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Laser cannon

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Industrial laser cannon (2155)

Laser cannon

Starfleet laser cannon (2254)

A laser cannon was a large laser device used for industrial mining or as a directed energy cannon weapon aboard spacecraft and other installations or as ground artillery.

The Federation and many other cultures in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants seemed to have abandoned military use of laser technology in the mid-23rd century. Lysian Central Command, considered technologically to be a hundred years behind the Federation, was armed with four laser cannons as late as 2368. (TNG: "Conundrum")

According to the Spaceflight Chronology, the invention of advanced ship-mounted laser weaponry was the key technology credited for the victory in the Earth-Romulan War. Laser weaponry was eventually abandoned by Starfleet because while it did penetrate deflector shielding easily, lasers had very little impact force to do actual damage to a hull compared to particle weapons.

Starfleet's surface-deployable laser cannons that utilized energy transferred from a starship in orbit illustrate the late maturity of the technology. Showing a clear design lineage, late-model Starfleet cannons differed little in structure and scale from the industrial lasers used in mining operations as far back as 2155. (TOS: "The Cage", "Where No Man Has Gone Before"; ENT: "Demons")

It should be noted that the devices in "The Cage" and "Demons" were never mentioned on-screen to be laser cannons. In fact the first draft outline of "The Cage" describes the device as one of the vessel's huge matter converters, focusing its conversion on the rock. The term laser cannon, however, began to be used soon after by Gene Roddenberry and production staff, according to behind-the-scenes information from The Making of Star Trek and Star Trek Encyclopedia.

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