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Superlaser
Production information
Manufacturer

Imperial Department of Military Research

Model

Superlaser

Physical and technical specifications
Capacity

2.4×1032 W

Usage and history
Era(s)
Affiliation
"You may fire when ready."
Wilhuff Tarkin

A superlaser was a planet-destroying superweapon that often used several separate "super laser beams" combined together as a single beam. This devastating device was designed to destroy planets with one shot at full power. There were also smaller-scale superlasers of lesser power designed for use against capital ships. Yet another small-scale superlaser was a type used by the Geonosians in their droid factories to melt iron ore.

Contents

Operation

Death Star blueprints

The superlaser was composed of several exotic matter beams accelerated and amplified by gigantic focusing magnetic lenses and coils, producing a single powerful beam. Unlike turbolasers, it pulled energy from a Hypermatter Core, converting the energy present in hyperspace into highly unstable particles that were tremendously destructive in Normal-space. The energy delivered into a target was so great that it could cause the target's atoms to split into matter-antimatter pairs and annihilate themselves, generating a powerful surge capable of rupturing the barrier between Normal-space and hyperspace.[1]

As any powered weapon, it drained the amount of energy required to use, resulting in different energy outputs. The Death Star's superlaser, for example, could destroy any capital ship with less than 10% power, crack a planet open to the core with two 30% shots and blow it to pieces with a full-charged fire. In such cases, the amount of energy involved were so great it would generate miniscule space-time singularities, sending part of the target's mass to hyperspace and generating a massive shockwave from high-energy tachyons from hyperspace. Due its focusing lenses and beam intensity, the energy wasted was extremely low, leading to a very long shooting range, up to 2,000,000 kilometres (over 6 light-seconds away).

Characteristics

"We're still pinned down by that superlaser!"
Crix Madine
A superlaser complex on Dubrillion under attack by Rebel forces.

The power of the first Death Star's superlaser was estimated to have been more than 2.4×1032 watts, with an optimum range of 2,000,000 kilometres and a working range of 420,000,000 kilometers. Powerful enough to destroy a terrestrial planet, it was the most powerful energy weapon ever built at the time (before the 2nd Death Star).

Powered by the Death Star's massive hypermatter reactor, the tributary shafts generated eight beams that united to form the primary beam over the central lens of the weapon. These tributary beams were arranged around an invisible, central focusing field, firing in an alternate sequence to build the power necessary to destroy a planet. A crew of one hundred and thirty-two gunners—fourteen per amplification crystal—were required to manage this sobering power.

History

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The birth of the superlaser

"What Ki-Adi-Mundi didn't know, however, is that our unit of the 501st was really after a Mygeetan power source that the Chancellor wanted for his superlaser."
―Anonymous 501st clone trooper
The First Death Star's superlaser beam chamber.

The concept of the superlaser, Emperor Palpatine's most frightening weapon, was born in the mind of Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin. The use of such massive weapons became the core of his Tarkin Doctrine. The idea was later realized by Bevel Lemelisk, as well as by Geonosian weapons engineers.

The proof-of-concept model of the superlaser was built at the Maw Installation in the Kessel system. This model became known as the Death Star prototype. Finally, the first full-scale superlaser was installed in the first Death Star battlestation, becoming its primary weapon.

Use and deployment

"Now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational battlestation!"
Emperor Palpatine

The full-scale superlaser was built in the Death Star and was used five times—once with four percent power to destroy the Fortressa, a Lucrehulk-class battleship under Rebel control, three shots as a secret test shortly after, to destroy the prison planet Despayre, and later to destroy Alderaan and demonstrate the Galactic Empire's strength. This power made the Death Star one of the most powerful weapons in the history of the galaxy. However, before it could fire a sixth time at the Rebel Alliance base on Yavin 4, it was destroyed at the Battle of Yavin.

One of the tributary proton beams charges up prior to the destruction of Alderaan.

A smaller version of the first Death Star's superlaser was also installed on the Tarkin battlestation. This weapon was used by Grand Admiral Martio Batch to crack the planet Aeten II and acquire its deeply buried supply of remaining stygium crystals. It too would be destroyed by Rebel forces, who infiltrated the station while it was under construction and sabotaged the superlaser. When the superlaser was fired, it overloaded, destroying the station.

In the years leading up to the Battle of Endor, at least two habitation spheres were being built around Coruscant. They were claimed to be for peaceful purposes only, but had indentation marks identical to the focusing lenses on other superlasers. They were presumably destroyed following the partial collapse of the Empire in 4 ABY.

A superlaser was also built in a testing facility on the planet Dubrillion. It was used against a small Rebel fleet, but ultimately destroyed in the Battle of Dubrillion in 3 ABY.

Numerous upgrades were performed on the superlaser design when it was reincorporated into the Death Star II. Whereas the original superlaser took a full 24 hours to recharge, the new one possessed a rate of fire separated by minutes, not days. The new superlaser also had more individual beams—nine, in fact—with one in the center allowing better ease when aiming. The new targeting system allowed it to fire at smaller targets, such as capital ships, as opposed to only planets. Though this allowed the Imperial forces to inflict significant casualties on the Rebel fleet during the Battle of Endor, this station was also destroyed.

In the months following the Battle of Yavin, Eclipse, the first ship and prototype for the Eclipse-class Super Star Destroyers, had been undergoing construction for some time. Shortly after the Battle of Endor, the Eclipse was stolen by Tyber Zann's Zann Consortium. Though incomplete, its superlaser was operational and was used against the fleets of the Galactic Empire and the Rebel Alliance in the Second Battle of Kuat. However, the powerful Star Destroyer was abandoned by the Consortium on the orders of Zann himself, since he believed that it would be too big of a target for the Rebels and the Empire to ignore. In the years after Endor, Eclipse was still undergoing construction, eventually becoming fully operational for Operation Shadow Hand in 10 ABY. It was armed with a superlaser that could slash through planetary shields, sear the crust and blow apart entire continents. This made Eclipse and its successor, Eclipse II, the most powerful capital ships ever built. However, Eclipse was destroyed in the Battle of Pinnacle Base, and Eclipse II was destroyed after the Battle of Onderon, along with the Galaxy Gun.

In 11 ABY, the Death Star prototype was also destroyed when Kyp Durron lured it into one of the Maw's black holes.

The last known superlaser was built by Durga the Hutt for the Darksaber battle station. However, due to design problems, it never functioned properly. The forces of the New Republic attacked it before it was completed, and it was destroyed in the Hoth asteroid field. Rumors abound, however, that notorious smuggler Booster Terrik acquired Darksaber schematics, and installed a superlaser on his ship.

Appearances

  • Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV series (Possible appearance)
  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  • Star Wars: Battlefront II
  • Star Wars: Empire at War
  • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
  • Star Wars Journal: The Fight for Justice (Mentioned only)
  • Star Wars: X-Wing
  • Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (First appearance)
  • Hammertong: The Tale of the "Tonnika Sisters" (Mentioned only)
  • LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy (Non-canonical appearance)
  • LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga (Non-canonical appearance)
  • Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption
  • Star Wars 51: Resurrection of Evil
  • Star Wars 52: To Take The Tarkin
  • The Illustrated Star Wars Universe
  • Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader
  • Star Wars: Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike
  • Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
  • Dark Empire
  • Dark Empire II
  • Empire's End
  • Jedi Search
  • Champions of the Force
  • Darksaber

Sources

Notes and references

External links

  • STAR WARS Technical Commentaries

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

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