The deflector shields or screens, or more commonly referred to simply as shields and also as shield grid or planetary shield, are an electromagnetic force field that can be projected around a starship, starbase, or planet by technological means and act as the first form of defense against enemies or natural hazards, using deflection to protect said body from various forms of radiation and matter collisions.
- 1 Description
- 2 Frequencies
- 3 Earth and Federation shields
- 4 Klingon shield types
- 5 Shields by culture
- 6 Harvester energy shields
- 7 Human energy shield
Most starships are fitted with deflector shields, often projected from a deflector dish, to protect them from particle impacts which, particularly at high velocities, could cause huge amounts of damage. While basic deflectors and deflector beams could provide minimal protection from weapons fire and basic mishaps, the majority of advanced starships were also fitted with more powerful shielding which could be activated in tactical situations. However, these shields were sufficiently powerful that they also blocked out transporter beams.
Shields could be configured in two forms; ellipsoid form shielding, common in Federation starships in the 24th century, which projected a shield bubble around a starship; or contour-conforming shielding which was projected much closer to the ship's hull, providing more specifically localized protection. Some shielding systems also allowed shielding over specific areas of a ship to be activated or deactivated to provide protection for a specific area only and presumably reduce power consumption not protecting the entire hull.
Horta were seemingly invulnerable to even very powerful shields, being capable of passing straight through them with very little effort.
While conducting operations in the Badlands in the early 2370s, the Maquis discovered a way to apply regenerative tuning techniques in order to keep their shields operative in the extreme magnetic and radiation flux of the region. In early 2372, the USS Enterprise-E applied some of these techniques to their shields while inside the Pantera Nebula.
In addition to standard deflectors, there a number of other shielding technologies that were developed including:
- Adaptive shielding used by the Borg, which analyze weapons fire and adjust shield frequencies to better resist outside forces. This type of technology appears to rely upon the Collective's considerable processing power to analyze incoming weapons fire. (TNG episode: "The Best of Both Worlds", et al.)
- Metaphasic shields, developed by the Ferengi Dr. Reyga, are capable of withstanding the pressure, radiation and energy of a star's corona. (TNG episode: "Suspicions")
- Covariant shielding was an extremely powerful form of starship deflector shielding technology, difficult to penetrate with conventional weaponry. (VOY episode: "Tsunkatse")
- Regenerative shielding was used on the highly advanced Federation tactical cruiser USS Prometheus. It utilized multi-layered/tier shielding that enabled rapid recharging (regeneration) of resting layers, so if the initial layer taking the brunt of an attack gets depleted another fully charged layer is ready to take over while the initial one recovers.
- Unimatrix shielding used on the Delta Flyer, was a Borg influenced technology, that utilized Borg algorithms to help optimize shield frequency against incoming attacks. (Although not granting the same level of adaptive frequency invulnerability as true Borg shields, it did however impressively enhance conventional shield defensive strength).
NOTE: Despite its name - the multi-adaptive shielding, developed by Erin and Magnus Hansen, was a steath system specifically designed and used to mask/shield a vessel from Borg sensors. (and not a conventional defense shield) (VOY episode: "Dark Frontier")
257.4 was the shield frequency of the USS Enterprise-D in 2371. The Klingon Duras sisters had previously captured Geordi La Forge and while under their captivity had Tolian Soran (a scientist they were working with) modify La Forge's VISOR to transmit a video stream to them. When Geordi returned to the ship, the sisters were able to expose the frequency and fire through the Enterprise's shield.
