Warships of the Empire

This is an exploration of the common and universal features of Imperial warship technology. A catalogue of vessel designs is presented to help redress imbalances and incompleteness in existing coverage of the Imperial Starfleet's composition.


This page consists of a catalogue of currently-known classes of dagger-form warships. Commentary on general issues including nomenclature and design can be found in the main document. There is a deliberate emphasis on ships of the Palpatine Era and its immediate aftermath. Information contained in this listing is based on objective analyses of imagery from major battles and other well-documented naval gatherings. The list is inevitably incomplete, and from time to time some of statistics and ship designations may require adjustment.

The dimensions of many of these ships have been determined according to scaling cues in available illustrations. The most important cues are the known dimensions of the standard KDY command tower, and the diameter of its scanner globes. Sometimes the subject vessel is depicted beside a better-known ship, which can act as a yardstick. In many cases no precise calculation is possible other than upper and/or lower bounds on the ship's length. All measurements stated here should be considered tentative; subject to revision upon more precise geometric study.

In most cases the official name of a vessel class is unknown, even when the capabilities and features of the design have been observed in detail. The engineers and shipbuilders would follow the convention of naming each new class of warship after its first member. The STAR WARS literature is, by its very construction, a translation from another language “a long time ago”, and therefore the English language conventions and nomenclature apply implicitly and necessarily. For many entries in the listing below, the name of only one representative ship is known. In those cases, the known ship's name is provisionally used to label the entire class, in lieu of the name of the original lead vessel. This naming procedure is not dogmatic; The catalogue will be updated whenever the true designations are discovered.

Comparison Diagram

The diagram below shows some of the vessels described in the catalogue, in approximately consistent orientations and to approximately the same scale. Unfortunately less detail is available for some ships than for others, due to variable source quality. Some ship designs have been omitted altogether, when present observations are inadequate for the construction of a standardised broadside image. Where necessary or desirable, photocomposite images have been constructed to fit known features of vessels whose primary image sources are drawings rather than genuine photographs.

The diagram acts as a clickable image-map, linking to the appropriate sections of the catalogue.

[This image is copyright 1997 Curtis Saxton, to the extent of its original photocomposite imagery. Original source materials are, of course, copyright Lucasfilm Ltd and are employed here under Fair Usage terms.]

corvette #2 frigate #1 Immobiliser-418 Enforcer Demolisher Victory Victory II destroyer #1 modular hauler destroyer #2 Imperator Imperator II Imperator III? Dominator interdictor-destroyer destroyer #3 Allegiance Allegiance crusier #1 crusier #1 crusier #2 crusier #2 crusier #2 crusier #3 crusier #3 crusier #4 crusier #4 crusier #4 crusier #4 crusier #5 crusier #5 crusier #5 Vengeance Vengeance Vengeance Giel's battleship Giel's battleship Giel's battleship battleship #2 battleship #2 battleship #2 battleship #3 battleship #3 battleship #3 battleship #3 Sovereign Sovereign Sovereign Sovereign Sovereign Executor Executor Executor Executor Eclipse Eclipse Eclipse Eclipse Eclipse Eclipse Eclipse Eclipse Eclipse

[warship comparison diagram]

[anonymous star monitor #1]

LENGTH:< 0.3km (approx.)
SIGHTING: Near The Wheel, shortly post-Yavin. [Marvel STAR WARS]

This small naval vessel has some characteristics in common with the Imperial Starfleet's warships. Triple scanner globes stand at the top of a modest command tower, which is not exactly the same as that found on larger warships, because a vessel which is only a few hundred metres long does not need and cannot physically accommodate such a large command module. There are two vaguely cylindrical sublight thrusters.

Two large, slender-barrel turbolaser turrets, possibly similar to the sixty-four big guns of the Imperator-class star destroyer, are mounted one on each wing of the ship. Those would be the biggest conventional turbolasers observed. The vessel is corvette-sized of smaller, however its oversized guns imply that it would more properly be designated as a monitor.

A peculiar rudder-like vane protrudes down from the stern end of the ventral surface. The vane's function is unknown. It might be like the tail of an Acclamator or Venator, containing hyperdrive, inertial or heat disposal systems.

The ship is much slower than a destroyer or larger warship. It couldn't keep pace with the Millennium Falcon, which star destroyers have consistently managed to overhaul in chases.

Some images of the ship are open to the possiblity that the front end of the dagger superstructure may be truncated. The triangular sides may be bent.

* * * *
This star monitor under one Commander Strom pursued the Millennium Falcon out of a restricted naval containment zone and into the vicinity of The Wheel casino space station, in an adventure occurring sometime very soon after the Battle of Yavin.

[anonymous star corvette #1]

LENGTH:0.2km (approx.)
SIGHTING: “Jellyfish Cove” penal colony.

This small and stubby craft has four sublight thursters with their nozzles arranged in a single bank. The ship is small enough to fly in atmosphere and land on solid planetary surfaces. Two irregular protrusions on the dorsal surface, port and starboard, resemble large gun turrets or else some kind of sensor tower. An asymmetric mass sprouts from the aft end of the starboard brim line; whether this is a permanent feature and the nature of its function are unknown. The hull alloy is dark, and planar exoskeletal sections clad nearly all of the hull. A kind of command tower sits high on the dorsal surface, close to the stern, though the ship itself is smaller than the standard tower design of ships of the line.

* * *

[anonymous star corvette #2]

LENGTH:< 0.4km (approx.)
SIGHTING: Between Battles of Yavin and Hoth?

This ship is drawn on the cover of the collected version of the comic Classic STAR WARS: The Early Adventures. There are very few cues to scale, other than the fact that it is visually associated with a star destroyer of the Imperator class. (They appear to be part of the same scene, in formation and heading in parallel directions with the same orientation.) Unfortunately the ships don't visually overlap, so the scaling is weakly constrained.

However the level of detail of this stubby ship compares to that of the irregular texturing of a star destroyer, implying a similar viewing range, and that this vessel is smaller. It still has a distinctly dagger-like form, with a command tower and ventral bulb. The tower is unlike the form of larger KDY designs, which is understandable since the whole hull is probably not much longer than the width of a standard star destroyer command module.

Corvette in formation with a destroyer, which is largely obscured by foreground text.

[prison ship #1]

LENGTH:> 0.36km
SIGHTING: Formos, near Kessel [Way of the Wookiee]

This vessel is not strictly a warship, though its shape and the armoured character of its hull suggest that it was designed to be durable in a warzone or other conditions where attack is likely. The dagger-like main hull is slender for its length. The number of thrusters is unclear, but there is no protruding ventral globe. The prison ship's main reactor must be smaller relative to the ship's mass than is the case with many combat warships [eg. Imperator].

The size of this class of vessel is uncertain, but it can be estimated from the fact that the Millennium Falcon could be brought into a hangar via the single ventral bay [somewhere between Kessel and Kashyyyk, Way of the Wookiee]. In this image the diameter of the freighter is 57 pixels at a point where the beam illuminating it is 76 wide. Between the Falcon's position and the prison ship in the background, the outline of the beam converges by a factor 2.5 (due to perspective effects). Here, the length of the ventral bay is about 24/242 of the ship's length. In order to for the aperture to fit, the ship must therefore be substantially greater than 13.4 times the Falcon's diameter, in other words something over 360m.

* *
Chewbacca and Han Solo encountered an Imperial prison ship apparently under the command of a Colonel Quirt, an army officer. Perhaps management of prisoner labour is a responsibility of ground forces or marines? Quirt is collecting prison labour from the planet Formos, on his way to Kessel and its Imperial spice mines. These smugglers have jettisoned their cargo before capture, which is behavior that will not endear them to their employer, Jabba the Hutt.

[prison ship #2]

WIDTH:> ~0.14km
SIGHTING: [Way of the Wookiee] Formos, near Kessel

Another class of heavily armoured prison ships, of a size similar to the one used by Colonel Quirt [Way of the Wookiee]. The main difference is this ship's boxier sides and a gap at the prow, apparently forming mandibles. Laser cannons are visible around the brim and the single dorsal terrace. They may number at least six per side.

In available images, the prison ship appears to have a width five or more times (180/36) the diameter of the Millennium Falcon. In other words, over 135m wide. The length and depth are less certain, but it may be in the same size range as the other dagger-style prison ship.

There is a possiblity that the two are the same ship, but that would require some movement or modification of the prow. This prison ship has a square-ended prow, whereas the other has mandibles. Perhaps a block detaches or moves between the mandibles?

The Millennium Falcon in a close encounter with an Imperial prison ship.

[anonymous star frigate #1]

LENGTH:0.49 – 0.56 km
MANUFACTURER:    Kuat Drive Yards ?
SIGHTING: En route from Outer Rim Territories to Coruscant, roughly 1 year before Palpatine's fall. [Marvel STAR WARS

A small vessel built near the low extreme of the size range for which the common Imperial warship design principles and aesthetics apply. (Many smaller frigate and corvette designs cannot attain the dagger-like form, eg. KDY's Nebulon-B).

The command tower, which looks like the Kuat Drive Yards brand, is in direct contact with the dorsal hull, without being raised on a tower pylon like those of larger warships. Behind this module there is a sloped ridge running down to the stern, resembling a shallower version of the back of the larger command towers. Twin scanner globes are the best yardstick for this ship, determining a length of 490m, or perhaps slightly greater on account of the depicted ships' orientation. Judging this angle by the ellipticity of the image of the thruster nozzles, the true length may be 560m.

The brim trench is thin and runs from the bow to a point roughly halfway to the stern. Behind this area, an engine shaft protrudes on each side. The power systems of the two sublight engines are roughly cylindrical, like those of Accalamator transports, or the vastly larger versions on Venator, Vengeance and Executor designs. The bulging of the propulsion systems beyond the main hull plates implies that this class has a high power to mass ratio.

A star frigate in Admiral Giel's aramada, with two thrusters and possibly the smallest hull known to fit the standard KDY bridge tower of the Imperial era. The neck is almost absent. [Marvel STAR WARS]

Immobiliser-class picket ship

MANUFACTURER:    Sienar Fleet Systems
SIGHTING: Numerous and galaxy-wide.

This frigate-sized special-purpose vessel was the first warship of the Imperial Starfleet to be produced with gravity well generators as standard weaponry [Imperial Sourcebook]. The interdiction fields generated by these ships inhibit or terminate hyperdrive travel for other ships in the vicinity. A tiny and cheap vessel in comparison to most modern warships, the Immobiliser is also under-gunned for its size. Commanders of these ships avoid engagement with significant enemy warships. Instead the interdictor will usually remain on the periphery of the battle zone, preventing the hyperjump escape of enemy vessels during coordinated actions with genuine combat ships and starfighter squadrons. Immobilisers are also used in customs picket and blockade operations, drawing starships from hyperspace for inspection.

Immobiliser-418 interdictor as shown in the in-game databank in X-Wing vs TIE Fighter.

* * * * *
Nearly photorealistic images of most of the important surfaces of an interdictor from Balance of Power. Interestingly, this cutscene version is enhanced to a triple-engine drive system, contradicting the in-game model. A small docking bay is visible forward of the front artificial gravity-well projectors.

* *
Schematics and sketch for Immobiliser-class picket ship from Essential Guide to Vehicles & Vessels.

Enforcer-class picket ship

MANUFACTURER:    Sienar Fleet Systems / Kuat Drive Yards
SIGHTING: Numerous in regions of Pentastar Alignment, after Battle of Endor.

Manufactured only within the region of influence of the Pentastar Alignment, under post-Endor warlord Grand Moff Ardus Kaine. These vessels were developed from by researchers of KDY and SFS who were left on Kaine's side of the border between the Alignment and the New Republic. It is based on the shell of the SFS Immobiliser-418 interdictor, but the gravity well generators have been removed, while propulsion systems and armaments have been much upgraded.

These cheap vessels were often employed for border patrol, travelling in groups of two, four or sometimes six. The choice of this small patrol ship as a principal component of Kaine's fleet reflects the stringent concerns of efficiency and manufacturing cost with the dwindling of the resource bases of all the rogue-Imperial warlords.

* * * *
A fan-made representation of the Enforcer, created by removing the gravity well generators from an Immobiliser-418. Further screenshots show views of the Enforcer compared to a Imoobiliser-418 (in background). Matthew Travis made this X-Wing: Alliance custom ship. [It is against this site's usual policy to post fan-art, but the modification from Immobiliser-418 to Enforcer is straightforward enough to justify this rendering.]

