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Thermal Detonator
Production information

BlasTech Industries, Merr-Sonn Munitions, Inc[1]


Thermal Detonator


Nuclear Fusion Explosive[1]


c. 2,000 credits[2]

Physical and technical specifications



1 Detonation


5 meters[2]

Usage and history


"You may have me outnumbered and outgunned, but if I'm going down, I'm taking all you with me. This thermal detonator will blow us all to bits!"
Calo Nord to Canderous Ordo and his two aides, meters away from them

A thermal detonator was a highly unstable grenade-like weapon popular among military personnel, criminals, bounty hunters, and mercenaries. The thermal detonator was utilized since at least as early as 4,000 BBY.


Technical information

"Because he's holding a thermal detonator!"
―C-3PO, translating for Boushh

The thermal detonator was designed to be thrown by a soldier, planted in a specific location or on a specific vessel, or dropped by a vehicle. It would then adhere to any metallic object until it detonated. The reasons for using a thermal detonator varied widely, and despite the legal restrictions of many governments, the thermal detonator saw widespread use across the galaxy.

A thermal detonator

The name was descriptive of the process by which the device explodes. Inside the shell, which was generally made of thermite or axidite, was a sample of baradium, a highly volatile substance. A trigger emitted a short burst of energy that forced the baradium into a state of fusion reaction. This trigger could simply be a button. Some had a fail-deadly trigger, meaning that if it was released, it would set off the grenade. The result was an expanding particle field that could atomize any material that did not conduct heat or thermal energy within the fixed blast radius; typically five meters, though some had an even greater radius. Custom grenades could have a blast up to 100 meters.[1] Unlike other grenades, a thermal detonator's blast would only go as far as its blast radius. After that, the blast field would collapse, and anything even slightly beyond the blast radius would be left unharmed.

Most thermal detonators had fixed field yields and radii, along with timers. Some, such as those used by Imperial stormtroopers, featured adjustable timers, with settings typically ranging from 6 to 18 seconds.

Some people connected several thermal detonators using a linking mechanism, which would allow them to detonate at once and increase the damage.[3]



Stormtrooper thermal detonator

The different types of thermal detonators varied in power greatly. Although typically used as a grenade, many were far deadlier.


"Little sphere, big boom."
―Unknown Rebel Infiltrator
Cad Bane tosses a thermal detonator into a room of Senate Commandos

For use as thrown explosives, thermal detonators used a thumb-operated trigger and a timed detonator to ensure the weapon bearer did not destroy himself. When used by a soldier, the trigger was pressed and the device was then lobbed towards the enemy. It had to be timed, so it couldn't be thrown back, or detonate in mid-air. When used as gravity or inertial explosives by starfighters, speeders, or mortar units, thermal detonators used a range sensor to determine the appropriate trigger time. Some could even be clamped onto things, such as speeders. Thermal detonators were sometimes used as mining tools, but other devices were better suited for the job.

By the late days of the Galactic Republic, thermal detonators had become very common and more practical than the aging frag grenade and the plasma grenade, despite the fact that the Republic had outlawed them. Ironically, the Republic would use them in its army. The Separatists also used thermal detonators though not as often, during the Clone Wars. Bounty hunters were known to carry them on their belts not only to intimidate, but to use. Stormtroopers and Rebel soldiers both employed thermal detonators during the entire Galactic Civil War.

Small thermal detonators could be inserted in a victim's body and set to explode when an external condition was met. In that case, the victim would die in the explosion, but bystanders would not be harmed.[4]


Non-canon appearances

  • Star Wars: Yoda Stories
  • Star Wars Infinities: Return of the Jedi
  • LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
  • LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The New Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Official Star Wars Fact File
  3. "MidWorld"
  4. "A Revelation"

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


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