Earth and Federation shields
By the 22nd century, humans had only developed basic deflector dish technology, which allowed them to operate more safely at warp speeds, but had to resort to polarized hull plating in tactical situations. Many species in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants had developed more advanced shielding technology by the 2150s, these included the Andorians and the Klingons. (ENT episodes: "Sleeping Dogs", "Proving Ground")
Earth and Federation shield types
- Scorpio-class class II corvette
- Thomas Paine-class class IX frigate
- Makin-class mark II class VII assault ship • Continent-class class IX assault ship
- Andor-class mark II class IX cruiser
- Excelsior-class class XIII-XIV battleship
Klingon shield types
- T-3 D'aka-class class VI assault ship
- T-5B Mas To Gal-class class VII assault ship
- L-13A K'el Ri'anda-class class IX battleship
- T-5A Mas To Gal-class class VII assault ship
- L-13C K'el Ri'anda-class class X battleship
- T-12 Na Ra'den-class class IX assault ship
- L-13D K'el Ri'anda-class class XI battleship
Shields by culture
As the first race known to ever develop shield technology, Ancient shields are among the most powerful ever created. They have routinely proven capable of withstanding multiple hits from even the most formidable weapons encountered. Shields upgraded with even rudimentary knowledge of Ancient shield technology have proven to be entirely resistant to the Ion cannons used by the Tollan and even to some forms of Asgard weaponry, both of which most other shields are completely powerless against resisting. In addition, the frequency of Ancient shields can be altered to allow the shield to take on a variety of properties, including cloaking, stunning, and Replicator disruption.
The most powerful shields ever known to be built by the Ancients were dome shields utilized by city-ships in lieu of an outer hull. Powered by Zero Point Modules, they have proven all but invulnerable to all types of weapons, intense natural phenomenon (such as Coronal mass ejections), and the rigors of hyperspace travel. The shield is the only way for City-ships to maintain atmosphere during spaceflight. Unlike other types of shields, which lose effectiveness as they take damage, the dome shield of a city-ship will remain virtually impenetrable so long as it has sufficient power to remain active. The amount of power it drains is proportional to the stress being exerted on it.
Ancient outposts are known to possess shields, though not much is known about them; however it can be assumed that they are almost as effective as those on City-ships. Unfortunately, they use up colossal amounts of energy even when under little to no strain, and were never designed to remain active at full strength for extended periods of time.
Even the oldest known Ancient shields installed on Destiny are capable of resisting the incredible heat and energy of the inside of a star.
Aurora-class battleships possess shields not seen on any other ship, other than the Destiny, being contoured around the hull instead of forming the 'bubble' commonly seen with other spacecraft. The shields on Aurora-class ships are capable of resisting incredible amounts of heat and pressure, meaning they would have been more than capable of resisting the energy weapons of at least one Hive ship and/or several Wraith cruisers at full strength. However, these shields were shown to be vulnerable to quantum phasers after only a handful of hits.
The Ancients have been known to place shields on Stargates, designed to prevent unwanted travelers from exiting a Stargate, and was possibly first developed to protect Lantean-controlled planets from the Wraith. Nevertheless, the only Stargates known to be protected by a Lantean shield are the ones in Atlantis and in the orbital station of P7L-418.The Stargate shield of Atlantis is placed so close to the event horizon that it prevents the integration of even sub-atomic particles, a flaw in the metal Iris of Earth, thus preventing anything, even the Unstable vortex of an activating wormhole, from penetrating the shield; indeed, it is the primary method of defense from hostile, non space-faring populations who would take Atlantis for themselves. It is unknown if the Ancients also placed shields on the Stargates of other City-ships, but it seems likely.
The Ancients also created apersonal shield emitter that, once activated by someone with the Ancient Technology Activation gene, would generate an advanced dampening field that prevents penetration by objects such as bullets, as well as allowing the user to perfectly withstand a fall of almost any altitude, and even powerful explosions. The one weakness of the Personal shield emitter was that the user needed to breathe, so they were still susceptible to death via methods such as drowning or being buried alive. Also, the user needed to eat, which required a specific mental command to allow food through the shield. This is not obvious to first-time users and so many will have to deactivate the shield altogether.
- Main article: Asgard shield
The shields on Asgard spaceships are without a doubt among the most powerful, being at-least on par with Ori motherships. When hit with weapons fire, Asgard shields have a distinctive bluish color and an effect similar to that of boiling water or mist dissipating the energy. They are uniquely capable of successfully resisting the weapons fire of an entire fleet of Ha'taks, as well as several consecutive hits from the Ori energy weapons. They are also capable of resisting a direct frontal hit from a coronal mass ejection with the aid of a Zero Point Module.
