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Executor-class Star Dreadnought
Production information

Kuat Drive Yards[1]

Product line

Star Dreadnaughts[2]


Executor-class Star Dreadnought[2]


Star Dreadnought[2][1]

Technical specifications

19 kilometers[2][1]

Maximum acceleration

1230 G[3]


40 MGLT[4]

Engine unit(s)

Executor-50.x engine (13)[5]

Hyperdrive rating
  • Class 2.0[4]
  • Backup Class 10[6]
Power output
  • Peak (reactor): >7,73 × 1026 W[7][2]
  • Peak (shields): 3,8 × 1026 W[2]

KDY shield generator domes (2)[4] (local area-effect)[2]


Titanium-reinforced alusteel[4]

Sensor systems

KDY shield generator domes (2)[8][2]

Minimum crew



38,000 (troops)[4]

Cargo capacity
  • 250,000 metric tons[4]
  • Supplies for 300,000 individuals[4]
Cargo handling systems

Beltway system[11]


6 years[12]

Communication systems

HoloNet transceiver[13]

Year introduced

Around 3 BBY[15]

"With the Executor under my command, I will be the ultimate power in the universe!"
Admiral Kendal Ozzel, only moments before being killed by Darth Vader

The Executor-class Star Dreadnought,[6][2][1] colloquially known as the Executor-class Super Star Destroyer or Executor-class Star Destroyer, was a heavy warship class in the Star Dreadnaught league,[2][1] often used as command ships and flagships in the Imperial Navy.[2][19][20] At their prime, they were among the largest vessels in the galaxy, second only to the Eclipse-class[21] and superweapons like the Death Stars,[22], and were almost invincible in combat, although they were costly to operate[23].



The Executor approaches the second Death Star.


The Executor-class measured 19 kilometers in length[6][1], was approximately five times larger and more destructive than any Star Destroyer class in the Imperial Navy[24], and was 100 times more massive than the ubiquitous Imperial-class Star Destroyer.[2]

280,734 Imperial Navy officers, gunners and enlisted men were said to have crewed each vessel.[19][25] Though several variants of the Executor-class existed, all followed similar design-attributes in terms of structure.[26][27][21]

Propulsion systems

The Executor-class was built with one main reactor and an unknown number of secondary reactors.[2] Thirteen Executor-50.x engines placed in five thruster banks gave the Executor-class impressive acceleration for its size.[5] The main reactor was accessible through various service tubes.[28]

Offensive and defensive systems

The Executor-class had over 5,000 weapons emplacements,[2] including turbolasers, assault concussion missile launchers, and ion cannons.[6]. With warships being able to direct all power to their energy weapons,[29] the Executor-class had at least 100 times more firepower than an Imperial-class destroyer.[2]

Dorsal view Executor's forward superstructure.

A majority of gun batteries and missile launchers were located in the central cityscape on the class's dorsal side,[1] while some point-defense guns were located throughout the side-trenches.[30] On at least one ship, many heavy batteries were sacrificed for an increased number of anti-starfighter cannons.[21] Despite it's impressive firepower, the design was far from perfect, as the ventral side and the aft were relatively undefended, and Executor-class SSDs required an impressive starfighter defensive screen to chase off enemy starfighters and marauding smaller capital ships who otherwise could remain in the main weaponery blind spots.

Its shields handled much of the power generated—an amount equivalent to the total power of a medium star (3.8 × 1026 W).[2] Shield-projectors were placed throughout the hull, which decentralized the protection system and decreased the chance of all shields falling at once. Known shield segments included the dorsal, ventral, bow, aft, port and starboard shields.[16] In later-model ships, an extra shield generator was mounted in the middle of the ship.[26]

In addition to the shield generators, several Executors had cloaking generators or stealth-armor fitted to the vessel, in order to perform sneak attacks on enemy targets.[27][9]

Sensor domes

A ventral docking bay on the Executor.

The geodesic domes located on and around the Executor's bridge tower (similar to those of Imperial-class Star Destroyers) served dual purposes. Inside the dome were hyperwave transceiver coils for supralight active sensors, while vanes jutting out of the dome served as shield projectors for the surrounding area.[2] There were many such geodesic domes scattered around the ship.[31]

These domes were not vulnerable to external attack as long as the shields remained intact, but concentrated capital ship bombardment—such as that ordered by Admiral Ackbar during the Battle of Endor—could knock out this protective field. The sensors and shield projectors thus became vulnerable to attack, as demonstrated by Rebel starfighter pilots.[2][30]


