Captain Seafort wrote:"Too many" being "one".
Agreed. Prometheus (the splittable version) would be better off as a test-bed for datalink technology, rather than a dedicated warship. The ship is designed to test coordinated combat tactics, and they designed the ship so they could easily stay together and test the connections, then disconnect and try combat maneuvers.
Oh heck with it, I can't even think of a good excuse. They could have done the same with a single ship and a pair of Runabouts with massive computer cores and performance modified to simulate various starships. All I can think of is it is someone's private project that was shown to be really stupid.
Lt. Staplic wrote:I agree, but if the seperation is small enough the benefit's can out weigh the "damage"
Absolutely. The key is to make sure the sections that separate are designed for the job. I.e. the detachable base on your marine ship likely has the hull designed to incorporate the section, and the main job of the ship is to transport and support marines. The base attached to the ship means that problems can be figured out on the way to the target, rather than after setting it up and finding out that someone forgot to stock the Sickbay and/or Armory. I'll bet the contact area with the base is a fun balance between minimal hull area to reduce the vulnerable location or need for extra armor, vs larger area to make structural support easier.
A separating combat ship is potentially either stupid, or well done. The stupid version is Prometheus. The ship splits into three parts, so each has 1/3 the power of the original ship, affecting shield regeneration, weapons recharge, acceleration, etc. They then have to armor the areas where the ship splits, requiring more mass compared to a single hull. Each section has its own shields and estimating half the original surface area, meaning the shields are 2/3 the 'thickness' of the original ship (1/3 from the 1/3 power available, but *2 for half the area). So the shields are probably just as strong as the original ship before separation, but recharging them during battle will proceed at 1/3 the normal rate - this means it is not part of the Borg combat studies group (which focused on repidly restored shields). It almost feels like a First Strike vessel, capable of handling (and likely dealing) lots of damage initially due to fully charged shields and weapons on all three sections, but cannot sustain the effort.
The annoying part is that since the main hull is attached to the dorsal section of the Engineering, all you have to do is destroy the 2nd section (the dorsal engineering section) and the ship cannot reconnect. If the main hull was at the front of the two Engineering sections, you could connect 1-2, 2-3, or 1-3 as needed.
The smart version is where the FTL or other strategic systems take up a large fraction of the hull. An example of this is Battletech, with Jumpships requiring 95% of their hull in the FTL core (K-F core, to be specific), but capable of carrying combat vessels on docking attachments. It requires a 1000 ton component on the Jumpship, but that attachment can carry up to a 100,000 ton Dropship to another star system. Warships in Battletech are better, as they only need 45.25% (yes, they had to include that .25% for backwards compatibility) of their mass in FTL core, and their upper limit in hull mass is 5 times higher than Jumpships (Jumpship upper limit = 500 ktons, Warship upper limit = 2.5 MT).
I'm not going to mention what a fully-loaded Merchant Jumpship looks like.