[Demolisher-class star frigate]

LENGTH:0.495 - 0.580km
MANUFACTURER:    Sienar Fleet Systems ???
SIGHTING: Tarnoonga; Tamuz-an [Droids cartoon]

In the Droids cartoons a band of vicious pirates led by the nefarious Kybo Ren-Cha possessed a small stolen warship built to the standard wedge form. Subtle scale cues in the cartoon suggest that the ship is significantly smaller than an Imperator-class star destroyer, and therefore should probably be classed as a star frigate.

The command tower is large in proportion to the rest of the ship, which is in itself one of the factors hinting at the vessel's smaller dimensions. The tower is as wide and long as its support structures; seemingly a fifth as long as the entire vessel. It is much smaller than the KDY standard tower.

The bridge interior has crew pits and a wide array of viewports, like in KDY architecture. However most of the windows are rectangular rather than triangular. The deck plating is bronze. The exit corridor is narrower than those of larger ships, and the bridge is somewhat less spacious overall.

The Demolisher has only two bell-shaped sublight thruster nozzles. They appear smaller than an Imperator destroyer's primary thrusters. The thruster systems partly protrude from the superstructure as twin ridges on the dorsal hull (like on Admiral Giel's battleship).

The single docking bay is smaller than the primary bay of a star destroyer, and it is located at the prow of the frigate, effectively cutting the usual dagger-like point into a pair of mandibles. The relative scale of smaller starships seen launching from the bay or manoeuvring near the frigate imply that the warship is only a few hundred metres long.

The main hangar extends to nearly the entire width of the bay, making it significantly broader and more voluminous than the smaller but more numerous hangars of the primary bay of an Imperator-class destroyer. The number of stolen TIE starfighters in the pirates' Tarnoonga lair, (which presumably were aboard Demolisher when it was stolen), indicates that the standard fighter compliment is between two and three squadrons.

* *
Demolisher port and starboard views.

* * *
Demolisher hangar detail.

* *
Ventral views of Demolisher give the best impression of the ship's overall proportions. In the first image, a turbolaser is firing from on or near the ventral bulb.

Demolisher has only two primary thruster nozzles.

* *
The main bridge interior layout resembles those in KDY's star destroyers. Exceptional features include the bronze-hued deck plating, and the rectangular rather than triangular/trapezoidal windows. The exit corridor is narrower.

[anonymous star frigate #2]

LENGTH:~0.7km ?
MANUFACTURER:    Kuat Drive Yards?
SIGHTING: In orbit over an “important” world of the Galactic Republic, 6 months after the Battle of Naboo. Battle of Merson during the Clone Wars.

In the tale of the lightsabre-wielding vigilante, Darca Nyl, a fleet of warships appears in orbit around an important world of the Galactic Republic, dated six months after the Battle of Naboo [STAR WARS Tales #21]. This was more than a nine years before the outbreak of the Clone Wars. The smallest and most numerous warships visible in this scene are apparently similar in scale to an Acclamator-class military transport, which is perhaps the larger end of the range of star frigates.

The frigates are in some ways similar to an Acclamator. The wings appear clipped so that (in plan view) the edges run parallel to the longitudinal axis. Between the two main thrusters there is a tail, which presumably houses parts of the ship's main spinal components (involved with power, heat dissipation, inertial and structural reinforcements) which protrude on an Acclamator due to problems of scale and hollowness. The bridge tower is the same kind of minimal stub mounted on an Acclamator, and not the broader bridge module that was standard on KDY's warships built during the Imperial era.

However this vessel has some important features that distinguish it as a separate class from the Accalamator, and suggest that it is a real naval vessel and not a mere armed transport or support ship for ground forces. Firstly, there is a ventral bay for docking smaller ships and fighters. Secondly, the ventral surfaces are wedge-like planes, mirroring the shape of the dorsal hull. An Acclamator is built to land on planets and has a flat belly, and other design concessions such as landing gear. For a true warship design, where performance in space is more important, structural mass is distributed more evenly between the top and bottom. Thirdly, the visible ventral surfaces include a more thickly armoured terrace around the bay, the keel and stern. This is more rugged than the corresponding areas of an Acclamator.

During the Clone Wars, a Republic task force sent into battle over Merson appears to have included at least one of these star frigates [Clone Wars, vol. 5]. The frigate's wing-clipped plan, ventral armour and docking bay are identical to the version predating the invasion of Naboo. Each side of the tail has one large and one smaller thruster cylinder. Because of these well spaced thrusters, this ship probably has better turning ability than the Acclamator, which has only two main thrusters set low and close to the tail. The ship at Merson was commanded by a Captain Pellaeon, and his bridge was curved, with two crew pits and trapezoidal windows in the KDY style. There appears to be a small terrace around the base of the bridge tower, which may be as extensive as that of an Acclamator.

* *
Several star frigates in a fleet shortly after the Battle of Naboo. The first copy of the image is annotated; the second link is clean. Note also the octagonal-winged TIE fighters and the partially visible battleship in the same scene. [STAR WARS Tales #21]

* *
Ventral views of Captain Pellaeon's star frigate in battle over Merson, during the Clone Wars. [Clone Wars, vol. 5 French edition] Point-defence guns shoot at vulture droid fighters near the planetary ring.

Bridge interior of Captain Pellaeon's star frigate is consistent with the Imperial KDY layout. [Clone Wars, vol. 5 French edition]

A similar star frigate (top right) in one of the fleets of Palpatine's clone. [Dark Empire trade paperback cover]

[Rand Ecliptic-class star frigate]

LENGTH:0.75km ?
POWER:~2 × 1023 W (similar to Acclamator ?)
MANUFACTURER:    Rothana Heavy Engineering and/or Kuat Drive Yards?
SIGHTING: Biggs Darklighter's first tour, before Battle of Yavin.

The star frigate Rand Ecliptic was Biggs Darklighter's first assignment after earning his commission in the Imperial Navy [Empire #9, 12]. The official [intratextual] name of this warship class is presently unknown. Sometimes this vessel was loosely called a cruiser but it is most often and consistently called a frigate. Its engine arrangement, dorsal hull and bridge tower appear almost the same as the Acclamator-class troop ships of the Clone Wars. A dedicated naval ship of that size ought to be classified as a frigate, in scale with Imperial destroyers that are a mile long. If the apparently equal components are a true indicator of scale then the Rand Ecliptic is about 750m long.

The most significant differences from the Acclamator include the side wings on the bridge tower (closer to the KDY design) and the shape of the lower hull. Instead of a flat underbelly, the Rand Ecliptic has a fuller wedge hull and distinct keel mirroring the upper hull, like larger Imperial warships. The extra ventral volume includes four hangars in notches set below and back from the brim trench. Two entrances face to starboard, two face portside. The line of the keel is unbroken; the reactor bulb is small enough that it doesn't protrude beyond the main hull. (This is also true of the Acclamators.)

The Rand Ecliptic design seems related to the Acclamator, though the differences in the hull count it as a distinct class. Perhaps the frigate is original and the Acclamator is a derivative design built for greater cargo capacity and a landing capability. It is worth wondering whether such star frigate cousins were among the (unfilmed) naval ships in the space battle over Geonosis, protecting the Acclamators landings.

* * * *
External views of the mutinous star frigate Rand Ecliptic.

* * *
Hangar interiors and environs of the Rand Ecliptic.

* *
Bridge interior of the Rand Ecliptic, after mutiny and defection to the Rebel Alliance. The frigate came under the control of the Alderaanian faction of the Alliance, led from Yavin 4 by General Dodonna.

Victory-class star destroyer

LENGTH:0.9 km
POWER:~3.6 × 1024 W (approximate parity with Venator destroyer)
MANUFACTURER:    Rendili StarDrive
SIGHTING: Numerous and galaxy-wide; late Clone Wars through to New Republic Era.

A standard destroyer vessel of the Loyalist fleets during the waning years of the Old Republic. Still manufactured in some quantities and exposed to plenty of action, mainly against pirate and other criminal forces which prey upon remote regions of the galaxy. This ship is so small that it is able to safely enter planetary atmosphere, though it is not equipped to land on a solid surface. Oceanic landings ought to be feasible.

The Victory is not a Kuat Drive Yards design; it is the product of the Rendili StarDrive corporation. (According to Essential Guide to Vehicles & Vessels, Rendili's development of new ship designs had declined to a halt by the end of the Palpatine Era, although the company remained active.) Rendili's command module is smaller than those of the modern KDY warships, but it carries proportionatelly larger and more numerous sensory antennae.

Unlike KDY's Imperator, these ships have only two primary thruster nozzles and two auxiliary thrusters, in proportion to the size difference. This version appears in various computer games, but Essential Guide to Vehicles & Vessels describes a version with three primary engines. The discrepancy may actually be a distinction between Victory-I and Victory-II sub-classes.

The Victory gave rise to at least one additional subclass, the Victory-II, which has modified features to better equip it for heavy space combat. Two major structural variants of the Victory are known: one with a wedge-like attachment bracing the flank trench on each side; the other with a pair of smaller prismatic wedges flaring apart instead. This extreme variation may also be a difference between the Victory-I and Victory-II.

Outdated (roleplaying game based) sources have stated that the Victory was the largest or most powerful warship of its day. This is inaccurate hyperbole. The Invincible-class dreadnought in Han Solo at Star's End is described to imply that warships with dimensions greater than an Imperator-class star destroyer are commonplace in the Palpatine Era and have existed for a considerable portion of galactic history. Mandator-class dreadnoughts, Procurator-class battlecruisers, Trade Federation battleships and Providence-class destroyers are all examples of contemporary warships that far outsize a Victory.

[The Victory-class destroyer design arose from a concept sketch from A New Hope. Some aspects of the design have subsequently been redrawn by LucasArts, including the reduction of the number of primary thruster nozzles from three to two.]

The star destroyer concept sketch for A New Hope, which depicts a vessel unseen on film but which was subsequently adopted by West End Games as the form of the Victory-class star destroyer. WEG eventually produced a side view, printed in The Imperial Sourcebook, which was subsequently reinterpretted by LucasArts for their computer games. The LucasArts version has only two primary thrusters rather than three. The LucasArts version also replaces the wing wedges with split wedges, giving the craft something of an “X” shape when viewed from front or behind.

Side-view of a Victory [from Imperial Sourcebook] is ambiguous regarding the wing/wedge geometry and the number of engines. This enabled subsequent sources to diverge.

* *
Schematics and sketch for Victory-class star destroyer from Essential Guide to Vehicles & Vessels. Note: some of the feature annotations are technically dubious (e.g. scanner globes misattributed deflector functions).

[anonymous star destroyer #1]

LENGTH:0.9 km (? approx.)
MANUFACTURER:    Rendili StarDrive
SIGHTING: Battle of Balmorra, 6 years post-Endor. [Dark Empire II]

These ships are similar in size and proportions to Rendili StarDrive's Victory-class destroyers. The bridge tower is identical, suggesting that this ship is a Rendili design. Significantly, it lacks the flaring wedge sections which sprout from the port and starboard wings of the Victorys. The extent and number of terraces beneath the tower is also different. If not for these differences, it would be tempting to regard it as a Victory-III subclass.

The absence of any major docking bays is another key distinction, implying that this class of vessels is oriented towards the support of larger ships in fleet engagements, rather than the deployment of fighters and surface assualt vehicles. It is an enclosed battle-oriented destroyer design, and it probably relates to the Victory like the hangarless [destroyer #5] and Allegiance classes relate to the Imperator.

Several of this class of star destroyers participated in the failed Battle of Balmorra [Dark Empire II]. This one hovers below and ahead of Dark Jedi Sedriss' famous star destroyer Avenger.

Harrow-class star destroyer

LENGTH:0.9 km (? approx.)
MANUFACTURER:    Kuat Drive Yards (?)
SIGHTING: Tatooine, several months post-Endor. [X-Wing Rogue Squadron #9–12]

One Captain Semtin commanded the small star destroyer Harrow in his quest for a cache of loot and weapons stored by Sate Pestage on Tatooine in the months following Palpatine's fall at Endor. [For the purposes of this document, the class is provisionally named after its first known example.] The ship's texture is nearly identical to that of KDY star destroyers like the Imperator but it is a more compact design with only two primary engines and two secondary engines. The tower appers to be the standard KDY type, but the aft side of the tower neck has two right-angled shelves rather than being smoothly diagonal. There are two terrace layers beneath the tower.

There is only one docking bay. The bay is nearly the size of the main bay of an Imperator. It contains two average-sized hangars at the forward end, and one or two smaller cargo and starfighter hangars at the opposite end.

