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Polarized hull plating

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Polarized hull plating was a defensive armored hull technology used on shuttles and starships. Before the development of deflector shielding, hull polarization was the primary defensive measure for starships against enemy weaponry.

In the January 2002 -issue of Star Trek Monthly, according to André Bormanis: "To minimize potential damage from weapons fire and other space hazards, NX-01 incorporates a polarization matrix in its armored hull plating. Through the application of electromagnetic power, the metal hull of the ship can be made several orders of magnitude harder than it is in its non-polarized state."

History

In the 22nd century, this technology was used on Earth starships such as the J-class and the Template:ShipClass and on smaller auxiliary vessels such as the shuttlepods. During the months the Enterprise was in the Delphic Expanse, polarization technology on Earth had been improved by 12%. (Star Trek: Enterprise; ENT: "Horizon", "Vanishing Point", "Home")

Polarized hull plating was presumably invented by 2102, as that was the year the ECS Horizon was commissioned.

In the 24th century, starships still occasionally polarized their hull plating, though not typically as a defensive countermeasure. One example was disrupting a tractor beam lock by rotating the frequency of the hull platings electromagnetic field. Ships also sometimes polarized their hull plating to help mask their sensory signature, which worked by interfering with enemy sensor scans. (DS9: "In Purgatory's Shadow"; VOY: "Equinox, Part II")

In 2373, Garak suggested that Worf repolarize their runabouts hull to free them from a Jem'Hadar fighters tractor beam. (DS9: "In Purgatory's Shadow")

In 2375, Tom Paris attempted to polarize the Delta Flyer's hull after it had crash-landed in order to make it easier for the USS Voyager's sensors to find them. (VOY: "Once Upon a Time")

In 2376, Voyager's hull was polarized in order to mask their approach towards the errant USS Equinox. (VOY: "Equinox, Part II")

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