This is a transitional page gathering and sorting initial thoughts about several technical topics arising from The Phantom Menace. The topics covered here may eventually be divided and integrated with other pages dealing with more general subjects. However the temporary organisation may turn out to be semi-permanent.
Thanks are due to, in alphabetic order:
The nature of the Trade Federation is something of a mystery. The movie and official publications suggest that it is a powerful mechantile organisation which possesses its own naval and military forces. The Jedi were not alarmed to see combat-capable droids and drone starfighters when they landed, so the existence of this sort of equipment must be common knowledge. However Jinn did exclaim when he saw their invasion vehicles being loaded, which implies that the Federation rarely assaults ground targets or invades populated worlds. [Episode I: Incredible Cross Sections makes this suggestion as well.]
The Trade Federation also has representation in the Galactic Senate. Have they acquired one or more sectors of space, enabling them to appoint senators? Or have they acquired their seat through less regular means? Do worlds signing Federation contracts or treaties like the one presented to Queen Amidala forfeit their rights of senatorial representation to the Federation and its executives?
What is the relationship between the Trade Federation and the Corporate Sector that was invented in Brian Daley's Han Solo novels and expounded in Han Solo and the Corporate Sector Sourcebook? The roleplaying game embellishments of the Corporate Sector idea suggest that this literally corporately-controlled region of space was connected with the rise of Palpatine. The prologue to the A New Hope novel mentions massive organs of commerce that aided Senator Palpatine. Perhaps the Trade Federation is one of the founders or partners in the Corporate Sector?
Some of the biggest mysteries of The Phantom Menace are concerned with the motives and methods of the Trade Federation. We gather that they are being hurt by some new traffic/trade taxes imposed by the Galactic Senate. It is obvious that they have a proclivity for invading worlds in the name of tax reform, but how exactly is the Naboo blockade and invasion supposed to work? What is the loophole they're hoping to exploit?
Does the galactic trading tax apply only to commercial shipping? If governmental shipping is untaxed, then perhaps the Federation's plan is to coerce local governments into outsourcing all shipping to the Federation's own freight services. This might explain why officials such as Nute Gunray are known as “trade viceroys” — by treaties with client worlds, these officers become the legal proxies for local kings and queens, in all matters affecting trade. (Ie. the term “viceroy” literally means one who substitutes or speaks for the king.)
The only living representatives of the Trade Federation seen so far have been Neimoidians. Each of them has had an individual costume comprising dull coloured robes and drapery, and invariably voluminous headgear as well. Episode I: Visual Dictionary suggests that the shape of the hat indicates the individual's general job description: whether a lawyer, financial officer or a starship officer. (For instance, the goggled chief controller and the flagship's captain, Daultay Dofine, share a tall, black mitre-like hat.
Several aspects of the Neimoidian costume are symbols that probably have meaning for Neimoidians as a species or within the Trade Federation specifically. Nute Gunray, the viceroy responsible for the Naboo blockade, has a pair of metallic triangular badges on the sides of his tiara. The design is ornamental, with a swirling pattern of curved gaps within the overall outline. This might be dismissed as an expression of individuality, if not for the fact that Senator Lott Dod also has a similar badge design on the sash of his costume. His badges are complete diamonds, roughly twice the size of Gunray's. It seems likely that these logos signify some aspect of a person's status or affiliation within the Trade Federation or within Neimoidian society.
There is another form of insignia carried by Gunray and other Neimoidians but not by Senator Dod or Rune Haako. Gunray has a heavy metallic collar, which descends in an arc about thirty centimetres down his chest, including twelve elongated platelets. The collar is divided into dozens of finger-thin vertical metal platelets, and there are more than thirty-two of them in sight going around his neck. Dofine wears something similar, but his collar is much narrower, with only eight of the long platelets. Perhaps these collars indicate an employee's position on the executive pay scale of the Trade Federation. If so, then Dod's lack of a collar could be understood if he forgoes his Federation salary while serving in the Galactic Senate. Alternatively, the collar may indicate rank in the corporate navy of the Trade Federation; this would explain why Rune Haako, an attorney assigned to the Naboo blockade, did not wear one of these collars. However this theory would be weakened if we include the five-plated cloth collar of Senator Dod's financial officer aide.
The triangular and diamond logos of Gunray and Dod, for comparison.
The collars of Gunray and Dofine for comparison.
