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Defensive Technologies

Written: 2000.06.13

Federation troopers do not use armor, sealed environmental suits, or similar protective technologies in ground combat. In every incident of Federation ground combat seen onscreen up to this point, troopers have worn no protective equipment whatsoever, and have often died as a result.

(Alyeska here) true federation soldiers have rarely been scene. But in Star Trek 3 and 6 actual troops in security on the enterprise had on armor and helmets. I find it odd that MW has left out Isomagnetic Disintegrators, these weapons have a noticeable range and firepower.

"Noticeable" is about as complimentary as we can get about Worf's little bazooka in STI (the "isomagnetic disintegrator" of which this "Alyeska" person speaks). It's hard to say how far away the So'na soldiers were, but one thing is for certain: it was not a particularly powerful weapon. It struck the ground just beneath the soldiers' feet with no more power than a modern hand grenade. The rock upon which they were standing? Not affected at all. Hmmm ...

Worf looks through the scope of his isomagnetic disintegrator prior to firing

The devastating blast strikes a rock and ... strangely, the whole ridge isn't blown apart. How curious.

Given the limited firepower demonstrated in Insurrection and the fact that federation weapons are capable of multiple settings it is easy to see that this weapon has a much higher firepower output then scene, possibly even enough to destroy a AT-ST given that vehicles weakness.

More unsupported claims. Sure, the Federation is undoubtedly capable of building a more powerful weapon. But that does not mean they've done so here. There are lots of factors affecting the design of a weapon, and absolute maximum firepower is not necessarily at the top of the list.

If we used the "logic" that every weapon must contain its inventors' ultimate technology of destruction, we would come to the conclusion that all real-life artillery unit must have tactical nuclear weapons at their disposal. We would assume that every soldier with a mortar is capable of unleashing tactical nuclear weapons. We would assume that all fighter groups have an inventory of multi-megaton nuclear weapons. We could go hog-wild, but that would be ridiculous. Once we drop back down to Earth, we must remember to get back to basics: if we see a capability in use, we know it's there. If we don't see it in use, then it might be there, but we'll need a lot more than loose supposition before we take that as a reliable assumption.

Vague references to personal defensive shields have been made by some Federation cultists, but no trooper has ever deflected an energy weapon with a personal deflector shield in any televised episode or movie. Worf jury-rigged a personal deflector shield to block holographic 19th century handgun projectiles in "A Fistful of Datas" and temporal shields were devised for "Timescape", but no Federation personal energy shields were ever seen being used onscreen. Personal force-fields were briefly mentioned in "Paradise Lost" and "Return to Grace", but they were probably particle-shields rather than energy-shields (like the one that Worf cobbled together in "A Fistful of Datas"). Since they were never seen onscreen, their capabilities are unknown. But if they were effective against energy weapons, we would have seen them by now. They must be effective only against projectile weapons.

(Alyeska here) this is a rather bad argument. First off Worf cobelled that shield together using a small combination of old and new technology.

This is an outright lie. Worf used exclusively new technology. None of the 19th century technology found in the holodeck simulation was of any use to him. Worf isn't Macgyver; he can't make a particle shield out of a spitoon and a Colt 45.

Second item is the assumption that we have not scene the personal deflectors used they must only be projectile defense..We are supposed to deal with canon evidence.

Yes, we're supposed to deal with canon evidence. And there is no canon evidence whatsoever for personal energy shields.

Given that more then once energy blocking shields have been scene it is easy to assume that the personal deflectors are energy blocking capable.

It shouldn't be too hard to see the problem with this one. Yup- it's a leap in logic. Where have we "scene" (snicker) the "energy blocking shields" of which he speaks? On spacecraft. So why does that mean that they must be able to make personal energy shields? Can we assume that every technology in existence can be miniaturized to arbitrary levels even if we've never seen it done? By this "logic", we've seen air conditioning units on cars and houses in real life, therefore it should be possible for people to walk around with belt-buckle air conditioners. Funny thing though ... I haven't seen any belt-buckle air conditioners for sale down at the local Wal-Mart. Maybe I was looking in the wrong aisle.

But their power source might be the problem and reason they have been rarely used. But on the subject of just using a shield to block projectiles. Blasters have been described accelerated plasma, a projectile. Given this, projectile shields would infact work against blasters.

Typically bad pseudoscience. It sounds plausible to differentiate energy weapons by simply assuming that they contain no matter, and this is precisely the kind of pseudoscientific argument that is typical of less intelligent Trekkies.

However, virtually all of the "energy weapons" in Star Trek do contain matter. Phaser and disruptor beams move at distinctly subluminal speeds regardless of the transmission medium, particularly when fired from hand weapons. However, energy travels at c. It slows down somewhat depending on medium (hence the phenomenon of light refraction), but the braking effect of ordinary atmosphere is hardly noticeable. Therefore, "energy weapons" in the Star Trek context must fire projectiles with both mass and energy.

The definition of "energy weapons" in Star Trek cannot possibly be "no mass" (sorry, Sugar Ray). It is obviously an arbitrary "line in the sand" drawn at a certain ratio of rest mass to energy. For example, let's imagine a rifle which fires a 6 gram bullet with a muzzle velocity of 1000 m/s. The bullet's kinetic energy will be 3 kJ. The energy equivalent of the bullet's rest mass will be 5.4E14 J. Therefore, its ratio of rest mass to energy would be 1.8E11. Now, for our imaginary energy weapon, let's imagine a weapon which fires 1.5 micrograms of plasma which has been heated to roughly 20 eV (per atom). The energy content of this plasma charge would be roughly 3 kJ, just like the assault rifle. But the energy equivalent of the plasma charge's rest mass would be only 1.35E11 J, so its ratio of rest mass to energy would be 4.5E7, or 1/4000 of the equivalent ratio for a modern assault rifle. It would be reasonable to imagine that the Star Trek definition of "energy weapon" merely draws a dividing line somewhere between those two ratios.

