Warp XV Development

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The Development of the Warp XV Engine took several years and has grown to encompass multiple ships, crews, and characters in the furthest corners of the fleet. The development has and will continue to have pitfalls as the engine is fine-tuned, put through its paces, and becomes more widespread.

Beginnings and Confirmation of a Theory

The first inkling that a more efficient warp drive was possible when Oddas Aria was consulting with a colleague on the Argus Array[1]. The colleague, Ensign Houston, had in a moment of desperation written Aria to discuss some anomalous results seen after Houston had performed resource cutting measures. The upgrades had introduced what Houston assumed were noise, but what Aria recognized as extra layers of subspace which had not been seen before.

Armed with her information Aria contacted Roshanara Rahman for verification, or to be disproven. After days of simulation, Rahman offered verification and a road to getting a prototype engine approved.[2]

The Math

(Excerpts taken from - https://forums.starbase118.net/index.php?/topic/17700-warp-xv-project/)

The table below shows the different warp scales and how many times the speed of light each warp factor represents:

Warp Factor Multiples of c (speed of light)
Original Cochrane Unit
warp scale (TOS)
Modified Cochrane Unit
warp scale (TNG)
Warp XV Engine
("All Good Things...")
1 1 1 1
2 8 10 10
3 27 39 39
4 64 102 102
5 125 214 214
6 216 392 392
7 343 656 656
8 512 1,024 1,024
9 729 1516 1516
9.2 779 1,649 1,632
9.6 885 1,909 1,880
9.9 970 3,053 2,083
9.99 997 7,912 2,147
10 1,000 Infinite 2,154
11 1,331 n/a 2,960
12 1,728 n/a 3,956
13 2,197 n/a 5,166
14 2,744 n/a 6,613
15 3,375 n/a 8,323

Why does this matter? Think of it like changing gears. It's more efficient on level ground to drive at a higher road speed in a higher gear (and low RPM) than it is to keep at a lower gear and tax the engine with high RPMs to reach that same speed. This is why for instance most starships cruise at warp 6 rather than warp 5.8 because according to this power consumption chart, it's more efficient to travel at the next warp factor rather than below it:

Warp power consumption versus velocity (TNG scale)

Likewise, while originally, a ship for instance crossing into the ninth subspace layer may only be able to maintain warp 9.9 for 12 hours, by being able to cross two more layers into the eleventh layer (warp 11), the ship is able to maintain roughly the same speed for far longer than the 12 hours it could only do so at the old warp 9.9. Essentially, the warp XV engine makes travel in the warp 9+ range on the old scale more efficient/practical.

Limitations

It is understood all technologies introduced to our universe need to come with limitations.

At least initially, no Warp XV drives on ships smaller than 700,000 tons (Intrepid Class). This will ensure all current fleet PC ships (main ships) can have access to the drive if they wish and participate in their development while ensuring that escort ships such as the Defiant class and other classes of heavily armed ships do not suddenly get this new technology. The Warp XV engine, like the Warp 5 Engine of the Enterprise NX-01, will only go its maximum speed (15) for a limited duration (perhaps 30 minutes during original testing to a final 12 hour max like previous "emergency top speeds"). The new usual "go to" high warp (akin to when captains order "warp 9" now) will probably settle around warp 13 as we saw ships reaching in "All Good Things." Though built to be a more sustainable engine, the Warp XV engine is a sprinter at its highest speeds. Expect lots of shaking and things breaking as you go faster than warp 12 (again, which is already going faster than warp 9.9 on the old scale). The engine's energy requirements, though less than QSD, is expected to still require more for higher speeds. Ships should be expected to give up something for the extra speed capability.


First Flight

Nova Aster

The Nova Aster, born the STS-17569-WV12 and rechristened by its crew of Roshanara Rahman and Oddas Aria, was standard Starfleet test sled put together by the Starfleet Corps of Engineers to test the prototype Warp XV Engine, the OR Assembly Mark 1 or Oddas-Rahman Next Gen Warp Propulsion Assembly, a name neither Oddas or Rahman could bring themselves to say.

The vessel itself was part Type 9 shuttlecraft but then loaded with enough monitoring equipment to fill its 120m aft x 40m cylindrical aft compartment. The nacelles of the caft formed a single plane along the craft's body. [3]

All Go

The first flight of the Warp XV Engine, on Stardate 239602.16 - two years after it was postulated as a theory, saw the Nova Aster achieve a newly calibrated speed of Warp 12.4, but a differential formed between along the nacelles, causing the test to be aborted before it could achieve its full rated speed of Warp 13[3]. Despite this, the Corps of Engineers approved the Engine for field testing and for testing of various field testing of specific components and in specific environments.

Fleetwide Testing Procedures

The Advanced Starship Design Bureau, in association with the Starfleet Corp of Engineers, has developed the following outline of recommended test procedures to be followed by all ships participating in Phase One of the Warp Core refit program. These steps are intended to bring uniformity and consistency to systems testing and should be used as a framework for the execution of all post-upgrade certification work. If any major deviations from expected performance are observed, please forward all relevant test data to the Corp of Engineers immediately for review and appraisal.

  1. "Batten Down the Hatches" - Test Prep - the ship is moved (towed, preferably) to a prosaic area of space and inspected from stem to stern for any irregularities before anything is started. Loose bolts are tightened, windows are closed, and any of Wesley's science experiments are safely shut down and stored until the experimental period is concluded. Good opportunity for some 'slice of life' time aboard ships as things are reviewed and stored.
  2. "Does the damn thing even start" - Phase One - New engine core is brought online - ship gets a comprehensive post-power-up inspection and systems are verified to be working as expected. Core stays online at a low idle for a pre-determined period of time.
  3. "Put the parking brake on" - Phase Two - Static Engine Spin-up test - the core is slowly brought up to full power while the ship is motionless and is left to thrum away at full power for a short time to make sure nothing rattles apart or falls off. In an old submarine movie, this'd be the point where a few non-important pipes burst or the ship lists unexpectedly.
  4. "Ok, put it in first." - Phase Three - Point to point warp flight between two known points at a stable speed, like warp 5 or 6. Everybody is on the lookout for problems and runs through standard diagnostics on everything (sensors, tactical systems, etc) while in flight to make sure there are no unusual interactions between the new systems and existing ones.
  5. "Fine, floor it." - Phase Four - Point to point warp flight between two known points at max obtainable speed. Tests the maximum sustained output level of the core along with any structural issues that may come up from extended use.

Shipboard Missions

Completed

Upcoming

  • USS Juneau - Launching of the prototype ship for the new starship class featuring the XV drive as standard equipment

Ships Equipped With the Engine

  • USS Eagle
  • USS Atlantis (only in a diagnostic capacity - not yet tested or approved for use in the dust-polluted Expanse)

Ancillary Plots

  • USS Atlantis - Warp XV Prototype components installed for testing and diagnostic purposes aboard the starship in secret by Lt. Cmdr. Perkins of Deep Space 26. Later, agents of the Orion Syndicate offer a bounty on information regarding the specs and operation of the Mark XV drive, they attempt to extract the information from the brain of Assistant Chief of Engineering, Kiliak Jo, but are narrowly thwarted in their attempt by a last-minute change of heart.

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