Let's Talk Starbases

PST: discuss Star Trek without "versus" arguments.

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Lord Revan
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Re: Let's Talk Starbases

Post by Lord Revan » 2017-04-28 03:04pm

Yorktown station (the space colony in question) was on the frontier though not in core of UFP space, so you'd expect it to have some degree of weapons and fairly powerful shields simply because you have no idea what's out there. with ESD IIRC in official sources it was said that station type had options for weapons those weren't installed in ESD which makes sense as stated it's a repair/refit station not a starfort.

As for DS9 IIRC it wasn't so much that it was unarmed as that it was out of date (for federation standards and possibly cardassian standards as well) and cardassians striped of most of the weapons when they left anyway, they had something like a dozen photon torpedoes, not lauchers but warheads for the whole station.
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Re: Let's Talk Starbases

Post by Batman » 2017-04-28 03:50pm

Six. They had six torpedoes :)
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Re: Let's Talk Starbases

Post by FireNexus » 2017-04-28 04:24pm

Lord Revan wrote:As for DS9 IIRC it wasn't so much that it was unarmed as that it was out of date (for federation standards and possibly cardassian standards as well) and cardassians striped of most of the weapons when they left anyway, they had something like a dozen photon torpedoes, not lauchers but warheads for the whole station.
The other thing is that Cardassians equipment doesn't play well with Federation stuff. Lots of plots center around he general unfriendliness of the Cardassians equipment with regards to plugging in Federation technology. Add to that a power system that trades the high output needed for space travel for the durability needed to not explode when your chief engineer's synthale farts get too stinky.

The early seasons had the chief threat being a beaten down power that had overextended itsef in wars of conquest and interstellar atrocity campaigns for decades. Even with the added value of the system after the discovery of the wormhole, the spoonheads couldn't win a war with the Federation. So putting in the effort to massively, and expensively, upgrade a station without the cooperation of the hostile foreign power that built it (and left under duress) seemed wasteful.

But once the dominion threat made it a literal front line, they spent the money to reinforce the station and made it more than capable of holding its own even as a stationary target in fleet actions. Which is rather impressive.
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Re: Let's Talk Starbases

Post by Q99 » 2017-04-28 08:17pm

Even stripped of weapons and not fixed up, it had reasonable strength phasers and a photon launcher (if only 6 torpedoes), and enough shields to take a couple volleys from three Galors. It wasn't exactly defended but I think a normal pirate ship would have to think twice.

When fixed up, it was capable of defending itself to a reasonable extent. Enough that I don't think any lone pirate ship could do- save maybe, like, a full Ferengi Marauder (which was a threat to a Galaxy class).

When fully upgraded, it was a beast ^^

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Re: Let's Talk Starbases

Post by Q99 » 2017-04-28 10:11pm

Eternal_Freedom wrote:I understand the trade off.

Now that I think about it, with the exception of DS9 which was Cardassian-built and then specifically refitted, and the Neutral Zone outposts in "Balance of Terror", I cannot recall any Federation starbase or orbital platform being armed.

The only times I know if it come from books, specifically the series dealing with (IIRC) the Taurus Expanse that centered on Starbase 47, a Watchtower-class that according to an included schematice had 12 phaser/photon torpedo emplacements, but I can't recall them being mentioned or used directly in the books (it's been a while). Even that was a special case,since the Starbase was rushed to completion and was in an area that was known to be turbulent and dangerous.
Can you think of any time a Starbase hasn't been armed, though?

Starbases don't really get attacked in the show (with the possible exceptions of the ones in Star Trek 1 and 4, but in both cases weapons were null anyway), to the point I can think of zero examples.

I can think of them storing incredibly important strategic stuff at them, like their sole captured Jem'Haddar bug, and being used as a place to muster fleets, but no-one trying to go after that stuff.

Simple fact that they're a supply point for fleets should indicate they have supplies of photons on board.

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Re: Let's Talk Starbases

Post by Lord Revan » 2017-04-29 10:58am

Batman wrote:Six. They had six torpedoes :)
ok half a dozen, it's been a long time since I saw the pilot and the exact number doesn't change much, my main point was they were so short on ordanance that they made the 1939 finnish defense force seem incredibly well supplied in comparison. whether it was 6 or 12 is not relevant.
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Re: Let's Talk Starbases

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2017-04-29 06:48pm

Q99 wrote:
Eternal_Freedom wrote:I understand the trade off.

Now that I think about it, with the exception of DS9 which was Cardassian-built and then specifically refitted, and the Neutral Zone outposts in "Balance of Terror", I cannot recall any Federation starbase or orbital platform being armed.

The only times I know if it come from books, specifically the series dealing with (IIRC) the Taurus Expanse that centered on Starbase 47, a Watchtower-class that according to an included schematice had 12 phaser/photon torpedo emplacements, but I can't recall them being mentioned or used directly in the books (it's been a while). Even that was a special case,since the Starbase was rushed to completion and was in an area that was known to be turbulent and dangerous.
Can you think of any time a Starbase hasn't been armed, though?

Starbases don't really get attacked in the show (with the possible exceptions of the ones in Star Trek 1 and 4, but in both cases weapons were null anyway), to the point I can think of zero examples.

I can think of them storing incredibly important strategic stuff at them, like their sole captured Jem'Haddar bug, and being used as a place to muster fleets, but no-one trying to go after that stuff.

Simple fact that they're a supply point for fleets should indicate they have supplies of photons on board.
Saying that we never see them not armed doesn't mean they are armed, I'm pretty sure that's a logical fallacy.

