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A high-energy turn (HET) is a maneuver that allows one to turn a starship very rapidly. The odds of success varies greatly upon the mass of the starship in question. By using additional energy, the ship can be made to turn at a much higher rate than usual. This allows a ship to make up to a 180° turn nearly instantaneously.
There are also drawbacks to performing high-energy turns. The hull, systems, and crew take a tremendous strain. Eventually this strain will result in a breakdown. Some ships are better at making HETs without having a breakdown and ships with superior flight controllers can make more HETs without suffering a breakdown.
It is also called a "warp turn" because performing an HET requires the generation of a warp field. Also, it requires some time to allow the warp field to be created and, as such, using HETs can be quite tricky. (Starfleet Command (game))
Six modes are possible as to the use of an high-energy turn: left/right 90 degrees, left/right 135 degrees, 180 degrees and a "free-angle mode" However, using any manner of HET costs 5 movement points' worth of energy. This means that it is a challenge to use HET properly, if at all, on small ships; even though you have much greater odds of success in frigates or destroyers, five points from an energy pool can be a significant drain.
In the TNG era, the energy cost of performing an high-energy turn is no greater than that of normal movement, even if you create a warp field to do so. Thus all ships can perform high-energy turns regardless of their energy pool. However, there is no button with a preset angle at which to make an HET.
- It is unclear if the decrease in energy expenditures to perform high-energy turns over time was due to technological advances between the late 23rd century and the 24th century or a shift in game mechanics.
It could be used defensively to make your strongest shields face the side taking the most damage, as it could be used to perform surprise attacks or to otherwise make the weapons arcs face weakened shields.