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Baradium: Misc



Up to date as of February 04, 2010

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"No one ever gets to fire the baradium missiles."
Han Solo

Baradium was a highly volatile substance used in thermal detonators and other powerful munitions.



Although baradium is described as a "synthetic element",[1] it may have existed in some form in naturally-occurring lodes, as quantities of it were discovered on Duro and Anobis after the Yuuzhan Vong War[2]; these may possibly have been industrial by-products, however.

When detonated, a baradium weapon produced an incandescent sphere of energy, normally vaporizing everything within it. The destructive force was described as a fusion reaction,[3] and the majority of the energy produced was released as heat.[1] A second component of a baradium explosion was a particle field, which formed the outer surface of the blast sphere, and which was sustained by the energy of the explosion inside: this had the useful effect of containing the destructive effect within a relatively precise perimeter.[1] But although baradium was a very potent explosive, it was also costly to process, and extremely unstable: accidental detonation could be triggered by careless use, and would have a devastating effect.[1] These factors placed important limits on the employment of baradium munitions.


Thermal detonators

Main article: Thermal detonator

Probably the best-known and most widespread form of baradium charge was a type known as a thermal detonator. The standard thermal detonators used by the Imperial Army had a five-meter blast radius, and could penetrate up to two meters of permacite, but they were designed to be placed manually against hardened targets as petards, rather than lobbed as grenades or mortar rounds.[1] They were issued to Imperial Combat Engineers,[1] and to stormtroopers.[3]

Other thermal detonators were used by bounty hunters had a twenty-meter radius,[3] and some could vaporize everything up to one hundred meters away. These were sometimes lobbed as grenades, or used as suicide weapons by terrorists.[4] The ostentatious destructive potential of larger thermal detonators is perhaps best illustrated by the fact that a single Class-A thermal detonator, detonating in the basement, brought down Xizor's Palace, one of the largest buildings on Coruscant.[5]

Baradium missiles

Much more powerful even than this were baradium missiles, which were capable of destroying capital ships in a single blast. One of these was acquired by the Jedi Order and supplied to the Myrkr strike team during the Yuuzhan Vong War. Carrying a charge of one metric ton of baradium, the blast-radius of a detonation in space was a full kilometer wide. To help ensure that it reached its target, it had deflector shields, and sufficient maneuverability to evade the defenses of enemy warships, both controlled by a droid brain pilot.[6]

Several racks of baradium missiles were later found in the Missile Hold aboard the Star Destroyer Anakin Solo. These had a trigger mechanism using a deuterium-based proton charge, which on its own was capable of producing a blast comparable to some thermal detonators.[2]

Baradium fission device

Baradium was also used in the construction of superweapons capable of destroying an entire planet. Baradium fission devices were known to exist during both the Old Republic and Imperial eras. However, these weapons were banned sometime during the early Imperial era by the Senate via legislation strongly supported by Senator Bail Organa of Alderaan. The Rebellion did manage to obtain one baradium fission device and planned to use the device to destroy the Imperial Shipyards orbiting the planet Bilbringi. This mission would end in failure when the pilot charged to deliver the weapon ditched the device because he was unwilling to sacrifice the Millennium Falcon.

Other baradium weapons

In small quantities, baradium could be used with some precision: thermal detonator tape was used to breach blast doors, for example.[7]

A more specialized form of baradium weapon was the seismic charge, in which the baradium was combined with collapsium. Rather than a spherical blast-radius, the destructive power of a seismic charge was constrained into a narrow plane, producing a violent shearing effect through anything in the path of the blast.[8]

In an attempt to counteract the instability of baradium-based thermal detonators, the Alliance to Restore the Republic developed the Thermal Well, which combined baradium with ytterbium, to produce a much more stable explosive compound. This burned at several thousand degrees Celsius, and was capable of melting most objects within its blast radius.[9]