The brim trenches that should trace the flanks of the vessel from the prow to wingtips is interrupted by a pair of wedges protruding amidships. The wedges join together at a ventral terrace which surrounds the docking bay and ventral bulb. In some ways these wings confusingly resemble those of the Victory-class, but the non-Rendili bridge tower, the lack of forward docking bay, the size of the major docking bay and existence of the ventral terrace define this ship as a wholly distinct class.

* * *
The Harrow, as featured in X-Wing Rogue Squadron #9–12: Battleground Tatooine.

[Anya Karu]

LENGTH:~1 km (? very approx.)
MANUFACTURER:    Kuat Drive Yards
SIGHTING: deep space, 7 months after Yavin. [Empire #28: Wreckage]

Anya Karu was an example of a large star frigate or small star destroyer with a single level of dorsal terrace. The rear and ventral features are presently unobserved. The conning tower was a KDY module with details like the Imperator-II subtype [like Avenger in TESB]. The chin of the bridge module is clear of the dorsal superstructure, unlike anonymous destroyer #2. Judging by the width of this tower, the vessel was smaller than an Imperator destroyer.

Aron Harcourt was the last captain of the Anya Karu, which was crippled by rebel saboteurs and then (presumably) evacuated. Seven months after the Battle of Yavin, Harcourt hired Boba Fett to retrieve personal effects from the ship, before its scheduled destruction by star destroyer Adjudicator (an Imperator). Until the demolition, artificial gravity was still functioning in at least some areas of the shipwreck, yet it was old enough to be infested with mynocks.

Boba Fett's Slave I approaches the wreck of Anya Karu. The damage appears to be most extensive on the underside and bow. Fett lands on a dorsal surface. [Empire #28: Wreckage]

* *
Captain Harcourt kept model of the Anya Karu on his desk in a groundside office after the incident that ended his spacegoing career. [Empire #28: Wreckage]

Modular star hauler (“Modular taskforce cruiser”).

LENGTH:1.15 km
MANUFACTURER:    Tagge Industries Shipyards Ltd.
SIGHTING: Byss and Deep Core, year +6 after Battle of Endor. [Dark Empire; Dark Empire II]

These vessels from Tagge Industries Shipyards Ltd are generic ship frameworks on which mission-specific modules are mounted. Common units include hospital, survey, observation, rescue and inquisition modules [Dark Empire Sourcebook]. One of these ships was responsible for freighting elite Balmorran war-droids to Byss, along with a hidden groups of New Republic commandoes. Not primarily a combat starship, the star hauler is mounted with only fifteen turbolaser batteries.

The front section of the ship conforms to the ideal dagger-like design of combat-capable starships, with dorsal and ventral surfaces plated with angular flat armour and a trench of more detailed honeycomb along the midplane. However the aft section is boxy, like some civilian heavy freighter designs. The command tower sits atop this block. The three sublight thruster nozzles are flush with the block's vertical stern face, with the texture of the entire assembly resembling the character of the hindsection of a Nebulon-B escort frigate.

Labelling of this ship as a “cruiser“ is an obvious misnomer since it is distinctly inferior to a mere destroyer in firepower and size; this “cruiser” label is probably best interpreted in terms of a civilian cruiser (a liner or passenger ship of some kind). Otherwise the terminology may simply be Imperial disinformation. Michael Horne, who described these ships in Dark Empire Sourcebook, explains:

“....the modular taskforce ship is smaller than a destroyer and as such doesn't qualify as a cruiser, but the name ‘Modular Taskforce Cruiser’ is the copyrighted and trademarked brand name for the ship (which would have been a mainstay of the CSA [Corporate Sector Authority] picket fleet in my unpublished materials for WEG) and as such isn't a cruiser per se, but is a cargo ship technically (and as such is scaled for House of Tagge internal military fleet protocols as a cruiser, but not in Imperial terms).”

* * *
Modular taskforce star haulers coast inconspicuously in the midst of a fleet gathered in the Deep Core. [Dark Empire]

A cargo of advanced Balmorran war-droids is unloaded from the star hauler Reliance at one of the surface freight ports of Byss. [Dark Empire II]

[anonymous star destroyer #2]

LENGTH:1.2 km (? approx.)
MANUFACTURER:    Kuat Drive Yards (?)
SIGHTING: Battle of Calamari, +6 years after Endor. [Dark Empire]

Smaller than the Imperator-class star destroyer. Possesses only three primary thruster nozzles rather than the three primaries plus four secondaries of the Imperator and Allegiance designs. The bottom of the standard KDY command tower is so low that the conventional overhang is actually in contact with the topmost of the dorsal terraces, and it may even be partly embedded. The dorsal terrace structure is thicker and wider just forward of the tower, so that the whole arrangement of terraces might resemble a fat “T” shape when viewed from above. The dimensions and position of the ventral bulb are unremarkable. If there are any docking bays then they must be no larger than the secondary bay of an Imperator-class vessel. (The drawings seem to show an absence of ventral apertures.) The brim trench is distinctly straight, with none of the notches which are seen on many other warship designs.

At least two of these destroyers were in formation with the Allegiance at the Battle of Calamari, and likewise took the brunt of the surprise assault by the New Republic fleet of Antilles and Calrissian. [Dark Empire]

Two possible examples or relatives of the small destroyers sent to Calamari. Here they are depicted straddling a World Devastator. [Dark Empire trade paperback cover]

Venator-class star destroyer

POWER:3.6 × 1024 W
MANUFACTURER:    Kuat Drive Yards
SIGHTING: Battle of Coruscant (foundation of Galactic Empire) [ROTS].

These slender destroyers were deployed by the Loyallist forces of the Old Republic during the late Clone Wars period. The reactor volume and output are smaller than the newer Imperator-class, but similar to the older Victory-class. However the Venator's eight heavy turbolaser turrets are approximately the size of an Imperator's heaviest guns.

Like the Acclamator troop ships, Venators lack dorsal terraces around the bridge. The command tower is a minimal structure compared to those of KDY designs that were commonly seen during the Galactic Civil War. The split of the upper tower into two bridge sections is remarkable. The starboard tower is concerned with helm and ships' functions; the portside tower coordinates the fighter complement. [ROTS:ICS]

The Venator has an unusually large hangar capacity for a vessel of this size. A dorsal flight deck runs through the front half of the ship's length, with heavy doors along the spine. At least part of the door can open as independent section roughly a hundred metres long. The interior consists of a huge longitudinal launch/landing area, with dozens of transverse hangar bays set off to the sides. These vast spaces can contain hundreds of the midget fighters that were fashionable during the Clone Wars. On the spectrum of all destroyers (defined by size and power) the Venator design emphasises its fighter support role, at the opposite extreme from hangerless vessels like [anonymous destroyer #5] and Allegiance.

In addition to the large (and potentially vulnerable) dorsal hangar, there is one rectangular ventral cavity, similar to but smaller than that of an Imperator. There may be internal access shafts linking the ventral and dorsal hangar spaces indirectly. Two enormous docking vestibules are set in severely deep notches in the ship's brim. Normally these are used to link with larger ships or moor at space stations for the transfer of materiel. They have been used for personnel egress in an emergency [Clone Wars cartoon, season 3]. A smaller personnel boarding hatch can open in the portside brim adjacent to the armada logo [where Kenobi boards when departing Coruscant, ROTS]. There are some ventral boarding hatches like those of an Acclamator, however they are higher and appear smaller in proportion to the ship's length. (At least one of these hatches may fit a Juggernaut vehicle.) However the Venator is not a flat-bottomed landing ship, and is better suited to the role of warship.

The dorsal and ventral hulls are more symmetric about the midplane than was true of an Acclamator. Also the thrusters are better balanced around the ship's centre of mass. There are four main thrusters of a cylindrical design, and several smaller auxiliary thrusters. The ship has an extended tail for hyperdrive and inertial compensator hardware, resembling the tail section of an Acclamator or Admiral Giel's flagship. (Perhaps the tail of Giel's flagship contains similar hardware.)

According to the external alignment of portals [and illustrated in ROTS:ICS] there are several distinct alignments of decks and artificial gravity. The neck of the bridge tower and the dorsal flight deck are parallel to the spine of the ship (or the dorsal doors). The engineering areas and habitable sections withing the main hull are aligned with the midplane of the ship. The interface zones must involve tilting turbolifts or bends in the floor.

Republic-class star destroyer

LENGTH:1.25 km
MANUFACTURER:    Rendili StarDrive
SIGHTING: Numerous galaxy-wide; ubiquitous during the Koornacht Cluster crisis (12 years after Battle of Endor).

This ship was not a warship of the Empire, but it is included because of its close relationship with the Victory-class star destroyers. The Republic-class star destroyer is a vessel of modern manufacture which serves governmental fleets in the era following the New Republic's consolidation of galaxy-wide power. It can be assumed that at this time, almost a decade since the defeat of the last credible remnants of the Imperial Starfleet, the pragmatists of Kuat Drive Yards, Rendili StarDrive and other shipbuilders have preserved their industry and adapted to the new regime.

These destroyers are rumoured to be marginally smaller than the earlier, common Imperator-class, but with reportedly comparable in firepower and other capabilities. Unfortunately no clear illustrations of Republic-class destroyers are available at this time. Since the manufacturer and designer are the same as for the Victory-class vessels, the style and features should be much the same. The bridge towers should be the same. Judged by this standard, the illustration in Cracken's Threat Dossier seems very inaccurate by this standard. It seems that a picture of a pickle was mistakenly substituted.

[anonymous star destroyer #4]

LENGTH:1.60km (approx.)
MANUFACTURER:    Kuat Drive Yards (?)
SIGHTING: En route from Outer Rim Territories to Coruscant, roughly 1 year before Palpatine's fall. [Marvel STAR WARS #60]

This medium-sized star destroyer appears to be a KDY design. The dorsal terraces appear lower and less extensive than on comparable destroyer classes, and the rear textural details inidicate that the design is contemporaneous with the ISD-I sublclass of the Imperator series. (Especially vertical features on the sides of the terraces.)

This destroyer has three conical sublight thrusters similar to the primary thrusters of Imperator-class, but two of them are slightly smaller than the central nozzle. Total thruster area is 13.5% of the area of the stern cavity, compared with a corresponding figure of 39.2% for Imperator-class. This implies that the ships engine efficiencies or thrust capabilities differ. This anonymous destroyer-sized vessel probably has poorer acceleration than the Imperator.

There is no significant ventral bulb, so the power systems are entirely concealed and protected with the body of the ship. This may mean that this class is low-powered for its size, uses more efficient and compact technologies, or perhaps makes some other unknown internal structural sacrifice in return for the advantage of better protecting its power and propulsion systems. It seems most likely to be a slower destroyer which is considerably dedicated to carrier and mothership functions.

The ventral docking bays are proportionately very large. At least two large bays are visible, which are of similar size but are well separated. The foremost of these may be accompanied by a secondary bay in an arrangement similar to the two bays of an Imperator destroyer.

No brim trench notches are distinguishable in the presently available image. Notches can be definitively ruled out in the rear four-fifths of the starship, on the starboard side.

Stern view of anonymous star destroyer in the Teezl escort armada of Admiral Giel. [Marvel Star Wars #60]

Imperator-class star destroyer

POWER:~1 × 1025 W ? (assuming typical warship density and 3000G acceleration)
MANUFACTURER:    Kuat Drive Yards
SIGHTING: Ubiquitous and galaxy-wide, from late Clone Wars until New Republic Era.

The common mile-long Imperial star destroyer. Imperator, the first ship in its class, was built at the KDY shipyards at Gyndine for use in the Corellian sector fleet early in the reign of Emperor Palpatine. [Is Gyndine in or near the Corellian sector?] After the proclamation of the Galactic Empire, an additional (somewhat confusing and stylistically inconsistent) dubbing of “Imperial-class” was appended [ROTS:ICS]. By the time of Palpatine's fall these ships were ubiquitous galaxy-wide as the stock destroyer vessel of Imperial territorial fleets, numbering no less than several tens of thousands of ships.

Properly and originally “Imperator”, these vessels were also colloquially known as “Impstars” or “Imperial star destroyers”, particularly among the Rebel and New Republic forces. This was a confusion of provenance and class: all star destroyer designs of the Imperial Navy were “Imperial”. Likewise, Admiral Ackbar commanded Calamarian cruisers, but fortunately the rebels didn't make the mistake of calling them “Calamarian-class” star cruisers!

At least one additional variant sub-class was made. This mark-II could be distinguished by features of the command tower, engines (no triple vectrals), docking bays and mix of heavy turrets (lighter octet guns instead of heavy doublets).

