[NRW] What *sort* of ship is a Super Star Destroyer?!

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Thrawn McEwok, Jul 27, 2005.

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  1. Thrawn McEwok Co-Author: Essential Guide to Warfare

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    Okay... for once, this isn't concerned directly with the length or designation of the Ex; moreover, since different fanboys are capable of interpreting the movies, canon policy, and EU as conclusive evidence for totally contradictory propositions, I'm not expecting agreement...

    It's just an idea, to be mulled over...

    According to Curtis Saxton's Star Wars Technical Commentary, the ship that the ESB script calls "Darth Vader's Star Destroyer" was originally concieved of as closer in size to normal Imperial Star Destroyers, but with "advanced engine systems making it an exceptionally fast vessel"...

    Now even at the old WEG size of 5 miles long, the Ex is obviously much larger than an ImpStar - volume and surface area increase relatively far more rapidly than length... yet in most sources, her weapons batteries come in at barely the same ratio as her length. The following figures are, in order from left to right, the commonly accepted ones for an ImpStar Mk. I and Mk. II, and the SSD from the ISB (five-mile) and StarWars.com Databank (eight-mile). I think recent sources adhering to the ~11-12mi. length may have upgunned her again, so if anyone can give me stats, that would be a great help...

    heavy turbolaser batteries
    60 50 250 350

    turbolaser batteries/heavy turbolasers
    00 50 250 350

    concussion missile tubes
    00 00 250 250

    ion cannons
    60 20 250 250

    tractor beam projectors
    10 10 40 40

    Now it's obvious here that overall (espeically considering that ImpStars can accomodate retrofitted missile batteries, as seen in SotP), the Executor is remarkably undergunned compared to an ImpStar if she's five miles long, and even more so at eight. Her primary armament, heavy TL batteries, is only between four and seven times that of an ImpStar. Even more remarkably (though I don't know the precise source) I'm pretty sure that the Ex only carries two starwings of TIEs - that's merely twice what an ImpStar carries...

    So... what's going on here...?

    Well, I'm going to suggest that it's at least possible to go back to the original idea that the Ex was built primarily for speed. Her relative armament is so small, because the primary reason for making her so big is to build a set of engines powerful enough to make her capable of catching Blockade Runners and ships like the Falcon, and fast enough to hoof around an oversector projecting power. The Executor is also, of course, a "command ship", designed to coordinate fleets in battle and on campaign.

    Of course, she is far more heavily armed than an ImpStar, and her Alpha Strike is probably particularly fearsome - her forward fire arc masses 200 heavy TLs according to the Databank; but by the same token, her flank and rear batteries don't total much more than those of single Star Destroyers, even in the eight-mile configuration. All in all, her overall amament isn't so much greater as her vast size might suggest - her weapons are, ultimately, simply what can be strapped onto that vast, incredibly fast hull without weighing it down.

    In short, the evidence suggests that the weaponry and starfighter support of a Super Star Destroyer is less than her immense size would suggest, although she may have a notably heavy main battery, designed to be used in specific tactical situations (Alpha Strikes). This, it is suggested, is because her bulk is primarily taken up with engines, enabling her to physically make her presence felt over large areas of space.

    In real life terms, we might call her a battlecruiser (or even "large light cruiser") to warm Jimmy Fisher's heart.

    But in terms of the situation shown in Star Wars, she is, I would argue, a massively large Star Destroyer, designed to control oversectors rather than planetary systems - and while her size is partially due to an upscaled armament, the comparison of the ISD Mk.I and the five-mile version (60
  2. Lank_Pavail Jedi Knight

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    Sep 26, 2002
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    That would explain why Lusankya was not able to turn the Freedom into a wreck with one salvo in Bacta War. IIRC, Lusy was firing broadside, not attempting an Alpha Strike. Yonka's Freedom seemed to be as well, as she took the first salvo of ion cannons only on the port side, and the rolled to present fresh weapons on her starboard. Odd choce, considering how canny a commander Yonka seemed. Then again, it's stated he was more experienced with facing pirates, not slugging it out with another SD. And Drysso's obviously an idiot, so that explains why Lusy didn't use her best attack and got owned by Antilles, Yonka, and Nunb.
  3. The_Red_Blade Jedi Youngling

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    Jun 10, 2005
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    Interesting theory. The question is, if one wants speed, then why build such a massive ship? It could be that the Executorwas built, like the Death Star (which probably could have been made as just a *shudder* "Darksaber"), to be a tool of intimdiation first, and a functional battleship second. There are numerous real life occasions where ships, structures, and units are built with an impressive facade, but suffer from deep flaws in construcition or design. For example, the HMS Hood was, by reputation, one of the greatest warships ever made, but she didn't last 10 minutes against the pocket battleship Bismarckbecause she was virtually unarmored. Perhaps the Executor is similarly more bark than bite, opening the possiblity that it could be outfought by several well armed smaller ships.
  4. Thrawn McEwok Co-Author: Essential Guide to Warfare

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    [A quick update with some methodological notes]

    APPENDIX: relative surface area

    Of course, there's no guarantee that the overall proportions of various classes of SD are similar, and I suspect that the SSD is relatively slimmer beam-to-length than the Ex (anyone got good measurements of the proportions of the FX models, btw?). We can probably assume that the ~2mi. Star Destroyer has approximately the same overall proportions as an ImpStar, giving her hull about four times the surface area... but even if we assume that the Ex is twice as slim as an ISD, we get a surface area about 10, 20 or 40 times that of an ISD depending on whether we take five, eight or ~11-12 miles as her lenght.

