Protection of the borders of the the United Federation of Planets

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Re: Protection of the borders of the the United Federation of Planets

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2016-03-27 06:00pm

They clearly have some way of detecting EM stuff at longer ranges than they should, given the number of times they've been able to get visual images of things happening far away - the comm station in TMP getting an "exterior visual" of the Klingon ships getting eaten by V'Ger springs to mind foremost. And that can't have been an intercept of Klingon sensors either, since they see the last ship getting destroyed, and then show an image of V'Ger itself with nothing else in the vicinity.
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Re: Protection of the borders of the the United Federation of Planets

Post by Batman » 2016-03-27 06:47pm

Easily explained by them having a sensor probe in the area that transmitted the visuals via subspace. (IIRC that actually gets mentioned in either the novelization or even the movie itself). Same goes for Praxis. No magical FTL photon detection required.
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Re: Protection of the borders of the the United Federation of Planets

Post by Ziggy Stardust » 2016-03-27 06:50pm

Simon_Jester wrote: So you actually want to arrange the buoys so that the spheres of detection they support will form a packing something like this. Unfortunately I'm having trouble researching "what is the smallest number of circles you can use to do this." As a question it seems to be less popular than the question "what is the most non-overlapping circles you can fit in a rectangle," which in our case would be useless because we want NO gaps and therefore must accept overlap.

Above I estimated needing ~45000 buoys to provide sufficient overlap (each buoy having a detection radius of one light-day, and thus covering a circle one light-day in radius and pi square light-days in area). It might be more like 50000 or even 55000, again assuming detection radius, not spacing of one light-day.

<snip>
While your math is correct, a lot of the problems you describe can be alleviated by the use of non-stationary buoys. Instead of ensuring that every single spot of space is always covered at all times, gaps of certain sizes could be tolerated if the buoys exhibited stochastic movement within a certain orbit. It wouldn't be too hard to design a pattern that would allow gaps but make it almost impossible to exploit them (because they would be ephemeral and appear haphazardly over the grid over time).

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Re: Protection of the borders of the the United Federation of Planets

Post by Ziggy Stardust » 2016-03-27 06:52pm

Simon_Jester wrote: So you actually want to arrange the buoys so that the spheres of detection they support will form a packing something like this. Unfortunately I'm having trouble researching "what is the smallest number of circles you can use to do this." As a question it seems to be less popular than the question "what is the most non-overlapping circles you can fit in a rectangle," which in our case would be useless because we want NO gaps and therefore must accept overlap.

Above I estimated needing ~45000 buoys to provide sufficient overlap (each buoy having a detection radius of one light-day, and thus covering a circle one light-day in radius and pi square light-days in area). It might be more like 50000 or even 55000, again assuming detection radius, not spacing of one light-day.

<snip>
While your math is correct, a lot of the problems you describe can be alleviated by the use of non-stationary buoys. Instead of ensuring that every single spot of space is always covered at all times, gaps of certain sizes could be tolerated if the buoys exhibited stochastic movement within a certain orbit. It wouldn't be too hard to design a pattern that would allow gaps but make it essentially impossible to exploit them (because they would be ephemeral and appear haphazardly over the grid over time). This is assuming that the coverage area of the grid isn't a single buoy "thick", but is actually a three-dimensional network.

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Re: Protection of the borders of the the United Federation of Planets

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2016-03-27 06:56pm

Batman wrote:Easily explained by them having a sensor probe in the area that transmitted the visuals via subspace. (IIRC that actually gets mentioned in either the novelization or even the movie itself). Same goes for Praxis. No magical FTL photon detection required.
I can't recall any mention of a probe in the film, and I've never read the novelisation so you may be right.
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Re: Protection of the borders of the the United Federation of Planets

Post by Tribble » 2016-03-27 07:11pm

Btw we have a sticky thread on Federation sensors that was started some time ago, and after reading it the general consensus seemed to be that:

A) The Federation has FTL sensors, given the numerous examples of them tracking ships at FTL speeds.
B) FTL sensors are likely "subspace" based, like practically everything else in the show.
C) "Visual range" likely means that the computer has enough information to create a visual representation for the view screen, rather than the ship somehow literally viewing photons before it should.
D) While the range of the sensors varies, generally speaking the larger the ship and quicker it is travelling, the easier it is to detect.
E) While Pre-Nemesis cloaks can hide a ship pretty effectively, at high warp some "bleed-through" will occur.
Last edited by Tribble on 2016-03-27 07:18pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Protection of the borders of the the United Federation of Planets

Post by Batman » 2016-03-27 07:18pm

'Our sensor drone is intercepting this in quad L-14' from about 6:33 into the movie.
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Re: Protection of the borders of the the United Federation of Planets

Post by Tribble » 2016-03-27 07:24pm

Batman wrote:'Our sensor drone is intercepting this in quad L-14' from about 6:33 into the movie.
Fair enough, but I've never got the impression that the Federation literally views photons at FTL speeds. I always assumed the computer was just compiling FTL sensor data into a visual representation for the crew to use. "Visual range" was the point where the computer would have enough data to work with. Note that "Peak Performance" does seem to indicate that exactly what happens, since Worf was able to trick the E-D's computer into projecting an image of a Borg Cube onto the view screen.
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Re: Protection of the borders of the the United Federation of Planets