Dofine and the Neimoidian pilot share a hat design, suggesting that this shape designates Federation starship crew.
Senator Dod and his aides, as depicted in the Visual Dictionary. The book suggests that the diamond point on a Neimoidian hat indicates a diplomatic role. The other parts of the hats of Dod and his diplomatic aide were shaped differently; those parts probably indicate other aspects of the status of the respective individuals.
Headgear of Rune Haako, designated as an attorney's cowl by the Visual Dictionary.
The Phantom Menace introduces several species that are represented by multiple onscreen individuals, and the Neimoidians are the most powerful of them. This is a valuable circumstance that invites comparisons between the characters in order to illuminate characteristics that go beyond the obvious biological facts.
The Episode I: Visual Dictionary reveals that the battle droids of the Trade Federation are designed to resemble dessicated Neimoidian corpses. This is the best available evidence concerning the internal structures and workings of the Neimoidian body. In particular, the dried Neimoidian head is long and narrow. Therefore the cheeks and most of the face must actually be sitting on top of a large amount of soft tissue that shrivels after death.
Individuals who are less healthy or less wed fed might have a more cylindrical head shape and facial features that resemble the battle droids' more closely. In every bridge scene in the Naboo blockade, the chief pilot Tey How did appear to have a narrower face than the prestigious Neimoidian officials above her. Furthermore, her mouth was narrower than the mouths of other Neimoidians, since it was able to fit completely under a speaker disk that seemed no wider than twelve centimetres across.
The gender of this individual may also be worth noting. The pilot may have been female; played by a daughter of George Lucas. This is only an extrinsic argument, and some male characters are known to have been played by actresses (eg. Greedo in A New Hope). However a gender difference might help explain why Tey How resembles the Neimoidian skeletal form more closely than the others.
The narrow-headed Neimoidian pilot resembles the battle droids better than the captain Daultay Dofine does. Perhaps this indicates poorer health or diet. The crewmen wear tall caps shaped similarly to Captain Dofine's. [E1:VD; TPM DVD]
Several sources are in conflict concerning the scale of vehicles and ships in The Phantom Menace. The numerous war machines and vessels of the Trade Federation are especially deserving of study because of their systematic nature and because the variety of spatial relationships between them which will provide tight geometric constraints on their sizes when enough stills from the movie are available for study. This will be done gradually according to the appearance of new resources.
The converted war freighter battleships of the Trade Federation are the ultimate point of reference, and there are signs that there may be some official disagreement about their scale. Orthogonal concept drawings leaked from ILM to the InterNet before the film's release depicted the war freighter beside a destroyer of the Galactic Empire; giving a diameter of only 1.4km. However Episode I: Incredible Cross-Sections states a diameter of 3170m. The latter length is more appropriate for a vessel called a “battleship”, even if it began its existence as a bulk freighter. If this is the benchmark for Trade Federation naval vessels, then their scale is only slightly smaller than that of the Galactic Empire and the preceding Old Republic, with its 2km Invincible-class and 0.9km Victory-class battlecruisers and destroyers. This kind of agreement is satisfying but it requires canonical photogrammetric verification. For the time being, the Incredible Cross-Sections reference should be given precedence, since leaked production sketches do not necessarily reflect the final state of ships in the movie. The size may have been revised upwards so that the carried craft would fit properly.
Other objects deserving inspection are the C-9979 landing ship, which have a wingspan of 140m or 150m in the leaked drawings of the warships and the smaller vehicles; or a 370m wingspan in the Incredible Cross-Sections. These vessels are constrained by the size of the hangar apertures of the war freighters. The drone starfighters are 3.5m between wingtips according to the Incredible Cross-Sections book, but there are times in the movie when eyeball estimates suggest a marginally greater size.
The vast war freighters of the Trade Federation blockade of Naboo are termed “battleships” by both the impersonal text at the start of The Phantom Menace and characters such as Ric Olie. This is naval terminology, so it is interesting to consider how well it holds, especially in comparisons with dedicated war fleets of other forces such as the Mon Calamari and the Imperial Starfleet (which was inherited from the galactic starfleet of the Old Republic, described in the literature but unseen in The Phantom Menace).
