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Technology Data
Name Disruptors
Type Bolt / Beam Weapon
Introduced 2150
Affiliation Romulan / Klingon / Other
TechStatus Star Trek Canon
Contributor Czarr Rom

The disruptor is the mainstay weapon of many of the major powers in the known galaxy, including the Romulan Star Empire and the Klingon Empire. It is an energy beam weapon that roughly compares to the Federation's phasers in its breadth of application.

Technical Details

Early experiments with dilithium crystals found that two such crystals, a mirror, a semi-reflector, and a light source made a marvellously efficient laser. When one replaced the mirror and light source in a dilithium laser set-up with a Chambers coil, the crystals synchronized so as to disrupt the light waves before they ever formed.

This interaction makes the energy effectively vanish from our continuum, only to re-emerge as a uni-directional highly intense disruption of the space/time continuum now known as the "disruptor effect". Such synchronization of the crystals required a super-luminal transfer of coordinating influences, and so was only possible in the context of a coil-induced sub-space environment.

The effect tends to spread and propagate through solid matter, so that material objects are likely to distribute the effect throughout their particularly shaped volumes. After over a century of study, the wave-effect which carries the disruptor effect were termed nadions, and it is these nadions which slowly fall out of their higher energy state and decay into visible light. These nadions are small subatomic particles which have incredible effects on intramolecular bonding.

At high power, the effect is so severe that all molecular bonds are snapped, and all of the particles are impulsed in random directions. What had been a solid object becomes an expanding cloud of particles moving fast enough to penetrate other solid matter to an enormous extent. A body so disintegrated on a ship would pass right through the hull like a burst of gamma rays, but because the particles are travelling via impulse rather than momentum, their behaviour apes that of neutrinos in that they do almost no damage to the matter they pass through.

The Disruptor vs. the Phaser

Romulan disruptors use "slow" nadions as opposed to the "fast" nadions used in Federation phaser technology. This gives the disruptor considerably lower energy conversion efficiency than the Starfleet phaser. This is partially offset by a moderate reduction in the size of the hardware required for the weapon itself - the space freed up by this allows a higher power weapon to be installed in the same space.

The Federation phaser is therefore considered to be more sophisticated and generally more effective than the disruptor, which relies on brute power to overcome its efficiency failings. Like phasers, disruptor weapons can fire sustained beams or pulses depending on the exact configuration of the hardware.

Disruptors, unlike phasers, cannot be linked into arrays, so disruptor users prefer to build larger weapons to compensate for this deficiency. A disruptor is always more powerful than a phaser for the size of the hardware installation, but a phaser is always more powerful than a disruptor per unit of input power.

Disruptor Grading

When fully powered, the disruptor effect travels at the Warp 10 limit for the type of Chambers coil used, be it Primary, Secondary, or Tertiary. Naturally, Galae vessels are armed only with Tertiary disruptors, anything less would produce a beam literally too slow to catch a Tertiary warp starship. All disruptors sold or built by non-military agencies within the Empire are Primary or Secondary-class weapons only.

However, hand disruptors don't have access to quite enough power to energize the coil component to its equivalent threshold power level. The result is that the disruptor beam produced travels at a speed dependent upon the power level applied to the coil. Whereas a beam emitted from a coil at threshold power would always move at Warp 10, with additional coil power just boosting the intensity or striking power of the beam, at just below threshold power the beam's speed is the reciprocal of Warp 10.

This is a mere 7.58766 x 10^(-6) x C, or approximately 7300 feet per second from a Tertiary coil, therefore hand disruptors use Primary coils so that the disruptor effect propagation velocity is proportional to the reciprocal of the Primary warp field's Warp 10 limit of 22025.47 x C. The reciprocal value is therefore approximately 8.45 miles per second. However, unlike Phasers, the disruptor setup cannot work except at very specific frequencies. This means that disruptors are less utilitarian, as they cannot be used to induce stun effects or heating up a rock.

Beam Decay

Unlike subspace "radio", which simply attenuates under an inverse square law, disruptor beams have a much shorter range due their propensity to "decay" by losing their energy to the creation of visible spectrum photons all along their path of travel. This is what the observer sees, not the disruptor beam itself. The actual disruptor effect is one of micro-range random space/time fluctuations in the topological gradient of the space encountered, imparting warp impulses to the atoms encountered.

Disruptor beams are emitted linearly from the mechanism, resulting in remarkably low beam angles. This results in the firing ship having to physically line themselves up with the target, unlike the firing arcs available with Federation phaser technology. Recent advances in dilithium crystal refinement and manipulation have resulted in emitting arrays that are able to fire linear charges in a 3 directions. This is still a finite amount of firing angles, it does allow for more possible firing positions.

Disruptor Types

Hand Disruptors

Type I - Disruptor Pistol

The smallest disruptor, the type I hand disruptor has not had much improvement in the basic design in over 480 years of service. The few improvements that do exist are in computer control over the output and in energy storage.