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2016-03-27 07:28pm

Batman wrote:'Our sensor drone is intercepting this in quad L-14' from about 6:33 into the movie.
Fair enough. Conceded.
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Re: Protection of the borders of the the United Federation of Planets

Post by Simon_Jester » 2016-03-27 11:02pm

Ziggy Stardust wrote:While your math is correct, a lot of the problems you describe can be alleviated by the use of non-stationary buoys. Instead of ensuring that every single spot of space is always covered at all times, gaps of certain sizes could be tolerated if the buoys exhibited stochastic movement within a certain orbit. It wouldn't be too hard to design a pattern that would allow gaps but make it almost impossible to exploit them (because they would be ephemeral and appear haphazardly over the grid over time).
Moving buoys would themselves be relatively easy to detect and track, and would require much greater power supplies to keep them moving. Maintenance requirements would be higher. And for a system like this, the maintenance cost is going to dominate cost of keeping the buoys running. If you have to send a drone out there to refuel the buoy once a month instead of once a year, it may well mean that you can only afford a tenth as many buoys.

Also, note that my calculations are for one layer of sensor platforms- enough to provide perimeter warning, not to provide detection in depth. Therefore, any temporary gaps that open in the wall of buoys only need to be open for a few minutes- the ship then scoots through the hole and is 'gone.'

To create a system where fast-moving probes don't open up more holes than they close you need multiple layers to reduce the risk of a gap opening in all of them at once... and that, in turn, is several times more expensive than a mere perimeter detection system.
Batman wrote:For reference, The thread he's talking about.
And that was, what, ten years ago?

Perusing the first page, I note that Wong, not the banned guy, comments "Actually, the ability to detect warp-driven objects from far away would logically be due to some kind of sensor interaction with the warp field itself, which must necessarily extend far ahead of the spacecraft. That would explain why ships not traveling at warp speed are actually much harder to detect from distance." It's not much of a stretch to suggest that what the sensors interact with when detecting a warp field is the distortion of time and space (in other words, gravity).

Wong also commented "The most likely explanation is that subspace radiation is very strongly affected by gravitational fields, which would simultaneously explain both the ability to detect gravitational disturbances at long range as well as the fact that sitting in a Lagrange point can mask you from subspace sensors. Interaction with a phenomenon like gravity is a double-edged sword."

So yeah, the guy who (in that thread) was promoting the argument I'm actually advancing didn't get banned. :D

Because you will note that I could not possibly care less whether subspace is involved in using gravitational detection to track moving starships. That doesn't bother me. My point is that given Trek ships' proven ability to detect gravitational changes and track them (in real time over interplanetary or interstellar distances), it would be very natural to generalize the ability into a system for tracking a moving starship, including tracking them at warp.
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And if I were to argue that 'gravity' is somehow a different thing than 'warped space...'

1) I'd have just thrown general relativity out the window. In which case any claim to HARD SCIENCE HOOAH is ridiculous puffery.

2) I'd be opening myself to the obvious counter "okay, fine, the sensors don't detect 'gravity,' they detect spacetime distortions." This completely collapses any argument about how cloaked ships can't be detected at a distance. Because warp bubbles clearly generate some kind of signature, which must be able to travel faster than light. We know this because the warp bubble itself can travel faster than light, and can be detected and monitored by objects which are themselves moving away from it faster than light. A warp bubble cannot propagate more quickly than information about the bubble, for obvious reasons. Therefore, the warp bubble must emit something that travels faster than light, and which can be detected by sensors.
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An example of this occurs whenever the Enterprise flees a pursuer (or chases a fleeing target) at Warp 8 or 9, and is gaining on its adversary at some significant multiple of lightspeed. Despite this, in such a situation, the Enterprise can still see the other ship! Clearly, the Enterprise is either tracking the warp signature of the pursuer... Or Kirk/Picard/whoever is somehow getting visual information that would normally require the use of photon or particle sensors that definitely travel slower than light.

Either way, something "WATCH-MAN" has arrogantly assured us to be impossible... is happening.

Moreover, the counterargument I outlined in (2) becomes, in the hands of someone who knows enough about general relativity to know that distortions in the fabric of space manifest as gravitatational forces...

"We can detect an object moving at warp using its gravitational influence."
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Batman wrote:[long range visual observation of distant targets is] Easily explained by them having a sensor probe in the area that transmitted the visuals via subspace. (IIRC that actually gets mentioned in either the novelization or even the movie itself). Same goes for Praxis. No magical FTL photon detection required.
1) If so, it's awfully convenient how the Federation so frequently just happens to have sensor probes in whatever area they need to in order to view events taking place at a distance, and how they are apparently routinely firing off these probes all over the place, including to places like the Klingons' core territory, and nobody feels any need to comment on this or react.

2) There are also numerous instances of the Federation doing things like "scanning for life forms" while approaching a planet at warp speed, with no mention of probes being involved, and at times when launching probes would be a perfectly normal thing to do that you'd expect them to mention in the dialogue.

