I remember the autodestruct being initiated many times, but always being aborted at almost the last possible second. Obviously, Captains Kirk, Picard, Janeway never went all the way to destruct, but was there ever any case in the TV series or the movies of a Starfleet ship where autodestruct went to completion? In any of the official books? (In the 2009 movie Star Trek, George Kirk piloted the Kelvin to a collision with the Narada, so that does not count.)

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    “Obviously, Captains Kirk, Picard, Janeway never went all the way to destruct” — you’re one-third right, that’s not bad. Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 11:14
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    I love this supercut of all the ways you set and abort self-destruct, especially Riker's wholehearted abort sequence. It includes the destruct from Star Trek III and Voyager (the rest aren't auto-destructs, they're just thrown in for funsies). Also, man are Federation passwords BAD and they don't change them after 20 years!
    – Schwern
    Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 18:08
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    @Schwern There's also voice recognition behind them, which might sound like a good additional protection until you remember that pretty much anytime someone hijacked Data he'd just impersonate their voices and obtain arbitrary levels of access. And also the time that Moriarty stole the command codes by fooling Picard--it's not clearly stated if he had to use a recording of Picard or if he input the codes by hand or with his own voice, though. Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 18:38
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    @PaulD.Waite Categorically incorrect. Two outta three ain't bad. One outta three, even Meatloaf would agree, is bad.
    – corsiKa
    Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 21:06
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    Wasn't their a gag in Galaxy Quest about this? Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 11:06

6 Answers 6



In Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701 - from TOS) is famously destroyed by the autodestruct sequence following the boarding of the Klingons:


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    @Gaius Those charges are a side effect of Corbomite installation.
    – Yakk
    Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 13:14
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    Funny how the auto-destruct (which is basically there to ensure the abandoned ship and its technology don't fall into enemy hands) leaves the bulk of the ship intact, as seen as of 0:38. Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 15:03
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    @Gaius We have electrically-detonated plastic explosives that are as safe as play-doh unless you put a charge through them; you can hit them with a hammer, set them on fire, etc. with no effect. Presumably the self-destruct charges are just as specific, if not more so. Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 22:34
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    Submariner here, with tidbits. I can confirm that standard scuttling procedures are mostly about destroying sensitive intelligence, neutralizing weapons, and making the ship unusable in general. Axes to circuit boards, burn the books or melt them in peroxide (yes, we have pure hydrogen peroxide), drive nails through hard drives and run a battery across the nail. The reactor wouldn't be damaged, but on the way out we'd have the last man switch open the ballast vents. He'd have just enough time to scramble out.
    – user51340
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 15:08
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    @Axelrod why did the crew have such an easy time going back in time in The Voyage Home? Because the warbird they did it with was previously owned by Doc Brown!
    – hobbs
    Commented Oct 30, 2015 at 1:14

Yes. In Voyager: Deadlock, Janeway blows up the Voyager.

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    Haha was just about to add that one to my answer; +1 Commented Oct 27, 2015 at 23:42
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    "I don't intend to let [everybody be killed]" next sentence "I intend to kill everybody" #captainoftheyear Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 10:25
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    @LightnessRacesinOrbit It's all in the method. I'd prefer getting blown-up over getting harvested alive.
    – Mast
    Commented Oct 30, 2015 at 13:05
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit Well, not exactly. The Voyager crew was copied by some treknobabble accident, and she killed the original crew to prevent both crews being killed by the Vidiians. Commented Jul 1, 2016 at 18:43
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit - Also, if someone was planning to harvest my organs without asking, they can bloody well expect me to disagree.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 1, 2016 at 18:45

In "Where No Man Has Gone Before", the Enterprise picks up a ship recorder from the SS Valiant, a ship that had crossed the edge of galaxy 200 years earlier. The recorder indicated that the Valiant's captain had given an order to destroy the ship -- an order which, judging by the condition of the recorder, must have been carried out. (We don't know whether the "autodestruct sequence" we're familiar with would have been used.)

And as Politank-Z points out, it's not clear that the SS Valiant was a Starfleet vessel.

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    Caveat: It is unclear that The Valiant was a Starfleet vessel.
    – Politank-Z
    Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 23:15
  • @Politank-Z: Good point. (Actually, at the time that episode was written, I'm not sure it was clear that the Enterprise was a Starfleet vessel; wasn't the term "Starfleet" introduced later in the season?) Commented Nov 9, 2015 at 23:21

In ST:TOS, "The Doomsday Machine", the Constellation was set to self destruct in order to destroy the planet killer.

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    That was an improvised self-destruction. Mr. Scott rigged the ship's engines to overload. It was not a purpose-built mechanism. Also, (and this was an minor plot point) There was no count down that could be aborted. Once Kirk pressed the button, the explosion was inevitable. Commented Oct 31, 2015 at 15:01

In the novel "The Kobyashi Maru", Chekov's solution to the unwinnable scenario was to self-destruct the ship and take some of the Klingons with him

Only a simulation but ....


In the TOS-era novel Star Trek Vanguard: Harbinger, captain Hallie Gannon finds herself and her ship the Bombay in a fight with six Tholian battle cruisers. After a short but heavy combat sequence, she rams the ship into one of the attacking cruisers, activating the self-destruct for extra punching power.

  • Not an abortable self-destruct.
    – Daniel
    Commented Oct 31, 2015 at 22:15
  • 1
    @Daniel What do you mean 'not abortable'? You see a captain and first officer activate the self-destruct to play chicken and see who de-activates it first? Self-destruction is -per definition- your last option and ordered only in the most dire circumstances. This question is 'in what instances has the order been given and executed?'. This is a valid example.
    – steenbergh
    Commented Nov 1, 2015 at 7:14
  • Sorry, I misread your answer and thought of a different episode.
    – Daniel
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 3:17

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