Below you’ll find
more-or-less a guide on all torpedo ordinance and their availability.
All information is from official sources, and assumptions are cleared
stated as such. After review by the ASDB Team, it may eventually find
its way into the "Articles" section of the ASDB Website.
weapon used by Starfleet that contains deuterium and magnetically
constrained antideuterium tanks which are simultaneously released at
the point of detonation, mutually annihilating each other and producing
a high-energy explosion. These devices are present on almost all
Federation starships and are quite well known in terms of their
Photon Torpedo Statistics (TNG
Era) – TNG TM
Photon Torpedo Statistics
(Post-TNG Era) – DS9 TM
Max Explosive Yield
x 0.76 x 0.45 meters
Between the end of Season 7 of
TNG and the DS9’s Dominion War, the photon torpedo was
upgraded in terms of its yield thanks to more efficient internal
designs, allowing for less electronics and more fuel. This brings the
standard torpedo yield to 18.5 isotons, though its been theorized that
a maximum yield of 25 isotons may someday be reached (i.e. cannot
currently be reached).
Galaxy-class starships are
capable of simultaneously loading ten torpedoes at once in a single
tube, allowing for quick launch of all the devices. Standard torpedo
launchers, as stated in the DS9 TM, are capable of simultaneously
fueling reactants into four torpedoes at a time and can dispatch
volleys of six torpedoes within 2.3 seconds, with reload times as short
as 15.3 seconds. This could explain why torpedoes are frequently fired
in spreads of three or four at a time as seen during the Dominion War,
“First Contact” and in
“Nemesis.” Unfortunately, it is never made clear
which ships carry a “standard” torpedo launcher.
A newer torpedo device that
uses a traditional 21.8 isoton matter/antimatter reaction to jump-start
an energetic local release of a zero point energy field, which is more
effective at penetrating deflector shields with a theoretical maximum
yield of 52.3 isotons. Unlike the photon torpedo, quantums are
manufactured at a limited number of hidden facilities within the
Federation. Because of the nature of various exotic materials, many of
the components cannot be replicated and thus cannot be manufactured
locally aboard starships. According to the DS9 TM, half of all
manufactured quantum torpedoes are allocated to DS9 and the Defiant. It
also states that vessels handling quantum torpedoes must observe
special handling and loading precautions, including antigravs,
tele-robotic servicing and protective buffer fields.
Three different starship
classes have been observed to make use of quantums: Defiant-class,
Sovereign-class, and the Excelsior-class U.S.S. Lakota. The Lakota is
an exception to the rule, since information in that episode specifies
the ship was refit with new hardware to take part in Admiral Leyton's
coup on Earth.
The Sovereign-class U.S.S.
Enterprise NCC-1701-E has been seen making use of quantum torpedoes,
specifically from a forward launcher on the ventral side of the saucer
near the Captain's Yacht docking port in "First Contact" and "Nemesis,"
though the vessel also fires photon torpedoes from various other
launchers in "Insurrection" and "Nemesis."
Various Defiant-class starships
have been seen using only quantum torpedoes in numerous episodes,
though the DS9 TM states the vessel's launchers can handle both quantum
and photon torpedoes depending on what is available.
Given the powerful nature of
this type of weapon, it's surprising that we didn't see other starship
classes making use of it during the Dominion War, specifically in
episodes such as "Sacrifice of Angels" and "What You Leave Behind." In
both instances, it was well known that all ships involved would be
taking part in massive battles, yet they were still not equipped. It
can be inferred that either other starship classes lack some specific
hardware in their torpedo launching systems that prevent them from
using quantum torpedoes (such as the previously mentioned protective
buffer fields), or that Starfleet keeps a tight leash on its supply.
The DS9 TM specifically states that much higher security restrictions
are in place for the quantum torpedoes, and that distribution is
That said, only ST:ACTD's
Defiant and Sovereign-class starships carry quantum torpedoes as part
of their standard loadout. Unless we change our stance on the
differences involved in the physical launching of torpedoes, only ships
under special circumstances can have a few allocated for
mission-specific purposes. We're not talking "Oh, it'd be easier to
destroy this station with quantum torpedoes," it's more like "we can't
destroy this station without quantum torpedoes." If Starfleet is
unwilling to let other starship classes make use of them during an
all-out war, then the circumstances warranting usage should be greater
then that, and any unused torpedoes from said mission-specific
applications would be returned afterward in accordance with protocol.