However, despite this remarkable protection, while traveling through hyperspace (and for a short period after exiting), Asgard shields become inactive, leaving ships vulnerable to attack (however it is not known whether this is a limitation of the shields themselves as Thor has stated that the shields cannot be raised specifically due to the power requirements of the hyperspace engines. Another weakness of Asgard shielding technology is the fact that, like the shields of most races, not only is their effectiveness directly proportional to the amount of power regulated to them, but they will also gradually weaken under sustained fire, allowing energy from attacks to bleed through. As a result, time is needed for these shields to recharge afterwards. Asgard shields are capable of deflecting Drone weapons, while not taking much damage. If powered with a ZPM, these shields can theoretically resist anything thrown at them. The Asgard shield on the Federation vessel Apollo could easily withstand repeated fire from the energy weapon on an Asuran cruiser, with the shield taking no damage.
In gratitude to the Federation for their help against the Replicators, the Asgard gave them access to their shield technology. While these shields are capable of being as powerful as those on Asgard ships, the shield capability of Federation vessels is limited by their power requirements. However, these power issues can be overcome when the shields are used in conjunction with a ZPM.
The Goa'uld have shields which, while impressive, are nowhere near comparable to those of the Ancients, Asgard, Ori and later the Federation. The shields carried on a Ha'tak vessel are capable of resisting Naquadah-enhanced photon torpedo warheads, and if at full strength can remain in the corona of a star for up to ten hours without danger of crew exposure to dangerous levels of radiation. The Goa'uld also use shields to cover the viewing post on the Pel'tak, as they have no transparent substance capable of withstanding the stress of hyperspace travel. After the design of Goa'uld shields was upgraded by Anubis using his limited ascended knowledge, Goa'uld shields became capable of resisting Tollan Ion cannons and more advanced Ion guns, which they were previously ineffective against; however they remained powerless against Drone weapons and the energy weapons mounted on the Asgard O'Neill-class ships.
The Goa'uld also possess personal shields, however their effectiveness is directly proportional to the amount of kinetic energy used, meaning it will stop energy weapons and high speed projectiles, but not slower moving projectiles such as knives or arrows. This kinetic mechanism makes a great deal of sense, as an airtight personal shield would suffocate its user. This is not a limitation of the technology itself, as Aris Boch has made use of impermeable shields as traps, and more likely it is simply so a Goa'uld can work alongside his Jaffa and have them give him items such as a Staff weapon, much like the time Apophis killed SG-1 on Gaia.
Another application of shield technology by the Goa'uld is in the solar radiation shield. A UV energy shield, which was placed on worlds whose atmosphere was either too thin or damaged to protect the inhabitants from ultraviolet radiation. It was intended as a temporary measure until the Goa'uld began to terraform the world in question. It is formed between two portable devices no more than 30 miles from one another and no less than 10 miles close to each other.
Both the Nakai Motherships and the Nakai Fighters possessed shields. The shields of the nakai Fighters fail with only one shot from the Anti-Fighter weapons of the Destiny or one shot of the pulse weapon on the Ancient shuttle. By the other hand, the shields of the Nakai Mothership are capable of sustaining several hits from Destiny's main cannons before any damage is incurred. Besides the Nakai's shield having a hull-fitting shape, its outline seems to be more angular and polygonal rather than the more familiar smoothed-out or perhaps elliptic shape.
Built with ascended knowledge, the Ori possess some of the most powerful shields ever encountered, perhaps rivaled only by those of the Asgard and Ancients. They form an elliptical bubble and upon impact of weapons fire, create ripples that are white in color. These shields are capable of withstanding virtually anything, including a fleet of Ha'taks and all but the most powerful Asgard weapons. The Jaffa Bra'tac once attempted to ram a fully functioning Ha'tak into an Ori warship at full speed, but it merely impacted against the shield. Only the unstable vortex of an activating Supergate, the most advanced Asgard energy weapons, and the Dakara superweapon have been known to overwhelm these shields. In an alternate reality, it was stated that an Ori warship attacking Earth was repelled by Drone weapons, but the degree of damage that the vessel sustained is unknown.
