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I know the USS Vengeance in Star Trek Into Darkness fired on the USS Enterprise while at warp, but wasn't there some technical rule about weapons at warp?

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  • Are you asking about phasers, photon torpedoes, or both?
    – Hypnosifl
    Dec 2, 2015 at 23:09
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    "Noooooooo phaaaasers" (so at least in "The Motion Picture" the use of phasers during warp was highly unadvisable), whereas torpedos worked out.
    – Ghanima
    Dec 2, 2015 at 23:33
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    They can definitely fire at will. I'm not sure if they can fire at warp though. May 1, 2020 at 16:57
  • @Ghanima It was explained later in that TMP scene that this was because phaser power was tied to the (malfunctioning) warp engines, and the phasers wouldn't have worked at that moment.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Jun 30, 2021 at 14:11
  • A couple examples come to mind. In Journey To Babel (TOS), the Orion vessel repeatedly strafes the Enterprise, at one point moving at Warp 8, according to Checkov. In the TNG episode "Q Who", the Enterprise-D fires several volleys of torpedoes at the pursuing Borg vessel during a high warp chase.
    – Helbent IV
    Jul 1, 2021 at 7:14

4 Answers 4

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Phasers: yes

On Page 84 of the Deep Space 9 Technical Manual:

a phaser beam can be delivered at warp speeds due to an annular confinement beam jacket and other advances in subspace technology

(Source)

Torpedoes: yes

(both quantum and photon)

On multiple occasions we see a torpedo being launched by a starship whilst at warp. The idea behind this is that the torpedo is capable of maintaining the warp field it had when fired from the ship, but eventually slows out of warp.

The propulsion system of the torpedoes is a warp sustainer engine. The engine coils of the torpedo grab and hold a hand-off field from the launcher tube's sequential field induction coils. A miniature matter/antimatter fuel cell adds power to the hand-off field. When launched in warp flight, torpedo will continue to travel at warp, when launched at sublight, torpedo will travel at a high sublight speed, but will not cross the warp threshold. (pg. 129 of the The Next Generation Technical Manual)

(Source)

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  • DS9 and NextGen are multiple decades after the tech of Into Darkness -- don't forget that, aside from anything recovered from time traveling Spock and the Romulan miners, this was very early Kirk era...
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Jun 30, 2021 at 14:09
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There are numerous examples of ships firing all sorts of weapons while at warp, especially in the TNG era series', but as early as Enterprise.

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    Numerous examples... such as?
    – Valorum
    May 1, 2020 at 16:16
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Yes. Totally yes. As many people have said, there are many examples of ships firing phasers at warp. The most well-known one: The U.S.S. Vengeance firing on the Enterprise at warp.

Another is in Star Trek: Voyager, "Message In A Bottle," when the U.S.S. Bonchune (Nebula Class) is pursuing the U.S.S. Prometheus.

Here's a picture; I know it's extremely grainy, but you can see that it's at warp, judging by the streaks of light that are stars, and it is firing a phaser at warp.

enter image description here

I think the reason that some people assume that you can't fire at warp is that:

  1. They don't know Star Trek
  2. They don't know how a warp drive works, so they assume that it produces momentum, and they don't realize that it's space that moving. They don't know that the ship is in a warp bubble, and thus believe that the ship can only travel faster than the phaser beam it self. That might be the case in other sci-fi franchises, but not in Star Trek.

So the answer is: Yes, ships can fire at warp.

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Various episodes and movies depict combat of starships at warp velocity Star Trek: Nemesis, the Scimitar took out the Enterprise-E's warp drive while secretly tailing it at maximum warp. In the Voyager episode, Equinox, the the two ships are involved in warp combat The VERY first episode of TNG, the Enterprise-D fires torpedoes at the Q, construct at maximum velocity. enter image description here

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