Detonation of a warhead released an energy discharge that radiated high levels of subspace radiation in a level nine shock wave. In addition to doing heavy damage to any vessel close to the detonation, the radiation destabilized warp drives of vessels. The effective range of a shock wave was between five and twenty-six million kilometers. The residual area of radiation made it nearly impossible for starships to generate a stable warp field.
The warheads were fired through subspace at targets that could be dozens of light years away from the launcher. As they emerged through the subspace barrier, a minor gravimetric distortion could be detected. The warhead locked onto any nearby ship that emanated a warp signature. (VOY: "Human Error")