7

I don't recall the episodes, but I know I've seen a starship take control of another starship remotely, given the appropriate command codes, etc. It stands to reason a shuttle and possibly an escape pod may be capable of the same remote control; and if not, surely they could be modified to do so.

We've seen that photon torpedoes can pursue a target at warp speed.

Why not just launch a shuttle at a borg cube, etc. at warp speed? The possible effects of a warp field colliding with a target could be huge; but surely the subspace field and the momentum would cause a large hole to tear right through it. Why don't they try this as a last resort?

9

This seems like a two part question.

I've seen a starship take control of another starship remotely, given the appropriate command codes, etc. It stands to reason a shuttle and possibly an escape pod may be capable of the same remote control; and if not, surely they could be modified to do so.

I am sure they could, I think we have seen a little bit of it in Insurrection while data was freaking out. Shuttles generally do not have lots of firepower, so they would essentially just be using the warpcore. I imagine the output of a shuttle warpcore is on par with a photon torpedo, else we would see this more often.

Why not just launch a shuttle at a borg cube, etc. at warp speed? The possible effects of a warp field colliding with a target could be huge; but surely the subspace field and the momentum would cause a large hole to tear right through it. Why don't they try this as a last resort?

The thing you have to remember, is how warp works. They use an Alcubierre Drive. You are essentially moving slowly through space, and moving space faster than light around you. The velocity of your ship is sublight, therefore, the net mass of your ship is effectively the same. This is how they get past the lightspeed limit. At that point, again you are just throwing a huge mass at slow speed into the enemy, and most of the damage is from the warp core. Still massive, and we do see this in first contact.

5

There is a case of a shuttlecraft being use by Captain Kirk in the "Star Trek Logs Seven and Eight" novel, specifically log seven. In this case the Enterprise was pursuing a Klingon vessel of equal speed toward enemy reinforcements, in order to break this stalemate Kirk uses emergency warp speed to increase the Enterprise's speed and launches the shuttlecraft at the last possible moment. When the shuttle self-destructed the damage was sufficient only to slow the Klingon ship from warp eight to warp five.

Another instance was in the novel "Valiant" in which Lieutenant Commander Picard used the Stargazer's seven shuttles loaded with antimatter to compensate for the ship's then almost non-functional shields, in this case three shuttles actually impacted the target "penetrating the shields" and causing "significant damage to her hull"

So in summary a shuttle's usefulness as a weapon isn't worth the trouble in all but the most desperate circumstances, especially considering the small numbers that they're carried in.

As for escape pods frankly if you feel the need to use them as weapons you probably want to keep them handy

EDIT: as a forgotten point: the only time i recall a shuttle being useful as a weapon in confirmed canon is when Commodore Decker committed suicide by flying into the doomsday machine in the original series episode of the same name thereby revealing that it could be damaged by ships flying into it, this allowed Kirk to destroy the machine by sending the USS Constellation (NCC-1017) into it.

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