Starfleet Size

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Starfleet Size

Post by 359 » Fri Mar 29, 2019 6:33 am

We finally got concrete numbers for the size of the Federation's Starfleet (circa 2260), approximately 7,000 starships in service. This is a bit larger than we've previously expected from the era, but also smaller than is expected for the 2370's. So I'd consider this a pretty reliable data point.


DIS: "Perpetual Infinity":
Control: "There are seven thousand active ships in starlet, all reliant on the chain of command"

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Re: Starfleet Size

Post by 2046 » Fri Mar 29, 2019 11:27 am

That's way too high for the time.

- That’s three or four ships for every NCC.

- Didn't they just lose like a third of the fleet?

- Is this like the 40-million tonne thing where they looked at my site and ran with it, but in this case badly by using Dominion War numbers over a century too soon?

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Re: Starfleet Size

Post by 359 » Fri Mar 29, 2019 9:45 pm

Indeed it is higher than we had expected. And I would bet the writers picked a number they thought would be normal, and since most of the Trek discussing is about the 24th century I wouldn't be surprised if they tried to fitted it with that era unintentionally. On the other hand, the quote leaves enough wiggle room to compress it a bit. And I agree, the registries would suggest a fleet under 2,000 starships (NX-2000 being assigned to the new USS Excelsior).

Let's start by stating two facts we know:
1) NCC-xxxx(x) numbers are neither linear nor time dependent with the ship count (Much like stardates).
2) There exist a number of active starships in the Federation without an NCC registry.

So assume that when Control was stating that there were 7,000 active starships it was including craft not assigned a traditional NCC number, such as the freighters from TAS: "More Tribbles, More Troubles" which were registered as NCC-G1465. Admittedly this type is seen in the remastered editions as the USS Antares and USS Woden, and those do have traditional registry numbers. But I'd argue that there is enough wiggle room to consider this a valid point of data if not entirely in-line with what we'd expect. Not to mention there's not much to contradict it anyway, other than our preconceptions and years of supposition.

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Re: Starfleet Size

Post by Khas » Fri Mar 29, 2019 11:15 pm

Um, maybe the Klingon War forced old Earth, Vulcan, Andorian, and Tellarite ships into service, and they never bothered giving them "NCC" prefixes. That, or they could be counting hypothetical starfighters as well.

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Re: Starfleet Size

Post by Mike DiCenso » Sun Mar 31, 2019 8:20 pm

If anything, even in this time period, I would've thought that 7,000 to 10,000 ships in Starfleet would not be nearly enough given how much space they have to patrol and explore. This also pretty well destroys the idea that Starfleet registries are anything but generally chronological. Well, at least at this point in history.
-Mike

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Re: Starfleet Size

Post by Khas » Mon Apr 01, 2019 1:01 am

Also, is it just me, or does it seem like as time goes on, Trek gets boost after boost, while Wars gets nerf after nerf?

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Re: Starfleet Size

Post by 359 » Tue Apr 02, 2019 8:47 am

I'm not sure either are getting buffed/nerfed. Star Wars has never shown concrete levels of power, and we are just now getting some. They just happen to be consistently on the lower side of what we had sussed out of the minutia of 'Wars canon. Trek just has so much material that it's bound to be inconsistent, varying from meager to major. And these days we have an easier (cheaper) time making more consistent effects, and modern writers pay more attention to precise detail (for better or for worse). And they picked a fairly run of the mill explosions from space level we have often seen in Trek visuals before.

On the other hand, we also have the line from Commander Jet stating that the walls were supercharged with a couple of "gigaelectronvolts." While the show depicted arcs flying about the room and a sense of Danger™, a gigaelectronvolt is about 0.2 nanojoules. That's not even enough to... I can't think of a small enough comparison: it definitely would do zero damage to even one of your cells. So... it's not all on the upper end *shrug*.

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Re: Starfleet Size

Post by 2046 » Tue Apr 02, 2019 10:02 pm

359 wrote:
Fri Mar 29, 2019 9:45 pm

Let's start by stating two facts we know:
1) NCC-xxxx(x) numbers are neither linear nor time dependent with the ship count (Much like stardates).
2) There exist a number of active starships in the Federation without an NCC registry.
I'm not aware we knew either of those things.

Generally in the Roddenberry-Berman era, registries ran chronologically. The scant few exceptions (e.g. NX-2000 for the "Great Experiment" ship) usually prove the rule.

I would agree that the registries do not denote total active ships, of course.

What starships do not have an active registry? Certain small scout and utility vessels had registries but not necessarily names (e.g. Data's vessel in Insurrection and DS9 replacement runabouts upon delivery), but other than some vessels seen in DS9's battle fleets with no paint on the hull there's no indication of actual lack of registries. (Indeed, during wartime, it hardly makes sense to advertise your shipbuilding rates by painting the hulls with the latest digits.)