A minimum of 144 starfighters were carried onboard Executor-class vessels;[25] but the massive hangars could hold thousands.[13][9] In addition to fighters, the Executor-class also carried a large number of landing craft, dropships, ground armor and two prefabricated garrison bases.[2]

At least three hangar bays were located on the portside,[28] several underneath the vessel[13] and multi-level fighter bays deep inside the main superstructure.[28] The class had an internal Beltway cargo handling system. The internal freight shaft went from the stern to the prow of the battleship, equipped with a tracked hauler that could carry large loads throughout the vessel.[11]

In terms of detention facilities, these Super-class Star Destroyers possessed six detention blocks that were used for crew discipline alone. In addition, they held ten additional high-security blocks that were used for enemy prisoners. Furthermore, they cotnained three cargo areas that were designed for the secure transport of large quantities of slaves, refugees or even prisoners of war. Adjcated to the large landing bays used by the bulk shuttles contained holding areas that were equipped with only minimal facilities in terms of water taps, ventilation and food dispensers. These regions of the ship were considered adequate for up to a thousand people.[32]


The bridge layout of an Executor-class Dreadnought.

The bridge tower was almost a starship in itself and was a standard module on many different KDY warship classes.[2] It was equipped with heavy shielding to compensate for its highly visible location, and contained mess halls, special quarters for officers of high rank, and large escape pods.[2] The admiral aboard the vessel even had his own escape pod, directly above the command bridge and next to admiral's suites. The command tower also had its own power generators, relays, and life-support systems. It was connected to the ship's main reactor by a cluster of power feeds.[2]

The command salon of an Executor-class Dreadnought.

The bridge of the Executor had the same basic layout as standard Star Destroyers. The outer-most part featured nine triangular viewports. The center contained two crewpits which housed the control consoles for the ship. Between them was the command walkway.[13] To the right and left sides of the bridge were two alcoves containing the weapons and defense stations.[2] Behind the bridge were the communications stations, a turbolift, and a HoloNet pod for ship-to-ship communications. On the level directly beneath the bridge was the main navigation complex.[2]

Additional tower-structures were located throughout the ships main superstructure, including a forward structure similar in design to the Munificent-class Star Frigate's command tower.[31]


Design and construction

Executor, lead ship of the class, and several escorting Imperial-class Star Destroyers.

The Executor-class was the brainchild of Lira Wessex, the brilliant and ambitious engineer who already had the designs of the Venator-class and Imperator-class (later renamed Imperial-class) Star Destroyers to her credit.[33][34] Following her work on the already-impressive Imperial-class, Wessex sought to improve on the design.

Adhering to Kuat Drive Yards' philosophy of psychological effect in starship design, or "terror styling",[2] she believed that the immense size of an Imperial-class Star Destroyer was largely responsible for its ability to intimidate opponents. Working on that theory, she began designing a starship that would dwarf all her previous works. Though KDY had designed and built extremely large warships in the past, such as Star Dreadnaughts like the Mandator-class[35][7] and Star Battlecruisers like the Procurator-class,[35] the result obtained by Wessex was utterly gargantuan.[2]

Cutaway of the (damaged) command tower of the Executor.

Emperor Palpatine authorized the construction of the first four Executor-class ships even before the Battle of Yavin (0 BBY), but it still had to be slipped past the watchful eyes of various oversight committees in the Imperial Senate; to the very last, the minority of Senators who opposed Palpatine and his policies used the few political tools they had left to hinder him, and one of these was budget oversight. To conceal the particulars of the vessel from the opposition, the Navy listed the new ship as a "Super-class Star Destroyer" in budget reports submitted to the Senate, and understated its true length (19,000 meters) by many kilometers.[6]

This way, the Executor-class and other ships of its size-range became known by the nickname "Super Star Destroyers",[2] and the ship's length, even in Imperial government scandocs, was variously reported as 8,000 or 12,800 meters, before the true details of the class came to light.[6]

The first of the class, the Executor, began construction in the years preceding the Battle of Yavin. The unfinished vessel was used as a headquarters for Darth Vader and his secret apprentice, Galen Marek.[36] With the sudden and unanticipated destruction of the Death Star at Yavin, Wessex's production schedule changed completely. At the urging of Darth Vader, the Emperor ordered her to rush the new line into production as quickly as possible, to compensate for the loss of the battle station.[2] As certain segments of naval command may have anticipated, a new symbol of intimidation was needed, and as Wessex had believed, the Executor-class fit the need well.

