In "The Best of Both Worlds, Part 2", when it seems all is lost, as a last resort, Riker decides he is going to ram the Borg at maximum warp in a bid to stop them reaching Earth, which would of course destroy the Enterprise.

We never find out if it would have worked, and yes it was an act of despair, but the question remains: why did Starfleet not just use unmanned ships as weapons, or even just strap a huge ship-sized missile to a warp drive?

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    The Cardassians do. It's called Dreadnought – Valorum Jan 5 '17 at 9:39
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    And, of course, in First Contact Worf orders his helmsman to prepare for ramming speed. – Paul D. Waite Jan 5 '17 at 11:53
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    @PaulD.Waite - that other question is probably somewhat duplicatous alright but the replies seem to a) ignore for the most part that Riker was going to do it (so presumably had at least some feeling it might work) and b) concentrate on the philosophical/moral implications of sacrificing a crew which are irrelevant in the case of an automated large warp-speed missile. – colmde Jan 5 '17 at 12:12
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    @PaulD.Waite - Although, Worf saying "ramming speed" in First Contact is interesting - as he didn't say "warp speed". It may indicate that they have actually tested it with Warp Speed and found it doesn't work / isn't as effective as they'd like. – colmde Jan 5 '17 at 12:15
  • @colmde: sure, I’ve edited your question to make it more clearly distinct from the other one (as you say, its answers focus on why the Federation doesn’t generally do suicide attacks, as opposed to the unmanned question). – Paul D. Waite Jan 5 '17 at 14:30

Ramming success depends more or less on the size of the both ships.

Federation ships are relatively small compared to the size of the Borg Cube. Ramming might cause some damage but it is unlikely to destroy or even disable the cube.

Here is what happens when a small ship hits a big one (in this case DS9):

See around 7:20

On the other side, when ramming ships of comparable sizes, the effect is much better.

The ramming occurs around 0:20:

I would say the ram order of Riker is more a desperate act to stop the Borg than anything else.

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  • Would you mind including a time index? – miltonaut Jan 5 '17 at 16:24
  • @miltonaut it is in the link. Just play the video. – vap78 Jan 5 '17 at 16:31
  • But when in the video? Maybe I blinked and missed it... – miltonaut Jan 5 '17 at 16:31
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    @miltonaut I added explicit time index. It is odd - the video links are with the time so that Youtube plays them from this index. – vap78 Jan 5 '17 at 16:56

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