Every time the Enterprise approaches a nominally inhabited planet only to find that the population is mysteriously dead/comatose/missing/whatever, they start off with Spock/Data/whoever reporting "I am detecting no life readings from the planet." Do you mean to tell me that they always precede such a sensor sweep by launching a probe ahead of the ship, and just don't mention it?
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Re: Protection of the borders of the the United Federation of Planets

Post by WATCH-MAN » 2016-03-28 05:57am

Simon_Jester, please be so kind and summarize your opinion concerning the protection of the borders of the United Federation of Planets (UFP).

What is it that you imagine the UFP has done to be sure that cloaked Romulan ships do not cross that border undetected?

How many listening posts and sensor buoys do the have per cubic light year space?

What are they capable of - e.g. how far is their range and how good their resolution - especially regarding gravitation and their ability to detect ships, which have a minuscule mass compared to celestial bodies.
        • (I mean, if I understand gravitation correctly all gravitation fields from different sources will blend together at one point to a vector and a change in this vector allows conclusion about the movement of the sources of the gravitational fields. But a change in the distribution of the mass on a planet by e.g. an avalanche would create a bigger change in the vector of the experienced gravitational field than a ship flying through the gravitational field of this planet.)
And do the "gravitic sensors" work so well only with ships using a warp-drive?

Can the sensors detect a ship that has deactivated its warp drive as well?
        • (Assuming a sensor range of 1 light day, with a speed of 0.5 c a cloaked ship would only need 4 days to get undetected on the other side of the border if it can't be detected when it isn't creating a warpfield.)
In the end, what I want to know is, if the UFP has super good sensor technology and needs a less dense grid at its borders or if it has to litter its borders with listening posts and sensor buoys to be sure that they can catch a cloaked Romulan starship trying to cross the border with an high probability.

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Re: Protection of the borders of the the United Federation of Planets

Post by Tribble » 2016-03-28 02:16pm

I know the questions weren't aimed at me, but I figured I'd join in the conversation. Total speculation on my part of course
What is it that you imagine the UFP has done to be sure that cloaked Romulan ships do not cross that border undetected?
The way I see it, the UFP has three different methods of trying to detect cloaked ships:

They have various outposts along the Neutral Zone which are configured to detect Romulan incursions. It's unknown whether or not the outposts the Borg ripped up were replaced, but it seems likely as this would leave a gap in their defences.

The UFP sends ships to patrol the Neutral Zone and look out for cloaked ships. As a precaution, patrolling ships are equipped with human shields via civilians and children in order to try and deter the Romulans from attacking them :P

There is a sensor network of some kind along at least part of the Neutral Zone to detect Romulan ships. It's unknown how in-depth the sensor network is, though given the number of times the Romulans have crossed the Neutral Zone undetected, I doubt it amounts to much.
How many listening posts and sensor buoys do the have per cubic light year space?
I doubt that they have much of a network given the number of times the Romulans have crossed the Neutral Zone and entered Fed territory without being detected.

Hell, even the Borg were initially able to operate in the Neutral Zone without being detected, and the Borg are not exactly known for being "stealthy".
What are they capable of - e.g. how far is their range and how good their resolution - especially regarding gravitation and their ability to detect ships, which have a minuscule mass compared to celestial bodies.
Depends on when. During early TNG Federation sensors were dismal, as I stated above even the Borg could operate in the Neutral Zone without being detected. Federation sensors seem to have been upgraded by the time of Star Trek First Contact, as Deep Space 5 was able to track an incoming Borg Cube when it was ~hour away from the Federation border.
And do the "gravitic sensors" work so well only with ships using a warp-drive?
My guess is yes, because ships that are at warp are generally shown to be much easier to detect than ships which are not at warp.
Can the sensors detect a ship that has deactivated its warp drive as well?
Federation sensors can detect pre-Nemesis cloaked ships that are not at warp, though the range tends to be very short (as in, close enough that there is an actual risk of collision). Generally speaking, ships that are not at warp are harder to detect than ships at warp.
In the end, what I want to know is, if the UFP has super good sensor technology and needs a less dense grid at its borders or if it has to litter its borders with listening posts and sensor buoys to be sure that they can catch a cloaked Romulan starship trying to cross the border with an high probability.
While Federation sensors are generally shown to be superior to other AQ powers, there is little evidence to suggest that they are capable of detecting cloaked Romulan ships on a routine basis.

Not that it matters that much: The Federation's primary deterrence against Romulan incursions is having an alliance with the Klingons and the implicit threat that if the Romulans invade the Treaty of Algerion would no longer be in effect and the Feds would be free to put cloaking devices on their ships. The Feds have a pretty advanced understanding of cloaking technology, and given the fact that a renegade captain was able to whip up a working phase-cloak while the Romulans best efforts were a failure I think it's a pretty safe bet that the Feds could equip their ships with cloaking devices fairly easily if they wanted to. Those threats probably cut down on the number of potential Romulan incursions significantly as they do not want to provoke the Federation and the Klingons into declaring war. So they keep the incursions to the minimum they feel they can get away with and/or missions that they deem absolutely necessary, but not enough to actually risk an open conflict.
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Re: Protection of the borders of the the United Federation of Planets

Post by WATCH-MAN » 2016-03-28 04:27pm

 
I agree that before stardate 41986.0 (TNG episode: "The Neutral Zone") the UFP might have been a little bit lax with its effort to protect the border to the Romulans.

