New Dawn Space Militarization Treaty

Honestly, that treaty has been amended so much it might as well be a naval dictionary now.
— Lt. Commander Jones, 359

The New Dawn Space Militarization Treaty, also known as the Trident Treaty, is an international treaty signed during 148 among Vesta's superpowers. The treaty was signed at the New Dawn Air and Space Conference, held in New Dawn, by all three members of MINERVA. Originally meant to slow the pace of space militarization and preserve the status quo among the administration, the treaty has since been used as the legal reference for the Vestan Aerospace Defense Force's ship roster.

Since its ratification in 148, the treaty has been amended numerous times, especially since the inception of the Vestan Federation. In addition to restricting the overall resources spent on military assets, the treaty also clearly defines and categorizes these assets into classes and imposes limits based on their destructive capabilities. Since the beginning of the 4th century, the treaty has become criticized for no longer restricting the arms race between the Federation and the Ascendancy, as the latter is not a signatory, and the document is being considered a bureaucratic inheritance rather than an actual treaty.


In the aftermath of the Colonial War, the quick pace of technological and engineering breakthroughs, which included numerous military applications, threatened MINERVA's careful balance. As Astrel, Navara and Yushan independently started the construction of their own space forces, the destructive capabilities of spaceborne weapons grew exponentially, leading to increasingly severe concerns of mutually assured destruction. In order to prevent yet another conflict, the administration's member states unanimously signed the New Dawn Space Militarization Treaty, limiting both the destructive capabilities of individual ships and their overall numbers.

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Arms control
May, 25th, 148
New Dawn
January, 1st, 149
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Yushan (prev.)
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Vestan Federation

While the treaty was successful in preserving the status quo between the members of the administration, its purpose changed with the founding of the Vestan Federation. Now applied to a single nation, the treaty served as a legal binding of the Vestan Defense Forces, restricting the growth of their spaceborne capabilities in relations to the people they are sworn to defend. This resulted in numerous amendments to the treaty, as the Federation's growth required more and more military presence. The most famous and controversial one is the 33rd amendment of 321, which allowed military ships to carry strategic nuclear weapons and revoked the individual tonnage limit of carriers. This has been interpreted as a major shift in Vestan defense policies, moving from a retaliation-only to a first strike capable force.


The treaty strictly limited both the overall tonnage and construction of military ships and included limits on the size of individual ships according to specific categories. Such limits include the equivalent power draw of a ship's weapons, its mass and its capabilities. The qualitative limits of each type of ship were as follows:

  • Assault carriers are defined as military ships equipped with a DSM drive and designed with less than 10GW-equivalent of armament and no less than 40% of their hull dedicated to aircrafts and troop transport. They are individually limited to 230 000 tons and 25GW power output. They are also restricted to an overall tonnage limit of 200 million tons. (Articles 7 and 8)
  • Battleships are defined as military ships equipped with a DSM drive, more than 10 GW-equivalent of armament and no less than 50% of its armament as kinetic energy weapons. They are individually limited to 190 000 tons and 30GW of power output. They are also restricted to an overall tonnage limit of 20 million tons. (Articles 9 and 10)
  • Destroyers are defined as military ships equipped with a DSM drive and with more than 10GW-equivalent of armament. They are individually limited to 140 000 tons and 20GW of power output. They are also restricted to an overall tonnage limit of 1 500 million tons. (Articles 11 to 13)
  • Frigates are defined as military ships equipped with a DSM drive and with less than 10GW-equivalent of armament. They are individually limited to 80 500 tons and 12GW of power output, as well as restricted to an overall tonnage of 200 million tons. (Articles 14 and 15)
  • Support vessels are defined as military ships equipped with a DSM drive and with less than 500MW-equivalent of armament. They are individually limited to 4GW of power output, but are not subjected to an overall tonnage restriction. (Article 17)
  • Corvettes are defined as military spacecrafts capable of sustaining supersonic flight within at atmospheric density of at least 1kg/m3. While these terms initially seemed broad, current technologies cannot sustain such feats on vessels large enough to carry conventional anti-ship weapons, let alone a DSM drive. As such, corvettes are not restricted in individual characteristics, but only by an overall tonnage of 10 million tons. (Article 16)
Furthermore, the treaty specifies what could be done to render a ship unsuited for military use, hereby removing the restrictions that were applied to it. In addition to scrapping and scuttling, they could also be converted as civilian ships, training ships or target ships. Doing so required the removal of all their armament, armor and other military components, replacing them with civilian variants if needed. (Articles 4 to 6)

The treaty also indicated that, in order to replace an existing ship, the old one must be decommissioned before the launch of the newer ship. This rule has been implemented to reduce the frauds related to ship constructions, which have been found common in the civilian industry. (Articles 2 and 3)


The treaty inadvertently led to the rise of numerous criminal organizations in the early 150s, as the sudden drop in military spending meant both less capabilities from MINERVA and an influx of abandoned projects and scrapped assets on the black market. This, in turn, eventually led to the launch of Operation Hades in 158. Despite these unfortunate consequences, the treaty was successful in preventing an uncontrollable arms race for space supremacy and helped shape modern space warfare doctrines.

Thanks to this treaty, modern space forces are now based around multiple vessels who, while individually moderately powerful, cannot be used as a subjugation force alone and instead act as support assets to ground forces. This denies any nation the capability to trigger mass extinction events through the use of military force, ensuring any conflict between major nations would be resolved with limited destruction.

The treaty's classification and restrictions based on arbitrary limits of mass, power generation and power usage has shaped the entire aerospace and defense industry, where a power plant's size and mass were as important as its effectiveness in ship construction. The same applied to any and every components of military ships, which eventually impacted the civilian ship building industry as well.

Cover image: Mars by The Expanse


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