In realspace these destroyers are fast enough to overhaul most non-fighter vessels, including illegally upgraded hot-rod craft like the infamous Millennium Falcon. Efficient hyperdrives seem to make the Imperator-class destroyers the choice vehicle for transporting important dignitaries across the galaxy in a hurry, such as when Lord Vader made speed to the remote Endor system, leaving his Executor to follow.

Two docking bays are set on the keel line amidships, ahead of a ventral bulb. Each of the bays contains several air-filled hangars set into forward and aft walls. An Imperator-class ship has proportionally larger docking facilities than many other destroyer designs, such as [anonymous destroyer #5] and Allegiance. This suggests that autonomous support of smaller vessels is a more significant component of the Imperator's role. A few classes, like Venator and [anonymous destroyer #4] have greater docking facilities and therefore carrier functions.

The purpose of pairs of notches in the lips of the brim tenches remains an unknown fundamental of star destroyer design. They may be related spectacularly to shield projection, sensors or perhaps a special type of weaponry (missile tubes? dorsal-ventral turret cannons like on Imperator?). In the older Imperator-I subclass, a quad laser cannon is set in each of the minor notches.

For more extensive information refer to Star Destroyers and Star Destroyer Bridge Towers.

* * * *
The Star Destroyer Imperator Class blueprints are rare but official publications of the first generation of STAR WARS merchandising. These plans define the Imperator-class star destroyer, and are also interesting insofar as their errors do not match the errors of recently-drawn alternate plans. (Most notable error is the ship length, unduly influenced by an outdated scaling chart drawn early in A New Hope preproduction.)

* *
Schematics and sketch for a destroyer of the ISD-II sub-class, from Essential Guide to Vehicles & Vessels. Note: this diagram's labelling of some ship features is sometimes technicaly dubious (eg. scanner globes wrongly attributed deflector functions).

Dominator-class [interdictor star destroyer]

LENGTH:1.60km (approx.)
POWER:~1 × 1025 W ? (comparable to Imperator)
MANUFACTURER:    Kuat Drive Yards
SIGHTING: Mrlsst, several months post-Endor; Ciutric within the first year post-Endor; Thrawn's campaigns 5 years post-Endor.

The first example of this distinctive warship appeared in X-Wing: The Phantom Affair. The ship was commanded by Wedge Antilles' childhood nemesis Captain Loka Hask, a former pirate responsible for the manslaughter of Antilles' parents. Hask's ship was named the Dominator in STAR WARS Encyclopedia and described as an “interdictor star destroyer” in STAR WARS Handbook #1: X-Wing Rogue Squadron. The official name of the ship design is unknown at this time, but Dominator-class is suitable for a provisional designation.

This vessel has similar dimensions and proportions to a standard mile-long star destroyer, and the present renderings hint that the basic hull and infrastructure may be the same module as that of Imperator-class star destroyers. Yet it also mounts four gravity well generators for suppressing hyperdrive travel within its vicinity. These projectors are a major structural feature, suggesting that this design is Kuat Drive Yard's answer to the early development of the diminutive Immobiliser-418 interdictor built by competitor Sienar Fleet Systems.

New Republic fighter pilots who encountered one of these ships in the Mrlsst system called it a “cruiser” and a “dreadnought” at different times, which confuses classification. However the combat chatter of fighter jockeys is hardly pendantic or reliable source for warship designications, and their contradictions should be disregarded. In terms of mass and power, the Dominator fits in the destroyer range.

Dominator's role appears more versatile than the specialised Immobiliser-418, which was not intended to engage in heavy combat. Instead, the Dominator seems to combine the offensive role of a well-armed and durable destroyer with a hyperspace interdiction capability. This interdictor destroyer can stage its own ambushes and prevent its prey's escape.

Dominator's shielding may be weaker or less reliable than Imperator's: an X-wing squadron at Mrlsst inflicted a temporary shield failure using a volley of telemetry-linked proton torpedoes. This wouldn't be sufficient to threaten an Imperator, (at least in the X-Wing and TIE Fighter computer games, which are already biased in favour of fighters). The shield deficiency may be circumstantial, due to the power drain or interference of the gravity well projectors.

The dorsal terraces are much less extensive than those of an Imperator, making room for the gravity well generators. The minimal terraces consist of a dorsal spine running between the generator bulbs and a large horizontal slab which overhangs the rearmost bulbs. The command tower sprouts directly from this slab. Because of the gravity well globes, these structures sit slightly higher than the corresponding parts of normal star destroyers.

The destroyer sports the standard Kuat Drive Yards' command tower module, unlike the smaller Immobiliser-class interdictors. The tower scale implies that the ship is about a mile long (with an uncertainty of only a few hundred metres at most). The bridge interior layout is identical to those of TESB-vintage KDY destroyers, cruisers and dreadnoughts. External details of the front face of the command module are essentially intermediate to the ISD-II sub-class of the conventional star destroyer and the Executor command ship, indicating construction at an intermediate date.

The variability of ventral views in The Phantom Affair made the number, position and size of docking bays unclear. However the newest images of a ship of this class, Binder, show a single docking bay (when it is visible at all), which is similar in shape to the forward docking bay of an Imperator-class star destroyer. The bay is distinctly smaller than the primary bay of an Imperator, owing to the restriction of space caused by the interdiction field globes, and it is almost idential in size and position to the Imperator's secondary (forward) bay.

Careful counts of TIEs seen deployed and destroyed in The Phantom Affair reveals that there were at least two squadrons of TIE Fighters, one of TIE interceptors and one of TIE bombers. This capacity is greater than that of an Immobiliser-418 but less than an Imperator's. The reduction may be due to the dedication of interior space to the gravity well systems.

Paired notches on the brim trenches resemble those of an Imperator. However some images show only one pair of notches, rather than two. They are located just forward of amidships, and seem to be about two thirds the length of the larger notches on an Imperator. Binder has minor notches further back, between the forward and aft pairs of gravity well generators.

Another important detail first seen on Binder is the ventral bulb. It appears to be the same size as that of an Imperator, but it is much closer to the stern. This offset is presumably another concession to the volume filled by gravity well projectors. The reactor diameter implies a total power output similar to that of the generic Imperator class. The rearrangement of the power systems is not accompanied by any major differences in the engine configuration; the engines match those of an Imperator [final issue of Mandatory Retirement].

Several vessels of Dominator's design battled with New Republic forces five years after the Battle of Endor [e.g. the comic The Last Command #2], especially during the Battle of Bilbringi. Considering the generally poor condition of Grand Admiral Thrawn's forces (the fleets that rallied to him had been reduced to nothing bigger than destroyers) the appearance of some of Dominator's sisters signifies that they had become a common vessel in the Empire.

* *
Long-range views of Dominator, sighting nearly along the long axis of the ship.

Broadside view of dorsal surfaces near the forward gravity well projectors. The ship's shields are absorbing heavy rebel firepower.

* *
Oblique ventral views of the sections surrounding the docking bay and lower surfaces of the gravity well generator globes.

Vertical view of what must be either the ventral or dorsal face of the ship, near the prow.

* * *
Dominator has a command tower built in the standard form of KDY capital ships. The details are classic and distinct. On the forward face the region surrounding the bridge is like that of an ISD-II; vertical cylinders near the extremities resemble those of the Executor; the pair of triplet rectangular cavities above the bridge level matches both.

* * * * * *
Ysanne Isard sent the interdictor Binder, which appears to belong to Dominator's class, to Ciutric with the destroyer Reckoning to take delivery of the captured Sate Pestage after the Grand Vizier's flight from Coruscant. Binder appears to be only marginally smaller than its companion. [X-Wing Rogue Squadron: Mandatory Retirement] The first of these pictures appears to show a ship that is different from the true Binder that actually arrived in the Ciutric system. It seems smaller, some of the dorsal panels seem different, and a deliberate effort has been made to conceal the telltale bridge tower, which is the only section that would have demonstrated which vessel is closer to "camera", and whether it matches Dominator's KDY design origins. This frame may have been accidentally drawn with an Immobiliser-418 from SFS, which in story terms may be what Admiral Krennel wrongly assumed Binder to be. (He had not actually seen the ship at this point in time.)

In this frame the engines of Binder (far right, background) are partially visible. The configuration appears to be exactly the same as for Imperator-class.

Binder and Reckoning, with parallel headings and viewed at a great distance, appear to have precisely the same hull dimensions. Perspective effects in this image are minimal because the separation of the ships and the sizes of the ships are both very small compared with the distance from "camera".

* *
Another star destroyer with interdiction-field generators seen in Grand Admiral Thrawn's fleet during his campaign against the New Republic. The artist again is Edvin Biukovic.

[interdictor star destroyer #2]

LENGTH:1.60km (approx.)
MANUFACTURER:    Kuat Drive Yards
SIGHTING: Over Centares, Coruscant and Jazbina, 1 month post-Yavin. [Vader's Quest]

During the month following the Battle of Yavin, Lord Vader travelled aboard a destroyer-sized vessel equipped with what appear to be 4 gravity-well projectors. This interdictor design is similar to the Dominator, but the differences are sufficient to define a separate class. The dorsal terraces are like those of an Imperator, and not the Dominator's T-shaped structure. The bridge tower resembles the ISD1 type, with heavy blocks and minimal windows. The primary thrusters also resemble the Devastator style, with their triple vectrals. The brim trenches had thick-lipped armour like Devastator's.

The ventral structures are well observed. The keel armour is extensive, like the brim plating. The stern triangular keel plating is close to ventral bulb, like on the ISD2 (Avenger-style) destroyers. Puzzlingly, the reactor bulb has a smaller radius than an Imperator's, and seems to be centred below the ship's midplane. The docking bay on the keel line has six transverse ribs on the long walls. The bay is in front of the gravity well generators. The forward wall has a hangar entrance. There are indistinct signs of a secondary bay further forward [but if it's real then it is unclearly drawn and mistakenly coloured like plain hull]. The interdictor carries at least one squadron (12) of TIE fighters, and at least one bent-wing craft (perhaps a bomber or boarding craft).

The interdictor's conventional weapons remain unknown. They were not seen firing during Vader's Quest. However at one stage Lord Vader indicated that it was capable of executing planetary bombardments. The normal locations of the 8 heavy turrets on an Imperator, beside the terraces, are badly obscured by the gravity well generators. Does the interdictor have any heavy turrets, and if so then are they mounted in alternative, clearer locations?

* *
Ventral views of the anonymous interdictor, showing the detailed distribution of armour, triangular keel plate, gravity well projectors, main reactor bulb and docking facilities. [Vader's Quest]

Front view of the ship: the terrace arrangement is similar to an Imperator; it is not T-shaped like on the Dominator. The command tower appears similar to the kind seen on the Devastator (ISD1) subtype of Imperators.

View of the command tower, confirming that it is similar to the kind seen on ISD1. One of the primary engines is partially visible, although this is not really clear, there seem to be triple vanes like on Devastator.

Close view of the primary docking bay area. One hangar is visible on the bottom of the picture, one TIE Fighter and what appears to be a TIE Bomber are visible inside it. Judging by the position of the X-Wing in the upper frame, this hangar seems to be in the forward wall. The rebel pilot has most probably fired torpedos inside the hangar. This cost him his life but it also destroyed the star destroyer.

[anonymous star destroyer #5]

LENGTH:at least 1.6 km
MANUFACTURER:    Kuat Drive Yards (?)
SIGHTING: Battle of Endor. [ROTJ]

At least one warship of this class was briefly glimpsed during the Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi. At one point in the battle, after the opposing fleets had closed to point-blank range, the Millennium Falcon was pursued across the ventral surface of this unidentified Imperial warship.

It seemed to be roughly on the same scale as an Imperator-class star destroyer, but its features were very different. The thick armour panels running along the keel line were more extensive than on an Imperator. No docking bays were seen. There seems to be a pair of broad brim trench notches, but no clear sign of minor notches. Like [destroyer #4], there is no ventral bulb. Thus the power systems are better armoured than on many other KDY designs.

These characteristics are reminscent of the heavy fleet destroyers such as Allegiance or [anonynmous destroyer #3] (in Dark Empire), and this ship may perform a similar role. The anonymous destroyer at Endor probably does not act as a mothership for starfighters, but is totally dedicated to a proper destroyer or cruiser function in large fleet engagements. It is probably significantly more durable than an Imperator-class destroyer.

* * * * * * * * * * * *
The Millennium Falcon flies across the inverted underside of a kind of heavy fleet destroyer engaged in the Battle of Endor. The ventral features match those of Imperator-class star destroyers, except the keel armour plating is much more extensive where hangars and reactor bulb are absent.

AVI animation of the flyover past the underside of the anonymous, bay-lacking destroyer.

