The principles behind the tri-cobalt warhead are simple enough, and many species have deployed this technology at some time. One notable example is the planets Eminiar VII and Vendikar, who used computer simulations of tri-cobalt devices as part of their simulated war. The USS Enterprise was declared a casualty of one of these devices when it failed to raise its shields during a simulated attack by Vendikar, a situation which brought a rather determined response from the commanding officer.
Although effective enough in its time, the tri-cobalt warhead was quickly
outpaced by more advanced nuclear munitions and then by the advent of photon
torpedoes and their matter / antimatter warheads. By modern standards the
tri-cobalt warhead is not a serious weapons system, but Starfleet
vessels sometimes carry a small number of such devices for use in demolition
work or other applications where expending a photon torpedo would
be wasteful. The modern Starfleet tri-cobalt device is a simple warhead
with a yield variable between 1 and 500 kilotons, housed in a metal container
of the same cross section but one third of the length of a photon torpedo.
This allows large numbers to be carried if required, while ensuring compatibility
with photon torpedo launchers. The device flies a purely ballistic trajectory,
with no guidance of any kind - though there is a detonate abort and self
destruct option installed.
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All of the above classes of weapons and all of the
named ships are copyright Paramount 1996/97.