By definiton a “battleship” is one of the maximum vessels of its fleet, in terms of size, weaponry and armour. Since we do not see any other classes of warships in the Trade Federation fleet, this description seems consistent. If they are indeed the battleships of the Federation then we can be confident that the Federation owns no larger combat vessels, and none should appear in the continuing licensed literature. (Contrast this with the star destroyers of the Galactic Empire which were implicitly named as mid-sized warships in A New Hope, and which function as such. Their status was confirmed by the appearance of battlecruisers, the Executor and other great warships in the subsequnt movies and the comics.)
If the Federation battleships are about two miles across, as indicated in Episode I: Incredible Cross-Section, then their size is fairly consistent with the classification scales of the Mon Calamari and the Galactic Empire. Home One, the largest Mon Calamari vessel at the Battle of Endor, is greater than two but less than three miles long. Imperial star destroyers are on the order of a mile long, which may consistent if the Trade Federation and galactic Starfleet share scale standards for mid-range vessels. However the biggest Imperial warships, which much define the “battleship” scale of the Old Republic and Imperial Starfleets, are up to eleven miles long (eg. the Executor and Eclipse classes). Therefore the top-end standards of the Federation are more technically modest than the official galactic navy.
The Trade Federation battleships are slow; they do not accelerate very well. Despite a huge head-start, they were easily overtaken by Queen Amidala's yacht when she fled her planet, even though both the yacht and the nearest battleship were headed (and accelerating) in the same direction. In similar situations [ANH, TESB] star destroyers can run down even a heavily modified smuggler vessel like the Millennium Falcon or a so-called “blockade runner”. The Federation's lack of screening vessels and fast but powerful mid-size warships was a major flaw in their handling of the Naboo blockade. They surrounded the globe of Naboo with numerous battleships (according the TPM novel), but weight of numbers may be less important than having a balance of vessels with different capabilities. They might have been better off with a more bottom-heavy fleet breakdown more like the Empire's at Endor in ROTJ: 1 battleship/commandship (Executor), 1 battlecruiser or cruiser (the “communications ship” in the novel), and about twenty destroyers.
The defensive capabilities of the Federation battleships were formidable. In the final battle, the droid control ship's shielding rendered the Naboo fighter attack almost ineffectual. This is consistent with the representation of fighter vs warship battles in the mechanics of the old STAR WARS Roleplaying Game, and in the Battle of Endor where bombardments by rebel cruisers were needed to create opportunities for fighters. (However the different weighting and emphasis of the fighter-centric computer games and the X-Wing comics and novels provides a few remarkable examples of warships rendered temporarily vulnerable by fighters alone.) Star destroyers can be casually incapacitated by a few blasts from heavy ground fire from surface guns like the ion cannon used by the Hoth rebels, so it would be interesting to learn the effect of a similar barrage against well a Federation battleship (or a larger Imperial vessel for that matter). A legitimate government ought to be able to buy artillary at least as good as the blackmarket weaponry obtained by the Rebel Alliance, but idyllic Naboo might have neglected its defences.
Although the Trade Federation made a good investment in shield generators, their battleships' aggressive potential was poor for to the vessels' size. A ship that is purposely designed for battle has a minimal surface area compared to its volume; because each unit area of a ship's hull is another potential site for enemy attack. A ship with as many large protruding sections as the Federation's battleships is more exposed than a vessel of the same mass which is formed into a compact body. A complicated, uncompact shape means that the ship self-obstructs its own guns; a smooth, compact hull like the elegant dagger-like Imperial warships ensures a maximum field of fire for any particular emplacement. Therefore the Federation battleship gives enemy fighters plenty of opportunity for shelter which a dedicated warship would not. The abundance of large and small hangar apertures is another obvious recipe for disaster: they make cargo transfer efficient (which is good for commercial purposes) but they also facilitate the entry of hostile objects.
The movie resents us with a vital insight into the interal environment of the Trade Federation battleship, and hence the Neimoidians' favoured physical living conditions. The special incident is when the two Jedi fugitives leap to the deck of the main hold, from a ventillation chute several levels above. This allows us to calculate the strength of the ship's artificial gravity.
Judging by the scale of the nearby droids, (~1.8m tall = 33 pixels high for the trio on the far right), the vertical distance of the jump was ~7.5m. (112 pixel raw height multiplied by 133/109 perspective factor relative to the droid trio, determined by parallel lines on the deck.) According to fuzzy amateur recordings, the fall took about 0.90s (21 - 22 frames, at 24 frames per second). Assuming constant gravitational acceleration and that the Jedi fall from an initial condition of rest, this makes the ambient gravitational field strength 18.6m/s², or about 1.9 times terrestrial gravity.
