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The Akira class was a tactically-focused ship designed in response to bigger threats (e.g. the Borg, Dominion, etc.). It has phaser arrays, supposedly has a large fly-through shuttle bay, and has 15--yes, fifteen--torpedo launchers. They are placed in the following order: one forward-facing underneath the deflector dish, a starboard-facing pair in the saucer and a port-facing pair on the other side of the saucer, four forward-facing in the weapons pod, and six aft-facing in the weapons pod.
Why would the Akira need so many torpedo launchers? The Galaxy class could fire up to 10 (I think) torpedoes at a time from a single launcher (out of two: one forward-facing and one aft-facing). The Akira class has not been shown firing nearly as many torpedoes at a time (maybe four at most?) and certainly not from more than one launcher at one time. I understand that the extra launchers facing port and starboard could be very useful (most Starfleet ships--and seemingly most ships of other factions--only have forward- and aft-facing launchers so they have more limited torpedo firing arcs). However, why are the extra launchers (such as the ones in the pod) necessary? If Akira class vessels really did use all of those launchers, wouldn't it burn through its torpedo magazine very quickly? Can the Akira class fire a barrage of torpedoes from those launchers, or are they just backup?
I am looking for a real-world answer (why Alex Jaeger designed the Akira class with 15 launchers) and an in-universe answer (what purpose having 15 torpedo launchers would serve).

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    It is hard to resist pounding the "Bigger" button… especially if you are a showrunner.
    – Lexible
    Oct 11, 2022 at 4:29
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    The idea that it's got 15 launchers comes from the designer, and even then from a single interview. In the DS9 guide it's got a far more reasonable "2 launchers".
    – Valorum
    Oct 11, 2022 at 5:10

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Target Saturation

I don't know what the real-world answer to this is, but in-universe the reason to have 15 launchers seems simple, target saturation. If a galaxy class can fire 20 torpedoes at once (assuming fore and aft) then the Akira can dump 150 torpedoes into the void all at once. With up to 60 at a specific target. That's a lot to deal with. It's more likely to overwhelm a ship's point-defense (the ability to use things like phasers to "shoot down" incoming torpedoes) or shields and for things like the Borg that can alter their shields to better resist incoming fire it allows for maximum damage to be inflicted all at once.

Given the design (5 forward, 2 each side, 6 aft) it was probably designed to be used as a "line breaker" in fleet engagements. It runs in, using it's 5 forward tubes to saturate a single target. Then it turns (probably maintaining at least 3 tubes on-target apart from the brief period it's at 90 degrees to the opposing fleet) and discharges even MORE tubes worth of torpedoes on ships attempting to pursue it. Theoretically that's enough torpedoes do destroy anything coming its way. Even something egregious like a Borg Cube. It would expend its magazine at a hellacious rate, but as a purpose-built ship it's not meant to be out patrolling for weeks on end and doing this. It's meant to be in a single engagement, fire off it's torpedoes as quickly as possible, then withdraw with the battle won. Against weaker individual opponents or multiple smaller ships it's more than capable of sending multiple torpedoes at numerous attackers, preventing it (again in theory) from succumbing to swarm tactics in a general engagement.

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    Hi, welcome to SF&F. Are there any quotes that support this interpretation of how it was designed and was intended to be used?
    – DavidW
    Oct 11, 2022 at 16:36

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