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Dreadnaught-class heavy cruiser
Production information

Rendili StarDrive[1]


Dreadnaught-class heavy cruiser[1][2]


Heavy cruiser[1]

Technical specifications

600 meters[1][2][3][4][5]


116.5 meters[6]


129.7/123.3 meters (including/excluding lower sensor array)[6]


13 MGLT[7]

Engine unit(s)

6 ion engines[8]

Hyperdrive rating
  • Class 2.0[1]
  • Backup Class 18[2]
Power output

Peak: ~1,93 × 1024 W[9]


2,560 SBD (most common model c. 3 ABY)[7]


1,216 RU[7]


Upgraded configuration:

  • Light quad turbolaser cannons (20)[8]
  • Turbolaser batteries (15)[8]
  • Turbolaser cannons (15)[8]

Common modification:


Common Imperial refit:


16,000 to 16,113[7][8] (2,200 for Katana fleet style variant)[8]

Minimum crew

8,800 to 9,000 (minimal/no slave rigging)


3,000 troops[7]

Cargo capacity

9,000 metric tons


2 years

"These are built from Mandalorian design. Not the most modern, but very strong."
Supreme Chancellor Palpatine

The Dreadnaught-class heavy cruiser, or simply the Dreadnaught, was a capital ship built for planetary occupation and space combat used by the Galactic Republic, Galactic Empire, New Republic, local governments and various other organizations.



"Rendili StarDrive's new gift for the military obsessed"
Captain Dubrak Qennto on the Dreadnaught


A Dreadnaught next to an Oswaft.

The keel of the Dreadnaught-class ran nearly 600 meters with the bow overlapping to produce a clamshell-like appearance. Each vessel had a cluster of weapons blisters spread across the hull. The ship was designated a heavy cruiser in standard classification[1] and was considered a downscaled warship when compared to the ship-designs from the Core.[10]

The forward ventral portion of the Dreadnaught-class was used as a massive cargo hold, with a docking port located at the bow of the ship. Additional cargo holds were situated towards the center of the ship, in front of the areas housing the main reactor and secondary power generators. Docking ports were also located on either side of the ship.

Offensive and defensive systems

Dreadnaught-class heavy cruiser schematics.

Weapon systems included twenty quad laser cannons (six bow, seven port, seven starboard), ten laser cannons (five port, five starboard and mounted in blisters), and ten turbolaser batteries (five bow, five stern). Some ships were later customized to feature a warhead launcher for anti-starfighter defense.

Deflector shield projectors were also located inside some of the blisters flanking the hull, and the primary and secondary sensor transceivers were located towards the stern of the vessel, on the dorsal and ventral sides, similar to those on CR90 corvettes.

While technologically advanced at the time of its construction, the Dreadnaught-class lacked in sublight and hyperspace speeds (a Class 4 rating), suffered computer failures, and could not compete with comparable designs in terms of firepower and shielding. Between three and five Dreadnaught-class cruisers could outgun one Imperial-class Star Destroyer.[12]

Crew complement

In addition to the technical drawbacks, Dreadnaught-class ships also required over 16,000 crewmembers to run at optimal performance—perhaps the highest crew per keel meter ratio of any modern starship. This high crew requirement put strains on recruitment efforts and turned supplying a Dreadnaught into a logistical nightmare. In comparison, slave-rigged Dreadnaughts reduced the complement requirements down to 2,200 crewmembers.

Hangar complement

The initial design was not focused towards carrier duty, but as the ships were upgraded and refitted, the center cargo holds were converted to hangar space, and a common compliment of 12 TIE starfighters was added to the vessel.

Main bridge

Unlike many contemporary warship designs, the Dreadnaught-class did not have an easily visible bridge section, opting to shelter the command decks and crew stations inside the main armored superstructure. These areas were located on the dorsal side of the bow.


The Dreadnaught-class heavy cruiser was designed and developed by Rendili StarDrive for the Republic Judicial Forces at least 80 years prior to the Clone Wars[13] and was based on the larger Mandalorian Kandosii-type dreadnaught from the time of the Mandalorian Wars.[14][15]

Early service

The Outbound Flight, with its cruisers positioned in a ring-shape.

