Cloaking device

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The early cloaks were proprietary technology of the Romulans.  In the first recorded instance of military use of a cloaking device against a [[Starfleet]] vessel, the Romulan cloaking device was completely invisible to visible light and standard optical scanners, but she could still be detected on motion sensors and was tracked in this manner by the ''[[Enterprise]]'' throughout the engagement near the [[Romulan Neutral Zone|Neutral Zone]].  This form of tracking proved poor for targeting and precision movement, forcing [[James T. Kirk|Captain Kirk]] to lay down a pattern of weapon fire in hopes of catching his target.  (TOS, "Balance of Terror")
 
The early cloaks were proprietary technology of the Romulans.  In the first recorded instance of military use of a cloaking device against a [[Starfleet]] vessel, the Romulan cloaking device was completely invisible to visible light and standard optical scanners, but she could still be detected on motion sensors and was tracked in this manner by the ''[[Enterprise]]'' throughout the engagement near the [[Romulan Neutral Zone|Neutral Zone]].  This form of tracking proved poor for targeting and precision movement, forcing [[James T. Kirk|Captain Kirk]] to lay down a pattern of weapon fire in hopes of catching his target.  (TOS, "Balance of Terror")
  
Later on as part of an ongoing technology-sharing program, the [[Klingon]]s gained the cloaking device and Romulans abandoned their existing warbird design in favor of Klingon vessels like the D-7 (TOS, "The Enterprise Incident").  Klingons began using cloaking devices on their own [[Klingon Bird of Prey|Bird of Prey]] designs, as seen in the [[Genesis Device|Genesis]] incident when Kruge's Bird of Prey penetrated deep into [[Federation]] space destroying the USS Grissom and ambushing the Enterprise utilizing the cloaking device. (''[[Star Trek III: The Search for Spock]]'') It is interesting to note that the Klingon cloaking device created a visible distortion effect when the ship was in motion, leading to speculation that such an obviously inferior cloak to the one the Romulans were using nearly 20 years earlier indicated either a malfunctioning cloak or perhaps this was a first-generation cloaking device of Klingon design and manufacture, since the technology sharing treaty with the Romulans was presumably over by this point in time.
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Later on as part of an ongoing technology-sharing program, the [[Klingon]]s gained the cloaking device and Romulans abandoned their existing warbird design in favor of Klingon vessels like the D-7 (TOS, "The Enterprise Incident").  Klingons began using cloaking devices on their own [[Klingon Bird of Prey|Bird of Prey]] designs, as seen in the [[Genesis Device|Genesis]] incident when Kruge's Bird of Prey penetrated deep into [[Federation]] space destroying the USS Grissom and ambushing the Enterprise utilizing the cloaking device. (''[[Star Trek III: The Search for Spock]]'')
  
As seen in the TNG era and onward, the cloaking devices available to the Klingons and Romulans have grown much more sophisticated.  Klingons cloaks are so advanced that even when cloaking and decloaking within several kilometers of [[Deep Space Nine]], the sensor suites could not accurately track the Klingon vessels (DS9, "Way of the Warrior").  Romulan Warbirds were also able to approach the station completely unseen and decloak within several kilometers despite the station being at battle stations, a Klingon fleet and Federation vessels all within range and expecting a [[Dominion]] attack. (DS9, "By Inferno's Light")
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The performance characteristics of cloaking devices have changed over time.  For instance, the Klingon cloaking device in ST3 created a visible distortion effect when the ship was in motion, but it successfully hid the ship from all other forms of detection.  As seen in the TNG era and onward, the cloaking devices available to the Klingons and Romulans have grown much more sophisticated.  Klingons cloaks are so advanced that even when cloaking and decloaking within several kilometers of [[Deep Space Nine]], the sensor suites could not accurately track the Klingon vessels (DS9, "Way of the Warrior").  Romulan Warbirds were also able to approach the station completely unseen and decloak within several kilometers despite the station being at battle stations, a Klingon fleet and Federation vessels all within range and expecting a [[Dominion]] attack. (DS9, "By Inferno's Light")
  
One of the most recent evolutions of cloaking technology was seen twice, once by Klingon design and another by the Romulans.  General Chang of the Klingon Empire utilized a Bird of Prey that could fire while cloaked, a notorious Achilles heel of the standard cloaking device.  This Bird of Prey was destroyed over Khitomer and was the only known proto-type.  We have never seen a cloaked Klingon ship accomplish this again.  The cloaking device used on the Scimitar also allowed the vessel to fire while cloaked and was used with devastating effectiveness against the [[Enterprise-E]].  This would be the natural progression of the device should greater enhancements be made in the future.
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One of the most recent evolutions of cloaking technology was seen twice, once by Klingon design and another by the Romulans.  General Chang of the Klingon Empire utilized a Bird of Prey that could fire while cloaked, a notorious limitation of most cloaking devices.  This Bird of Prey was destroyed over Khitomer and was the only known proto-type.  We have not seen a cloaked Klingon ship accomplish this since.  The cloaking device used on the [[Scimitar]] also allowed the vessel to fire while cloaked and was used with devastating effectiveness against the [[Enterprise-E]].  This may be the natural progression of the device should greater enhancements be made in the future, but advances in sensor technology may defeat this cloaking system, as apparently occurred with Chang's now-obsolete cloak.
  
The Federation is banned from developing cloaking devices by the [[Treaty of Algeron]] with the Romulan Empire.  How this could have been imposed on the Federation and why the Federation has hamstrung itself by not developing this technology is amazing and practically unbelievable.  Also, the Federation did produce one illegal cloaking device - one that is a quantum leap ahead of anything produced by either the Romulans or the Klingons - a phase cloak that allows a vessel to pass through solid matter.
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==Cloaking Device Politics==
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The Federation is banned from developing cloaking devices by the [[Treaty of Algeron]] with the Romulan Empire.  The circumstances under which the Federation agreed to hamstring itself by not developing this technology are unknown.  Also, the Federation did produce one illegal cloaking device - one that is a quantum leap ahead of anything produced by either the Romulans or the Klingons - a [[phase cloak]] that allows a vessel to pass through solid matter.
  
 
===Vulnerabilities===
 
===Vulnerabilities===

Revision as of 20:07, 30 January 2008

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