USS Enterprise firing phaser proximity blast

The Enterprise firing phaser proximity blast

Proximity blast detonation

The detonation of a proximity blast

A proximity blast was a special phaser setting that could be employed on Constitution-class starships. The proximity blast function operated by firing phasers in a concentrated bolt of energy, rather than a continuous beam. The phaser blast would then detonate at a predetermined point in space, affecting any ship or object within the blast radius.

The proximity blast setting was used in 2266 by the USS Enterprise while engaging in combat with a Romulan Bird-of-Prey. As the Romulan ship was equipped with an advanced cloaking device, the proximity blast function proved useful against it, as a more precise targeting of the vessel was impossible. (TOS: "Balance of Terror")

The Enterprise used the proximity blast setting again a year later, when engaged in combat with a Klingon D7-class battle cruiser. The Enterprise was successfully able to destroy the Klingon vessel using blasts set to one hundred percent dispersal pattern. (TOS: "Errand of Mercy")

The proximity blast setting was first described in the writer's guide, The Star Trek Guide (third revision, page 9). [1] When phaser fire is set for proximity explosion it acts somewhat like a "depth charge". The original special effect was also used to represent a photon torpedo launch on many occasions.
When the "Balance of Terror" was digitally remastered by CBS Digital in 2006, a unique special effect was developed.

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