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Lambda-class shuttle
Production information
Product line

Cygnus/Sienar shuttle family[3]


Lambda-class[4] T-4a[5] shuttle


Armed government transport shuttle[5]


Likely valued at 240,000 credits[6]

Technical specifications

20 meters[7]

Maximum acceleration

1,400 G[8]


50 MGLT[7]

Maximum speed (atmosphere)

850 km/h[7]

Engine unit(s)

SFS-204 ion engines (2)[1] or SFS Z-Rk5 ion engines (2)[9]

Hyperdrive rating
Hyperdrive system

SFS S/ig-37 hyperdrive[1]


Multiple shield generators[11] (Rated 100 SBD)[12]


Reinforced durasteel/carbon fiber hull[2] (Rated 66 RU)[12]

Navigation system

Navigation computer equipped[13]


Standard configuration:

Alternate military configuration:

  • Taim & Bak KX5 laser cannons (8 forward, 2 aft)[2]
Escape craft

Detachable cockpit serves as escape pod[1]

Minimum crew




  • 20+ passengers[1]

Alternate configuration:

  • 8 passengers in staterooms[6]
Cargo capacity

80 metric tons (without passengers)[7]

Cargo handling systems

Personnel tractor beam (equipped when used as a rescue craft)[16]


2 months[13]

Communication systems

HoloNet transceiver (in some Imperial VIP models)[11]

  • Personnel shuttle
  • Troop transport
  • Defense forces
  • Escape vessel
Year introduced

19 BBY

"Let's see what this piece of junk can do."
Han Solo, commenting on the Tydirium

The Lambda-class T-4a shuttle was a standard light utility craft in common use throughout the Imperial military as a transport for troops and high-ranking individuals.



Lambda-class shuttle deckplan.
"I doubt the Empire had Wookiees in mind when they designed her, Chewie."
―Han Solo to Chewbacca

The Lambda-class shuttle was based on a tri-wing design with a central stationary wing flanked by a pair of folding wings. When in flight position, the wing configuration resembled an inverted Y. When landing, the lower wings folded upwards.

The Lambda was designed as both a cargo and troop transport and could carry 80 tons or more than 20 soldiers. It had a crew of six: a pilot, co-pilot, navigator, communications officer, gunner, and engineer. A shuttle could be piloted by a skeleton crew consisting of a single officer during emergencies. It was also equipped with a Class 1 hyperdrive since its mission profile involved traveling across the galaxy.

The Lambda was reasonably well-armed, with three double blaster cannons (one rear-mounted) and two double laser cannons. The military version built by Cygnus Spaceworks was armed with ten laser cannons. It was also protected by a powerful deflector shield, which was powered by multiple generators. A Lambda was covered by a heavily reinforced hull capable of deflecting laser fire. The shuttle class was so well armed that it was able to travel across the galaxy without an escort, thus making it suitable for covert operations.

Lambda-class shuttle schematics.

In an emergency the cockpit could be jettisoned from the main body and travel a short distance under sublight speed. The lifeboat did not have enough space for all passengers when the shuttle had its full complement and therefore priority was given to the most senior officers onboard.[1]


"It can't accelerate worth a wheep and it turns slower than a comet, but if you get in its sights, it can blow you to itty-bitty pieces. It would be embarrassing to have to inform your family you got shot apart by a shuttle, so stay alert."
Villian Dance

It was designed by former Cygnus Spaceworks employees who were lured away by Sienar Fleet Systems, which promised them high salaries, a portion of future profits, and even personal star yachts. Although these shuttles were primarily manufactured by Sienar, Cygnus was subcontracted to build a more heavily armed military version. It was the immediate successor of the Theta-class shuttle, and was first introduced in 19 BBY at some point after the Imperial subjugation of Kashyyyk.

The Lambda-class shuttle was used along with the TIE/sh shuttle to transport officers between ships in a fleet. Lower ranking officers usually used the TIE shuttle, while the larger Lambda-class shuttles were reserved for flag officers. The Lambda was also favored by Imperial personnel because it was heavily armed and shielded. Thus, the vehicle class found itself used by key Imperial officials including Darth Vader and even Emperor Palpatine himself. These high-ranking officials often converted the cargo space into personal quarters and equipped them with secure HoloNet transceivers directly connected to Imperial Center. Palpatine's shuttle was equipped with extra shielding, for obvious reasons. It was also rumored that it was equipped with a cloaking device for added protection.

Rear view of a Lambda-class shuttle.