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Re: Starfleet Size

Post by 2046 » Tue Apr 02, 2019 10:09 pm

Mike DiCenso wrote:
Sun Mar 31, 2019 8:20 pm
If anything, even in this time period, I would've thought that 7,000 to 10,000 ships in Starfleet would not be nearly enough given how much space they have to patrol and explore.
This is definitely true, especially given that even in the first aired TOS ep, "The Man Trap", there was the tale of, IIRC, yearly starship visits to check on random Federation researchers on dead planets.

Even just given Kirk's "Metamorphosis" line that suggested humans lived on a thousand planets and counting, one could argue for very high counts. But then again, how many towns and villages are along American coastlines, yet represented by a navy of only 300-ish ships that also patrol the world's oceans?

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Re: Starfleet Size

Post by Khas » Tue Apr 02, 2019 11:59 pm

Then again, "NCC" and "NX" aren't the only registries Starfleet has. Example:
https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/NAR

And in Star Trek IV, when the probe is en route to Earth, Admiral Cartwright says "Two starships and three smaller vessels have been neutralized.".

And then, of course, you have ships with registries like this:
https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/B-24-CLN

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Re: Starfleet Size

Post by 2046 » Thu Apr 04, 2019 12:33 pm

Khas wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 11:59 pm
Then again, "NCC" and "NX" aren't the only registries Starfleet has. Example:
https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/NAR


There's never been any overlap of digits . . . e.g. no NAR-1701.
And in Star Trek IV, when the probe is en route to Earth, Admiral Cartwright says "Two starships and three smaller vessels have been neutralized.".


Nice catch! That's from the good old days when people remembered that "starship" was special and distinct from "spaceship" in Trek.
And then, of course, you have ships with registries like this:
https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/B-24-CLN
Can't imagine that'd be the registry with a perfectly good 444 sitting there, even if any of it was readable.

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Re: Starfleet Size

Post by Picard578 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 7:46 pm

2046 wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 12:33 pm
Nice catch! That's from the good old days when people remembered that "starship" was special and distinct from "spaceship" in Trek.
Huh...? Wasn't that always the case? I do not remember anybody referring to, say, runabout, or Mars Defense Perimeter vessel, as starship. As far as I know, starship always meant "deep space vessel" in Star Trek.

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Re: Starfleet Size

Post by 2046 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:48 pm

I refer in part to "Bread and Circuses":

"CLAUDIUS: Merikus was a spaceship captain. I've observed him thoroughly. Your species has no such strength.
MERIK: He commands not just a spaceship, Proconsul, but a starship. A very special vessel and crew. I tried for such a command. "

Merik's ship was also an interstellar vessel.

Later usage seemed to be that anything bigger than a shuttle was a starship. Indeed, Sisko hailed others from a runabout with "starship" in the greeting.

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Re: Starfleet Size

Post by Picard578 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 10:14 pm

2046 wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:48 pm
I refer in part to "Bread and Circuses":

"CLAUDIUS: Merikus was a spaceship captain. I've observed him thoroughly. Your species has no such strength.
MERIK: He commands not just a spaceship, Proconsul, but a starship. A very special vessel and crew. I tried for such a command. "

Merik's ship was also an interstellar vessel.

Later usage seemed to be that anything bigger than a shuttle was a starship. Indeed, Sisko hailed others from a runabout with "starship" in the greeting.
Personally, I think that - at least by 24th century - "starship" is defined as "anything operated by military that is capable of independent interstellar operations". Runabouts are essentially patrol ships, they are not shuttles, but they are not starships either. We do know they have NCC numbers, though, so official line might be they are starships.

But yeah, I see what you mean. There is also the "only 12 starships in the fleet" part, and IIRC Constitution-class was - behind the scenes or maybe even in the series - referred to as "Starship class".

EDIT: Found it!
https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Ca ... on_plaques
https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/De ... comparison
https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/En ... ion_plaque

Image

EDIT2: It would thus appear that during TOS, "starship" meant essentially "Constitution class ship". Only later did it become a generalist term for an interstellar warship.

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Re: Starfleet Size

Post by Mike DiCenso » Sat Apr 06, 2019 6:30 pm

2046 wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 10:09 pm
Mike DiCenso wrote:
Sun Mar 31, 2019 8:20 pm
If anything, even in this time period, I would've thought that 7,000 to 10,000 ships in Starfleet would not be nearly enough given how much space they have to patrol and explore.
This is definitely true, especially given that even in the first aired TOS ep, "The Man Trap", there was the tale of, IIRC, yearly starship visits to check on random Federation researchers on dead planets.

Even just given Kirk's "Metamorphosis" line that suggested humans lived on a thousand planets and counting, one could argue for very high counts. But then again, how many towns and villages are along American coastlines, yet represented by a navy of only 300-ish ships that also patrol the world's oceans?

The U.S. Navy currently has about 500 ships and at its height in WW2, massed almost 7000. The latter number is well in-line with Starfleet's just after the Federation-Klingon war. Also note that the Federation and Starfleet do not seem to have an equivalent to the U.S. Coast Guard, which has a sizeable fleet in its own right and frees up the Navy to patrol and fight abroad.
-Mike

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