This result must be treated with some care. Firstly, if air resistance slowed the Jedi descent then the true strength of the ship's gravity is somewhat greater. Secondly, the calculation assumes that the gravitational field has the same strength throughout the fall; if it is stronger at greater heights then the men accelerated more near the start of their fall, and the gravity near the deck may be much lighter. (Why the ship would designed with gravity varying dramatically over just a few decks is hard to justify though.) Thirdly, the duration of fall may have been shortened if the Jedi actively thrust themselves downwards at the start of the fall; the calculation above assumes that they started at rest. Fourthly, the amateur recordings might have a timing glitch, and this possiblity can only be eliminated when genuine videotapes or DVDs are available for inspection. (Nevertheless the scene's timing looks qualitatively the same to a careful and deliberate observer in the cinema.) However all of these explanations and excuses are extreme; the speed of the fall is visibly surprising and strongly suggests that Neimoidian standard gravity is appreciably stronger than Earth's standard (and also more than Coruscant gravity, if roleplaying game planetary statistics are to be believed).
Interior of the main hold of Trade Federation battleship. The two Jedi prepare to jump. Considering the speed of their landing, they must have used special Jedi powers of dexterity or self-telekinesis to soften the violence of impact. [CINEFEX]
Several views towards the front of the first flagship's bridge, preceding and during the Jedi confrontation. Droid sailors operate consoles whilst standing; they don't need rest, unlike the Neimoidian officers. Compare the last two images carefully: the Neimodians' platform is vertically mobile, and at least one of the ceiling panels is movable as well.
The back of the battleship bridge has more consoles and droid operators but no windows since it faces into the body of the bridge tower. This part of the bridge is dominated by a thick column structure.
A large circular, flat screen stands at the port side of the bridge. When idle, the screen relaxes to a rippling metallic surface, with an almost mesmerising effect.
Several views of the bridge door and closing blast-doors during the confrontation with Master Jinn. The doorway is on the starboard side of the bridge. Somehow Jinn endures the radiant heat of the molten metal near his bare hands.
T-junction of corridors leading to the bridge of the first flagship shown in the movie. As viewed from the blast door, the left corridor extends six units before turning right. Droidekas came from the central corridor, which also has a distant bend.
This bridge is not the one attacked by the Jedi. It only has a transverse corridor outside it (seven menial droids wander past in that direction). The damaged bridge had a T-junction outside its blast door. From the bridge, one could look through the doorway straight down the corridor comprising the stem of the “T”.
In the Battle of Geonosis, the spherical core sections of Trade Federation battleships were caught by surprise in docking pits on the planetary surface. They were undergoing upgrades to coordinate the new models of battle droids, and receiving cargoes of droids and other war materiel. It is interesting to consider the size of the military force that escaped aboard each core ship that successfully fled to space.
The cargo capacity of each core ship is about 66 million cubic metres [AOTC:ICS]. A dormant, folded battle droid occupies no more than a third of a cubic metre [TPM, AOTC movies]. Therefore there were almost 200 million inactive droids aboard any core ship that dedicated its holds entirely to either the basic model or “super” battle droid.
One of the most interesting aspects of the droid control ship was the manner of its destruction. This is the first time that the demise of such a large vessel has been shown in such extravagant detail in the STAR WARS canon. The Death Stars exploded rapidly and with such violence that no details of their internal structure could be determined; and the Executor plunged to its doom intact until it was hidden from sight by flame. Realistic wreckage from many medium and large starships was seen in the Dark Empire comic series, but The Phantom Menace marks the first showing of such technically explicit scenes in a STAR WARS film.
The first interesting aspect of the ship's destruction was the place where it started. In internal views, it seemed that Skywalker's starfighter came to rest at a wall marking the deepest point of the main hold of the starboard arm of the control ship. The small reactors he hit were at the end of one of a series of corridors running radially outwards from the hold. (As an aside, the length of these corridors could be estimated and used to provide lower limit estimates on the thickness of the ring and the ship's diameter.) The relatively small explosions seen on the ship's hull are approximate markers of the fighter's position, which constrains the angular extent of the hold within the arm, and it also suggests how far the reactors and related systems extend vertically through that point of the ring.