After being commissioned, the Dreadnaughts saw use in ending major conflicts, but its shortcomings were quickly apparent. To counter the most glaring flaw of the Dreadnaught fleet, the Galactic Republic military developed a technology to reduce the crew requirements. By installing a full-rig slave circuitry system, the crew requirements could be reduced from 16,000 per ship to a more manageable 2,200.[16]

Two hundred of the heavy cruisers were outfitted with this new technology and dubbed the Katana fleet. The project failed when the crew were driven insane by a hive virus, slaved the fleet together, and made a random jump into hyperspace before the virus killed off every crew member.[16] A similar system was also fitted to the Dreadnaughts of the Rendili Home Defense Fleet.[14] Another famous project that saw the use of Dreadnaughts, was the ill-fated Outbound Flight, aimed at extragalactic exploration. The ship-design used six Dreadnaughts to fill out the hull.[16]

In addition to galactic governments and organizations, local forces also used these ships, as they constituted a cheaper and more easily accessible alternative to the large warships exclusive to the rich and heavily industrialized sectors.[10] Due to trade restrictions imposed by the Trade Federation, Outer Rim worlds had to rely on homemade fighters and downscaled warships for their own defense, sometimes gaining access to older design plans and leading to localized Dreadnaught-class variations.[10] For example, the Utapauan Security Force built and used several as anti-piracy vessels,[17] with their largest Rendili cruiser being one-fifth the size of a Trade Federation battleship.[10] Dreadnaught cruisers also composed the Rendili Home Defense Fleet.[14]

Dreadnaught-class cruisers being delivered on Coruscant after the Battle of Rendili.

During the Clone Wars, the Dreadnaughts saw heavy use in many battles, including the Battle of Duro, the Battle of Rendili, and the Battle of Coruscant. Because the more advanced assault ships and Star Destroyers were reserved for clone crews and highly dedicated Republic officers, the planetary security forces and volunteer militaries of the Republic made heavy use of the Dreadnaught-class.[18]

Imperial refitting

A Dreadnaught-class heavy cruiser shown to scale with an Imperial-class Star Destroyer (1,600m).

Dreadnaughts saw extensive use in the Imperial Navy due to their abundance. Battle squadrons assigned to unimportant systems were often assigned a Dreadnaught cruiser in place of a more modern cruiser. To increase its field potential, the Imperial Starfleet upgraded the ships' hyperdrive to Class 2 and converted cargo space into a hangar. With the hangar modification, a Dreadnaught could carry a squadron of TIE/ln starfighters. These upgraded cruisers now saw use as patrol ships, who maintained Imperial dominance over primitive worlds.

Fifty years after the Katana fleet was lost, Grand Admiral Thrawn recovered 178 ships of the lost fleet. They proved critical in his assault against the New Republic, since he had an abundance of cloned navy crewmen.[12]

Garm Bel Iblis maintained a personal fleet of six Katana fleet Dreadnaughts, which he used to capture 15 of the Katana ships, including Katana herself; the final ship of the fleet was destroyed in the battle for the Katana fleet.[12] Some of Bel Iblis's Dreadnaughts were observed to use ion cannons, but it is unknown whether this was a modification his forces implemented or a standard feature of the Katana fleet.

Later use

A Dreadnaught port view.

The still fledgling fleet of the New Republic used donated, captured or recovered Dreadnaught cruisers until the New Republic Defense Fleet formally decommissioned them after the New Class project. During the Yuuzhan Vong War, Dreadnaughts would continue to be used by the New Republic and its successor government, the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances.