The first two Executor-class ships were now being built simultaneously, with the Lusankya at Kuat Drive Yards and the Executor moved to the Fondor Shipyards.[14] Darth Vader received the finished Executor at Fondor about half a year after the fiasco at Yavin. The second ship, then known as the Executor II,[37] was completed shortly afterwards at Kuat, received its new name, and was hidden on Coruscant.[38]

Imperial service

A view of an Executor-class Star Dreadnaught's dorsal surface.

The Executor went on to become the most feared and famous of its class by virtue of its status as Darth Vader's command ship.[19][2] However, the vessel was destroyed at the Battle of Endor in 4 ABY, after an A-wing starfighter rammed through its bridge and it subsequently crashed into the Death Star II.

During the early years of the Galactic Civil War, several other Executor-class ships were built and fielded. A Rebel strike destroyed an Executor-class ship, upgraded with cloaking technology, while still under construction at Fondor in 3 ABY.[39] Another Star Dreadnaught with cloaking capability, the Terror, was already operational by 3 ABY.[40] The Vengeance lead a task force around this time.[41] Towards the end of Palpatine's glory days in 4 ABY, other Executors were noted as well. The Guardian was tasked with protecting Coruscant,[42] the Annihilator served in close vicinity to Kuat,[43], the Reaper led Scourge Squadron on its patrols in the Outer Rim Territories[44] and the Brawl was given to Admiral Zsinj by Palpatine himself.[45]

In the later years, production on Executor-class Star Dreadnaughts and other Super Star Destroyers accelerated in a display of the Emperor's wealth and power. After the death of the Emperor and the fragmentation of the Galactic Empire into feuding fiefs, Executor-class Star Dreadnaughts were popular acquisitions amongst warlords hoping to improve their military power and prestige. Some would fall into the hands of the New Republic, where they would fight against the Empire they had once served.[18][46] The Imperial Warlord Superior General Delvardus had a new Executor-class Star Dreadnaught constructed at great expense and it was completed in 12 ABY. It was named the Night Hammer and was soon taken by Admiral Natasi Daala as her flagship. She renamed it the Knight Hammer and led it in an attack against the Jedi Praxeum on Yavin 4. However, it was destroyed by the Jedi Callista Ming.[9]


Side view of Executor-class Star Dreadnought and Imperial-class Star Destroyer.

Following the Black Fleet Crisis, where the New Republic faced the Star Dreadnaught Intimidator,[26] a decision was made to build a warship class that could counter threats from rogue warships like the Executor-class. The result was the Star Dreadnaught-analogue Viscount-class Star Defender built by the Mon Calamari.[6]

In addition to these Star Defenders, the few Executor-class Star Dreadnaughts left after the Galactic Civil War would see heavy action in the Yuuzhan Vong War, where even more ships were lost.[47] After the war, the only known Star Dreadnaught left and operating under the Galactic Alliance was Guardian, which was present at the Second Battle of Coruscant[17] and later returned to its post at Kashyyyk, following the war's end.[48]

By the Sith-Imperial War, the Executor-class was gone from active service, having been found too expensive to run. It shared this fate with many other heavy warship-designs, as fleet doctrine moved towards smaller, compact weapons-platforms, like the Scythe-class main battle cruiser.[49] The final legacy of the Executor-class was its partial inspiration for the Pellaeon-class Star Destroyer, which incorporated systems from both it and the Imperial-class Star Destroyer.[21]

Behind the scenes

"Executor" comes from the Latin word meaning "an administrator or executive officer".

Atari vector drawing with similar ESB production art underneath.

Other phrases used to describe these vessels were "cruiser" (Empire Strikes Back novelization), "battlecruiser", "battleship" and "dreadnaught" (all from the Classic Star Wars comics), "Star Destroyer" (Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back), and "Star Cruiser" (the Marvel Star Wars comics).

In the Empire Strikes Back arcade game for Atari, an Imperial ship can be seen searching for the Rebel's secret base shortly before the Battle of Hoth. This crude vector-drawing was similar to an early Executor production painting. A similar reuse was made in Star Wars 60: Shira's Story and Star Wars 61: Screams in the Void, where the flagship of Admiral Mils Giel was based on early Executor concept art.

The filming model of Executor included some unusual items attached or built-in to create structural details. One notable item visible on close examination of the model is a toy soldier.

Originally, during production of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, the Executor was meant to be just another type of Star Destroyer, similar in design to the ones seen in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, only faster. At some point, the design was changed and enlarged, and the vessel became much bigger than its escorting Star Destroyers. G-canon movie visuals established a length of around 11 miles, a size that was maintained by the special effects team for its two on-screen appearances. Early sources like the Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back script (1978), the Empire Strikes Back novelization (1980) and The Empire Strikes Back Official Poster Monthly (1980), all described the Executor as being larger and more powerful than the five ISDs accompanying it (The sources all used "larger", but the other characteristics differed slightly. The script used the phrase "more awesome", the Poster Monthly "stronger" and the novelization "more ominous". The relation to the five escorting ships remained constant).

