Star Trek is a beloved science-fiction saga and institution that is revered for its emphasis on using diplomacy to solve galactic problems, but there are times when even the best words and intentions fail. During these dire situations, Starfleet’s best explorers are either forced to using force as a means of defending themselves or they are put face to face with hostile beings that are armed with weapons of terrifying magnitude.
Ranked according to how dangerous they are on a planetary and existential level, here are the ten most powerful weapons to ever be featured and used in the long-running Star Trek franchise, going as far back as the The Original Series to the next generations and all the way to the Kelvin Timeline.
10 Q Continuum Weapons
The immortal and omnipotent Q are the closest beings to gods that Starfleet has encountered, and a war among such beings is as dangerous as it sounds. Due to being nigh-invulnerable, the Q needed weapons of great power to kill one another, hence their armaments being some of the most powerful in the Star Trek canon.
During the Q Civil War, the fallout of their weapons was felt across the Milky Way Galaxy. These weapons were so powerful that they caused supernovas and damaged subspace in galaxies that were light years away from the conflict.
9 The Tox Uthat
Bigger doesn’t always mean better, as proven by the Tox Uthat – a palm-sized device capable of stopping a star’s nuclear reaction. Simply put, the handheld quantum phase inhibitor could kill a sun and in effect, an entire solar system.
After discovering how dangerous it was, its creator hid the Tox Uthat in distant past, where it was hunted down by criminals from the 27th century and sought after by 24th century archaeologists who believed it to be an important relic.
8 The Xindis’ Weapons
After being manipulated into believing that humanity would destroy their homeworlds in the future, the alliance of alien races known as the Xindi created a particle beam weapon as a form of pre-emptive action.
The weapon worked too well, with the prototype killing seven million people after firing a particle beam from Florida to Venezuela before it self-destructed. Its succeeding forms were bigger and deadlier, especially its third and final form that was capable of wiping out an entire planet in a single shot.
Self-aware and sentient machines are nothing new Star Trek, but few are as deadly and murderous as Nomad MK-15c, or simply Nomad. The probe’s purpose changed from scientific to genocidal after it merged with an alien probe during its routine voyage.
Originally meant to locate life in space, Nomad’s mission was warped into seeking the perfect lifeform and eliminating imperfections – a condition that applied to all living beings. In fact, Nomad casually reveals that it “sterilized” the entire Malurian population of four billion beings, and it intends to do the same to Earth.
6 The Borg Cubes
The only thing more powerful than conventional weaponry is that of the psychological kind, which the franchise’s most recognizable antagonists – the Borg – perfectly embody. The Collective’s drones are known and feared for assimilating their enemies, and the same goes for their vessels.
The Borg’s distinct Cubes embody their entire purpose for existing by not only destroying enemy ships but in absorbing its crew and resources as well. In doing so, the Borg’s mission to assimilate all sentient life by force is guaranteed to be an unstoppable, self-sustaining threat.
5 Species 8472 Bioships
Known for possibly being the only weapon in the galaxy that’s capable of easily destroying the Borgs’ feared cubes, Species 8472’s bioships are also known for inciting fear in the Collective’s otherwise mindless drones.
Though a single bioship is already deadly on its own, a small group of these specialized ships can unleash firepower equivalent to that of a planet-destroying superweapon. With the use of these ships, the relatively small but technologically-superior Species 8472 was able to wipe out tens of billions of Borg drones and hundreds of their planets.
4 The Abronath
Created by the inhabitants of the planet Altamid, the Abronath was a bioweapon too powerful even for its makers. In the hopes that no one would use the life-consuming cloud, its creators split the weapon and hurled its pieces into deep space. They then abandoned their homeworld, hoping that the weapon’s technology would be lost to time.
Krall, however, finds it with the intention of using it in his vengeance against Starfleet. It’s only through Kirk’s quick-thinking and luck that Krall becomes the only victim of the Abronath when he unleashes it in Starbase Yorktown.
3 Red Matter
Though it initially made for scientific and philanthropic reasons, the Red Matter – a substance capable of creating artificial black holes – is incredibly dangerous when used by the wrong people.
Following Spock Prime’s failure to save Romulus, an enraged Nero uses his mining ship Narada and a drop of the Red Matter to destroy the planet Vulcan to avenge his lost homeworld. As seen in the 2009 reboot, a small drop of the matter can make a planet-devouring black hole, while igniting a large quantity of it creates a massive all-consuming singularity.
2 The Doomsday Machine
Believed to have been made as a last resort to win a forgotten war, the ominous and massive Doomsday Machine was a superweapon that devoured entire planets for fuel. This ensured that the self-propelled weapon’s warpath would be endless.
Little is known about what Spock aptly dubbed the Planet Killer, save for the fact that it’s capable of disabling communications, has an impenetrable hull made of pure neutronium, and that it most probably destroyed its creators’ planet systems. Though the Enterprise only encountered it once, the Doomsday Machine remains a fan-favorite metaphor for the hubris of arms races.
1 The Krenim Temporal Weapon Ship
Superweapons are designed to wipe out an enemy force, but this Krenim warship takes this a step further by ending an enemy’s existence altogether. Not only can it quickly eliminate its targets, but it erases them from existence by pushing them out of the space-time continuum.
Aside from the existential threat it exudes by simply existing, the worst thing about this superweapon is how unpredictable its effects are. As its creators learned the hard way, erasing an entire enemy civilization from history alters both the present and future in often cataclysmic ways.