That may have something to do with the fact, that the Romulans were absent for the last fifty years.
        • PICARD:
          • Two Federation outposts in sector three zero have been destroyed. There's been no communication with Federation starbases in sector three one since stardate 41903.2.
          WORF:
          • Romulans.
          PICARD:
          • That's the assumption.
          RIKER:
          • There's been no direct contact with the Romulans since the Tomed Incident.
          PICARD:
          • The question are, why now? What's their objective? For fifty years there's barely a whisper out of them, and now for no apparent reason they seem to be back with a roar.
          RIKER:
          • Everything we know about them is based on rumour or conjecture.
          [...]

          RIKER:
          • Captain, I strongly recommend that we go to Red Alert. If the Romulans have improved their cloaking device, and we'd be fools to believe they haven't, we should assume a more defensive posture.
          [...]

          LAFORGE:
          • We wanted to know if they have improved the cloaking device. Guess we have our answer.
          [...]

          TEBOK:
          • Captain Picard, because your actions are those of a thoughtful man, I'll you this. Matters more urgent caused our absence. Now, witness the result. Outposts destroyed, expansion of the Federation everywhere. Yes, we have indeed been negligent, Captain. But no more.
After that incident it seems the UFP started to reinforce its border protection.

At stardate: 46519.1 (TNG episode "Face of the Enemy"), a Romulan captain described the situation:
        • TORETH:
          • The cloaking device does not always make us invulnerable, and you would know that if you had spent any time at all in the field. The Federation has littered it's borders with subspace listening posts, with gravitic sensors.
and speculated:
        • TORETH:
          • They may even have a tachyon detection grid in operation, in which case they will know that we're there.
The tachyon detection grid seems to be a new development of the UFP to cope with the Romulan cloaking device. It seems that idea to it was developed at stardate 45020.4 (TNG episode: "Redemption"):
        • SHANTHI:
          • But how would you overcome the Romulan cloaking device?
          PICARD:
          • My Chief Engineer has developed a system that should nullify that advantage. Each ship will send out an active tachyon beam to the other blockading ships. Now, in theory, any cloaked vessel that attempts to pass between our ships must cross that beam and be detected.
Insofar it seems that the UFP is improving its border sensor network since stardate 41986.0.

Relevant point in time for the here to be done contemplation is the time around stardate 46519.1 - with the assumption that there is a tachyon detection grid, about which existence Torreth only speculated. Whatever the UFP did to improve their sensor grid obviously impressed even the Romulan captain Torreth.



I do not agree with the assessment that there is a significant "number of times the Romulans have crossed the Neutral Zone undetected" since stardate 41986.0. But of course who claims that there is a significant number can provide evidence for such a claim. But one should keep in mind, that crossing the Neutral Zone doesn't necessarily means that the UFP border was crossed too as the UFP border and its sensor network would have to be on the UFP side of the Neutral Zone as it is not allowed to build any subspace listening posts and outposts in the Neutral Zone.



I do not agree with the assessment that for the detection of starships the warp field of the ship is important. Because every ship that flies at warp has a warp field. But uncloaked ships at warp can be detected more or less easily even when light-hours away while cloaked ships at warp can not be detected that easily. Either the warp field isn't the deciding factor or the cloaking device can cloak the warp field too.

And concerning the incident at stardate 46519.1, the cloaking device of the Romulan warbird was sabotaged.
        • N'VEK:
          • There is one possibility. In order for a ship to remain undetectable while cloaked, the radiative emissions from the warp engines must be precisely balanced. The ship's Engineer is a sympathiser. He may be able to slightly misalign one of the nullifier cores. It would create a small magnetic disturbance in space whenever we were in motion.
          [...]

          DATA:
          • Sensors are picking up a polarised magnetic distortion to our port side.
          PICARD:
          • Analysis.
          DATA:
          • The distortion is extremely weak, sir. It appears to be moving slowly.
Without this sabotage, the sensors of the Enterprise-D wouldn't have been able to detect the cloaked warbird.

Although a cloaked ship radiates a slight subspace variance at warp speeds, as T'Rul explained at stardate 48212.4 (DS9 episode "The Search"), the UFP had never heard of that and the Romulans were not eager to reveal this weakness. That means that the sensor grid at the border of the UFP can not be looking tor this subspace variance to detect cloaked ships that are flying with warp.



And I do not agree with the assessment that the primary deterrence against Romulan incursions is having an alliance with the Klingons. There is nothing that supports such a conclusion - especially as at stardate 49011.4 (DS9 episode "Way of the Warrior), Gowron withdrew the Klingon Empire from the Khitomer Accords in response to the Federation Council's condemnation of his invasion of the Cardassian Union. If the primary deterrence against Romulan incursions were indeed the alliance with the Klingons, the Romulans had exploited that opportunity.

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Re: Protection of the borders of the the United Federation of Planets

Post by Simon_Jester » 2016-03-30 06:14am

WATCH-MAN wrote:Simon_Jester, please be so kind and summarize your opinion concerning the protection of the borders of the United Federation of Planets (UFP).

What is it that you imagine the UFP has done to be sure that cloaked Romulan ships do not cross that border undetected?

How many listening posts and sensor buoys do the have per cubic light year space?

