Transwarp is a faster than light mode of travel whereby a starship is allowed to travel at velocities exceeding Warp 10.
Federation transwarp drives use a standard MARA core. The transwarp velocity is achieve through the warp nacelles, with a Warp Coil able to create a tetryon field. This makes the transwarp nacelle somewhat larger than a standard nacelle.
Starfleet's transwarp program began in the 2280's with the USS Excelsior. The drive used tetryons to open a subspace corridor, but it also caused tetryons to build up in the warp core causing the dilithium crystals to weaken and fracture faster than with regular use. Additional shielding was used in an attempt to prevent the problem, but the design was eventually shelved and the USS Excelsior refitted with a regular drive.
When Starfleet was able to examine Borg technology in the late 2360's the Excelsior's tetryon drive was re-examined for comparison. In the late 2370's, design changes (discovered from Borg technology) were made to resolve the dilithium fracture problem by utilizing a Tetryon scattering field within the reaction chamber. The drive was approved for testing and by 2382 it was authorized for most newly commissioned exploration vessels. Refits for existing exploration vessels is expected by 2385. Non-exploration vessels will be approved for the drive based on their mission and role within the fleet. Fleet-wide availability is expected by 2390.
The versions of transwarp technology available to Starfleet are not interchangeable. Each has its advantages and drawbacks. Ships wishing to use the technology must carefully weigh each before selecting one.
Types of Transwarp
(categorized in terms of potential speed):
Interphase" Transwarp (2275 and later)
(This is presumed to be a form used by the Delta Flyer in VOY Threshold?)
INTERPHASE TRANSWARP IS NOT APPROVED FOR REGULAR USE
- Sims can only use this method on a per-mission basis.
- Utilizes modified engine, combining it with transporter technology.
- Pulls a ship temporarily into interphase (TOS: Tholian Web - I.E. USS Defiant)
- In interphase the ship travels at normal warp, but it is out of time synch with everything else - thus it appears to move at much greater speed in relation to regular space, and is undetectable by any vessel in normal space.
- The time dialation would result in the crew aging much faster than normal with repeated use at long distances.
- Without detailed sensor scans, one could potentially reemerge inside a solid body. The safest use would be to drop from the parallel plane still in "deep space" and then travel the remaining distance under conventional warp power in normal time.
- There's also the potential of ripping dimensional holes in the fabric of spacetime with prolonged use in the same area.
- Limited to vessels in high-risk locations where retreating into interphase may be required to save the vessel.
- Use Tetryon-Coil Nacelle.
- Creates or reinforces a transwarp corridor (I.E. tunnel) through subspace (see below).
- Vessel is able to alter course while in Transwarp.
- Speed is faster than standard warp, but slower than transwarp corridor (below) since it is creating a new path.
- Older vessels (built pre-2340) will not be able to use a Transwarp drive due to structural issues.
- Repeated use may damage subspace in specific area. (The Borg have apparently eliminated this problem, but it has not yet been achieved by Starfleet Technology).
- Inverting the Tetryon field will cause the vessel to jump up to 100 LY in a random direction. This can be used as an emergency escape, but it will cause moderate damage to the vessel.
- When the Tetryon Field is active no beam weapons can be used (phasers, disruptors etc..) unless they are also Tetryon-based.
- A vessel in Transwarp can use sensors to detect objects in normal space, and can use communications normally; but it cannot physically interact with them (I.E. attack, transport, use tractor beams) while in Transwarp.
- Vessels assigned to remote locations where ultra-fast transportation may be required.
- New exploration vessels, refits for existing exploration vessels.
- New or existing vessels of any class 'as-needed' based on mission objectives.
- Expected to be available to all new-built classes by 2390.
(This is the type commonly used by the Borg - essentially a temporary wormhole).
- Any vessel may use a corridor - if they know where it is, and how to open it.
- For a vessel to enter a corridor they must use the proper 'key' at the right location (either side of the corridor). The key is a specific frequency tachyon pulse determined by the vessel creating the corridor.
- Speed in the corridor varies depending on how long ago it was made. New corridors (I.E. those made/reinforced within 1 week before) are estimated to exceed to 5 million x Light Speed!!
- Corridors may be linked at a central hub, and existing corridors (plus new ones) maintained as needed to keep them from decaying.
- If not maintained, corridors last 1-2 weeks depending on size of creating vessel.
- Only vessels of equivalent size may use a corridor. (I.E. a corridor created by a Nova-class could only be used by vessels of equal or smaller size).
- Vessels in the corridor can not alter course, they may only travel where the corridor takes them.
- All vessels (presuming one can be found and opened...)
For the final type Slipstream please visit that page.