The Ori also possess specially designed shields that aid in or facilitate the collapse a planet into a singularity for the purpose of providing power to a Supergate. In the one known instance of this occurrence, the shield was expanded over the Free Jaffa world of Kallana by absorbing energy provided initially by Jaffa weapons fire, and then considerably accelerated by the use of a Naquadria enhanced nuclear bomb inside its perimeter. This shield itself, however, is not 100% effective, as the environment inside the shield was corrupted by CO2 from prolonged bombardment from the Jaffa.
The Federation first utilized reverse engineered Goa'uld shields, but after helping the Asgard in their war with the Replicators, the Asgard donated shields they designed. Asgard shielding was first equipped to the Prometheus and eventually the Daedalus-class allowing the Federation to better combat the warships of the Goa'uld and, eventually, the Wraith. However, with the invasion of the Ori, the shields of the Prometheus and even those on the more advanced 304-series of warships would become depleted rather quickly under sustained fire from the powerful weapons of Ori warships, and so a far more advanced version of Asgard shielding was later installed on the Daedalus-class series of warships after the Asgard donated their entire knowledge bank and latest technology to the Federation.
When the Odyssey was equipped with a Zero Point Module, the strength of its shield was increased even further, allowing it to withstand an extended exposure of fire from the main weapon of an Ori warship, which no shield apart from those on City-ships would likely be capable of. Due to the easy availability of Asgard shielding technology the Tau'ri have not yet seen fit to conduct their own research into this area, however when Dr. Rodney McKay had his intelligence increased to near Near ascension levels, he created an algorithm and gave it to Hermiod which increased the effectiveness of the shields equipped on Daedalus-class warships.
Harvester energy shields
The Harvesters made effective use of deflector shield technology. Every Harvester vessels from the common Attacker to the massive City Destroyer use energy shields. Demonstrated in the War of 1996, the technology was extremely effective in protecting Harvester forces from human conventional weapons and thus allowing them to overwhelm Earth's military forces while only suffering near zero casualties. Even nuclear weapons were unable to penetrate through the shields after the United States military failed to annihilate a City Destroyer over Houston with a nuclear warhead.
The Harvester Queen that participated in the 2016 invasion was equipped with a personal deflector shield that saved her from detonated cold fusion bombs.
Human energy shield
After the War of 1996, the Earth Space Defense reverse-engineered deflector shield technology from the wrecked City Destroyers. The ESD had also developed weapons, such as tactical nuclear missiles, to phase through Harvester shields and bypassing their defenses, and the technology to neutralize Harvester shields.
The ships in the Traveler fleet are equipped with fairly powerful shielding technology. These shields can take multiple hits from Vanir ship-to-ship energy weapons. They are also capable of limited resistance against the Asuran weapons mounted on Aurora-class battleships, although enough shots will break the shield.
The Ursini spaceships are equipped with some sort of shielding technology. Even though they are equipped with this kind of technology, their shields aren't able to withstand the weapons of the Berzerker Drones.
- Main article: Asgard shield
The Vanir Asgard have shields on both their ships and armor suits. Their ship-based shields appear to be fairly weak, since several shots from Traveler energy weapons can take them down and destroy the ship. Interestingly, the ships are able to effortlessly pass through Atlantis' shield, an ability once believed to be reserved for Lantean vessels. Vanir battle armor is capable of projecting a large shield that extends from an arm. However, sustained fire from multiple phaser rifles at once will deplete it. The Drilling platform device also generates a shield that blocks weapons fire.
Hive ships and Wraith cruisers do not have any energy shields in the strictest sense, instead relying on an organic armored hull that has a limited form of regeneration to nullify damage. They do, however, utilize a program that prevents Asgard beaming technology from transporting objects inside a Wraith ship or close to its exterior. The only form of shield technology known to be utilized by the Wraith is in their Wraith Darts, which use shields to serve as canopies for their cockpits. These shields are completely opaque and act as a Heads up display, displaying all information needed to fly the Dart in written Wraith.
Michael Kenmore managed to obtain a Puddle Jumper and convert its cloak into a stun bubble; anyone who comes into contact with it suffers the same effect as a Wraith stunner. Despite their lack of traditional starship shields, they do use force fields for a variety of purposes, such as protecting landed fighters from being hijacked, and for holding dangerous prisoners such as Asurans.