* * *
Closeup views from ROTJ:SE.

[anonymous star destroyer #3]

LENGTH:2.14 km
MANUFACTURER:    Kuat Drive Yards (?)
SIGHTING: Byss, year +6 after Palpatine's fall. [Dark Empire]

This ship's hull plating appears particularly dark (possibly made of the same substance as Executor's) and the superstructure has sleek proportions. Image quality is not good enough to determine whether the destroyer has more than one bank of sublight thruster nozzles, but it looks as if the thruster assembly has a concave form, unlike most other known warships. (In other words, a plan view of this destroyer might resemble a pointy chevron rather than a kite shape.) If this is so then the apertures of the thrusters filling the concavity may extend to different lengths, giving what would effectively be a double-bank configuration. The command tower of this ship is situated prominently near the middle of the dorsal hull. The brim trench is clearly visible in silhouette at the prow. There is a suggestion of several significant ventral features.

Star destroyer as it appeared in orbit around Byss.

[anonymous star destroyers #6 & #7]

MANUFACTURER:    Kuat Drive Yards (?)
SIGHTING: Yavin, more than 8 years post-Endor.

It is rare for a major naval operation described in the novels to appear in later comics except when there is a direct adaptation. Fortunately, some of the vessels involved in Admiral Daala's attack on Yavin 4 in Darksaber have been glimpsed in Jedi Academy: Leviathan. These included at least two types of warships which are not recognisable from previous graphical works: three specimens of a small destroyer design and a different ship which may be a heavy destroyer or light cruiser, visible at an indeterminate distance.

Scaling cues on the smaller kind imply a length of less than a mile. The hull is narrow compared to the command tower. There are no notches visible in the brim trenches. Of the three visible engines, the ones on the sides are smaller than the one in the middle, which is similar to the configuration of [anonymous destroyer #4]. Auxiliary engines aren't visible, but there isn't enough resolution to rule them out either. The dorsal terraces are not very extensive, and they are no wider than the command tower at its widest point.

The most peculiar characteristic is a large bulb protruding from the dorsal hull amidships, in an area bare of terraces (unlike the Imperator bulb, which is covered by terraces on the dorsal surface). The bulb must protrude from the ventral surface as well, unless the ship has unseen and unconventional ventral terraces that are thicker and more extensive than the dorsal terraces. The size and exposure of the bulb may also indicate the presence of a disproportionately powerful reactor system, or an interdiction field weapon.

The larger ship at Yavin has extensive brim notches: a long pair next to what appears to the be main reactor bulb, and a pair of small notches further forward. Immediately forward of the bulb there is a large rectangular docking bay similar to that of the Imperator-class. Interestingly, there is a secondary ventral bulb a few hundred metres forward of the this bay; whether it is part of the power system or an interdiction field projector is not certain. It seems less likely to be a major component of the power and propulsion systems because a major power conduit running above the weakly armoured docking bay would be a serious vulnerability for a warship. The propulsion system includes five primary thruster nozzles, so the ship is probably at least 5/3 times as wide as an Imperator. Dorsal details are not visible in the present picture.

Previously undescribed star destroyers in a recollection of Admiral Daala's attack on the Jedi Academy [as shown in Jedi Academy: Leviathan].

Allegiance-class star destroyer

LENGTH:2.2 km
MANUFACTURER:    Kuat Drive Yards
SIGHTING: Escorting the Eclipse at Cyax, year +6 after Palpatine's fall. [Dark Empire, Dark Empire II]

These destroyers are ubiquitous in situations involving a heavy fleet presence. They operated in an escort formation with the Eclipse, and participated in the enforcement of the security cordon around the planet Byss. Allegiance, the largest destroyer present at the Battle of Calamari, shares all of the distinctive structural features of this class and is the same size, approximately 2.2km long. Since Allegiance is the only named specimen, this document classifies them provisionally as Allegiance-class star destroyers. (This will be replaced when the official KDY designation becomes known.)

The warship is similar in form to the common Imperator-class star destroyer, but with several subtle but crucial distinctions. The stern, thrusters and command module are almost identical to those of the smaller vessel, but the main hull is significantly longer and more sharply pointed. The features surrounding the command tower are smoother than the dorsal terraces of an Imperator, with greater coverage by the flat armour plates and less exposure of inter-plate cortical surfaces. The ventral bulb is approximately ten times the volume of an Imperator's reactor. (According to the common assumption that the bulb surrounds part of the power or propulsion systems of a ship, the Allegiance design probably has much superior thrust, firepower and shieldpower.)

Unlike many smaller destroyers, there is a complete lack of any docking bay suitable for accommodating large starships. Any TIE or shuttle hangars must be small and open directly to space. This implies an important functional distinction: the destroyer's design is omits any carrier or mothership role. Physical vulnerabilities are reduced, hull plating is extensive. The Allegiance design assumes and is dedicated to large fleet engagements, operating in concert with complimentary warship designs. For starfighter screening in combat, it must depend on the squadrons launched from other vessels such as the huge dedicated carrier ship seen in the fleet of Admiral Giel. In contrast, the Imperator is necessarily less specialised since it is often deployed on patrol in remote regions where it sometimes is the largest ship available.

* * *
Destroyer as it appeared at the confrontation at Pinnacle Base. First image is a side view. The second is a front-on view of several of the destroyers surrounding Eclipse. The third picture is a rear view of one of the destroyers on the far side of the prow of the Eclipse.

This example of a identical or similar star destroyer model, also lacking major docking bays, patrols orbital space surrounding Byss. The point-of-view for this image is actually within the brim trench of an Imperator-class star destroyer which is facing a direction antiparallel and coplanar to the lead destroyer.

Allegiance, a leading destroyer in the Battle of Calamari, appears to be the same class of warship. It lacks significant docking bays; it has an enlarged ventral bulb; stern, engine and tower structures match those of the Imperator-class; and the main hull is longer and narrower than an Imperator. In this view of the exploding ship, the amount of clearance between the tower and the dorsal terraces is unclear. (If the gap is significantly less and dorsal terraces are thicker than on the other destroyers pictured here, then Allegiance would represent a subclass of its class.)

Star destroyer concept sketch by Cam Kennedy, for Dark Emprie. Note the distinctive absence of docking bays, the large ventral bulb, and the sleek profile of the dorsal terraces.


LENGTH:over 1.6km; less than 8km
MANUFACTURER:    Kuat Drive Yards (?)
SIGHTING: Deep Core, year +8 after Palpatine's fall. [Darksabre]

Shockwave was the flagship of a post-Palpatine strongman who styled himself Supreme Warlord Harrsk. The ship was significantly larger than an Imperator-class star destroyer and mounted more high-energy weaponry. In a single volley it was capable of knocking a Victory-class destroyer out of battle.

Unfortunately, physical descriptions of Shockwave are scant, so it is not yet possible to identify its design class. It could be similar to Allegiance, or one of the anonymous warship classes seen in Dark Empire or the Marvel comics. It could be a just as easily belong to a class which has not yet been seen in illustrated literature.

The only thing we know with certainty is that it is significantly longer than one mile, and shorter than 8km. Shockwave must be less than the mass of the Knight Hammer (which is problematically assumed to be 8km long in this context), otherwise Admiral Daala would not have been surprised at the discovery of the latter (later in the novel). Shockwave's proper naval designation is unclear, since its size is unknown and Darksaber seems to be afflicted with the idiosyncracy of colloquially calling all significant Imperial warships “destroyers”. It may be at the heavy end of the destroyer range, or it may even be a cruiser or battlecruiser.

There is one indirect clue to the age of this vessel's design. The fact that Daala (who had been isolated from other Imperial forces for at least a decade) did not consider Shockwave remarkable hints that it was a familiar class of warship before her isolation when the Death Star project began in the Maw.

[anonymous star cruiser #1]

MANUFACTURER:    Kuat Drive Yards (?)
SIGHTING: Byss, year +6 after Battle of Endor. [Dark Empire]

The size of this ship's command tower relative to the rest of the superstructure indicates dimensions which are more comparable to a destroyer or cruiser than one of the greater multi-mile battleships or command ships. It is just under two miles long, possibly massing as much as Home One. Ventral features indicate a possible docking bay or some other interesting depression ahead of an unremarkable ventral globe. The ship's rear ventral silhouette may imply the existence of a secondary thruster bank, about 400m forward of the stern proper. The dorsal superstructure is generally smooth, suggesting the gradual extension of terraced plating along much of the ship, with local honeycomb protrusions and trench-like surfaces at the interstices.

The brim trench contains detailed substructure. The line of the trench thickens in several places, meaning that there probably are at least five significant pairs of notches (visible at the resolution of the available image). At the prow, the dorsal hull plates protrude almost two hundred metres beyond what seems to be the ventral lip of the brim trench. Otherwise the ventral plating is unusually thin in the prow region.

Star cruiser as it appeared in orbit around Byss.

Another cruiser near Byss in a different scene of Dark Empire. The shape of this vessel is consistent with that of the archetype for [cruiser #1] — slender narrow hull, gradually rising terraces, strong ventral bulb, low bridge tower and a truncated, complicated stern — so they may be the same class.

[anonymous star cruiser #2]

LENGTH:> 4.6km
MANUFACTURER:    Kuat Drive Yards (?)
SIGHTING: Byss, year +6 after Battle of Endor [Dark Empire]

This appears to be another flat or slender cruiser with only one or two banks of thrusters. The shape of the profile near the stern implies that the thruster cylinders may protrude from the ventral hull plating like those on the Executor and some other large warships. The ventral bulb is located aft of the midpoint, and rest of the ventral profile hints at a indentation forward of the bulb. This cavity might be a large docking bay of length almost one kilometre. The command tower module is very close to the stern, like on most destroyers, but the standard-sized tower's relative smallness on this cruiser shows this ship's greater dimensions. The tower is short, seemingly placing the command module in contact with the dorsal surface of the uppermost terrace, rather than hanging high as in most designs. The inferred size is only a lower limit, since the scanner globes are too small to be distinguished.

FAQ: Could this be the Sovereign-class ship?

No. Aside from the question of scale, there are fundamental differences between the ships' profiles. This cruiser has a ventral bulb and Sovereign does not. Sovereign has a prow spike structure associated with a "superlaser" weapon, whereas this cruiser does not. Sovereign has many more layers of dorsal terraces in evidence. Sovereign has sharp and distinct dorsal and ventral tails over a deep engine cavity, whereas this cruiser appears to have a shallower engine cavity more line that of a destroyer. The Sovereign silhouette is proportionately much too fat and its dorsal terraces are much too low to be consistent with the profile of this cruiser.

The star cruiser in orbit about Byss, with several large support ships in the foreground. One of these vessels visually overlaps the ventral edge of the cruiser's profile but the cruiser's lines on either side of the obstruction can not extend to a simple meeting point. This hints at a significant docking bay indentation behind the foreground ship.

[anonymous star cruiser #3]

MANUFACTURER:    Kuat Drive Yards (?)
SIGHTING: Byss, year +6 after Battle of Endor. [Dark Empire]

This vessel has very slender proportions, like many of the observed Imperial star cruisers. The profile suggests that the dorsal hull is terraced rather than consisting of an Executor-like crenulated cortex. The bridge tower sits close to the stern, and it seems to sit close to the terraces, perhaps with no overhang surface under the command module. There may be at least one terrace layer well forward of the main stack of terraces, and a very prominent ventral bulb is situated beneath it, in a position that is much closer to the prow than the reactors on some other warship designs. A strong protrusion in the last few hundred meters of the ventral line of the silhouette suggests that either this warship has a broad indented docking bay there or else the sublight thruster shafts protrude from the main hull plating (like in the Executor design). The cruiser appears to have only a single bank of sublight engines.

Star cruiser as it appeared in orbit around Byss.

[anonymous star cruiser #4]

MANUFACTURER:    Kuat Drive Yards (?)
SIGHTING: Byss, year +6 after Battle of Endor [Dark Empire]

Viewed only very distantly at Byss, this ship is nevertheless determined to be one of the larger cruisers in that remnant of the Imperial Starfleet. A strict lower limit to its length is set by the near inconspicuousness of command tower in the ship's profile. The most distinctive characteristic of this cruiser is the thickness of the dorsal cortex, sprawling high above the surfaces of the angular hull plates. Two large ventral features are seen near amidships. The general profile suggests a multiple-bank thruster configuration, but the unknown importance of the other distinctive features keep this assessment tentative.

Star cruiser as it appeared in orbit around Byss.

