Torpedo Technology

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One of the primary offensive tools of a Starfleet ship is the torpedo. As of 2397, there have been five primary types used through it's history, with the current main two being the Photon Torpedo and the Quantum Torpedo. Other types have been used as mission requirements dictate.

This article is a brief overview of torpedo technology and it's history. For more detailed information, we recommend this article located on Memory Alpha: Torpedo

Spatial Torpedo

The first torpedo used by the Starfleet when it was the military of United Earth in the 22nd century[1]. This torpedo boasted a explosive yield of 250 tons of TNT, and was still an atomic weapon.

Photonic Torpedo

The precursor to the modern photon torpedo, this saw first use in 2153[2], and while it's yield was the first to be customizable. it still had issues penetrating deflector shields.

Photon Torpedo

A Photon Torpedo being launched by the USS Enterprise

The mainstay of Starfleet, Photon Torpedos continue to be used as late as 2397, over a hundred and sixty years from first development[3]. The range steady increased from the 300,000 km range to 3 million km range as of the Akira class. The following is a brief overview of classifications

  • Mark VI/VII - Deployed in the 2290s for the Constitution class.
  • Mark XXV - The standard torpedo of the 2370s, deployed on the Intrepid class, Akira class, Sovereign class[4]
    • These torpedoes were capable of pattern firing as well as independent launch. Independent targeting once launched from the ship, detonation on contact unless otherwise directed by the Chief Tactical Officer or TIC Weapons Officer.
    • The maximum effective range was 8 Gigameters (8,000,000 km)[5][Notes 1]
    • The primary purpose of these torpedoes is Assualt or Anti-Spacecraft[4]

Quantum Torpedo

Defiant launches a pair of Quantum torpedoes; served as the development testbed for these weapons prior to their installation in the Sovereign class.

The Quantum Torpedo was first rolled out in 2371[6],as part of the Advanced Defense Initiative, and represented an evolution in torpedo technology. These torpedoes, which rely on zero point energy systems, were first deployed on the Defiant class and Sovereign class starships, but were gradually rolled out to the fleet, as attack fighters were capable of using them as seen during Operation Return, in what is sometimes called The Third Battle of Deep Space Nine. It is known that other major powers had the same technology, with the Cardassian Union using them onboard one of their vessels[7].

Tricobalt Warhead

A rarely used torpedo type (and technically a missile, albeit one that could be fired as a torpedo), tricobalt were only sometimes carried by Starfleet ships, and used when higher yields were called upon.


  1. Spatial Torpedo, Memory Alpha
  2. Photonic Torpedo, Memory Alpha
  3. Photon Torpedo, Memory Alpha
  4. 4.0 4.1 Akira-Class,A Call To Duty
  5. VOY: Human Error, Memory Alpha
  6. Quantum Torpedo, Memory Alpha
  7. VOY:Dreadnought, Memory Alpha


  1. While TNG: The Wounded says the max is 300 MM (300,000 km), the ST:TNG manual specifies up to 3.5 GM (3,500,000 km). The final number comes from VOY:Human Error, as cited.