The weapons console on the bridge gives an officer direct control of several computer systems, as well as links to weapons crews aboard the ship.
The weapons officer coordinates with weapons teams in the ship, which are made up of specialists from the main engineering crew complement.
Docking & Resupply
Whilst docked, ordnance loads are replenished via a transfer from the station to which the ship is docked.
When the docking procedure is activated, weapons teams prepare to receive a replenishment of ordnance supplies. First, the lead officer aboard the ship (designated as the ship’s quartermaster) establishes a link with the station’s quartermaster and transmits replenishment requirements to the station.
A team operates external doors to compartments in readiness to receive new ordnance supplies. Torpedoes are then ejected by the station towards the compartments. Short range tractor beams aboard the station guide the ordnance to the compartments. Once ordnance is aboard, the external hatches are secured and teams work to store the torpedoes in the ship’s ordnance racks, located in the ship’s magazine.
As the ordnance is brought aboard, the ship’s quartermaster ensures the ship’s systems are updated to reflect an accurate ordnance load.
Loading and Unloading Ordnance
Most of the loading and unloading procedure is automated aboard ship, however, weapons crews are required to oversee the process and ensure ordnance is ready for loading.
On selecting to ordnance type and initiating the load procedure, the fire control computer begins to move ordnance and prepare tubes for firing. Ordnance is taken from a set of loading racks and placed on a set of rails. It is then transported along the rails to the tube hatch, at which points the weapons crew prime the ordnance for firing, activating tracking systems and arming the weapon (this is done as a safety measure so that ordnance cannot be activated via computer systems in case of an external attack on ship systems). The torpedo is then fed into the hatch and secured. Weapons teams monitor the process and indicate when the ordnance is loaded and ready to fire. They are responsible for monitoring the smooth operation of all components, activating the warhead and securing the hatch in the final stages of the loading process. Once ordnance has been loaded, the weapons teams then prepare the loading racks with new ordnance from the ship’s main ordnance racks.
For unloading, the procedure is simply reversed.
Homing Torpedo Energy Conversion
All ships carry a stock of empty torpedo casings. These casings can be activated and to replenish the homing torpedo supply aboard the ship. The casings remain in general storage aboard the ship, and when activated are moved into the ship’s magazine and added to the stock of homing torpedoes in the ordnance racks. To activate the torpedo, energy is fed into the casing, activating the onboard systems and charging the warhead components. For information on homing torpedo warheads, see the relevant section below.
It is possible to transfer the energy from a homing torpedo by reversing the process, draining the power from the warhead back into the ship’s energy grid. The onboard systems must be deactivated, however due to the deactivation process it is not possible to drain the energy from them, hence the depleted energy return when converting the homing torpedo back to energy.
Though the weapons console, an officer is able to activate the shield systems on the ship. These provide protection against violent natural phenomena as well as kinetic and energy based weapons fire. Along the ship’s outer hull, sets of shield generators generate curved field that interlock to create a shield ‘bubble’ around the ship itself. A command, activated via the weapons console, begins the power up procedure of these shield generators. Energy is directed through the generators from the ship’s main power network and the generators create a highly focused spacial distortion, which contains and energetic graviton field.
When matter or energy strikes the shield, the graviton energy is concentrated at that point and creates an intense, localised spacial distortion. Multiple strikes can begin to overload the generators, and their effectiveness decreases as the graviton field is put under more stress. Eventually, under sustained stress, the shield generators will automatically shut down to avoid irreparable damage to the system, as well as more extensive damage to the ship’s internal power network.