The second interesting thing to note is the effective containment of the damage. Somehow the worst havoc was contained in a local cross-section of the starboard arm, so that the end of the arm was severed neatly at that point rather than shattering along its entire length. This could mean several things. It may be that the reactor Skywalker shot has no physical connection with neighbouring reactors, or there may be effective safety systems that damped any chain-reaction. It may be that these pilot reactors were the only devices of their kind (or otherwise liable to explode) within the arm. Perhaps the clean cut indicates something about the nature of the explosion itself; there may have been other reactors ready to explode, but the local explosion outran its tendency to ignite neighbouring machinery, separating vulnerable devices before they could be destabilised. Alternatively, it may be the ship's structural simplicity that inhibited the explosion's propagation along the starboard arm: the ship's internal modularity and vacuousness, combined with the presence of massive sealing doors between holds. (Because of their emptiness and compartmentalisation, tankers and supertankers have proven surprisingly durable in conflicts such as WW2 and the Iran-Iraq war on Earth.)
The third interesting point is the comparative violence of the explosion of the main reactor in the ship's central sphere. Some part of the initial explosion in the docking arm managed to reach the sphere without affecting the outward appearance of the hull in intervening parts of the vessel. This means that the propagation was rapid, relatively non-destructive and internal. The reason for the central explosion being larger must have something to do with the storage and generation of greater concentrations of energy in the bulb. However the fact that this detonation did not consume the entire remaining hulk of the ship means that either this power technology is less prone to catastrophe than the Death Stars were, and/or the amount of stored energy was much less per unit mass of the vessel.
The consequences of the contol ship's destruction are also interesting to consider. Since the explosion was nuclear, antimatter annihilation or a more exotic technology, there ought to have been an appreciable burst of radiation like a nuclear explosion enlarged by orders of magnitude. The remaining arms of the ship did not suffer severe physical effects, and the Naboo pilots would have been well shielded inside their fighters. However invisible effects like an elevtromagnetic pulse could have damaged unshielded machinery in surrounding space and perhaps on parts of the planet below. In material terms, the explosion is unlikely to have affected the planet to the same extent as the explosion of a Death Star or similar calamities. The ship is not massive enough to cause a major global catastrophe. Its porous mass might be sufficient to leave a crater of several kilometres in diameter, with an impact much greater than any terrestrial nuclear weapon. Dust ejecta from such a collision might cool the Naboo climate for years, like the largest of volcanic eruptions on Earth. However it isn't large enough to smother great portions of the globe. The dismembered docking arm seemed to be moving away from the ship's body at only a few dozens or hundreds of metres per second, which is not fast compared to the velocity differences needed in order for a piece to descend to the planet's surface. The ship several planetary diameters away from Naboo and probably in a natural stationary orbit without repulsorlift support, so its remains would not tend to fall from the sky.
The Trade Federation droid control ship exploded in a spectacular but subdued manner, exposing parts of the ship's interior and providing hints about its functioning.
The array of Trade Federation starships and vehicles seen in The Phantom Menace is impressive, but there are a few hints of other items that may exist in their inventory.
Trade Federation ship over Tatooine, shortly before TPM [Prelude to Rebellion].
Partial view of a landed Trade Federation shuttle.
Operation, Autonomy & Failure
The battle droids on the plains south of Theed fell inert when their control ship was destroyed. Does this mean that all the droids are always incapable of autonomous action? How much of their behaviour is controlled remotely?
Total remote control has practical disadvantages that are milder than vulnerability to the mothership's possible destruction. (The military designers of the Trade Federation probably assumed that the droid control ships were invulnerable, or that a continued fight would be pointless in the event of the flagship's loss.) Control transmissions may be susceptible to jamming or natural interference. (This would not be a danger in the campaign against the Naboo, who lacked communications gear able to compete with the Trade Federation's equipment.) However over orbital distances, communications time-lags would amount to appreciable fractions of a second (assuming that supralight hyperwave communications are impractical), slowing the individual droids' reflexes until they became comparable with human reaction time, if not slightly slower.
Episode I: Visual Dictionary and Incredible Cross-Sections give emphasis to the enslavement of the battle droids to computers and Neimoidian operators aboard the Federation flagship, but the wider situation must be more complicated than real-time tele-operation.
