|TechStatus||Star Trek Canon|
Interphase cloak was originally conceived and developed by the Federation, in direct violation of The Treaty of Algeron (which prohibited the Federation from using any form of cloak). During a test flight, the first and only "Phased" Cloak equipped ship experienced a malfunction which resulted in the ship being dropped back into normal space while passing through an asteroid effectively fusing the two objects together.
No other information is known about the developmental status of the Federation version of this technology.
Soon after, this information was leaked and the Romulan Empire along with the Klingon Empire, started testing and developing this technology. The Klingon Empire soon abandoned this avenue after several costly disasters. The Romulan Empire however continued developing this technology until, 50 years later, they managed to create a working Phased Cloaking device to be installed on special ships.
Romulan Scientists however, encountered several fundamental limitations to this technology which stopped it from becoming a standard feature on every ship.
These limitations are based on observations of the series.
A phase-cloaked ship is immune to weapons while cloaked since they simply pass through it (and conversely, its weapons will pass harmlessly through another vessel), and it can pass through normal matter but not through super-dense matter (eg. neutronium)
However, energy weapons like Phasers and Disruptor cannons would be useless against a phase-cloaked vessel, since phasers are known to have no interaction with out-of-phase objects as seen in "The Next Phase." Although energy weapons may not be useful against a phase-cloaked ship, there may be other avenues of attack: since "The Next Phase" demonstrated that chemical reactions are still possible between cloaked and non-cloaked objects, a cloud of nerve gas may be lethal to the inhabitants of a phase-cloaked ship. It may in fact be stunningly effective, since the gas would quickly pass through every deck and compartment in the entire vessel thanks to the phase-cloaking effect.
These observations lead us to the relatively simple and strait forward conclusion; Phased Cloak is a vast advancement in Cloaking technology and provides a significant advantage for the user.
A phase cloaked ship would be able to pass through virtually any Chemically Inert object (asteroid, comet and so on) But chemically complex objects would remain hazardous to the ship, as the CO would be risking failure to the cloaking field and crew.
A phase cloaked ship is immune to all energy and mass based weaponry. Subsequently a Phased cloak ship that fires its weapons would have no effect on the target.
A Phase cloaked ship cannot emit or receive Any form of communications
No interaction is possible with any normal matter. As such Only passive sensors are functional while a ship is Phase cloaked. (This means that a ship cannot actively scan for anything, the only data it may collect is data that is projected at the ship, meaning visible light, radiation, Graviton fields and so on.)
It was determined by Romulan scientists that the Pegasus incident was caused not by a malfunction of the device but rather by a fundamental limitation of the device. Phased matter cannot exist outside its normal space time continuum for prolonged periods since the energy requirements grow expediently up till a point where the system over loads and the ship drops back into normal space. This is why the Pegasus was presumed to have been destroyed by a warp core breach.
Following this discovery Roumlan scientists embedded a fail safe into this system that automatically drops the cloaked ship back into normal space after a period of 7 hours (360 mins). In extreme cases of emergency this fail safe may be deactivated by both senior officers to allow for an open ended cloak.
This is an extremely dangerous procedure as the exact time when the ship would drop back into normal space is unknown and cannot be estimated and also runs the risk of a warp core breech.
Recharging and cool down time in between cloaking attempts is 3.734 hours. An attempt to cloak before the system is ready would cause an unpredictable instability in the cloaking matrix and as such would allow the ship to be "dropped" into normal space at any time with only a few seconds warning.
A phase cloaked ship has No access to a "Normal" cloak. This system only allows for Phased cloak and cannot be coupled with standard cloaking devices.