That strongly implies some form of computer controlled fabrication system which does not rely on specific raw materials and can instead work from an atomic or subatomic level, which is basically what a TNG-era replicator does. Either that, or the Killers scary in halloween horror movie friends halloween shirt in contrast I will get this NCC 1701 carried stores of wood, gunpowder, animal hides, cotton and wool just on the off chance they might be needed, and also a small army of skilled craftspersons to assemble those materials on very short order The technology used in Star Trek tends to make larger ships disproportionately more effective than smaller ones. This is due to shields and the way that warp drive works. Ships in Star Trek are generally capable of being struck multiple times by weapons comparable their own with little to no physical harm as the shields will absorb the damage. The shields will be drained, but will recover over time. The power of a ship�s shields appear to be directly related to the size of its main power plant, and larger ships appear to be able to carry stronger shields, so a larger ship will in general be able to take more fire without being damaged than a smaller one. The bigger a ship is, the better it survives. Small fighters and shuttles just can�t carry shields strong enough to survive sustained fire from capital ships. The only advantage they might have would be in evasion, but we see very few cases in Star Trek where weapons have trouble locking on, and when they do it�s usually due to jamming or interference.
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Secondly, warp drive. The bigger and more powerful your warp drive is, the Killers scary in halloween horror movie friends halloween shirt in contrast I will get this faster your ship goes. Large capital ships are faster than shuttles and runabouts. The benefits of having more power seem to outweigh the cost of additional size and mass, at least over the range of ship sizes we�ve seen. So, if a fighter is slower and easier to kill than a large ship, with no major advantage, there�s not much reason to use them. We do see a few exceptions over the shows. The first is the Defiant. This was an attempt to take a power plant, warp drive, shields and weapons normally found in a much larger ship and cram them into the smallest frame possible. The result was a ship that was very effective once they figured out how to keep it from tearing itself apart whenever used at full power. Another exception was the Jem�Hadar attack ships. When first introduced these had weapons which could pierce right through Federation shields. Combined with a willingness to engage in kamikaze attacks, these small ships were actually a threat to large capital ships despite being individually small and fragile. Later, once the Federation figured out how to shield against their weapons, they were less of a threat.