A sensor array is any device or structure devised to house sensors on-board a ship or station. Typically sensors fall into four categories: long-range, scientific, navigational, and tactical. In Starfleet practice, long-range sensor arrays are placed around or behind the main deflector dish. Scientific, short-range, and navigational sensors are installed along lateral surfaces or on platforms. Tactical sensors can also be found on lateral surfaces, or in recesses and "blisters" along the hull. All are installed in a manner that allows for maximum coverage with minimum interference from other ship/station structures.
Sensors are normally kept in instrument pallets, and arrays are constructed to allow quick change-outs and maintenance of these pallets (via a Sensor Maintenance Bay). Operations is in charge of maintaining and operating sensor in standard situations. Approximately two-thirds of an array may house pallets, allowing for the addition of mission-specific sensors as the need arises. Besides instrumentation, a sensor array pallet also includes a microwave power feed, optical data net links , cyrogenic cooling feeds, mechnical mounting points, four sets of steering servo clusters, and two data subprocessor computers.