[anonymous star cruiser #5]

LENGTH:6.2km (approx.)
MANUFACTURER:    Kuat Drive Yards (?)
SIGHTING: Byss, year +6 after Battle of Endor [Dark Empire]

This ship's huge dagger-like superstructure is proportionately more slender than that of a star destroyer. Many distinctive features are clearly observed. The standard command module is set just over a kilometre from the stern, and sports the scanner globes typical of Blissex and Wessex designs built by Kuat Drive Yards. Behind the command module, the crenulated honeycomb surface is particularly thick and high, giving ships of this class something of a “hunchbacked” profile.

Accurate scale determination is possible via two independent methods. The geometry of the cruiser's visual overlap with the nearby destroyer provides a lower limit of 3.4 miles' length. Measurement of the universal KDY bridge tower globes suggests a length of just less than four miles (excluding the ship's tilt away from camera).

A possible ventral reactor globe is located approximately at the middle of the vessel, forward of the location which would be naïvely expected from a simple up-scaling of a destroyer. The volume of this reactor could be as great as a quarter the entire volume of an Imperator.

There are two banks of thrusters, as is well suited to a ship which is an intermediate of the Executor-class dreadnoughts and common star destroyers. The hindmost thruster bank appears to have five nozzles: three large and two small (though the starboard small nozzle is not seen clearly). Each of these is greater in diameter than a primary thruster of a star destroyer. The second thruster bank is divided into clusters under the port and starboard wings. Each wing was at least one nozzle almost the size of a primary nozzle of an Imperator-class destroyer.

cruiser and destroyer

Captain Wermis' star battlecruiser [anonymous #2]

LENGTH:a few miles?
MANUFACTURER:    Kuat Drive Yards (?)
SIGHTING: Near Yavin, Monastary, other systems; between Battles of Yavin and Hoth.

In the immediate aftermath of the Battel of Yavin, but before the completion of Executor, Lord Vader conducted his affairs from a star battelcruiser commanded by one Captain Wermis. This flagship served Lord Vader through several adventures, including a diplomatic mission to the planet Monastary, where he manipulated a fatal confrontation between his son and his rivals of the wealthy House Tagge. The battlecruiser was able to capture the Millennium Falcon, but lost her due to Wermis' incompetence.

The general design and texture of the star battelcruiser are reminiscent of General Tagge's (seemingly larger) star battlecruiser. On some areas of the hull, armoured coverings are proportionately much thicker than a destroyer's; the thickest armour is laid around the brim, the keel line and a web of other (presumably vital) areas that crisscross the dorsal and ventral hulls.

The bridge tower is similar to but not identical to the modern KDY module. The highest of the dorsal terraces are close to the bottom of the tower's front face. There appear to be four scanner globes on top of the tower, instead of the two found on star destroyers. The additional globes may hint at an expanded communications, scouting or command role.

The star battlecruiser has at least five primary thrusters, each comparable to the three of a star destroyer. Compared to the overall size of the ship, the main reactor bulb is small enough that it does not protrude from the hull surfaces.

There is at least one major ventral docking region. The aft bay evidently has at least one hangar aperture large enough to admit a freighter of the size of the Millennium Falcon. This is wider than the apertures shown on a star destroyer [in the movies].

* *
Lord Vader's rendezvous with General Tagge at the Yavin blockade. Vader's is the ship with five visible engines; the meeting took place there.

General Tagge, a survivor of the Death Star, departs Lord Vader's flagship via the aft docking bay, using a TIE shuttle of some sort. [Marvel SW #35: Dark Lord's Gambit]

* * *
Lord Vader's star battlecruiser during his Monastary mission, capturing the Millennium Falcon. [#36: Red Queen Rising]

* *
The battlecruiser of Lord Vader and Captain Wermis has a hangar with an aperture wide enough to fit the Millennium Falcon. Stormtrooper guards overlook the hold from a balcony level.

General Tagge's star battlecruiser [anonymous #1]

LENGTH:a few miles?
MANUFACTURER:    Kuat Drive Yards (?)
SIGHTING: Near Yavin, other systems; between Battles of Yavin and Hoth.

In his campaigns after the Battle of Yavin, General Tagge was often carried by an impressive star battlecruiser. (Obviously, an army officer does not command naval assets directly, but he may be assigned a closely subordinate starfleet commander who would be formally in control of the vessels carrying Tagge's army resources.) This battlecruiser was another ship conforming to the design aesthetic known from the Imperial star destroyers, except on a greater scale. Like Captain Wermis' battlecruiser, Tagge's flagship has a dense, multi-layered network of armour and four scanner globes on the bridge tower. The bridge module appears to hug the uppermost dorsal terraces closely.

As befits its great size, Tagge's battlecruiser appears to have at least seven primary engines (perhaps nine) rather than the three of the movies' destroyer. Estimated on this basis, Tagge's battlecruiser may be larger than that of Captain Wermis, which had only five (confirmed) primary thrusters. The fraction of the ship's volume devoted to power systems may be smaller than for many models of star destroyers and star cruisers; since the main reactor bulb does not protrude from the hull.

* *
General Ulric Tagge meets his elder brother, Baron Orman Tagge, some time in the months following the Battle of Yavin. General Tagge's ship is a huge star battlecruiser, with features hinting at a scale substantially greater than a star destroyer. The Tagge mining explorer is itself nearly the size of a small destroyer.

The doom of Tagge's first star battlecruiser, overwhelmed by a fleet of rebel gunboats from Yavin, as described by the General himself. [Marvel SW #35: Dark Lord's Gambit]

* *
Lord Vader's star cruiser in rendezvous with General Tagge's second battlecruiser. The men meet aboard Lord Vader's flagship. Vader's vessel has five primary engines visible; Tagge's appears to have seven. On the brim trench of Tagge's ship the forward notches are thicker than the back notches; the reverse is true for Vader's.

[communications ship]

LENGTH:4 miles? ~ 6km ?
MANUFACTURER:    Kuat Drive Yards
SIGHTING: Battle of Endor.

During the early stages of the Battle of Endor, rebel scanners and sensors were actively jammed by Imperial forces. The source of the jamming was a large and physically distinctive “communications ship” [Return of the Jedi novel]. This big ship won a fight with a Calamarian cruiser but took serious damage, and then fell to a concerted starfighter assault. The jamming ended immediately. The loss of the communications ship (followed later by loss of the flag ship) probably contributed to the disarray of the Imperial fleet in the last stages of the Battle of Endor.

Unfortunately these scenes were cut from the final version of the film, at least in any obvious form. Therefore our knowledge of the vessel's appearance remains vague. The novel states that the communications ship is one of the larger Imperial warships present, which means that it's much more massive than the one-mile destroyers, but probably smaller than the dreadnought Executor. On these grounds, the ship is provisionally listed here as a cruiser.

When the rebel fighters started their strafing runs, the command tower had already suffered serious damage. Interestingly, several seconds of the film show a KDY-style command tower with gouts of flame erupting from numerous bridge nodules. This is not another variant of Imperator-class star destroyer, since its features differ from both the Imperator-I and II models. It may belong to the communications ship. The extra bridges are consistent with upgraded comscan gear and command areas, intended to aid fleet coordination in addition to serving a conventional combat role.

A cargo bay of some kind is located near parts of the ship's internal power tree. This area became a critical vulnerability when it was exposed by a shield failure (which was inflicted by a rebel cruiser). Since communications ship has significant hangars, it doesn't match the hangarless [anonymous destroyer #5]. For the same reason, it cannot be an example of the bayless Allegiance (seen in the Battle of Calamari) even though they performed similar coordination roles in their respective battles. Of course, it is very unlikely that either of these ships was exclusively or even primarily devoted to comscan and flagship functions, but they may just happen to be better suited to these operations than other ship classes present.

Although it seems that no special effects model was completed, the Endor communications ship may actually have a full (albeit blurry) representation in Return of the Jedi. From the Emperor's throne room, the Imperial warships were visible as streaks and dots against the starfield, before the rebels closed to point-blank range. [As a special effect, this fleet may have been painted rather than photographed from models, enabling inclusion of the conceived but unbuilt communications ship design.] The Executor is obvious in the centre. Smaller dots are star destroyers. The mysterious communications ship could appear somewhere as a middle-sized feature.

In the earliest scenes, one wedge of intermediate size sits slightly above and behind Executor. It is bigger than the average destroyer, being about a third of Executor's length. It is a too slender to be a destroyer at any orientation, therefore it is not simply a destroyer enlarged in the foreground. It is a distinct class. Its silhouette resembles a less terraced relative of cruiser #5, or a larger relative of cruiser #2 or Allegiance. This wedge disappears in later scenes, possibly because the communications ship was destroyed, had rotated towards camera, or moved behind the Emperor's fenestrations.

While the ships of the fleet vary in range from the camera, the bridge tower of the communications ship is distinct. The brightness of this feature, compared to the equal towers on nearby destroyers and the Executor, implies that the hull's length is much greater than one mile. Beyond that lower limiting approximation, the size is uncertain. We don't know whether the communications ship is to the Executor's port or starboard side (nearer or further), so the most reasonable working estimate is the medium 4 miles' length.


A game card from Decipher describes the Avenger as a communications ship at Endor. However it cannot be the large communications ship described in the ROTJ novel. The card and its assertions have several faults: Firstly, the pictured ship is not the Avenger; the card shows an ISD-I (according to the details of the tower, guns and general proportions). Secondly the ROTJ novel describes the big communications ship as being one of the larger Imperial vessels, whereas Avenger was one of the smallest Imperial vessels present. Thirdly, the large blob in the Emperor's window (other than Executor) is too slender to be one of the mile-long star destroyers, no matter what its orientation and proximity to camera. The Avenger may have performed some kind of subordinate communications function at Endor, but it was not the communcations ship described in the novel. Avenger was not the ship responsible for the jamming. Finally, unlike the communications ship, Avenger survived Endor and reappears in later fiction [Dark Empire II].

* * * * * * *
The front face of an Imperial warship at the Battle of Endor. An exploding TIE Fighter flies across the foreground, while a wingless Calamarian star cruiser hovers above. The main bridge nodule is obvious, with its windows vividly lit. Smaller nodules appear below this bridge on both sides.

* *
Greyscale images of a model of the command tower of the multi-bridge warship. At least five bridge nodules are clearly visible in the first image. The object at the bottom of the tower face in the second image appears to be a spray can (and not part of the ship). [SW Chronicles]


* * * * *

The Imperial fleet at the Battle of Endor, as seen from the Emperor's throne room. The ship just above and to the right of Executor appears larger than a destroyer, and is too elongated to be a destroyer at any orientation or range. It may be the communications ship. However the ship isn't ahead in the Millennium Falcon's view of the fleet, and may be off to one side. [The extratextual reason is that the full-ship model wasn't completed by ILM.] Third image: noise-reduced closeup and negative image by A.Tully.

Praetor-class star battlecruiser

LENGTH:> several miles long (est.)
MANUFACTURER:    Kuat Drive Yards (?)
SIGHTING: Before Battle of Hoth.

Some of reactor equipment powering the Echo Base on Hoth was scavenged from one of the Empire's Praetor-class star battlecruisers. This would be larger and more powerful hardware than the equivalent components (from a star destroyer) used at the earlier base on Yavin 4. [Inside the Worlds of Star Wars Trilogy] As its classification indicates, this ship must be an intermediate of size and power between the destroyers and the Executor dreadnought shown in the movies. The detailed shape of a Praetor is not yet published, nor positively identified with any of the known anonymous classes.

Procurator-class star battlecruiser

LENGTH:> several miles long (est.)
MANUFACTURER:    Kuat Drive Yards
SIGHTING: Kuat Sector, prior to Clone Wars.

By the time the Clone Wars began, Procurator-class star battlecruisers formed part of the sectorial defence fleet of Kuat Sector, which is famed for its heavy naval shipbuilding. Thus they are contemporaries and siblings of the Mandator-class star dreadnought and the more diminutive, frigate-sized Acclamator-class military transports. The “battlecruiser” classification implies a size and power on some order of magnitude between those of a mere Imperator-class star destroyer and a mighty Mandator-class star dreadnought.

The main reactor of a Procurator was large enough, compared to the overall hull, to protrude with a ventral bulb. [AOTC:ICS] Otherwise the literature does not yet confirm any details of the Procurator's shape, nor identifies it with any of the presently anonymous classes.

Arc Hammer

LENGTH:> 6.4km
MANUFACTURER:    Kuat Drive Yards
SIGHTING: During “darktrooper” project, sometime after Executor operational.