The behaviour of some of the battle droids seen in the movie proves that they enjoy at least some autonomy. Droid officers receive verbal orders from the Neimoidian leaders, often via holographic transmissions. If they were slaved to the computers aboard the Trade Federation mothership then this personal communication would be pointless; the Viceroy could simply order that the appropriate instructions be inserted into the droids' programmed imperatives. Droid officers demonstrate initiative and intelligence in several instances (eg. seeking permission to search for Gungan villages), and even the enlisted-level security droids show signs of personality (eg. hesitancy when faced with Jedi). The pilot droids of the ordinary war freighters obviously must operate without dependence on the droid control ship (otherwise the crew would collapse when the ships were separated), but this could be explained if all the Federation ships had onboard droid control systems capable of handling droids at short range.
The plain and numerous infantry droids who fought the Gungans are a different matter. They were explicitly activated by a remote operator on the Trade Federation control ship. This is often interpreted as proof that the infantry droids, or perhaps all battle droids, are mindless marionettes. However officer droids on the field also gave verbal commands, which would be redundant if the infantry lacked autonomy altogether. (Verbal commands would be easier to explain away if the Federation forces were fighting in coordination with living armies.)
More importantly, there is the problem of virtual omniscience and omnipresence: if the droids' sensors were all linked to a single control computer then the experiences of one droid would affect the actions of the others. When the Jedi freed Queen Amidala from her security droid escorts, the other droids in the city should have known about it and pursued immediately. The droids in the Theed hangar would have been forewarned against these dangerous humans.
The distribution of command and control in the droid army must be complicated and possibly hierarchic. (To maximise tactical- and cost-efficiency, the rarer officer units may benefit from more expensive droid brains, allowing them to act with some independence while their dull and numerous subordinates are enslaved.) It seems likely that the remote control involves deployment and enablement, but only higher-level tactical and strategic coordination, and not the direction of each droid's individual joints. The diagrams in the Visual Dictionary indicate that a spike under the head stores motion programming within each droid, which probably is downloaded once per battle and need not involve continuous two-way communications with the mothership. Commands appear to be routed through droid officers and perhaps key vehicles as well.
Queen Amidala and her planners knew that damaging the control ship would assist the Gungans, but they did not necessarily expect complete deactivation of all droids. The absence of the control ship would be expected to undermine the coordination of the Federation army. However the actual extent of the droids' disablement seemed to be as much a surprise to Captain Tarpals and General Binks as their foes.
The complete failure of the droids after the control ship's elimination may be due not to the absence of the ship, but to the manner of its destruction. If the control signals were still being transmitted when the vessel blew apart, the spasms of meaningless commands may have caused the droids to crash. If the transmissions were powerful, or if the ship's explosion generated a gamma ray burst (like that of an atomic detonation) then the droids' receivers and other electronics may have been fried. The control ship appeared to orbit directly above the battleground, and therefore all the droids would have had a line-of-sight to any deadly electromagnetic pulse produced by the explosion.
Other theories about the droids' operational dependency and collapse on Naboo include:
Several types of Trade Federation battle droids, as shown in Episode I: Visual Dictionary. Interestingly, they all have a bolt on the chest, which looks like a smaller version of the restraining bolts used for domestic droids in A New Hope.
The head and communications gear of the standard infantry battle droid, according to Episode I: Visual Dictionary. The identification of a “sampled movement cycle memory” implies that the droid motions are somewhat autonomous, although they may depend on the mothership and officer droids in other, more subtle and mysterious ways.
Battle droids of the Trade Federation are remarkably susceptible to malfunction when their control ship is destroyed.
The battle droids of the Trade Federation are exceptionally inclined to fall apart or lose pieces when they are damaged or disabled. This may not just be a sign of unsturdy manufacture, it may be a deliberate design feature intended to maximise the droids' worth indirectly.
An inoperative droid is bound to lose its balance, one way or another. Falling to the dround risks breaking parts or joints. However if the droid is constructed to become limp or to even disassemble spontaneously, its pieces will fall separately and may be less likely to suffer permanent harm.
Ruining one part of a battle droid would not ruin the whole machine. As we saw in The Phantom Menace, small clean-up droids are dispatched after a battle to gather the spent droid parts. Once aboard the mothership or a secure Trade Federation facility, the unharmed modules could be reassembled into working droids without regard for the droid identities of the previous engagement. In this way the Federation could effectively recover a majority of the total number of droids who fell.
The shield capabilities of the droideka “destroyer droids” are discussed in general terms in the page about Technology in The Phantom Menace.
Several specific facts are known about the shield capabilities relative to weapons of the STAR WARS universe:
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