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Mass-driver cannon: Misc



Up to date as of February 04, 2010

From Wookieepedia, the Star Wars wiki.

A mass driver was a type of projectile cannon.[1][2]



They inflicted damage by hurling projectiles at high velocities, which imparted kinetic energy and force to the target upon impact. Damage was thus a result of the mass of the projectile and its velocity. They also had the benefit of bypassing shields entirely, to slam into a targeted ship's hull and weapons emplacements.

A mass driver projectile in space.

The velocity the projectile could achieve is limited by the method by which it is initially propelled. For a chemical explosion (how a conventional slugthrower works), the peak velocity was ~1.8 km/s. For a plasma driven round from an electrothermal cannon (an electrical arc vaporizes the propellant into a plasma to create the requisite pressure to propel the slug), the peak was ~2.5 km/s. For a gauss/coil gun (where the mass is accelerated by passing through sequenced electromagnetic fields) the limit was ~2 km/s due to the rate at which the fields can be created and collapse.

For a rail gun (where the slug is accelerated by Lorentz forces and electromagnetism between two parallel rails) there was no real limit (except the speed of light), only a practical one based on rail erosion and, when in atmosphere, ablation of the projectile. Typically this speed was 6 km/s.


The roof-mounted mass-driver cannon on an AT-TE walker.

Mass drivers were used to launch missile weapons carried internally, projectiles, and explosive shells. They could be found on a variety of craft from the missile launchers on the LAAT/i,[3] the siege weapons on the Dreadnought battle tank, the flak guns on most capital ships,[4] or serving as artillery on the AT-AP or the SPHA mass driver.[5]

The Kumauri Battleship line, of which the Cal-class battleship was the last model, utilized massive mass-driver cannons that were slung on top of the dorsal hull.[1] The Vengeance-class frigate of Tyber Zann's Consortium was armed with four mass driver batteries, each comprising two bundles of three individual cannons. Unlike conventional beam weaponry, these heavy orange rounds were not affected by ray shields, allowing these frigates to bypass an enemy's shielding and destroy it.[2]


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  • Star Wars: Republic Commando
  • Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (First appearance)
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars game
  • Star Wars: Clone Wars – "Chapter 4"
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Weapons Factory"
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Grievous Intrigue"
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Deserter"
  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  • Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 Cracken's Rebel Operatives
  2. 2.0 2.1 Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption
  3. Attack of the Clones: Incredible Cross-Sections
  4. Revenge of the Sith: The Visual Dictionary
  5. Star Wars: Clone Wars – "Chapter 4"

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


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