In Star Trek (2009), the Narada is equipped with some sophisticated missiles. Why would a mining vessel need such heavy offensive weaponry?

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    Excellent question. This bothered me when I was the movie. Commented Jun 25, 2012 at 1:29
  • Didn't bother me for a second. It's like watching an Old West movie and being flabbergasted the gold prospector has a shootin' iron strapped to his hip and a rifle near to hand. Varmints, claim-jumpers, and flat-out thieves exist in any century to bedevil a guy just trying to dig in the ground.
    – Blaze
    Commented Jul 31, 2020 at 16:29
  • @Blaze The desire for weapons makes sense, but it does raise the question of who pays for all that.
    – Cadence
    Commented Jul 31, 2020 at 17:30
  • @Cadence Pays for it? To continue my analogy, who pays for the old-timey prospector's revolver and rifle? He pays for it himself. Or takes out a loan. Or has silent partners/consortium backing his grub stake. A dozen ways. Just because the Narada is a massive super ship to our primitive eyes, doesn't mean it's not a rusty, oversized space refinery (with "teeth", mind you) to its peers.
    – Blaze
    Commented Jul 31, 2020 at 18:35

5 Answers 5


This is mentioned in Star Trek: Countdown comic series which is prequel of Star Trek (2009) movie. This comic series is officially 100% canon.

After Romulus got destroyed, Nero became mad. He blamed Spock (and, Vulcan) as well as Ruling Council of Romulus (which didn't listen Spock's calculation about dangerous Nova). Council members escaped with senate shuttle, but not his wife (and upcoming offspring). So, he killed all of them and grabbed their encrypted senate codes.

When he broadcasted those codes at the location told by feared council members, a secret Romulan facility appeared and assisted them. The secret facility was full of mind - blowing innovations which included advanced Borg technology.

As a new administration, he ordered them to convert his mining ship into war machine. His plan was to take revenge from Vulcan (which delayed in sharing red matter research) and Spock (who didn't create red matter on time).

His mining ship was now very powerful. He destroyed entire fleet of Klingon. And, even smashed USS Enterprise (of that time) very badly. He was about to destroy it, but he had no time (he needed to deal with Spock).

Unfortunately, when he caught Spock near red matter singularity, he was trapped by black hole & appeared in 2009 movie.

So, at the time he was trapped by Black Hole, Narada was no longer a mining vessel. It was a war machine able to challenge entire worlds of his own time (24th century).

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    Countdown is not canon, according to Orci: Question: 'In Countdown, the Narada effortlessly destroyed an armada of 24th century Klingon warships and disabled the Enterprise-E with one volley. However, in the film, the Kelvin (an early 23rd century ship) actually managed to exchange fire and survive for at least several minutes. It even managed to damage the Narada by ramming it. [...] Care to explain this inconsistency?' Bob Orci: 'Easy. The comic is not canon?'
    – Plutor
    Commented Jun 25, 2012 at 11:41
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    @Plutor I don't believe Orci... A possible explanation: Black Hole would have damaged Narada so that 129 years old technologies were able to screw it.
    – user931
    Commented Jun 25, 2012 at 11:55
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    Countdown was officially announced as prequel of 2009 movie.. There's no reason to say it's not canon.
    – user931
    Commented Jun 25, 2012 at 11:57

According to the comic books (non-cannonical, but released at about the same time as the film), the Narada was outfitted with borg inspired when Nero was at the Vault, a top secret Romulan facility.



All mining uses what can be considered weapons. The oldest mines used horn picks and wooden clubs. Later, metal picks, shovels, and rod & hammer sets took over. Then, explosives and drills were added. Grinders are just automated hammers in batches.

The industrial cutting tools of the Trek era are Lasers, Phasers, Force Fields, Anti-particle beams and antimatter bombs. A mining ship is a large cutting system. Therefore, it has lasers, phasers, force fields, antiparticle beams, and/or antimatter bombs. All of which make pretty good weapons...

The Narada having these is eminently logical. The quality of the fire control is of course going to be near military, as mining is precision work; it's probably shorter ranged than equivalent military, but what's current military tech of 1979 is likewise now usually obsolete civilian tech.


I agree with aramis. A mining robot needs to have very strong weapons to dig tunnels in hard rock, and needs to be armored to survive falling rocks. Stanislaw Lem has a story about hunting a damaged mining robot on the Moon (with captain Pirx as the protagonist) and it tells as much explicitly about why this robot has strong armor and laser weapons. What makes this one especially dangerous is that it's not an Asimovian robot and so doesn't have problem killing people after its brain gets confused from a severe physical injury.

Isaac Asimov also has a few stories about mining robots, including Robot AL-76 Goes Astray.


It’s obvious the ship was a primitive mining ship with tiny little rockets. It didn’t even have photon torpedoes, but if that ship goes back in time 200 years, those tiny rockets can do a lot of damage to primitive ships of the past.

All this Borg stuff is nonsense. The Borg didn’t use primitive rockets; powerful ships had Quantum torpedoes, not jet-powered rockets. Nero had a weak ship in the 24th century, but in the past those weak rockets were devastating.

The strange thing is that the Enterprise had photon torpedoes, but Nero had a huge ship; it had to be big to crack asteroids and search for metals. Maybe that’s why it had rockets - to destroy giant asteroids. But in the past the Enterprise was a Constitution-class ship, not a Galaxy-class, so its shields were a lot weaker than the primitive but effective rockets of the 24th century which punched right through them, causing the fleet to be destroyed.

  • A lot of this is related information that I don't see how it answers the question of why it had them in the first place. You do mention a possibility: to crack open big asteroids though. It would be better if you could trim down some of the tangential information and focus on that point and then edit to expand on it and maybe even find some evidence that, that is indeed what they were for rather than the informed speculation you currently have.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Jul 31, 2020 at 13:33
  • Not so long ago I would have called the Borg connection "nonsense" as well. I was perfectly satisfied with a futuristic mining ship-refinery matching a "primitive" warship. But Star Trek: Picard showed Romulans picking apart a Borg cube. I'm not sure which feature came first in the creative flow of Trek writers, but the bits of information do interlock with each other now.
    – Blaze
    Commented Jul 31, 2020 at 16:24

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