Information on this device is
derived primarily from two episodes, Voyager "Caretaker" and "The
Voyager Conspiracy." The former gave us little information, suggesting
it was more like a traditional torpedo explosive that was somehow more
effective at destroying things, in this case the Caretaker Array. The
latter episode allows us to infer much more information as Seven
investigates the incident surrounding the first episode. The purpose of
using the two tricobalt explosives was to ensure that little of the
Array would be left intact for the Kazon to make use of, and sc+ans
afterward show little more then metal vapor of some unknown alloy. The
blast managed to cause a tear in subspace, where we learn a tetryon
reactor was pushed.
Unlike photon and quantum
torpedoes whose explosive potential is measured in isotons (much like
20th Century atomic weapons being measured in the equivalent amount of
TNT in tons needed to cause such an explosion) the tricobalt torpedoes
in this episode were calibrated to a yield of 20,000 terracochranes,
which is said to be more then enough for the Caretaker array and caused
a subspace tear to form. Cochranes are the unit used to measure
subspace field stress, such as in warp fields.
Therefore, we can assume that
the purpose of using tricobalt devices is to distort space around an
object by causing subspace instability, and that fields around 20,000
teracochranes can actually tear the fabric between normal space and
subspace for short periods of time. The subspace field needed to propel
a ship at Warp 9 is around 1000 cochranes, so the distortion of space
as a result of these devices is enormous in comparison, and could
easily destroy objects through means of a shearing force. It's
comparable in some respects to an earthquake, and how the shearing
forces can crumble a building that's normally stable.
It's also noteworthy to point
out that tri-cobalt devices would be less effective against shielded
objects, since shields make use of a local distortion in space that's
Seven also states throughout
the course of the episode that tri-cobalt devices are not common
ordinance aboard Starfleet vessels, and it was never clearly stated why
Voyager had two such devices in their compliment. This allows us to
safely say that Starfleet ships and ST:ACTD ships in general do not
carry tricobalt on a normal basis, and that
there should be a good reason to have them aboard. It seems to further
suggest that these devices cannot be manufactured onboard a starship.
Featured in Voyager "Endgame,"
this weapon was brought from the future by Janeway and could easily
destroy a Borg Cube with just one direct hit. This would make the
transphasic torpedo more powerful then even the energy beams combined
from several Species 8472 bioships as seen in Voyager "Scorpion." The
name “transphasic” implies that the warhead is
somehow phased, either temporally or dimensionally, from normal space,
effectively allowing the torpedo to pass through a ship’s
shields with little or no resistance. Because they were launched from
Voyager, it can be assumed that they’re approximately the
same size as a standard photon torpedo, though we know nothing on how
the devices must be handled.
Other then being quite
powerful, little is known about the workings of this weapon. The
absence of future technology such as transphasic shields and
“Batmobile” deployable ablative armor in the recent
movie "Nemesis" reinforces the notion that this technology is being
kept secret, and far from public eyes due in no small part because of
the Temporal Prime Directive.
To that end, under no
circumstances will these weapons be featured in ST:ACTD missions taking
place in the normal timeline. It's understandable that missions taking
place in the far future might showcase these technologies, however.
Knowledge of these devices is classified and not common knowledge...
even for Starfleet Captains. Aside from seeing the U.S.S. Voyager
covered in "Batmobile" ablative armor upon exiting the Borg Sphere,
ships making up the small fleet that greeted it never got a chance to
see her weapons in action, and it is conceivable that members of
Voyager's crew would be told to withhold such information from other
persons. That said, you shouldn't even know about the existence of
transphasic torpedoes… much less any other futuristic
technology Voyager brought back.
As it is both ST:ACTD and the
ASDB's goal to adhere to canon as much as possible, we encourage all
SMs to abide by these guidelines to help make a more realistic gaming
experience. It is important that you make use of the unique
characteristics that your ship's starship class already has, rather
then try to make it into something it is not. Intrepids sport fast top
speeds, Ambassadors are large in size and have practically the same
benefits as the Galaxy, Novas have great sensors, while Defiants boast
great weapons but poor recreational and science facilities. Ships are
not made "cooler" by carrying something that is restricted or
rationed... it only makes them more out of place in the Star Trek
universe, and less realistic.
- Tricobalt Torpedoes –
- Star Trek: The Next Generation
Technical Manual - Rick Sternbach and Michael Okuda
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Technical Manual - Herman Zimmerman, Rick Sternbach and Doug Drexler
- Star Trek: The Magazine
- Star Trek: First
- Star Trek: Insurrection
- Star Trek: Nemesis
- Star Trek: Voyager
“The Voyager Conspiracy”
- Star Trek: Voyager
“Caretaker, Pt 2”