply is the case:

    Around 120 starbases of various sizes have been named in dialogue or on props during the various series, so we know there are at least that many.

    However, there are a number of different naming schemes in place that imply a much greater number.

    1) Starbase (Number): A few of outliers (Starbase 39-Sierra, Starbase G-6 and Starbases 4077 & 4112) may be assumed to be errors, but the consistent numbering scheme runs from Starbase 1 to Starbase (0)834 suggesting up to 1000 starbases are operational or planned during that era (late 2364). However, it may also be worth noting that the original intention was to cap the numbers at around 500 (bringing Starbases 514, 515, 621, 718 & 0834 into doubt).

    2) Deep Space (Number): At least 9 of these are implied to exist, however the number may be considerably greater as DS7 is specifically not the same as DS Station K-7, it's also possible that Starbase G-6 was actually part of the Letter-Number Series of Deep Space Stations rather than a Starbase so conservative adding at least another 200ish (A-1 to Z-9) potential DS Stations.

    3) There are also a few scattered references to starbases named after people or places, I don't think we can make any definative conclusions there, other than that we can use unsystematic names.

    As far as available personnel goes, I think that Starfleet must have at least a few million personnel active at any one time, but could probably (through field commissions, crash enlisted training and the "reserve activation clause" increase that by up to an order of magnitude at short notice if needed (the UFP population is likely in the 100s of billions if not trillions IMO).
     
  14. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Of course, seeing SB 1234 does not mean that all bases from 1 to 1234 ought to exist.

    And indeed there may be good reasons to assume those bases do not exist. Or more accurately, reasons to think that SB 47 isn't created after SB46, and the existence of SB47 therefore in no way confirms the ecistence of SB46. After all, in "Measure of a Man", SB 173 was brand new while SB 200 already existed in TOS...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  15. Samuel

    Samuel Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It's possible that the numbers of Starbases are based on location (parts of their coordinates) rather than simple progression of when they were built.
     
  16. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Or, since it's unlikely the numbers will ever be consistent with any model tying them to coordinates, perhaps it's still a simple progression? But of the sort where one builds a SB in a nice location and calls it SB1, then another in a different spot and calls it SB2, and then Romulans come and blow up SB1 so one needs to build a new base there, but it's still called SB1.

    SB173 might have been the successor to a station first built on that spot in the 2240s...

    As for UFP total population, I guess that depends a lot on which members have been assimilated at a given timepoint. But in DS9, we're indeed in the trillions, as per casualty figure estimates in "Statistical Probabilities".

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  17. Annorax849

    Annorax849 Commander Red Shirt

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    I'll do 2268 and 2370, since those are usually my go-to years when it comes to stats, especially 2370.

    2268:
    -12 million starfleet members, 80% of which are human.
    -A few thousand ships. We don't know as much about these ship types since I don't see Excelsior, Miranda, or Oberth being around yet. If anything, DIS is showing more classes.

    2270:
    -20 million starfleet members. 65% human, with Vulcans and Bolians being the next biggest two.
    -About 10,000 ships, not including Runabouts but maybe including some smaller ships we don't see often
    -Even with those numbers, the vast majority of Officers and (especially) Enlisted don't actually serve on starships, but on planets and stations.
     
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  18. Shamrock Holmes

    Shamrock Holmes Commodore Commodore

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    Membership figure is plausible, I agree on the human ratio. Not withstanding the inconsistences of the numbering, there cannot be more than a thousand or so NCC ships, however NAR, ECS, NSP etc ships in support auxiliary roles could be added to the total to bring it up to several thousand.

    Assuming that you mean 2370 here, I agree with your third point. As far as the first point goes, I think that's only plausible if we assume the existence of (but leave out of the figure) a large "Ready Reserve" as far more than 20,000,000 personnel are implied to be involved in the Dominion War a few years later. Regarding the second point, I think that's possible if we this time restrict the count to the NCC ships and discount auxiliary/support vessels like runabouts which should realistically use a different registry prefix (NAR perhaps?).
     
  19. JJohnson

    JJohnson Captain Captain

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    That's definitely good info on possible Starfleet numbers. Another aspect of Starfleet that should be a bit more realistic (dramatic purposes aside) is rank and rank advancement.

    My first question is - how does the US Navy handle rank and rank promotion? What're the criteria? How long does one stay in a rank before being eligible for promotion, and how long before they have to accept a promotion or leave the fleet? And how does the Navy handle ship assignment vs shore assignment? That's another area I want to make a bit more real in my alt Trek wiki.
     
  20. Annorax849

    Annorax849 Commander Red Shirt

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    Yeah, I actually assume that the numbers go up to about 100 million during the war because of a reserve service (not a draft though).
     
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