A toy soldier in the superstructure of the Executor filming model.

A Guide to the Star Wars Universe (First Edition) (1984) described it as being approximately five times larger and more destructive than any Star Destroyer in the Imperial Fleet. Since there exists multi mile-long Star Destroyers in canon (implicitly stated in books like Darksaber and Dark Forces: Soldier for the Empire, and explicitly stated in Attack of the Clones: Incredible Cross-Sections), this is consistent with earlier sources and does not indicate the Imperial-class specifically, which would have created an inconsistency.

In 1989, the RPG-based Imperial Sourcebook stated that the class was exactly five times the length of the Imperial-class Star Destroyer and this figure was perpetuated for about 15 years, in game and non-game sources. Often, the accompanying Executor illustrations did not match the model used in the films, with the command tower being too large compared to the rest of the vessel, the tail-section being truncated and the ship having less engines (usually stated as 9). The behind-the-scenes book on Lucasfilm, From Star Wars to Indiana Jones: The Best of the Lucasfilm Archives (1995), showed the film props and stated that the Executor was conceived as eleven times the size of the original Star Destroyer, which itself was one mile (1,6 km) long. The Star Wars Customizable Card Game (1996) stated that the Executor was over 8km long, while the Topps Widevision card set released in the same year, repeated that the Executor was larger than the five ISDs that accompanied it in ESB. The novel X-wing: The Bacta War also mentioned a sister-ship, the Lusankya, as being 10 times larger than an ISD it was battling. Despite this, the novel also described the Lusankya as 8km long. The Black Fleet Crisis novel Shield of Lies (1996), contained a reference to one of the Executor's sister-ships as an "Executor-class Star Destroyer". The Executor-class would later on be reused as the class name of the Executor and its sister-ships. The 1998 Lucasarts interactive CD-ROM Star Wars: Behind the Magic described the Executor alternately as 8km and 12,8km.

Early Executor concept art (top), Giel's flagship (bottom).

In 2004, the Inside the Worlds of the Star Wars Trilogy reference book changed the Executor's size to 19km long. It was explained by continuity checker Leland Chee to be more consistent with the films. Later books and reference guides mostly followed this number. The Official Databank has given various sizes over the years, starting with "over eight times longer than an ISD", to 12,8km (as a compromise between fan groups) and finally, 19km. In addition to the Executor's size, its class and its members were retconned to be Executor-class Star Dreadnaughts, with the earlier classifications of Super Star Destroyer and Super-class Star Destroyer being explained as military colloquialisms and used originally for disinformation purposes by the Empire (explained on the Wizards of the Coast website). This information was criticized by some fans for only pandering to a group derisively called "Saxtonites" (based on the SW author and technical fansite webmaster, Curtis Saxton), and it is still dismissed by some that the earlier 8 km number was erroneous or that the films can be used to justify "facts" in the SW universe, despite being classified by Lucas Licensing as the highest canon externally and as part of G-canon internally. The continued use of Super-class Star Destroyer and Super Star Destroyer for these bigger warships, now as colloquialisms instead of nomenclature that describes the ship type, limits any potential continuity errors. The latest ship-centered book, the 2007 edition of Starships of the Galaxy, uses both the colloquial terms as well as the more recent nomenclature, even adding a separate term for SSDs in general, "star dreadnaught", regardless if they're of the specific Star Dreadnaught type or not.

In addition to the reclassification of the Executor, there have been many additions to the Super Star Destroyer line, which originally only described the Executor and its class. Starting with Admiral Giel's flagship seen in the Marvel comics, the Eclipse, Allegiance and Sovereign seen in Dark Empire and its Sourcebook, several types described in ITW:OT, from smaller Star Cruisers to bigger Star Battlecruisers and Star Dreadnaughts, like the sixteen-engine Megador featured in the Dark Nest Trilogy, and an early, smaller prototype explored in Dawn of Defiance.

The light gray Executor in The Empire Strikes Back.