At first glance, it is difficult to determine whether this is a genuine starship or simply an immobile space station which coincidentally has a dagger-like form. The Arc Hammer has never been clearly observed to be in motion, and it has several asymmetric rod-shaped appendages on its midsection which are difficult to reconcile with the standard aesthetics and practical constraints of warship design. Perhaps these are simply temporary attachments associated with the darktrooper research and manufacturing effort.

However, one particular view of the Arc Hammer's destruction sets the balance of evidence in favour of a true starship. At this moment, at least two sublight thruster nozzles are visible at the stern. Furthermore, the same scene reveals a dorsal feature set amidships which is reminiscent of a warship command module. Essential Guide to Droids describes the vessel as “a titanic spacegoing construction facility” costing “billions of credits.”

The ship's docking capacity is extensive, with at least four bays which are each of a size comparable to the primary bay of an Imperator-class star destroyer. Interestingly though, the bays are situated in what should be the brim trench of a warship, although the brim in this case is oriented in the vertical plane (assuming that Arc Hammer is in standard coplanar orientation with respect to surrounding warships in known images).

Even though the Arc Hammer is primarily a manufacturing and research vessel, its the dagger-like form sugests that some of its functional characteristics are similar to those of a heavy warship. The angular surfaces allow good fire coverage in all directions for turbolaser batteries mounted on the hull. Perhaps the Arc Hammer was conceived with a respectable enough armament to fulfil stiff expectations of self-defence beyond the requirements of an ordinary civilian station. This is still far from making it a regular ship of the line, however. It should be considered a formidably-armed, self-defended, large support ship.

* *
The Executor in rendezvous with the Arc Hammer in deep space, escorted by a number of Imperator-class star destroyers. The destroyer in the foreground of the second image is also visible in the first image. This tells us about the three-dimensional relationship between the vessels, and indicates a lower limit on the Arc Hammer's length which should approximate the true length to within a small factor.

* *
Hull detail of the midsection rod structure and ventral docking bay region.

* * *
The Arc Hammer explodes, as Lord Vader stands observing. The second image is particularly important, since it reveals the ship's sublight thrusters and a dorsal structure amidships which looks like some kind of command module.

Vengeance-class star battlecruiser

MANUFACTURER:    Kuat Drive Yards (?)
SIGHTING: After Battle of Endor. [Dark Forces II]

This slender vessel was used as a flagship for the Dark Jedi Jerec sometime after the Battle of Endor. The Vengeance was named after Jerec's old destroyer flagship from a time before the Battle of Yavin. Since this ship is the only named example of its class known to date, the design should provisionally be referred to as Vengeance-class. (This class should not be confused with the Executor-class and Victory-class ships that were also named Vengeance.)

The ship is best known from one tantalizing screenshot from the Jedi Knight computer game. Sitting regally in the background behind an exploding Corellian blockade runner, it gives an impression of daunting immensity. The image is a stern view showing at least three sizes of sublight thruster nozzles arranged in what appears to be a single bank. There are three thrusters of primary size, two secondaries and six tertiary thrusters. All of the thrusters have the same cylindrical form as those of the Executor class. This fact, and the abundance of thrusters, implies that the ship may be of a mass and power which compares favourably with most cruisers.

Angular hull sections shelter the propulsion systems from above, but the engines and thrusters seem to be exposed on the ventral side, like those of the Executor-class command ships. Other images demonstrate further that a very large fraction of the ventral surface lacks any cladding of heavy hull plates. Most of the concave region is filled with what seems like the crenulated terrain of the main docking cavity or dorsal cortex terrain of an Executor-class command ship. Several sheltered irregular sub-cavities may be actual docking bay areas, and the whole underside resembles the docking bay of an Executor if it had been widened into the brim trench.

This ship is not very massive compared to other warships of its length. Its dagger shape is very slender and narrow. As seen from above or below, the angle of the bow is much sharper than for other known warship designs. The stern is an exception to the generally pointy shape; there the hull plates are much broader, with a much opener angle. In the engine region, the dorsal hull plates protrude like winglets and the brim trench actually turns downwards there.

At present it is difficult to derive scale estimates, but some potentially tight size limits can be made. In most of the available images, the command tower is either out of sight or else too distant to allow precise scaling. Some newer images permit indirect scaling based on approximate size relative to Imperator-class star destroyers: current rough estimates are for a length of over ten kilometres.

The prominence of the planar hull plates hints at the importance of this aspect of the warship technology. The relative emptiness of the exoskeletal shell might mean that the ship is still under construction. However the stern winglets make it impossible to fit a completely matching ventral hull.

Distant view of the thruster section of the great Vengeange. This file was publicity material from the LucasArts site.

* *
Ventral surfaces of Jerec's warship (pursuing a corvette in the first image). Note the great extent of the dark, finely-textured cortex. It appears to stretch almost to the brim. Areas of normal planar hull plating can be seen closer to the bow.

The great warship soars past the exploding blockade runner. The bow is off the left side of the image. The ship's aspect is starkly thin. Engine structures are dark and faintly visible in the right-most quarter of the ship's projection. There may be a hint of a command tower on the upper side of this region.

View of a section of dorsal hull plating. The brim trench has numerous notches similar to those of an Imperator-class star destroyer. There are also rough features on the main hull akin to the raised tab-like shelves on a star destroyer's hull. A small sharp dorsal feature towards the right of this view appears to be the command tower.

* * *
Clear views of Jerec's flagship in formation with star destroyers. Armour plating on the dorsal surface is more extensive than on Executor-class command ships. Winglike extensions over the engine assembly are clearly visible.

* *
Close external view of what appears to be one of the Vengeance's bridges. The viewport frames match the common Imperial Navy aesthetics for such structures. This presumably is a structure akin to the bridge nodules on the face of the command tower of modern Kuati warship designs. Unfortunately this view is not sufficient to identify the manufacturer of Jerec's flagship. The second image is an interior view of what might be the same chamber. The features, especially the lack of crew-pits and consoles, tend to suggest that this is more of an observation lounge than a truly functional bridge.

Jerec names the Vengeange, in an audio clip from the game [WAV format].

Vengeance resembles one of the ships in the far distance in the top-left corner of this panel from Dark Empire. The similarity is probably accidental, but tempting in retrospect.

[anonymous star carrier #1]

LENGTH:5 - 12 km ?
MANUFACTURER:    same as Admiral Giel's flagship; probably Corellian Engineering Corporation ?
SIGHTING: En route from Outer Rim Territories to Coruscant, roughly 1 year before Palpatine's fall. [Marvel STAR WARS]

There are very few cues to the scale of this vessel, though it looks as if it comes from the same designers as Admiral Giel's flagship. It may be of a similar size, or slightly smaller.

The docking bay and hangar regions are very large in comparison to the whole hull, such that the aperture which would be the primary docking bay of an ordinary warship extends as a huge cavity from the ventral through to dorsal surfaces. This immense docking region effectively cuts the point of the superstructure into paired mandibles. The inner surfaces of the mandibles are probably lined with hangars of different sizes. This ship obviously fulfills a role of heavy fleet carrier.

One of the vessels in Admiral Giel's armada during the months following the Battle of Hoth. This ship has a distinctive fork-nosed variant of the general dagger-like warship form, indicating massively extended docking and hangar facilities.

Admiral Giel's star battleship [anonymous #1]

LENGTH:between 6.9km and 13.4km
MANUFACTURER:    same as star carrier #1; probably Corellian Engineering Corporation ?
SIGHTING: En route from Outer Rim Territories to Coruscant, roughly 1 year before Palpatine's fall. [Marvel STAR WARS]

Sometime in the year preceding the Battle of Endor the largest armada formed in the history of Palpatine's Empire was under the command of an Admiral Giel. His flagship was somewhat smaller than the rare Executor-class ships of the day, but the vessel was nonetheless huge. Geometric studies tentatively indicate that the battleship was greater than 4.28 and almost certainly less than 8.4 times the length of a standard star destroyer. (A value closer to the lower limit is more likely.)

The battleship was carrying out a vital mission for the Emperor, transporting a seemingly unique captive being to Coruscant. This creature, known as a Teezl, had the extraordinary ability to project superluminal signals anywhere in the galaxy without reliance on the fixed hyperwave HoloNet or the expensive hyperwave transcievers mounted on large capital ships. Safe installation of the Teezl at Imperial Centre would significantly improve the coordination of the entire Imperial Starfleet.

Sadly for science, the Navy and the Teezl species, the convoy fell under a treacherous sneak attack by rebel pilots flying modified blackmarket TIE fighters. The Teezl was killed in a direct attack, and Admiral Giel's battleship suffered heavy damage in the ensuing explosion.

The dagger form of this battleship has the stubby aspect appropriate for a vessel with a single-bank sublight drive system. It is hard to spot a distinct command module or tower, though interior views of one of its bridges show a familiar architecture: a panorama of large trapezoidal viewports and crew pits set below the main observation deck. One docking bay, at least double the length and width of the primary bay of an Imperator-class star destroyer, is situated very close to the ship's prow.

Huge circular docking rings near the back of the superstructure resemble the brand characteristic of Corellian Engineering Corp (CEC) starships. These rings are set on a blocky tail which (excepting its size) resembles the tail of a Venator-class destroyer or Acclamator-class military assault ship. Thus it may contain important hyperdrive, inertial compensator and heat disposal components. The Teezl was kept in this part of the ship. Perhaps this position was favourable for several reasons, including physical access (the docking arms) and the ability to interface with hyperdrive systems (perhaps related to hyperwave communications).

[References: Shira's Story, Marvel Star Wars #60; Screams in the Void, Marvel Star Wars #61]

* *
Engine banks of Admiral Giel's flagship, with cruisers, destroyers and support ships hovering nearby. Closeup of the armoured dorsal superstructure.

Having acquired the mysterious Teezl creature, Admiral Giel's armada makes its way towards Imperial Centre. The mouth of the docking bay is visible in this image, on the underside of the prow.

* *
The awesome flagship is here seen in profile with its escorting destroyers and other support ships.

Rebel pilots using a stolen flight of TIE fighters launch a surprise attack on the flagship, targeting the Teezl.

In the confusion, one rebel TIE finds its mark, killing the unique Teezl organism and seriously damaging some sections of the warship in a resultant chain reaction.

The victorious rebel pilot flies audaciously along the starboard brim trench, drawing thick laser cannon fire. If the density of cannons in this section of the brim is typical of the whole ship then the total armament must amount to several thousands of guns.

Admiral Giel's flagship appears to be based on an early concept sketch for the Executor. [The Empire Strikes Back Sketchbook]

[anonymous star battleship #2]

LENGTH:at least 8.8 km
SIGHTING: Broadside sketch and TESB arcade game, predating Battle of Hoth.

This ship is best known from a single development sketch for The Empire Strikes Back. Considering the fact that other original warship designs which failed to appear on film have proven to actually exist in other parts of the STAR WARS pantheon (eg. thranta beasts of Alderaan; disused X-Wing designs used for Brian Daley's Z-95 Headhunter fighters; the Victory-class destroyer; and Admiral Giel's battleship), this class of warship was also likely to reenter the literature somewhere.

Interestingly, the place where it appears in the continuity is a first-generation source: in a transitional scene between levels of the original arcade game of The Empire Strikes Back. The game text indicated that “Darth Vader's Executor is searching for the rebel hideout” while the anonymous ship flew across the screen. This suggests that one of these battleships was participated in the Executor's search, at least peripherally. Therefore this class of warship was in service at least as early as the Battle of Hoth.

The most distinctive feature of the battleship is the long arm which protrudes up and forward from the middle of the dorsal cortex. Its prominence and central position imply that this is related to the command and control sectors of the ship; the command module is probably at the tip of this arm, beneath the isolated hood of ordinary flat hull plating.

This battleship has at least sixteen sublight thruster nozzles arrayed in a single bank. The single-bank configuration requires the vessel's profile to be rather stubby compared to longer and sleeker multiple-bank forms of other battleships of similar tonnage. It seems possible that signe-bank designs were a fashion early in the Empire, or perhaps it was a continuing style of a particular shipbuilder (perhaps including the architects of Admiral Giel's flagship).

Several intriguing features are seen on the ventral surfaces. Towards the aft end, the engine systems are exposed outside the main flat hull face, similar to equivalent features on the newer Executor-class ships. This extrusion is probably evidence that these greater warships have proportionately larger power and propulsion systems.

One ventral docking bay is visible, but it is much more modest than that of the Executor. Instead it is only slightly larger than that of an ordinary star destroyer. Clearly this ship is not designed to accommodate vast numbers of support craft or smaller warships. However on each side of the tail there is an intriguing circular feature crossed by what looks like a rectangular aperture and perhaps a few smaller openings. It may be a docking ring. The dark areas might be hangars or apertures.

