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Deflective hull plating (abbreviated DHP) was a new technology developed by Starfleet in 2381 prompted by the outbreak of the Coalition War, and sponsored by Admiral Dustin McCloud. (Star Trek: Pioneer)
Purpose and DevelopmentEdit
The purpose of DHP was to render a Starfleet vessel virtually invisible to enemy sonar and sensors. DHP was designed to be a state of the art stealth material that could completely cover a small ship. Most of the technology involved was adapted from the advance technology that had been found attached to the USS Voyager (NCC-74656) upon its return home. (VOY: "Endgame")
One early idea was to add miniature mirrors onto the plates to deflect light away from the hull of the ship, thus making it invisible to the naked eye. Hence the name deflective hull plating. In addition new protocols were programed to control the ship's own signature from enemy sensors. When activated, the DHP protocols would automatically key in and hide the ship's signature by masking it with a signature of the surrounding space particles.
Due to the Treaty of Algeron of 2311 between the Romulan Star Empire and the United Federation of Planets, the Federation could not to develop cloaking technology. As a result Federation scientists had to come up with a way of creating a cloaking device that would not violate the terms of the treaty. After the return of the USS Voyager (NCC-74656), they believed that they had found their means. (TNG: "The Pegasus")