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Mark IX Photon Torpedo

The Internal frame work of the Mark IX Photon Torpedo

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 9. This weapon comprises an elongated elliptical body some 200 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 drive field 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 sub-light 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 kilometers at sub-light speeds.

The photon torpedo carries a guidance system and can home in on a target. 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 up to 120 light years, or reach Warp 9, while the Class IX probe can cover 760 light years or reach the same speed.

While there were plans to slowly phase out the Photon torpedo in favor of the higher yield Quantum, Transphasic, and Hellfire torpedoes, however the Borg war, and later flaws in the mass production of more advanced units have secured the photon torpedo's place in the Federation arsenal.
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