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NX class grappler

The grappler system of an NX-class starship

The grappler was a metal shaft with claws on the end that could be launched by a starship to grapple objects in space. The grapplers utilized a magnetic lock device to attach to objects.

The NX class starships of the Starfleet possessed two grapplers. However, their use was eventually superseded by the development of the superior tractor beam. (Star Trek: Enterprise)

Though tractor beams were never introduced during Enterprise, the 2006 video game Star Trek: Legacy established that the tractor beams started being used during the Earth-Romulan War around the year 2159, when the Enterprise had its grapplers replaced with this more advanced technology.

Shortly after its launch in 2151, the Enterprise NX-01 used the grappler to capture a Suliban cell ship, which was evacuated by its lone Suliban occupant and brought aboard Enterprise. The ship was then used by Enterprise crew to infiltrate the Suliban helix. (ENT: "Broken Bow")

D5 class grappled

Enterprise grapples a D5 class as an improvised battle tactic

Vidiian starship grapplers, Deadlock

Vidiian starship deploying grapplers

Later that same year, Enterprise Captain Archer attempted to use his ship's grappler to retrieve Shuttlepod 1, which had fallen into a chasm within a large comet. Although only one of the two grappler claws latched onto the shuttlepod, it proved sufficient enough to reel the craft back to the ship. However, the eisillium in the comet's composition began to disrupt the grappler's magnetic lock, and the Enterprise was forced to lower and release the pod before the connection broke. Fortunately, a Vulcan ship was near by to offer assistance, and following a reluctant request by Captain Archer, the Vulcans were able to retrieve the shuttlepod using their starship's tractor beam. (ENT: "Breaking the Ice")

Also in 2151, Enterprise again used the grappler to retrieve its own shuttlepod after it had been stolen by a female Klingon. Three Enterprise crewmembers had used the pod to board a Raptor-class scout vessel, the IKS Somraw, which was sinking into the atmosphere of a gas giant. The ship's engineer, Bu'kaH, hijacked the pod, stranding the three crewmen aboard her endangered ship. She then attempted to contact her people to falsely blame Enterprise for the attack on her ship which landed it inside the gas giant, but the pod was captured via the Enterprise's grapplers and Bu'kaH was brought aboard. (ENT: "Sleeping Dogs")

The Vidiians made use of a similar technology on board their starships in 2372. (VOY: "Deadlock", "Fury")

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