What are they capable of - e.g. how far is their range and how good their resolution - especially regarding gravitation and their ability to detect ships, which have a minuscule mass compared to celestial bodies.
Are you going to do this bullshitting nitpicking thing again, with screwed up formatting to make you extra hard to quote? Again? Really?

Seriously, these "list" tags are useless.

Anyway, to address your question: we know the Federation has various colonies and listening posts on the edge of the Neutral Zone and routinely sends starships to patrol that region of space. There are numerous pieces of evidence for this, from TOS and TNG at a minimum.

Their measures to detect cloaked ships are rather lacking. They clearly have sensors that can sometimes spot a cloaked ship (because Romulan ship commanders tell Tal Shiar agents on their ship that they fear being detected). But that doesn't mean they have a reliable ability to spot every cloaked ship that tries to penetrate your space.

"How many listening posts and sensor buoys do the have per cubic light year space?" I have no idea. The only numbers I gave, I explicitly told everyone I had made up as samples to illustrate the investment required to create a 'wall in space' of automated sensor platforms. Since we have no firm information on the size of the Neutral Zone and limited information on the effective range of Star Trek sensors, there is no realistic way I could calculate numbers for how much equipment they'd need to watch the border.

Finally, if you think I"m talking about tracking the mass of moving starships on gravitational sensors, you haven't been reading my posts. Reread my posts and you will be able to tell me why I think gravitational sensors could track a ship traveling at warp.

Unless you've suddenly had another attack of 'willfully obtuse broken record syndrome,' you know this as well as I do.
And do the "gravitic sensors" work so well only with ships using a warp-drive?

Can the sensors detect a ship that has deactivated its warp drive as well?
A ship that has deactivated its warp drive isn't moving, and won't go anywhere, so it isn't much of a threat to anyone. Therefore, being unable to track it isn't very important- because sooner or later the ship will move again, and once it starts moving you will be able to track it again.
        • (Assuming a sensor range of 1 light day, with a speed of 0.5 c a cloaked ship would only need 4 days to get undetected on the other side of the border if it can't be detected when it isn't creating a warpfield.)
What the hell is up with you and "list" tags? You're like the only person I know on this forum who uses them, and you use them so randomly. Anyway, to move at such a high speed (double digit percentages of light speed), a ship would have to move at high impulse power, which might well be detected in other ways. Furthermore, taking several days to cross a monitored border zone means your risk of detection is much higher, compared to being able to slip through that same border zone in a matter of minutes.

The sensors still serve a purpose if they force Romulan ships to pass them on impulse power.
In the end, what I want to know is, if the UFP has super good sensor technology and needs a less dense grid at its borders or if it has to litter its borders with listening posts and sensor buoys to be sure that they can catch a cloaked Romulan starship trying to cross the border with an high probability.
We know Romulan ships have penetrated the border, so obviously they don't have a 100% effective detection grid. On the other hand, their detection systems are good enough that the Romulans themselves have a healthy respect for the risks involved. Moreover, the Romulans aren't as complacent about their cloaking technology as you'd expect, if they thought the cloak gave them absolute immunity to detection.

I don't know if that answers your question, because your question is incoherent, but that's the truth as I see it.
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Re: Protection of the borders of the the United Federation of Planets

Post by Lord Revan » 2016-03-30 08:47am

We have from in-direct evidence that the Romulan Star Navy considers crossing Federation border to be too risky to be worth it and dispite what some Klingons say the Romulans aren't exactly cowards either.

This suggests that while not perfect the border security systems are good enough to act as a deterrent, after all you don't need to detect every single time that cloaked ship enters the sensor range. Hell you don't even have to really detect that it's a cloaked ships, just that it's anomaly that needs investigating after all the United Federation of Planets has had literally its lifetime to observe to the Neutral Zone (since the Neutral Zone was established between United Earth and the Romulan Star Empire before UFP was founded) so there isn't probably that many undiscovered anomalies in that region of space.

We don't need to know the exact number of Sensor platforms or buoys, we just need to know that there's enough that crossing the border with a cloaked ship is deemed too risky by the Romulan military.
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Re: Protection of the borders of the the United Federation of Planets

Post by WATCH-MAN » 2016-03-30 11:15am

Simon_Jester wrote:we know the Federation has various colonies and listening posts on the edge of the Neutral Zone and routinely sends starships to patrol that region of space. There are numerous pieces of evidence for this, from TOS and TNG at a minimum.
I agree.
Simon_Jester wrote:Their measures to detect cloaked ships are rather lacking. They clearly have sensors that can sometimes spot a cloaked ship (because Romulan ship commanders tell Tal Shiar agents on their ship that they fear being detected). But that doesn't mean they have a reliable ability to spot every cloaked ship that tries to penetrate your space.
I agree
Simon_Jester wrote:"How many listening posts and sensor buoys do the have per cubic light year space?" I have no idea. The only numbers I gave, I explicitly told everyone I had made up as samples to illustrate the investment required to create a 'wall in space' of automated sensor platforms. Since we have no firm information on the size of the Neutral Zone and limited information on the effective range of Star Trek sensors, there is no realistic way I could calculate numbers for how much equipment they'd need to watch the border.
Knowing that we have not enough information, I want to know your opinion - under consideration of what little we know.
Simon_Jester wrote:Finally, if you think I"m talking about tracking the mass of moving starships on gravitational sensors, you haven't been reading my posts. Reread my posts and you will be able to tell me why I think gravitational sensors could track a ship traveling at warp.
Maybe I have read your post but have misunderstood you.

