Photon Torpedoes in flight   Photon Torpedo Diagram
 
 
 
 

 

  
The Photon Torpedo is a powerful, long range weapon which has been in use aboard Federation Starships for over one hundred and fifty years - early models differed from today's weapon only in the level of sophistication and the power of the warhead. Today the weapon most widely used by Starfleet vessels is the Type 6. This weapon comprises an elongated elliptical body some 210 cm long and 76 x 45 cm across. The torpedo masses 247.5 kilos when not loaded.

The warhead of the photon torpedo comprises a maximum of 1.5 kilos of antimatter and 1.5 kilos of matter. These are divided into many thousands of small pellets suspended in a magnetic field - smaller yields can be achieved by reducing the number of such pellets in the torpedo.

Also included in the torpedo are target acquisition, guidance and detonation assemblies and a warp sustainer unit. The latter is charged by the launching vessels own drivefield at launch, boosting the torpedo speed up to Vmax = Vl + (0.75 Vl / c), where Vl is the velocity of the launching vessel. If launched at low impulse flight the torpedo will accelerate to a 75% higher sublight velocity; launch at high impulse speed will not push the torpedo into warp. If launched during warp flight the torpedo will continue at warp until the sustainer is exhausted. Torpedo range can be extended by utilizing the matter / antimatter warhead to power the sustainer, although this causes a corresponding loss of warhead yield. For a mid-range yield the torpedo can achieve ranges of some 3,500,000 kilometres at sublight speeds.

The photon torpedo can be set to fly a ballistic trajectory, be steered by the launch vessel, can home in via its own guidance systems, or use a combination of these methods in a single flight.

The warhead of a photon torpedo can be removed and replaced by sensor packages or other equipment. Some advanced models are fitted with full warp drives for use as long range high speed probes - the Class VIII probe can cover 1.12 light years at Warp 9, while the Class IX probe can cover 2 light years at the same speed. On one occasion such a device was used to transport a Federation diplomat to an urgent rendezvous. In some cases, it is used as a coffin during military burials in space.