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Star Wars: The Ship That Made Darth Vader Famous – The Trade Federation Battleship Breakdown

4 Minute Read
Dec 31 2023
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How can one starship cast the entire galaxy under the shadow of the Sith? Check out Darth Vader’s Trade Federation Battleship.

In a time when turmoil engulfed the Galactic Republic brought about by the taxation of trade routes to outlying star systems. Marked by the rise of the greedy Trade Federation and their blockade of the small planet of Naboo, a pivotal moment in galactic history was about to dawn.

Darth Vader on the Trade Federation Battleship

The Trade Federation Battleship

It was a time of endless debates amid the Republic’s Congress. And a time when one of the most infamous figures in the galaxy was just beginning to rise. And yet, it’s strange to think that, if not for a critical design flaw in one of the most common battleships at the time, the Jedi Order might never have been destroyed.

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Trade Federation Battleship

The ship in question is the Lucrehulk-Class Battleship. It was the primary capital ship of the Trade Federation’s naval forces. Originally modified from cargo haulers, these enormous vessels were the backbone of the Trade Federation’s forces as they began to militarize.

After all, the Trade Federation was reluctant to spend the credits necessary to construct or purchase a fleet of military ships. But they had thousands of Lucrehulk-class freighters. And so the process began of converting them into battleships. They would serve as both battleship and command & control networks for the Trade Federation and their droid armies.

Specs & Weapons

These massive vessels were over 3 kilometers in length, making them even larger than the dreaded Xyston-class Star Destroyers. Those would threaten the very existence of life in the galaxy very soon enough.

Each one held two massive docking bays lined with docking claws. These were meant to assist in loading an entire planets’ worth of cargo into the ship from low orbit. They were retrofitted to be massive hangers that would serve as launching bays for the thousands of droids.

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Each LucrehulkClass Battleship was capable of carrying 1,500 Vulture droid starfighters, 1,500 troop carriers, and 550 multi-troop transports. It also held 50 C-9979 landing craft, 6,250 Armored Assault tanks, and almost 330,000 battledroids. This made a single one of these ships capable of laying siege to a whole planet, if not a city.

Trade Federation Battleship

The Trade Federation Battlship During the Clone Wars

For all that carrying capacity, the LucrehulkClass Battleships had some serious deficiencies. They had massive amounts of firepower, typically in the equatorial bands of the ship. Before the onset of the Clone Wars, this was about 42 quad turbolaser turrets. Once the Clone Wars began, the Lucrehulk-Class ships received even more of an upgrade. Now they were outfitted for serious battle.

Models retrofitted after the Battle of Naboo had upwards of 164 point defense quad-laser batteries, 472 laser cannons, and 48 turbolasers in the ring alone. Meanwhile, the central ship had an additional 21 point-defense quad laser batteries, 48 assault laser cannons, and 3 turbolasers for extra protection.

Which brings us to the fatal flaw that helped launch a young boy from Tatooine onto the galactic stage.

The Fatal Flaw

The pre-Clone Wars models of the battleships had major gaps in their defenses. Their armor and shields were vulnerable to even small craft firepower. But perhaps more deadly were the connection of the main reactors, which all connect to the three main engines, secondary engines, and each other.

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This meant greater efficiency and redundancy in terms of cargo hauling. If an engine or reactor went down, others were there to ensure that no delay in galactic shipping would happen. The Lucrehulk could continue on its way. But this also meant that if a single reactor were destroyed, the rest of the reactors would go up, too.

This lesson was illustrated by Anakin Skywalker. He employed unexpected maneuvers like spinning to get through the starship’s defenses to the vulnerable reactor. With a single proton torpedo, the 9-year-old child did what no professionally trained pilot could do. He destroyed the droid control ship for the Trade Federation, and singlehandedly saved the planet of Naboo.

In the aftermath, the boy earned enough of a heroic reputation to be received as a general when the Clone Wars broke out. Of course, this eventually led to the rise of Darth Vader and the fall of the Jedi Order.

All that, for want of reactor shielding

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Author: J.R. Zambrano
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