Please be so kind and explain to me again, how you think the "gravitic sensors" of the UFP at the Romulan border are supposed to detect a cloaked starship that is flying with warp and a starship that is not flying with warp.

Please consider that the UFP did not know that a cloaked ship at warp radiates a slight subspace variance. The UFP learned about that when T'Rul explained it at stardate 48212.4 (DS9 episode "The Search") - whereas this shows that a cloaked ship at warp can not cause the same subspace distortions as a not cloaked ship - if not cloaked ships are detected through their subspace distortions.


Simon_Jester wrote:A ship that has deactivated its warp drive isn't moving, and won't go anywhere, so it isn't much of a threat to anyone. Therefore, being unable to track it isn't very important- because sooner or later the ship will move again, and once it starts moving you will be able to track it again.
The USS Hathawy had no warp drive and was supposed to participate in a battle simulation.
        • RIKER:
          • Now, what are the possibilities of warp drive?
          LAFORGE:
          • Not good. There are only a few dilithium fragments left in the holding clamps. Even if we had crystals that were intact, there's no anti-matter to fuel the drive.
          RIKER:
          • Any recommendations?
          LAFORGE:
          • No, sir.


          {...]

          RIKER:
          • When Bractor closes in, we'll hit our warp drive and take our chances.
          PICARD:
          • Your what?
          RIKER:
          • We have a limited, two-second warp capability.
          KOLRAMI:
          • Impossible! That ship was rendered warp inactive.
It seems a ship with a deactivated warp drive can move - albeit not with FTL - but fast enough.
Simon_Jester wrote:to move at such a high speed (double digit percentages of light speed), a ship would have to move at high impulse power, which might well be detected in other ways.
It needs the impulse power only to reach that velocity. After that the inertia is enough to hold that velocity. If the ship accelerates outside of the sensor range, it can fly through the monitored area with deactivated impulse drive.
Simon_Jester wrote:Furthermore, taking several days to cross a monitored border zone means your risk of detection is much higher, compared to being able to slip through that same border zone in a matter of minutes.
Not necessarily. While you are slower, your emissions are lower too. It's like tiptoeing. You may need more time - but as you are quiter, the chances are good that you are not detected.
Simon_Jester wrote:The sensors still serve a purpose if they force Romulan ships to pass them on impulse power.
Not really if the Romulans could still pass them undetected.
Simon_Jester wrote:We know Romulan ships have penetrated the border,
When?

They crossed the Neutral Zone. But one should keep in mind, that crossing the Neutral Zone doesn't necessarily means that the UFP border was crossed too as the UFP border and its sensor network would have to be on the UFP side of the Neutral Zone as it is not allowed to build any subspace listening posts and outposts in the Neutral Zone.
Simon_Jester wrote:so obviously they don't have a 100% effective detection grid. On the other hand, their detection systems are good enough that the Romulans themselves have a healthy respect for the risks involved. Moreover, the Romulans aren't as complacent about their cloaking technology as you'd expect, if they thought the cloak gave them absolute immunity to detection.
I agree.

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Re: Protection of the borders of the the United Federation of Planets

Post by WATCH-MAN » 2016-03-30 11:22am

Lord Revan wrote:We have from in-direct evidence that the Romulan Star Navy considers crossing Federation border to be too risky to be worth it and dispite what some Klingons say the Romulans aren't exactly cowards either.

This suggests that while not perfect the border security systems are good enough to act as a deterrent, after all you don't need to detect every single time that cloaked ship enters the sensor range. Hell you don't even have to really detect that it's a cloaked ships, just that it's anomaly that needs investigating after all the United Federation of Planets has had literally its lifetime to observe to the Neutral Zone (since the Neutral Zone was established between United Earth and the Romulan Star Empire before UFP was founded) so there isn't probably that many undiscovered anomalies in that region of space.
I agree.
Lord Revan wrote:We don't need to know the exact number of Sensor platforms or buoys, we just need to know that there's enough that crossing the border with a cloaked ship is deemed too risky by the Romulan military.
I do not want to know the exact number of Sensor plattforms or buoys.

I want to know if it is more quality or more quantity.

Do they have thousands sensor buoys per square light year border with only a small range or do they have only a a few sensor buoys per square light year with a formidable range, sensitivity and resolution.

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Re: Protection of the borders of the the United Federation of Planets

Post by NeoGoomba » 2016-03-30 11:47am

The episode of TNG where Troi is turned into a Romulan agent shows that the Romulans are super nervous about the border with the Federation, because they mention tachyon detection grids as already integrated into the Fed's border defenses, in addition to other "listening posts" that can detect cloaked ships.

So as Lord Revan says, while we may not know the exact mechanisms the Federation polices its borders with cloaking-equipped races, their static detection abilities have almost outstripped the usefulness of the cloak.
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Re: Protection of the borders of the the United Federation of Planets

Post by Lord Revan » 2016-03-30 11:50am

I'd say it's probably a mix of large(ish) manned platforms/bases with long range and high(er) resulation and unmanned buoys to supplement the manned instatallations, this would not give any clear achiles heel to the system that relying on only one type of sensor system would.