* *
One of the two known illustrations of this class of battleship is fortunately a highly detailed broadside view. The other picture is a line graphic from an arcade game. (Oringally, this class of vessel was a concept for the Executor, as shown in the post-release annotations in The Empire Strikes Back Sketchbook.)

This warship represented in the old The Empire Strikes Back arcade game is almost identical to the battleship sketch above. It obviously isn't the Executor, but the text has a plausible secondary interpretation: that this is a vessel participating in Executor's search, and is somewhere away from the main part of the Ozzel/Vader squadron.

[anonymous star battleship/carrier #3]

LENGTH:12km (approx.)
MANUFACTURER:    not Kuat Drive Yards ?

[This vessel is an unused concept for The Empire Strikes Back. As most such sketches were adapted into subsequent literature, this warship seems highly likely to exist somewhere in the unfilmed STAR WARS pantheon.]

This ship gives us very few definite visual cues to scaling. However several elements strongly suggest immense size.

The first such cue is the structure of the engine assembly. The thruster nozzles are very numerous and are distributed over a broad area which is equivalent to several thruster banks. Parts of the propulsion or power systems protrude from the ventral plating, like on the Executor, This suggests that this warship has power performance comparable to a star battleship.

The command tower is situated on a forward-pointing arm of the cortex and it is not easily interpretable in terms of the standard KDY tower. This ship is almost certainly the work of a rival company. In any case, the point of the arm cannot be much smaller than the thickness of the KDY command module, because the basic constraints of warship design (applicable to command functions) will be common to both manufacturers.

Presumably, the structures of the dorsal crenulated terrain were designed to meet the same considerations as similar cortex surfaces of other large ships, like the Executor. Sizing the whole vessel's image so that the scale of irregularities in the honeycomb cortex matches that of the Executor yields a total length of approximately a dozen kilometres. However this scaling method is very rough: the ship might actually be up to double or as little as half of the estimated length.

The main ventral docking bay dominates the vessel's silhouette. Its aperture is so cavernous that it spans the entire ventral surface between the flank trenches, without interruption by any of of the usual planar hull. The docking bay's immensity indicates that carrier and mothership functions are important components of this vessel's overall role. The ship may be designated a “command ship” or “carrier”.

The only known illustration of this class of warship is fortunately a highly detailed broadside view.

[anonymous star battleship #4]

LENGTH:> many miles (est.)
MANUFACTURER:    Kuat Drive Yards or Rothana Heavy Engineering?
SIGHTING: orbit of an “important” world of the Galactic Republic, 6 months after the Battle of Naboo.

Six months after the Battle of Naboo, a fleet of warships is seen in an apparently protective deployment around an important planet of the Old Republic [STAR WARS Tales #21]. Beside the star frigates and octagonal-winged TIE fighters there is at least one massive warship [looming off the bottom-left edge of the image]. This ship is not entirely visible. We can see a dorsal cortex structure surrounded by flat armoured hull, very similar to corresponding areas of the Executor. At least one scanner globe and perhaps a tower-like structure sit within the cortex. These qualitative scaling cues imply that the ship belongs to an Old Republic class of star battleship or star dreadnought that was eventually related to the later Executor. It is not yet possible to determine whether this ship is a Mandator or another (as yet) unnamed class.

* *
A star battleship or star dreadnought [partially off the bottom-left of the image] within a fleet of smaller vessels near an important world of the Old Republic, six months after the Battle of Naboo. [STAR WARS Tales #21]

Mandator-class star dreadnought

LENGTH:> many miles (est.)
POWER:7.7 × 1026 W (approx.)
MANUFACTURER:    Kuat Drive Yards
SIGHTING: Kuat Sector, prior to Clone Wars; galaxywide campaigns, when Empire proclaimed.

Apparently one of the top-line star dreadnoughts in the wealthy and well defended shipbuilding Kuat Sector at the outbreak of the Clone Wars. Judging by its classification, it is closer to the power and size of the Executor-class star dreadnought than to vessels of destroyer or cruiser scales. However as the Executor is described as the largest warship at the time of Hoth, we can infer that the earlier Mandator-class was smaller. The main reactor of a Mandator was large enough, compared to the overall hull, to protrude with a ventral bulb. [AOTC:ICS] The subclass Mandator-II star dreadnoughts (leading Loyalist armadas in the Clone Wars) have the power of approximately a thousand Separatist Recusant star destroyers [ROTS:ICS]. At present, these are the only available hints about the ships' shape and performance. It's not yet known whether the Mandator is one of the large anonymous classes [e.g. battleship #4] or something else that hasn't yet been shown graphically.

Sovereign-class star dreadnought

MANUFACTURER:    Kuat Drive Yards
SIGHTING: Deep Core, 6 years after Battle of Endor. [Dark Empire Sourcebook]

Four Sovereign-class vessels were still under construction in the Emperor's heavily fortified Deep Core shipyards in the years immediately following the rout at Endor. Whether any of these ships was ever actually completed remains unknown, but the names assigned for the first four are Sovereign, Autarch, Despot and Heresiarch. All known ships of this class were destroyed by the time of the Suncrusher incidents [according to The Jedi Academy Sourcebook].

Like the larger Eclipse, the Sovereign mounts an axial superlaser weapon in a prow fin. Although it is not sufficiently powerful to achieve complete disruption of a terrestrial planet, is quite capable of rendering a world uninhabitable. The inclusion of this weapon has important technological implications: a minimalist superlaser device can be built on a scale of just less than ten miles long. In contrast, the prime weapon of the original Death Star appears to have been almost four times longer.

The docking facilities are not well known, since the Sovereign is only seen as a silhouette. However there is an important indentation in the keel line immediately behind the fin of the axial superlaser. This may represent a significant cavity like that of the Executor, although it is far from proven. According to the Dark Empire Sourcebook, the fighter capacity includes only 35 squadrons of interceptors and 5 of bombers, and 75 “all terrain armoured vehicles” are carried as well.

Judging by the silhouette, the engines are sheltered in a cavity between the dorsal and ventral hull plates like the arrangement for Imperator. However it's not clear whether the engines are bell-shaped or shaft-like. Parts of the outline at the aft end of the underside could be explained by quasi-cylindrical engine shafts protruding like those of Executor. Also like the Executor, there is no ventral bulb.

Extratextual Note: Michael Horne, author of the Dark Empire Sourcebook reports that the Sovereign was created for the sourcebook for the purpose of having an Eclipse-like vessel that was more numerous and less powerful than Palpatine's vessel. It isn't shown in the Dark Empire comic; the silhouette was invented by a WEG illustrator and there is as yet no official rendering of the full, three-dimensional form. The 3D renderings scattered across the internet are fan interpretations.

Unfortunately the only existing image of a Sovereign is a silhouette. Nevertheless we can tell that it has a single thruster bank, possibly a multi-tiered brim trench, and the kind of prow fin which on the Eclipse seems to be associated with the axial superlaser.

Section of the silhouette highlighting the indentation that might be a big docking bay.

Executor-class star dreadnought

LENGTH:~17.6km (betweem 11 and 12 miles)
POWER:~1.3 × 1027 W ? (assuming density equal to Imperator)
MANUFACTURER:    Kuat Drive Yards
SIGHTING: Fondor, Yavin, Hoth, Coruscant, Endor, Thyferra, Nzoth. Numerous other events with a leading Imperial naval presence.

Executor-class star dreadnoughts are immense mobile command platforms for the forces of the most distinguished officers of the Imperial Navy. This design is a prestige vessel, but is highly functional too. It outclasses anything available to the New Republic Navy as it was twelve years after the Battle of Endor. At present, the total count of known Executor-class ships is only about a dozen.

Each of the thirteen sublight thrusters is larger than an entire ship of some smaller classes of destroyers. The thrusters are arranged in three thruster banks, with the forward and middle banks divided into sub-banks under the port and starboard wings. The multi-bank design allowed the ship design to take a long, sleek profile, rather than the fatter and blunter form characterising single-bank vessels like Admiral Giel's battleship or the common Imperator-class destroyer. However the ship's flatness and the immensity of its power and propulsion systems requires that portions of the thruster cylinders protrude through the planar hull plating of the ventral surface.

The immensity of the forward and fantail docking bays (respectively about four miles and half a mile across) implies that Executors are well built to serve in a mothership role in relation to smaller capital ships. Destroyers and even some small cruisers could dock for servicing while in remoter regions of the Empire assigned to the armadas led by an Executor-class flagship.

Note: Some serious mistruths about the Executor design have been widely promulgated in other references. They include distortions of the ship's proportions; undercounting of the number of thrusters (nine as opposed to thirteen); and understatements of length (8km, 12.8km) that are much less than the consistent length of eleven or twelve miles shown at the Battles of Hoth and Endor.

For further information refer to Executor-class Star Dreadnoughts.

* *
Broadside views of the Executor, the personal flagship of Lord Darth Vader.

A destroyer moves into the shadow of the an Executor-class ship's enormous main bay.

Executor in ventral view, exiting a dense asteroid field.

Eclipse-class star dreadnought

LENGTH:17.5 km [16.0 km?]
POWER:> 1027 W ?
MANUFACTURER:    Kuat Drive Yards
SIGHTING: Byss, Cyax, Korriban, Onderon; 6 years after Battle of Endor. [Dark Empire, Empire's End]

Construction on the first of these great command ships, custom-designed for Emperor Palpatine, commenced before the Battle of Endor but further progress was hampered by the unexpected and calamitous collapse of Palpatine's regime. Eclipse was finally completed for the use of the Emperor's mad clones at Byss six years after Endor. The two ships of this class were the most massive known warships, even though the Executor-class dreadnoughts are somewhat longer. Reports of Eclipse's exact length vary: STAR WARS Encyclopaedia says 16.0km, which is closer to the definition ten miles than the 17.5km figure given in Dark Empire Sourcebook. It is possible that sixteen kilometres was the original intended length but makeshift design changes during the post-Endor phases of construction caused a nett extension to the gnarly prototype. [Michael Allen Horne, who wrote the Dark Empire Sourcebook, says that they added a few hundred more metres to suggest the special customisation of the Emperor's personal Eclipse-class ship. Later ships in this class presumably would have been 16.0km long.]

Compared to the Executor, the Eclipse is less dedicated to the support of starfighters and other carried vessels. Docking facilities are much smaller and therefore the Eclipse's hangar compliment must be much less in proportion to the ship's mass. Docking bays and hangars are comparatively small, reportedly able to hold a Victory-class star destroyer, whereas the cavernous cavities of an Executor might partially cover a larger destroyer or cruiser.

The first Eclipse exhibits what may be scars of its prolonged and spasmodic construction: many sections of the vessel depart from the aesthetically-pleasing bilateral symmetry of warships which are built to a constant and standardised design. During this project, plans and techniques probably changed noticeably while the superstructure was being assembled. The most peculiar and obvious instances of structural asymmetry are seen in the region of the command towers. Eclipse II lacks most of these imperfections.

The weaponry of the Eclipse incorporates several technological innovations which appeared too late for incorporation into the Executor, such as gravity-well projectors for hyperspace interdiction, and a miniaturised superlaser mounted in the principal axis of the ship. This weapon is said to be able to crack continents, rendering a planet uninhabitable, but it lacks the power to disrupt a planet completely. [Dark Empire Sourcebook]

NOTE: The Eclipse is slightly shorter than the Executor. The primary evidence for the Executor is in the films, which show a length of about eleven miles. The primary evidence for the Eclipse is the text of the Dark Empire comic, which states a length of about ten miles. Some secondary and derivative books have wrongly stated that the Eclipse is twice the length of Executor. Such statements were based on a false understanding of the Executor's length. The primary evidence still stands: although the Eclipse is much fatter and wider, and therefore has a greater total tonnage, it is definitely shorter.

* *
The black-hulled Eclipse and attending destroyers arrive in the over the New Republic's temporary military headquarters at Pinnacle Base, in the Cyax system. The Eclipse sweeps through space, oblivious to the tiny Corellian gunship which will smash against its prow.

A shuttle carrying Princess Leia Organa-Solo flies to a hangar near the base of the superlaser spine.

Close view of a section of the dorsal hull surrounding the irregular command tower and the private quarters of Palpatine's clone. The gnarly irregular structure is evidence of the warship's spasmodic construction.

View of the aft end of the Eclipse II in a passive orbit around Byss. Its proportions are much cleaner that those of its predecessor.

* *
Schematics and sketch of the Eclipse from Essential Guide to Vehicles & Vessels.

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