When the domes on Executor's bridge tower exploded during the Battle of Endor, a crewman said that the bridge shields were down. Most people believed that this meant the domes were shield generators (despite one dome being intact), something that was reinforced by the Star Wars Roleplaying Game's sourcebooks. In the February 1983 issue of CINEFEX, Richard Edlund of Industrial Light and Magic simply referred to them as "radar domes", similar to real-life domes on warships. Despite this, novels like the X-wing books have used destroying the domes to disable shields a plot point. To complicate things, The Bacta War also mentioned the SSD Lusankya as having sensor domes. The book Inside the Worlds of the Star Wars Trilogy clarified that these domes were, in fact, sensor domes built with local-area shield emitter vanes.

In one of the new shots inserted into The Empire Strikes Back 1997 Special Edition, Executor was shown as being light gray, as opposed to all other shots of it in the film being bluish-gray. This could be accounted for by different background lighting, as the Executor is seen as both light gray and white in publicity shots.


The Executor's command bridge.

Non-canonical appearances

  • Star Wars Infinities: A New Hope
  • Star Wars Infinities: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Vader vs. R2 & 3PO


Wookieepedia has a collection of images related to Executor-class Star Dreadnought.

Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6  Super Star Destroyer in the Databank
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 2.27 2.28 2.29 Star Wars: Complete Locations, p. 170-171
  3. The New Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 Star Wars: Behind the Magic
  5. 5.0 5.1 The Galactic Empire: Ships of the Fleet
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 6.12  Starship Battles Preview 1 on (article)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Revenge of the Sith: Incredible Cross-Sections, p. 15
  8. From a Richard Edlund interview in CINEFEX February 1983 issue
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 Darksaber
  10. Star Wars: Complete Locations, p. 143
  11. 11.0 11.1 Enemy Lines II: Rebel Stand
  12. The Official Star Wars Fact File
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.6 Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  14. 14.0 14.1 Darth Vader Strikes
  15. 15.0 15.1 The Force Unleashed novel
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 X-wing: The Bacta War
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 The Unifying Force
  18. 18.0 18.1 Crimson Empire
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Imperial Sourcebook, p. 63
  20. Starships of the Galaxy, p. 105
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 Starships of the Galaxy (Saga Edition)
  22. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
  23. The Courtship of Princess Leia
  24. A Guide to the Star Wars Universe (First Edition)
  25. 25.0 25.1 Starships of the Galaxy, p. 106
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 The Black Fleet Crisis
  27. 27.0 27.1 Star Wars: Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 Rebel Assault II: The Hidden Empire
  29. Revenge of the Sith: Incredible Cross-Sections, p. 4-5
  30. 30.0 30.1 Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
  31. 31.0 31.1 Detail on the Executor model.
  32. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Tyrant.27s_Test
  33.  Imperial Star Destroyer in the Databank
  34.  Republic attack cruiser in the Databank
  35. 35.0 35.1 Attack of the Clones: Incredible Cross-Sections, p. 23
  36. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed comic
  37. Coruscant and the Core Worlds
  38. X-wing: The Krytos Trap
  39. Star Wars: Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike
  40. Star Wars: Rebel Assault II: The Hidden Empire
  41. Star Wars: X-wing vs. TIE Fighter
  42. Wanted by Cracken
  43. Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption
  44. The Pentastar Alignment
  45. Cracken's Threat Dossier
  46. The Essential Chronology
  47. The New Jedi Order
  48. The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
  49. Legacy Era Campaign Guide

See also

External links

  • Star Wars Technical Commentaries - Executor-class Star Dreadnoughts
  • History of the "five mile" fallacy
  • Interview with illustrator Hans Jenssen about his work on the DK line of SW factbooks, including the mention of their information being considered definitive and also used for reference by Lucasfilm and ILM (Relevant to the status of the ITW:OT within the Lucasfilm hierarchy)
  • Interview with illustrator Richard Chasemore about working on the ICS book.
Kuat capital ship classes
Assault ships
Acclamator I-class - Acclamator II-class
Broadside-class cruiser kdb-1
Ardent-class - Class 1000 cruiser - Corona-class
Dragon-class heavy cruiser - EF76 Nebulon-B - Enforcer-class picket cruiser
Lancer-class - MedStar-class - Nebulon-B2
Pelta-class - Star Galleon-class - Zebulon-B
Destroyers/Star Destroyers
Gladiator-class - Imperial I-class - Imperial II-class
Interdictor - Kuat - Multi kilometer-long type
Pellaeon-class - Storm Fleet - Tector-class
Venator-class - Victory I-class - Victory II-class
KDY light - Kuat heavy
Battlecruisers/Star Battlecruisers
Imperial - Procurator-class - Vengeance
Battleships/Star Dreadnoughts
Eclipse-class - Executor-class - Mandator I-class
Mandator II-class - Sovereign-class
Production facilities
Arc Hammer

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


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