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Variable Geometry Self-Propelled Battle Droid: Misc



Up to date as of February 04, 2010

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Vulture-class droid starfighter
Production information

Variable Geometry Self-Propelled Battle Droid, Mark I[3]


Droid starfighter [1]

Technical specifications

3.5 meters[4]

Maximum acceleration

3,900 G[4]



Maximum speed (atmosphere)

1,200 km/h[4]

Hyperdrive system



Trade Federation version:

CIS version:


Integrated droid brain[1]



Cargo capacity



Fuel for 35 minutes[4]


In starfighter mode:

In walker-stance:

  • Walker [1]
  • Reconnaissance [1]
"Droids don't talk back, they don't question your orders, and they never complain when you send them on suicide missions."
Rune Haako

The Variable Geometry Self-Propelled Battle Droid, Mark I (also known as the Vulture-class droid starfighter or simply as the Vulture droid) was a droid starfighter used by the Trade Federation. Later, in much greater numbers, it was utilized by the Confederacy of Independent Systems. It participated heavily in the Clone Wars, at engagements such as the Battle of Kamino and Coruscant.

Like most of the Trade Federation's armed forces, it carried no living pilot, but rather a droid brain that was linked to a central control computer, often aboard a Lucrehulk-class Droid Control Ship. Each Trade Federation battleship carried 1,500 such droid starfighters.

The Vulture-class was designed by Haor Chall Engineering, which was founded by the fanatical Xi Char, a religious order dedicated to high-precision manufacturing. As a result, it represented classic Xi Charrian design— an insectoid appearance, multiple weapons emplacements, and a compact body that offered only a small target for enemy fighters.



A Vulture droid starfighter in walking configuration.

The starfighter carried four blaster cannons and two energy torpedo launchers, and could reach 1200 kilometers per hour in a planet's atmosphere. When not in flight, the ship could transform into a walking weapons platform, used for ground patrol and troop support. While in this mode, a Vulture droid could also latch onto surfaces in zero gravity, allowing it to launch directly from the the external hull of a capital ship.[8] When docked in a hangar, they would often flex their components as part of self-maintenance.[10] Vultures were also programmed to self-destruct if their link with their host control ship was severed.[11]

A droid starfighter was capable of maneuvers that would kill an organic pilot, but they lacked the resourcefulness and cunning of living pilots, although they were capable of responding much faster.[12] Vulture droids had an unusual fuel system, relying on solid-fuel concentrate slugs that provided propulsion upon ignition.[3] However, they could only function for 35 minutes before having to be refueled. The Trade Federation solved this issue by sending Vulture droids into battle in timed, rotating swarms.[10] Although they could react quicker to new situations than organic pilots, they had trouble responding to friendly units firing on them, a weakness Mace Windu exploited on Haruun Kal[12] and the Battle of Coruscant.[13]

Vulture-class schematics.

Vulture droids were also capable of communication with one another, normally with chattering.[8] Vulture droid starfighters were usually named by a six-digit designation number, consisting of DFS- and a three-digit alpha-numeric combination, as illustrated by the fighters DFS-1VR and DFS-4CT.[14]

Vulture-class fighters were launched in overwhelming numbers and excelled in both atmospheric and space combat. The Vulture droid's weapon systems consisted of four blaster cannons with two per wing. In standard flight format, the drone's wings were collapsed to conceal its blaster cannons. In combat, these wings split up to reveal these blaster cannons. In addition, the droid possessed two energy torpedo launchers that would weaken enemy targets before the starfighter delivered a laser cannon barrage.[10] In walker-mode, the Vulture-class could only use its two torpedo launchers as its cannons were situated on the legs and pointed downwards.[10] During the Clone Wars, Vulture droids were modified to carry Buzz droid discord missiles , however it's more than likely that they could carry other types of missiles.

Operational history


Pre-Clone Wars

An N-1 starfighter dogfights against a Vulture droid.

The droid starfighter endured rigorous testing before being deployed in the Trade Federation invasion of Naboo in 32 BBY.[10] Droid starfighters saw action during skirmishes with Degan pirates in the Elrood Sector and were responsible for defeating the pirate Nym's forces on Lok.[15] The Naboo first encountered these drones when Echo Flight pilots led by Essara Till battled them during an assault on Station TFP-9, not long before the assault on Naboo.[15] The droid starfighter saw action in the Invasion of Naboo, during which they at first provided general air superiority, and later swarms of them combatted Naboo N-1 starfighters in the battle above the planet and were ultimately neutralized when Anakin Skywalker disabled the Droid Control Ship.[16]

After the battle, droid starfighters commanded by Raith Sienar participated as part of the Trade Federation Defense Fleet alongside Republic forces during the attack on the living world Zonama Sekot.[17] They would also be part of the Trade Federation force sent to destroy Outbound Flight, but were neutralized thanks to the Chiss Admiral Thrawn, who exploited their reliance on the droid control signal by jamming its entire spectrum, nullifying the whole force.[18] They also saw action during the Trade Federation's occupation of the Karthakk system.[19]

