Star Trek cloaking device question

I always wondered, in the show Enterprise, they’ve already encountered a couple species who have cloaking devices. Centuries pass, technology greatly improves yet federation vessels still don’t use cloaking devices. Why not, do you suppose?

It has to do with the Federations treaty with the Romulans. Treaty of Aragon, if I’m remembering correctly. One of the Federations concessions was that it would not create its own cloaking devises.

They go into this on an episode of Next Generation, sorry, can’t remember the name of the ep. The Enterprise goes back to get a ship that has been lost years before. Come to find out, they were experimenting with a cloak, the crew mutineed, and the ship cloaked itself to go through a asteroid and became uncloaked in the middle of said asteroid. Entire crew minus the Captain, Riker (who was just out of the academy) and a few were lost.

I can’t remember which show or series it was in, but apparantly, cloaking and StarFleet warp engines don’t mix well. There was also a TNG ep about developing cloak tech, but it ended badly.

Lest we forget: DS9’s USS Defiant.

Don’t worry. Someone else even geekier than me will be along to give better reasons.

The Next Generation episode is “The Pegasus”. The Romulans later agreed to allow the Federation to equip the USS Defiant with a cloaking device, since this was basically to be used against the Dominion and the Romulans found it in their best interests to support the Federation against the Dominion.

Damn, you guys are quick.

Don’t forget, in All Good Things, Riker’s Enterprise had a cloaking device.

My favorite cloak scene is in DS9 when Quark and another Ferenghi are stealing a cloaking device. They lean against the invisible device at one point waiting for someone to pass.

Oops. I forgot about the Defiant. Thanks guys.

That was both cool and creepy. To see that entire starship embedded in the interior of that asteroid knowing that some unfortunate crewmember was in there.

It should be noted that the device in The Pegasus wasn’t just a cloaking device, it was also a phasing device, of the kind accidentally triggered on a Romulan ship in The Next Phase by LaForge and Ro. This is why the USS Pegasus could travel through the asteroid (until their device failed, anyway.)

initiating full-on geek mode

Just for further clarification, the piece of diplomacy in question is the Treaty of Algeron.

I can’t believe knew that…

end full-on geek mode


I think your memory’s a bit fuzzy on this issue. Off the top of my head, I can think of the USS Defiant, the USS Pegasus, the USS Enterprise - D, and even the original USS Enterprise having used cloaking devices… the first and last being of a foreign design (Romulan) to boot.

As a matter of fact, the Original Series episode, The Enterprise Incident, centers around an espionage mission ordered by Star Fleet and carried out by Spock and Kirk to infiltrate the Romulan Neutral Zone, board a Romulan starship, and steal one of their cloaking devices. They succeed and Scotty manages to make the totally alien contraption to work and you see the Enterprise blink out of existance, eluding their would-be captors. </trekker>

It should also be pointed out that the cloaking device aboard the Defiant wasn’t Federation-made. It was “on loan” from the Romulans, and at one point, even had a rather unpleasant Romulan engineer on board to keep an eye on it.

For some reason, the Romulan on the Defiant disappeared in later episodes, and Chief O’Brien even fixed the thing once or twice…


Waaaaait a minute … that website claims that the Treaty of Algeron was signed in 2161. But in “The Pegasus”, which takes place in at least 2360, we are told that the Treaty of Algeron was signed “60 years ago.”

I call foul!

You sure? i don’t recall that date given.

I call continuity error. As I remember, in TOS, when they first encounter a cloaked Romulan vessel, Spock says something to the effect that selective bending of light rays is “theoretically possible”, implying that the Federation had never encountered such technology before.

Assuming that’s the full body of the treaty, it doesn’t include any info about cloaking devices.

Ok, wait. There have been cloaking devices used on Federation vessels. I knew that. But there’s never been a federation designed & built cloaking device?

That just don’t track. Are we saying the Federation doesn’t know how to make a cloaking device, or we just won’t make one? I can’t believe we needed to borrow one from the Romulans for the Defiant.

I bet if you remodulated the scanners using the gravitational variance induced in the inertial dampers, you would get a blurry yet distinct picture of the said cloaked vessel. And the lifesign scanners etc would magically work on the vessel as soon as it became visible.