Lastly, while baradium was normally used as an explosive, depleted baradium was used instead to make dense, small-caliber bullets. The YVH series could carry a depleted-baradium pellet launcher capable of shredding yorik coral.[6]


Baradium's destructive power meant that thermal detonators were banned by the Old Republic, and more powerful models remained illegal under the Galactic Empire,[3] while unauthorized possession of a thermal detonator was now punishable by death.[1] But while a small baradium charge was issued as standard to stormtroopers, the cost of production and the problems involved in handling the material also meant that its use was limited, even within the massive military-industrial complex of the Imperial forces.[1]

These limits did not completely prohibit the use of baradium weapons, however. Even under the Old Republic, thermal detonators were popular with bounty hunters and other fringe elements.[3] Jedi Master Depa Billaba said that Mace Windu should have used a baradium bomb on Geonosis, rather than allowing the Clone Wars to begin. Subsequently, they were employed by the Grand Army of the Republic, and by elite Imperial soldiers such as stormtroopers.[3] Merr-Sonn Munitions were known as the primary manufacturer,[1] but a few other companies were authorized to produce detonators by the Empire, including BlasTech Industries subsidiary Tarascii Explosives.[9] Large thermal detonators continued to be illegal under the New Republic, although that did not stop Han Solo from keeping a few in his private arsenal aboard the Millennium Falcon.[4]

The Yuuzhan Vong War saw the one recorded use of a baradium missile, by the Myrkr strike team. The primary plan of the strike team's mission was built around this weapon, which was to be used to destroy the cloning facility creating the voxyn at Myrkr. In the event, it was fired instead against a Yuuzhan Vong cruiser, completely obliterating it even though it exploded half a kilometer from the warship's hull.[6]

There is little further evidence for baradium missiles being regularly used in combat, however. The cache aboard the Star Destroyer Anakin Solo in 40 ABY may have been an anomaly, reflecting that ship's unusual role as command ship of the Galactic Alliance Guard. During the Battle of Kashyyyk, for example, Darth Caedus carried out the planetary bombardment exclusively with the Star Destroyer's long range turbolasers.[10]

After the war, the Galactic Alliance attempted to reassert tight state control of baradium supplies, as a large-scale smuggling operation it was considered a serious issue in 35 ABY.[11] Shortly before 40 ABY, however, large deposits of baradium were discovered on Duro, and these would prove to be the ultimate catalyst for the Second Galactic Civil War, when Thrackan Sal-Solo and his faction began secret military preparations to secure the supply for Corellia.[2]

Behind the scenes

There is a fanon suggestion that "baradium" is connected with the names of the baryon (a type of massive nuclear particle, from Greek "barys", heavy), and the radioactive element Radium: such a name would be appropriate for a super-heavy radioactive element, but this would be a suitable fuel for nuclear fission, not the "fusion" described by canon sources: nor is there any evidence that a baradium weapon releases any significant radiation.

An alternative fanon suggestion connects the name with the chant in The Day The Earth Stood Still, 'Klaatu barada nikto'. With the existence of the Nikto pirates, and a Nikto named Klaatu, baradium may be derived from the middle word.

The name of depleted baradium, mentioned in Star by Star, is probably based on depleted uranium: both are substances with powerful explosive properties, used here to create powerful ammunition with a high penetration. It cannot be assumed, however, that depleted baradium is created in the same way as depleted uranium (which is "depleted" because the radioactivity has been spent). Baradium bombs are also similar to atomic bombs in being massively powerful bombs capable of devastating a massive area.



Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 The Imperial Sourcebook
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Tempest
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Thermal Detonator in the databank
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Courtship of Princess Leia
  5. Shadows of the Empire
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Star by Star
  7. Republic Commando: Triple Zero
  8. Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, The New Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology
  9. 9.0 9.1 Rules of Engagement: The Rebel SpecForce Handbook
  10. Inferno
  11. The Joiner King

See also

This article uses material from the "Baradium" article on the Starwars wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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