In "Rocks and Shoals", "Way of the Warrior", "The Arena", and many other episodes we saw Federation troopers and officers marching into combat without benefit of personal shields, and in all those cases they suffered casualties as a result. We must therefore conclude that the Federation does not possess personal shields capable of withstanding energy weapons, in spite of the erroneous and fanatical Federation cultist claims to the contrary.

(Alyeska here) already adressed this issue, but here is something else. Federation troops can be healed and sent back into combat much.

Gotta love those incomplete sentences. I'm not entirely sure what he was about to say, but it doesn't really matter because it's an outright lie. Serious injuries in Star Trek invariably require a trip to sickbay.

And their medical knowledge is questionable: unless they have a plastic toy to magically heal an injury, they appear to have no more medical knowledge than faith healers. When their men are wounded by the dreaded Jem'Hadar weapons with the infamous "anti-coagulant" agent that prevents blood clotting, they moan that their men are doomed unless they can get to a sickbay. Maybe they should try the following: set for phaser for heat, shoot it at a rock until it's red hot, and then cauterize the damned wound! Starfleet's medical experts are highly overrated; they don't even know how to cauterize a wound. I haven't seen a good doctor in Star Trek since "Bones" McCoy went off the air.

(E1701 here) Ah, but we have seen combat armor. In ST:V, Kirk leads an ill-fated assault on Paradise City. All of the guards wear heavy body armor, which is more than capable of standing up to the projectile weapons of the inhabitants. Remeber, these were just crewmen. Full Federation troopers would no doubt be even better protected. IIRC, there have been no visuals of Fed combat troops in a full scale battle

This is actually quite clever. Since nobody in his right mind watches ST5 more than once, he knows he can spout whatever lies he wants, and nobody will remember the film well enough to contradict him.

I don't remember anything even remotely resembling combat armour in ST5, but of course, it's been a while since I've seen it. Furthermore, they say that the mind tends to block out traumatic memories, so I can't be sure I remember the film correctly. However, the inestimable Wayne Poe was able to acquire a copy of the film, so he could verify the truth (or lack thereof) of this claim. After watching the film, he described the aforementioned Federation "combat armour" thusly:

Cloth uniforms, no helmets, small survival backpack.

As for their ability to survive attacks from projectile weapons, he explained that:

the away team commandeered hand held shields from the inhabitants.

And we're not talking about Gungan-style shields either; we're talking about the kind that Julius Caesar might have used.

So, when "E1701" says that "full Federation troopers would no doubt be even better protected," I'm not surprised at all. Modern SWAT teams are better protected. One of these weeks, I'll try to rent that movie and grab some screenshots, so we can all see the glory of this imaginary Federation "combat armour."

An interesting technology is the personal cloaking field, seen in STI. However, since we have only seen it used against a primitive agrarian culture, we have no idea whether it is sophisticated enough to be useful against an advanced society. We suspect it is not, since it is never used against the various advanced societies that the Federation encounters.

Why would it be useful against a primitive agrarian society but not an advanced society? The cloak probably won't stop sophisticated sensor systems from "seeing" the soldier. It is likely that the cloak "leaks" heated gases, infrared radiation, and other traces of the soldier's presence (particularly since otherwise, the implication is that the soldier would eventually heat up and suffocate inside his sealed environment).

(Alyeska here) given the empires lack of ability to even scan and detect people hiding under the floor of a ship it is highly unlikely they will be able to detect people using the personal cloaking devices.

Typically cheesy Trekkie argument. By the same token, given the Federation's inability to locate an armed psychopath (Roga Danar) on the Enterprise, they are unable to track people walking around in plain sight. After all, anybody could have simply seen Roga Danar with the naked eye (or a camera). We can't say the same for people hiding in a smuggling compartment.

This "alyeska" person obviously is too simple-minded to figure out that the smuggling compartment must have been shielded in some way, to avoid detection of its contents. Imperial scanners can normally see lifesigns through metal quite easily; after all, the ISD gunners in ANH scanned the Tantive IV escape pod without a problem, didn't they? But why ask such questions when you can simply leap to the most simple-minded possible conclusion?

And finally, since the cloak probably leaks infrared radiation, we would be able to detect cloaked operative with present-day technology. It is obviously designed only to prevent detection by primitive societies. Personal cloaks in Star Trek have demonstrated very limited effectiveness; the observation post had no problem viewing Data in STI, and in "Rocks and Shoals" we discovered that tricorders can detect Jem'Hadar warriors even when they're "shrouded".

Further more there is no canon evidence that the helmets used by storm troopers enhance their senses. Many books even say how the helmets take away stormtroopers senses by limiting their field of vision.

This is just a mindless repetition of an earlier, invalid argument. Didn't these guys proof-read this "essay" before posting it, to make sure they didn't waste space making the same point over and over? His use of evidence is a joke; he claims that there is no canon evidence to support it, but there is official evidence which is not contradicted by the films. Funny how they want to throw out official evidence without any reason in this case, but they cling tenaciously to the Star Trek TM until faced with absolutely irreconcilable contradictions with canon (and sometimes even after that).

The only official evidence which permits direct visual inspection is the SWVD, in which anyone with functioning eyes can clearly see the display units inside the stormtrooper helmet.

(E1701 here) The cloaks were a new Federation tech. Before using such bulky suits for combat, they obviously felt that a trial run on a primitive planet would be in order. The War ended before we saw the suits used in combat

More unsupported claims. Did you notice how he made up purely imaginary claims about what would have happened, what the suits were intended for, etc. without a shred of evidence? One might imagine that he must be a psychic.

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