23rd Century Romulan Disruptor.
24th Century Romulan Disruptor.
Is there a Doctor in the house?.

Revisions are listed as: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, and L

Type II - Disruptor Rifle

The next size up, the type II is a disruptor rifle, used by Centurions (Arrains) onboard starships, bodyguards, and even, on occasion, by ground troops during the rare ground battles sometimes seen during the history of the Empire. The major design improvements over the years have been in battery storage; recharge time, and energy flow control.

Romulan Disruptor rifle 2368
Romulan Disruptor rifle 2371

Revisions are listed as: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, and P

Light Disruptor

Light disruptors are the basic armament of lighter grade starships, they are larger and more powerful devices than the hand disruptors but still lacking the power of the larger heavy disruptors.

Type I

Originally copied from Kzin cruisers destroyed during the second incursion, the Type I light disruptor served the Galae for over a century. The design proved more advanced than even Klingon disruptors of the day, a secret the Rihannsu kept from their once-allies during the period of the Rihan-Klingo alliance.

Type II

While the Federation was working on the Excelsior class warship, it was believed by the Rihannsu that this was most likely a ship built to initiate war, the Imperial Senate ordered a crash program to improve all weapons within the Empire. The Type II Light Disruptor was one of the many improved systems that appeared. It offered improved recharge times, firing rates, and damage potential over the older, and kept the Rihannsu at the pinnacle of disruptor technology.

Type III

Romulan Light Disruptor

During the dark years of observation, a Federation ship encountered a punitive action against a Klingon spy outpost. A single Federation ship somehow held up to more punishment than expected, even surviving a triple R-torpedo salvo. This panicked the Galae commanders, since it was observed from the battle tapes the ship lost shields, then regained them almost instantly. Fearing a new technology race, the Galae commanders ordered improved systems for all starships. The Type III light disruptor gave new firing modes to the aging Type II, including a pulse-firing mode useful against fighters.

Type IV

After the Dominion War, the Rihannsu once again found themselves at a disadvantage. This time, many D'deridex class warships were lost due to small patrol fighters fielded by the Dominion. The federation, by comparison, had better coverage with their phaser arrays. So the Galae command decided on creating an array disruptor to compensate. After 35 years of work, the disruptor array, the Type IV, is a success. A dilithium crystal matrix is arranged in a triangular form on the hull, resulting in a wider array with much better coverage for modern Galae vessels.

Heavy Disruptor

Heavy disruptors were developed along side the improvements made to standard disruptor arrays. As standard disruptors became more accurate and with greater firing arcs a weapon with a heavier punch was desired. The heavy disruptor meet this requirement, delivering a stronger blast but at the ranges of standard disruptors.

While the general workings of the Heavy Disruptor are similar to the ordinary disruptor, there are major differences. The first is sheer size, while the Chambers coil in a normal disruptor is only 3-4 cm across, the coil found in heavy disruptor cannons is between 1.5-2m across. The dilithium crystal set-up is a latticework matrix to give the effect of one gigantic dilithium crystal while using numerous, smaller, crystals.

The back end of a Heavy Disruptor is typically a Plasma Torpedo set-up, using the chamber as an energy storage/reaction for the disruptor itself. Early heavy disruptors were merely completely refit torpedo tubes with the launcher mechanism replaced with the workings of the heavy disruptor.

Grade D Heavy Disruptor

The first Heavy Disruptor was built into the first-generation D-grade plasma torpedo. This was used as a test-bed to prove that the technology works rather than as a practical weapon. But during the first Kzin incursion, this was rushed into service and served on the front lines very effectively. With a very slow firing rate, the D-grade Heavy Disruptor is obsolete in every sense, and even light disruptors cause more damage.

Grade F Heavy Disruptor

This served as the heavy disruptor of choice for the formative years of the Romulan Empire. Using an F-grade plasma torpedo slot, so plentiful during those years, the Grade-F heavy disruptor has shrunk in size over the years, as the plasma torpedo system has reduced in size, and is found on fighter craft and bombers even today.

Grade F+ Heavy Disruptor

A range improvement on the Grade F, the F+ uses the same chamber and focusing material, but has the same range as a G-grade plasma torpedo.

Grade G Heavy Disruptor

Romulan Heavy Disruptor Bolt

A marginally more powerful disruptor than the grade F, the G has almost double the range, giving it the same range as the L and M grade torpedoes. However unlike its predecessors its was not mounted in existing torpedo launchers but as a stand alone model. This proved more efficient and the L and M grade torpedoes followed suit.

Grade L Heavy Disruptor

A product improvement on the Grade F+, it was the F+'s replacement on many ships. With double the punch of the F+, the L could punch through most shields in a matter of a few shots.

Grade M Heavy Disruptor

Double the punch of an L, the M rarely appears on ships in the Galae. Only a handful of dedicated heavy disruptor platforms and Ra'Kalen class ships have the M-grade heavy disruptor.

OOC Information

Disruptor technology is used by most major races but due to the indiscriminate nature of the technology it is prohibited for use by the Federation.

See also