We known from TOS that there was at the very least 4 manned outposts along the Neutral Zone and it seems logical that those outposts would essentially a big ass sensor strapped to a reactor with a small barracks for the crew for the purposes of monitoring the Neutral Zone.

We also know that they can get really high resolution scans of Romulus from Federation space in since they could identify Spock among the crowd in Romulus (no small feat), that said I suspect that the more accurate sensors need to be on a planet or a large station.
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Re: Protection of the borders of the the United Federation of Planets

Post by Lord Revan » 2016-03-30 12:07pm

NeoGoomba wrote:The episode of TNG where Troi is turned into a Romulan agent shows that the Romulans are super nervous about the border with the Federation, because they mention tachyon detection grids as already integrated into the Fed's border defenses, in addition to other "listening posts" that can detect cloaked ships.

So as Lord Revan says, while we may not know the exact mechanisms the Federation polices its borders with cloaking-equipped races, their static detection abilities have almost outstripped the usefulness of the cloak.
I'd say it's more of a combination of the detection abilities and the fact the Klingon and Romulan Neutral Zones had been monitored heavily even before either race started using cloaks widespread so stuff in the Neutral Zone is probably pretty well catalogued so if you got an anomolous reading moving at warp speeds in the Romulan Neutral Zone the chances are it's a Warbird and the Romulans know this as well.

to give an analogue if you had a harbor that was heavily monitored and you got an unindentified noise moving at high speeds chances are it's a submarine even if you can't identify it as such (at least it's worth investigating), only in the Neutral Zone in trek you're less likely to have schools of fish or whales causing random noise.
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Re: Protection of the borders of the the United Federation of Planets

Post by Simon_Jester » 2016-03-30 01:23pm

WATCH-MAN wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote:"How many listening posts and sensor buoys do the have per cubic light year space?" I have no idea. The only numbers I gave, I explicitly told everyone I had made up as samples to illustrate the investment required to create a 'wall in space' of automated sensor platforms. Since we have no firm information on the size of the Neutral Zone and limited information on the effective range of Star Trek sensors, there is no realistic way I could calculate numbers for how much equipment they'd need to watch the border.
Knowing that we have not enough information, I want to know your opinion - under consideration of what little we know.
My opinion is that I have no opinion. They could have a few large manned posts with long range sensors. They could have thousands upon thousands of tiny automated sensor posts with relatively short range sensors- they have the manufacturing capability if they decide to use it. They could have both.

The only thing I'm sure of is that they can't have neither. There is definitely some border security.
Simon_Jester wrote:Finally, if you think I"m talking about tracking the mass of moving starships on gravitational sensors, you haven't been reading my posts. Reread my posts and you will be able to tell me why I think gravitational sensors could track a ship traveling at warp.
Maybe I have read your post but have misunderstood you.

Please be so kind and explain to me again, how you think the "gravitic sensors" of the UFP at the Romulan border are supposed to detect a cloaked starship that is flying with warp and a starship that is not flying with warp.
The former- not the latter. Because a warp drive by definition distorts space. Distortions of space are gravity. Sensors that can detect gravitational anomalies at a distance (which Starfleet can) will also be able to detect a warp drive, at least in principle.
Please consider that the UFP did not know that a cloaked ship at warp radiates a slight subspace variance. The UFP learned about that when T'Rul explained it at stardate 48212.4 (DS9 episode "The Search") - whereas this shows that a cloaked ship at warp can not cause the same subspace distortions as a not cloaked ship - if not cloaked ships are detected through their subspace distortions.
The subspace variance may or may not be the same thing I'm talking about, since we don't know how subspace works.
Simon_Jester wrote:A ship that has deactivated its warp drive isn't moving, and won't go anywhere, so it isn't much of a threat to anyone. Therefore, being unable to track it isn't very important- because sooner or later the ship will move again, and once it starts moving you will be able to track it again.
The USS Hathawy had no warp drive and was supposed to participate in a battle simulation.

It seems a ship with a deactivated warp drive can move - albeit not with FTL - but fast enough.
It HAD a warp drive; don't you remember the episode? They just removed the fuel and most of the dilithium. That doesn't mean it had literally zero warp capability, just that it didn't have very much.

It was a major plot point in the episode that Wesley helped Riker and LaForge scavenge up some antimatter fuel that would give them enough for that two-second jump. The ship didn't move at FTL with no warp, the point is that Riker and LaForge and Wesley were able to fix the warp drive, at least fix it enough to get one short jump out of an otherwise broken system.