Clone Wars

Vulture droid with the markings of the Confederacy of Independent Systems.
"Master, General Grievous's ship is directly ahead, the one crawling with Vulture Droids."
Anakin Skywalker

During the Clone Wars, many Vulture-class droids were painted with the blue and white hexagonal insignia of the Confederacy of Independent Systems, although many were seen in the early and middle stages of the war with Trade Federation brown coloring,[20] and were upgraded with buzz droid missile launchers, which they opened their wings to launch.[8] Other manufacturers, chiefly Baktoid Armor Workshop, began production of the Vulture which had originally been built solely by its Xi Char developers.[2]

Vulture droids were fielded by the Confederacy against the Republic in numerous battles and conflicts including the Battle of Geonosis and the Battle of Coruscant,[8] although the Confederacy also made substantial use of other fighters, such as the Nantex-class territorial defense starfighter.[21] However, they did not pose a serious challenge for Jedi aces such as Anakin Skywalker, as demonstrated in the Battle of Terra Sool.[22]

Advanced Valahari designed Vulture droids.

At some point during the conflict, the Separatists entered into a trade agreement with the House of Vane from the planet Valahari. The inhabitants of this world were famous for being excellent starship engineers. After the formation of this pact which was formed between Count Dooku and his old friend Harko Vane who believed in neutrality but that the exchange of Valahari technology would benefit his worlds economy. Thus, despite aiding the Separatists, the Valahari claimed to be neutral in the Clone Wars. This alliance led to Valahari fighter components to be added to advanced Vulture droid models giving them a higher level of speed as well as destructive power. These improved droid fighters were later dispatched against the Republic where they destroyed a battlegroup led by Jedi Master Toluz Cheq in the Rial Kroon system. Before he was killed, he managed to upload a transmission as well as scan of the droid fighters to Coruscant thus informing them of this new threat. This led to the Jedi Council in dispatching Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker to Valahari to negotiate an end to the Confederacy-Valahari alliance.[23]

Vulture droids in walking mode during the Battle of Coruscant.

During the Coruscant attack, Mace Windu was able to ride a Vulture by tugging on its cranial wires.[21] General Grievous often used them for suicide attacks designed to sow chaos, by making them perform kamikaze attacks on civilian targets.[2] An advanced model was deployed prior to and during the Clone Wars.[24] Throughout the war, Vultures were augmented by droid tri-fighters, which were sturdier but less common.[8][2]

Galactic Civil War

Despite the deactivation of the droid armies, Vulture-class units were apparently being used by some parties by 18 BBY.[25]

Years after the Clone Wars, Vulture-class starfighters were utilized by Gizor Dellso in defense of his facility on Mustafar. However, the Galactic Empire uncovered his plan, and the stormtroopers of the 501st Legion stormed the planet, destroying the orbiting defense ships and decimating the facility.[9] Even after this, Vultures would continue to be used by various parties, such as smugglers. Additionally, some groups of independent sentient Vulture droids were spotted in remote parts of some star systems, including the Detritus Satellites or the Scintilla Defenders.[26]

Behind the scenes

The Vulture droid's first appearance was in the novelization of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.[27] In the early plans for The Phantom Menace, the Trade Federation was intended to use more conventional starfighters that were merely piloted by B1 battle droids, like those in the Battlefront games. An early concept sketch depicted a fighter whose cockpit strongly resembled those of the TIE series. It was later decided that the fighters should themselves be droids.[11]

In the Clone Wars cartoon, Vultures are depicted with brown coloring during the attack on Coruscant, despite being depicted as blue in the film. This can be considered an artistic inconsistency in the cartoon, though the cartoon itself was released before the movie.[13] In the games Star Wars: Battlefront and Star Wars: Battlefront II, Vulture droids (as well as other droid starships, such as the Droid Tri-fighter) are depicted as requiring a pilot to operate. This can be attributed to be game mechanics.[9] During the Clone Wars movie, Vulture droids are seen firing their laser cannons from their energy torpedo ports rather than from in between their wings. This is possibly due to artistic license, however it's established that Vulture droids can fire laser blasts from their torpedo emitters but primarily only when they are in walker mode. This may have also been done to make animating and tracking the shots easier for the animators.

Another fact worthy of mentioning is the size variation of the Vulture droid (despite being much larger than the average droid). The difference is visible on the Star Wars: The Clone Wars (TV series). Until now, the figures of the vulture droid that have been made by Hasbro match exactly with the established size of "3.5 meters", as can be seen in Cartoon Network's animated mini-series. In 2009 it was stipulated by Hasbro that the new larger model of the droid starfighter will be released as an action figure.