Many Dreadnaught cruisers were converted by the Alliance and later the New Republic into assault frigates, which were much less manpower-intensive than standard Dreadnaughts and carried a heavier armament.[16]

Some Dreadnaughts ended up as building material for the Hidden Temple during the Sith-Imperial War in 127 ABY.[19]

Behind the scenes

The Dreadnaught-class might be named after the British pre-WWI battleship HMS Dreadnought, which revolutionized the concept of heavy duty battleships by being the first vessel to have an "only big guns battery". This simplified ranging, compared to the traditional design that combined the main battery with secondary batteries of various ranges. In her day, she spurred a revolution in battleship design; all subsequent battleships followed the "all big gun" concept. For a time, such ships were referred to as "dreadnoughts" to differentiate them from pre-Dreadnought ships. Dreadnought was also revolutionary in that she was the first battleship to be powered by a steam turbine rather than a triple-expansion engine. The name HMS Dreadnought was again used for Britain's first nuclear powered attack submarine (SSN), showing the meaning and importance the name holds for the Royal Navy.

The Dreadnaught-class cruiser, however, being considerably smaller and less armed and protected (as well as crew-intensive), is perhaps more analogous to the old pre-Dreadnought battleships of WWI than to Dreadnought battleships. Like the Dreadnaught-class, pre-Dreadnoughts were constructed in large numbers and as there were still many such vessels by WWI, pre-Dreadnoughts were deployed in backwater areas and were not crewed by first-rate sailors. In a similar analogy to the WWI Dreadnought, in the Star Wars Universe many powerful frontline warships around a kilometer in length or larger were known as "Star Destroyers", with the exception of certain classes such as the Mon Calamari Star Cruisers.

Due to the variety of sources used and the common use of modified Dreadnaught-class vessels, the statistics listed in the infobox may not accurately represent a stock Galactic Republic Dreadnaught. The original Imperial Sourcebook listed a lighter armament than most later sources. Both sets of specifications are listed here.

Though Dreadnaught-class starships were first shown in action in Dark Force Rising, they are mentioned earlier in Heir to the Empire as providing the main hull of Nomad City. Like many of the ships and vehicles in the Thrawn Trilogy, the Dreadnaught originated in the Imperial Sourcebook.

Dreadnaught-class cruisers have a certain resemblance to the Battlestars featured in the two Battlestar Galactica television series (despite those having prominent hangar bays for more fighters), as well as Tartan-class patrol cruisers in both SW PC games Empire at War and Forces of Corruption.

The Dreadnaught-class cruiser seen in X-wing vs. TIE Fighter is noticeably different in physical appearance from other depictions of the vessel, including the model used in that game's sequel, X-wing Alliance.



Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Imperial Sourcebook
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Dark Force Rising Sourcebook
  3. The Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels
  4. Starships of the Galaxy (2001)
  5.  Dreadnaught heavy cruiser in the Databank
  6. 6.0 6.1 Calculated from planform illustration in The Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels based on universally consistent length figure
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 Star Wars: X-wing Alliance
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 The Official Star Wars Fact File 89
  9. Estimate based on standoff between ISD-I and five Rendili Dreadnaughts in Dark Force Rising and a previous estimate of three such cruisers being "hardpressed" against an ISD.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 Revenge of the Sith: Incredible Cross-Sections
  11. Jedi Trial
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Dark Force Rising
  13. Dark Forces: Soldier for the Empire
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Star Wars Republic: The Dreadnaughts of Rendili
  15. Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 Heir to the Empire
  17.  Saga Edition Web Enhancement: The Pau'ans on
  18. Starships of the Galaxy (Saga Edition)
  19. Star Wars Legacy 25: The Hidden Temple, Part 1
Rendili spaceship classes
Dwarf Star-class freighter - Field Secured Container Vessel
Katarn-class boarding shuttle - Kiltirin-class dungeon ship
Lictor-class dungeon ship - Starlight-class light freighter
Space stations
Bavos-I military space platform - Bavos-II military space platform
Derilyn Space Defense Platform - FireStar-class orbital defense station
Space Dock - Type I Light Duty Space Defense Platform
LT-9000 Interceptor
Patrol ships
Imperial Customs Frigate
Light Corvette
Assault Frigate Mk. II - Battle Horn-class bulk cruiser
Invincible-class Dreadnaught Heavy Cruiser - Dreadnaught-class heavy cruiser
Neutron Star-class bulk cruiser - Vainglorious-class Cruiser
Star Destroyers
Republic-class Star Destroyer - Victory I-class Star Destroyer
Victory II-class Star Destroyer
Rendili battleship

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


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