Moreover, this was a battle simulation, which meant they could have rules like "two ships fight a cage match in a random star system, and neither is allowed to go anywhere else." In real conflict, a ship that cannot move while invisible has limited options. If it goes anywhere to do anything, it can be seen. If it becomes invisible to hide, its opponent can simply wait for it to move again.
Simon_Jester wrote:to move at such a high speed (double digit percentages of light speed), a ship would have to move at high impulse power, which might well be detected in other ways.
It needs the impulse power only to reach that velocity. After that the inertia is enough to hold that velocity. If the ship accelerates outside of the sensor range, it can fly through the monitored area with deactivated impulse drive.
Staying far enough away during the acceleration phase to not be detected while accelerating to half the speed of light may well mean starting a lot farther away from the enemy sensors, and taking longer to get there. At some point the sensors have largely made it impossible or pointless to sneak across the border, because coasting for weeks or months at low speed makes it hard to actually accomplish your mission.
Simon_Jester wrote:The sensors still serve a purpose if they force Romulan ships to pass them on impulse power.
Not really if the Romulans could still pass them undetected.
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Re: Protection of the borders of the the United Federation of Planets

Post by Sea Skimmer » 2016-04-06 08:01pm

I dunno why anyone thinks an utter pile of sensor buoy like devices would be a big deal when Star Trek technology lets kids play with superconducting magnets and a Galaxy class ship can exist at all. The US navy buys sonar buoy by the ~100,000 lot at a time and has at times had as many as 6 million stockpiled. A Trek buoy would need to be a little more complex, but against a non cloaked ship your still not talking very bleeding edge technology, look at what a damn tricorder can do. THink they can't make millions of tricorders?

Imagine something like a modern car factory but making the required devices, its probably not a major gap in the relative amount of resources involved. The biggest car plants in the world make about 5,000 cars a day. A couple planets doing that and your already making millions a year. The only real limit would be the warp capable ships to actually go out and deploy them. Considering how much the Federation wants to deter war and how many enemies it has this would certainly not be an unreasonable scale of investment.

The world did manage to build a half a million AIRPLANES in WW2 after all.
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Re: Protection of the borders of the the United Federation of Planets

Post by biostem » 2016-04-06 11:21pm

Sea Skimmer wrote:I dunno why anyone thinks an utter pile of sensor buoy like devices would be a big deal when Star Trek technology lets kids play with superconducting magnets and a Galaxy class ship can exist at all. The US navy buys sonar buoy by the ~100,000 lot at a time and has at times had as many as 6 million stockpiled. A Trek buoy would need to be a little more complex, but against a non cloaked ship your still not talking very bleeding edge technology, look at what a damn tricorder can do. THink they can't make millions of tricorders?

Imagine something like a modern car factory but making the required devices, its probably not a major gap in the relative amount of resources involved. The biggest car plants in the world make about 5,000 cars a day. A couple planets doing that and your already making millions a year. The only real limit would be the warp capable ships to actually go out and deploy them. Considering how much the Federation wants to deter war and how many enemies it has this would certainly not be an unreasonable scale of investment.

The world did manage to build a half a million AIRPLANES in WW2 after all.

Space is really big, and it's not a flat surface where you can dot around buoys, knowing that all ships will have to cross that plane. Add to that the fact that you've got all these weird phenomena floating around in Star Trek space, and that sensors can be blocked by many naturally occurring minerals, and you'd likely need banks of computers monitoring all these buoys and filtering out many false positives.

I also think that, given the necessary density of these buoys, you'd need maintenance teams working full time to repair or replace them...

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Re: Protection of the borders of the the United Federation of Planets

Post by Borgholio » 2016-04-07 10:38am

Having regular starship patrols and full time maintenance crews for the buoys should be expected. Maintaining a highly defended border does require work and upkeep. The modern-day navies do still have warship patrols even though there are sonar buoys and radar stations, and there are still buoy tenders that are constantly kept busy dropping new buoys and recovering damaged / worn out ones.
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Re: Protection of the borders of the the United Federation of Planets

Post by Prometheus Unbound » 2016-04-07 11:55am

biostem wrote:
Sea Skimmer wrote:I dunno why anyone thinks an utter pile of sensor buoy like devices would be a big deal when Star Trek technology lets kids play with superconducting magnets and a Galaxy class ship can exist at all. The US navy buys sonar buoy by the ~100,000 lot at a time and has at times had as many as 6 million stockpiled. A Trek buoy would need to be a little more complex, but against a non cloaked ship your still not talking very bleeding edge technology, look at what a damn tricorder can do. THink they can't make millions of tricorders?

Imagine something like a modern car factory but making the required devices, its probably not a major gap in the relative amount of resources involved. The biggest car plants in the world make about 5,000 cars a day. A couple planets doing that and your already making millions a year. The only real limit would be the warp capable ships to actually go out and deploy them. Considering how much the Federation wants to deter war and how many enemies it has this would certainly not be an unreasonable scale of investment.

The world did manage to build a half a million AIRPLANES in WW2 after all.

Space is really big, and it's not a flat surface where you can dot around buoys, knowing that all ships will have to cross that plane. Add to that the fact that you've got all these weird phenomena floating around in Star Trek space, and that sensors can be blocked by many naturally occurring minerals, and you'd likely need banks of computers monitoring all these buoys and filtering out many false positives.

I also think that, given the necessary density of these buoys, you'd need maintenance teams working full time to repair or replace them...
They don't need to cover every square inch, hell the Romulans don't even know if they exist - but the idea that they do seems to be enough to deter them. If there's a chance they can be detected, unless it's a full scale invasion, they won't risk it.

Whether or not they can have 50 per square metre or whatever stupid metric is needed is immaterial - the Romulans think they're a serious enough threat to not try it unless in an emergency.
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