Early concept art.
  • Cloak of Deception
  • The Starfighter Trap
  • Episode I Adventures 1: Search for the Lost Jedi
  • Episode I Adventures 2: The Bartokk Assassins
  • Episode I Adventures 3: The Fury of Darth Maul
  • Star Wars: Starfighter
  • Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace / comic / novel (First appearance) / junior novel / video game
  • Star Wars: Battle for Naboo
  • Star Wars: Battlefront
  • Rogue Planet
  • Outbound Flight
  • Starfighter: Crossbones
  • Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter
  • Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones comic
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars video game
  • Machines of War
  • Star Wars: Battlefront II
  • Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds: Clone Campaigns
  • Boba Fett: Crossfire
  • Star Wars Republic 50: The Defense of Kamino
  • The Clone Wars: The Pengalan Tradeoff
  • Shatterpoint
  • Equipment
  • Jedi: Count Dooku
  • "Honor Bound" - Star Wars Tales 22
  • Star Wars Republic 62: No Man's Land
  • Star Wars Republic 64: Bloodlines (Appears in flashback(s))
  • Star Wars Republic 67: Forever Young
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars film / novel
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Lightsaber Duels
  • Star Wars The Clone Wars 1: Slaves of the Republic - Chapter 1: The Mystery of Kiros
  • Star Wars The Clone Wars 3: Slaves of the Republic - Chapter 3: The Depths of Zygerria
  • Star Wars The Clone Wars 6: Slaves of the Republic - Chapter 6: Escape from Kadavo
  • Star Wars The Clone Wars Volume 1: Shipyards of Doom
  • Star Wars The Clone Wars Volume 2: Crash Course
  • Star Wars The Clone Wars Volume 3: The Wind Raiders of Taloraan
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Shadow of Malevolence"
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Destroy Malevolence"
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Rookies"
  • The Clone Wars: The Fall of Falleen
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Downfall of a Droid"
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Duel of the Droids"
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Bombad Jedi"
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Cloak of Darkness"
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Dooku Captured"
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Jedi Crash"
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Mystery of a Thousand Moons"
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Storm Over Ryloth"
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Liberty on Ryloth"
  • Gunship Over Florrum
  • The Clone Wars: Hunting the Hunters (Part 3)
  • Droids Over Iego
  • The Clone Wars: No Prisoners
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Holocron Heist"
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Cargo of Doom"
  • Inside Job
  • Keep the Faith
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes
  • Star Wars The Clone Wars Volume 4: The Colossus of Destiny
  • CIS Shadowfeed Dispatch 15:2:29 Edition (Picture only)
  • Star Wars: General Grievous
  • Star Wars Republic: The Dreadnaughts of Rendili
  •  "Heroes on Both Sides" - Clone Wars Adventures: Volume 5
  • Star Wars: Obsession
  • Brothers in Arms (Mentioned only)
  • Boba Fett: A New Threat
  • Labyrinth of Evil
  • Star Wars: Clone Wars – "Chapter 23"
  • Star Wars: Clone Wars – "Chapter 25"
  • Star Wars: Obi-Wan
  • Star Wars Republic: The Siege of Saleucami
  • Evasive Action: Reversal of Fortune
  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith / comic / junior novel
  • Evil Eyes
  • Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron
  • Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader
  • The Last of the Jedi: Secret Weapon
  •  "Skywalkers" - Clone Wars Adventures: Volume 2 (Appears in flashback(s))
  • Star Wars Galaxies
  • Tempest (Mentioned only)
  • Millennium Falcon
  • Celestia Galactica Photografica

Non-canon appearances

  • LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game
  • LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga


Wookieepedia has a collection of images related to Variable Geometry Self-Propelled Battle Droid, Mark I.

Notes and references

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Star Wars: Complete Cross-Sections
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Labyrinth of Evil
  3. 3.0 3.1 The New Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 The Official Star Wars Fact File
  5. Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron
  6. Hasbro Titanium-series Vulture Droid [1]
  7. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (film)
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Star Wars: Battlefront II
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 Episode I: The Visual Dictionary
  11. 11.0 11.1  Droid starfighter in the Databank
  12. 12.0 12.1 Shatterpoint
  13. 13.0 13.1 Star Wars: Clone Wars – "Chapter 23"
  14. Star Wars Trading Card Game
  15. 15.0 15.1 Star Wars: Starfighter
  16. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
  17. Rogue Planet
  18. Outbound Flight
  19. Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter
  20. Star Wars: The Clone Wars video game
  21. 21.0 21.1 Star Wars: Clone Wars
  22. Skywalkers
  23. Star Wars The Clone Wars 10: Hero of the Confederacy, Part 1
  24. Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds
  25. The Last of the Jedi: Secret Weapon
  26. Star Wars Galaxies
  27. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace novelization

External links

Starfighters of the Confederacy of Independent Systems
Belbullab-22 starfighter · C-73 Tracker starfighter · Ginivex-class starfighter
NovaSword Space Superiority Fighter · Sabaoth starfighter · Scarab-class droid starfighter
Droid tri-fighter · Nantex-class territorial defense starfighter · Mankvim-814 light interceptor
Vulture-class droid starfighter
Bombers and heavy assault craft
Belbullab-23 heavy assault craft · Belbullab-24 strike bomber · Hyena-class bomber
Sabaoth Defender · Trade Federation droid bomber

This article uses material from the "Variable Geometry Self-Propelled Battle Droid, Mark I" article on the Starwars wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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