Also, sure, they probably do have substantial stores or torpedoes and such - that doesn't mean they can actually fire them at enemy ships. That's like assuming, oh, a WW2 submarine tender should be able to fire large volleys of torpedoes at enemy warships just because they carry them aboard.
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Re: Let's Talk Starbases

Post by Sea Skimmer » 2017-04-30 12:01am

Its likely that no standard design exists for star bases, just certain capabilities they might incorporate such as how much the machine shop capacity is or maximum bulk fuel storage. Look at naval bases in real life, they vary in everything ever, and while geographic restrincts dont exist in space to prevent standard designs, realistically unless you need a HUGE number of them quickly, starbases are basically always going to be custom built anyway. Standardization of the whole thing has limited advantage vs building the optimal station with no more or less then needed. After all since it is a space station, if you need more later you can just weld it onto one end. Armament would be under this, a station deep in Federation space might have little or no defenses, while border outposts would always be armed, but not necessarily to beat off more then a single ship raid.

This doesn't mean it can't still be prefab off site though.
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Re: Let's Talk Starbases

Post by Q99 » 2017-04-30 02:03am

Eternal_Freedom wrote: Saying that we never see them not armed doesn't mean they are armed, I'm pretty sure that's a logical fallacy.
Which is where we are with assuming they're not-armed too. Which leaves us to consider other factors.

Starbases are, regularly, used as military bases, and have a lot of value. We know for a fact they handle the repairing of armed ships and are where Starfleet Officers go for reassignment and training, they have strategic role of note, and are directly under Starfleet, they aren't civilian ships. We know piracy exists in-universe as do enemy powers, who can attack at a distance from the borders. We know they almost certainly have large power supplies. We've seen the armaments a mining station of a foreign power had- light, but including both phasers and photons as well as solid shields.

Torpedo launchers aren't exactly super expensive things for that matter. There's different levels of them, the top end ones can burst fire and rapid fire and all that, but ancient Mirandas have them, and heck, Runabouts have mini-launchers. Ditto phasers, they're on every class of ship period, and a space station by it's nature is going to have power considerably above most ships. Even a few are strong discouragement at low resources (also do have some other role too, they can be used to clear asteroids, debris, and other hazards that end up in the station's space).

I think the assumption that they don't have weapons is on far shakier ground. We do see other stations with armament and we do know a chunk of their role. The only unarmed ones I can think of are smaller science stations without a starfleet crew.
Also, sure, they probably do have substantial stores or torpedoes and such - that doesn't mean they can actually fire them at enemy ships. That's like assuming, oh, a WW2 submarine tender should be able to fire large volleys of torpedoes at enemy warships just because they carry them aboard.
They don't necessarily have a lot of launchers, but they do have a reason to have some. They have a reason to carry military supplies, and unlike a sub tender, are going to be expected to defend themselves/have reason to use them. Heck, with a lot of them (both Regula and Mushroom styles), they have internal space for ships so even if they had ships for defense, those ships cannot aid in defensive until given time to deploy.

Also- In Emissary (the TNG episode, not the DS9 one), a Starbase fired a class 8 probe containing a person in a Photon Torpedo case. So, we actually have an example of a Starbase firing a torpedo. Additionally this was done because the starbase didn't have a ship available (and indeed, when we visit them there's often no other ships around), so Starbases don't have reason to expect ships to handle defense for them.

The fact that photon launchers are multi-role and double as probe launchers... well, that's very starfleet, isn't it? And gives them another reason for them to have them. They can actively scout nearby systems with those.



Oh, and looking up the probe thing, I found data! In 'In The Pale Moonline,' both Starbase 129 and Starbase 153 show up on the casualty lists. Notably, crews assigned to ships are separate, so that would suggest a high likelyhood the bases themselves were involved in action.

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Re: Let's Talk Starbases

Post by Patroklos » 2017-04-30 02:16am

You know, actual real world naval bases are no longer armed. I know of no western power that has the equivalent of fortifications designed for taking on wartime defense. This used to be the case, but no longer. Besides your normal security type stuff (which is not the equivalent of mounted phasers or torpedoe launchers) bases are just places units berth at. Those units have all the war fighting capability.

So I suppose you need to decide on your equivalency, is it 18th century or 21st century?

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Re: Let's Talk Starbases

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2017-04-30 03:18am

I don't know if there's any point to trying to find an "equivalent" Earth era. In fact I'm fairly sure there isn't, because the technology, environment, and tactical and strategic situations are so loose that any parallel is likely to be very approximate, or very contrived.
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Re: Let's Talk Starbases

Post by Q99 » 2017-04-30 03:36am

Patroklos wrote:You know, actual real world naval bases are no longer armed. I know of no western power that has the equivalent of fortifications designed for taking on wartime defense. This used to be the case, but no longer. Besides your normal security type stuff (which is not the equivalent of mounted phasers or torpedoe launchers) bases are just places units berth at. Those units have all the war fighting capability.

So I suppose you need to decide on your equivalency, is it 18th century or 21st century?
It's not exactly either, but closer to the former.

There's hostile powers within striking range (striking range being *huge*, Vulcan is in range of Romulan space, Earth within range of Breen space. The Borg, of course, can strike literally anywhere), and also space monsters and pirates equipped with military weaponry. There is 100% civilian usage of the weaponry in question too.

We also have 100% confirmed that a mining-slash-occupation base has reasonable armament- it may be considered 'token' by station standards for all we know, but it was there from the start. Do we think Starfleet- not the Federation but Starfleet specifically- operates on such different standards?


That said, I also wouldn't say modern day naval bases are unarmed- they often have armed aircraft. Fortification and direct guns are out, but the ability for a base to attack is not.


Oh, yea, and one more matter- they're the ones who put guns on Starships. Arming a starship and a starbase is functionally an identical process. They're literally capable of doing the job themselves with on-hand components if the design of the particular station can accommodate them. Having them be 'lightly' (for a space station, and given available power, a good amount of formidableness) armed is a low investment action.

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