The Lambda-class shuttle Tydirium was captured by the Alliance to Restore the Republic and used to insert a strike team on the forest moon of Endor. In addition to this, the Alliance maintained a fleet of Lambda-class shuttles as support ships, with the Alliance Starbird painted on the central wing.

With the fall of the Empire, Cygnus also manufactured a variant of the shuttle similar to the original version. The Lambda also found itself used by various sectorial and planetary security forces including the New Republic and the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances. Jacen Solo and Ben Skywalker used an armed Lambda-class variant during their mission to Adumar in 40 ABY.

Behind the scenes

Lambda shuttles were erroneously referred to as "Tyderian class" in some sources, a misunderstanding originating from the shuttle Tydirium.

The name Lambda comes from the Greek letter (uppercase Λ, lowercase λ) whose lowercase form resembles the general arrangement of the shuttle's wings. The designation of this shuttle type as Lambda-class dates back to the novelization of Return of the Jedi (1983), and was picked up by contributors to West End Games when that company began writing material about the shuttle.

In Return of the Jedi (and in a re-used scene inserted into the special edition of The Empire Strikes Back), there is an inconsistency between the ILM model and the mock-up used on the set.[1] The main difference between the two is the cockpit of the shuttle. While the bottom of the cockpit lines up with the bottom of the shuttle's body in the ILM model, the mock-up of the shuttle has a cockpit that dips much further down. The other notable difference is that the landing gear of the shuttle in the mockup are much taller, allowing people to easily walk underneath, while with the ILM model, there wouldn't be enough room for a person to fit under the Lambda. This has affected other Star Wars media as well, most likely due to using different reference pictures when creating illustrations.

The Sienar/Cygnus connection has occasionally been a source of confusion, but the Databank indicates that the Lambda's predecessor was built by Cygnus and the designers of that shuttle were lured away by Sienar, who then built the original Lambda shuttles. Cygnus then built the Lambda under license from Sienar. Sienar and Cygnus also cooperated on the Sentinel-class landing craft, a derivative design.

A Lambda-class shuttle lifts off in the background behind Serenity.

Another derivative design known as the Delta-class JV-7 escort shuttle was seen in the X-wing computer game series. The craft library of the game X-wing Alliance describes it as a "militarized version of the Lambda-class shuttle built under subcontract to Sienar," but little else is known about its design and manufacturing history.

In these titles that feature the Delta-class, the Lambda-class was toned down. It lacks the potently deadly rear turret, has less armor and shields, and a slower speed than the Delta. Lambda-shuttles are frequently found in the hands of pirates and smugglers, rather than exclusive Imperial use. Missions often use them as starfighters (instead of their role of transporting important personnel) and not surprisingly they fare poorly due to their large size and lack of maneuverability.

A Lambda-class T-4a shuttle is shown in the pilot episode of the Firefly television series created by Joss Whedon. It can be seen lifting off from the Evesdown Docks in the background behind Serenity.



Non-canon appearances

Wookieepedia has a collection of images related to Lambda-class T-4a shuttle.


Notes and references

A Lambda-class shuttle cross-section.
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Star Wars: Complete Cross-Sections
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Star Wars Technical Journal (Volume Two)
  3. Conjectural name for family lineage established by  Imperial Lambda-class shuttle in the Databank and  Imperial Theta-class shuttle in the Databank
  4. A Guide to the Star Wars Universe (First Edition)
  5. 5.0 5.1 The Farlander Papers
  6. 6.0 6.1 Starships of the Galaxy (2001)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Star Wars: Behind the Magic
  8. Star Wars: Death Star
  9. The Galactic Empire: Ships of the Fleet
  10. 10.0 10.1 Supernova
  11. 11.0 11.1 The Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels
  12. 12.0 12.1 Star Wars: X-wing Alliance
  13. 13.0 13.1 Heir to the Empire Sourcebook
  14. The Official Star Wars Fact File
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 Starships of the Galaxy (2007)
  16. X-wing: Rogue Squadron

External links

Sienar spacecraft classes
Lambda-class T-4a shuttle - Martial-class shuttle - Mu-class Model 1 Shuttle - Mu-class Model 2 Shuttle - Sentinel-class landing craft - Scimitar - TIE lander - TIE/sh shuttle - WR-542 Shooting Star
Patrol ships
Guardian-class light cruiser - IPV-1 Patrol Craft - Warden-class light cruiser
Enforcer-class picket cruiser - Immobilizer 418 cruiser - Interdictor-class Cruiser - Vindicator-class heavy cruiser
Sienar Battleship

This article uses material from the "Lambda-class T-4a shuttle" article on the Starwars wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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