    What this means is that if an ImpStar has 50-60 heavy TL batteries, then all other things being equal, you'd expect a ~2mi SSD to have about 200-240, a ~5mi Ex to have about 5-600, an ~8mi Ex to have about 1000-1200, and an ~11-12mi Ex to have significantly upwards of 2000...

    Dare I suggest that as a combat warship, the Ex isn't actually all that more heavily armed than Shockwave or Allegiance? :eek: :p

    I'll reply to the replies later! :D

    - The Imperial Ewok
  5. sidious618 Jedi Master

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    Apr 20, 2003
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    What *sort* of ship is a Super Star Destroyer?!

    Big.
  6. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    The latest numbers give her about 5,000 guns, which finally gives her the firepower she so badly needed. With that in mind, she seems to be a heavily shielded and powered prestige vessel. Along with Eclipse, the Executor SSD is the most powerful vessel in space, even when we think about the other large 'battlecruisers'. They're definately made for leading roles, but are quite capable of delivering beatings on their own. They're also relatively uncommon, there are only fifteen known SSDs, compared to tens of thousands of ISDs and the thousands of larger ships we see in DE.

    Here are the places we see SSDs deployed in during the Empire's ascendancy:

    - Defense of Imperial Center leading the Coruscant Sector Fleet (HIMS Guardian)
    - Black Sword Command (three SSDs, including HIMS Intimidator)
    - Azure Hammer Command, charged with the defense of the most critical region in Imperial space (HIMS Whelm)
    - Death Squadron, tasked with destroying the Rebellion (guess who leads this one?)
    - Imdaar Alpha, tasked with defending the Phantom TIE Project (HIMS Terror)
    - ?, tasked with ? (HIMS Vengeance (not Jerec's)


    Et cetera. They're used for only the most important of tasks, it seemed, and they're useful for command and control proposes as well as their combat value.
  7. Charlemagne19 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 8
    I thought the West End Games stats reflected the five mile long cruiser was also built with things an Impstar did not have like far expanded troop facilities, communications gear, shelding, far more in the way of starfighters, and the like. The guns were simply secondary to this purpose as a flagship.
  8. Excellence Jedi Knight

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    Jul 28, 2002
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    Neither N/EGVVs bothered to say how many adn types of guns other than "a thousand," which was entirely unacceptable. 250 turbos etal is plenty enough. They fire rapidly and over the course of ten secs you can literally pee a considerable amount at a target, from a dozen batteries.

    I don't care what official guide says, Impstars of course has torp capability. They're frontline combat cruiser, not some candy stick, possibly vanilla flavour with a touch of mint. COPL had them shooting torps, for eg, and if a guide forgets to say that, well, neither one mentioned the TIE Defender tractor either.
  9. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    250 turbos etal is plenty enough.


    No, that's positively spare.

    As for torpedoes, they better be large capship busters, because anything smaller won't cut it.
  10. Charlemagne19 Force Ghost

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    And who exactly would this SSD fight against that it needs these against?
  11. Kudzu Jedi Knight

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    There's a Super-class Star Destroyer, evidently reclassified at some point in time to be an Executor-class Super Star Destroyer, and then there's the Executor as a larger version of that, roughly twice as long and with two pair more engines. Clearly they cannot be considered to be of the same class of ship.

    Nor are they explicitly stated to be as such, IIRC.
  12. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    Jun 29, 2000
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    Blah, sorry charlemagne, I misread your post.



    Keep in mind that the Executor is from the same people who brought us the Death Star and the concept of rule by fear. Overkill is a plus in their minds: it serves an intimidation factor.

    A real-world example would be the US arsenal of several thousand nuclear warheads on ICBMs & SLBMs nowadays. While most other countries don't have anything remotely like this number, it certainly provides a hypothetical deterrent. Same with the Ex: I'd think twice about attacking even a 5-mile ship with a few hundred guns, let alone an 11-mile ship with 5,000.
  13. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Kudzu: Wrong thread. We're not talking about names here. Bye bye. :)


    And who exactly would this SSD fight against that it needs these against?


    Trade Federation Lucrehulk-class Battleships? Large battlecruisers that planetary systems are capable of sporting? The sort of ships that are a bit too large for ISDs to properly handle?/>
  14. Kudzu Jedi Knight

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    Jun 18, 2005
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    We also have an explanation for the most recent weaponry stats on the 19 kilometer Executor, if you think about it - it's a command ship and designed to instill terror, not fight in solo engagements without a fleet of six Star Destroyers to support it (the Executor of a different ship class that became Lusankya and her kin were downscaled models of that keeping its weaponry, because they were built with fighting alone on occasion in mind). The Executor didn't need 5,000 weapons because of the Tarkin Doctrine and because of Vader's own Death Squadron.

    And also, because I don't think Palpatine quite fully trusted Vader as much as he would trust himself (read: Death Star II, Eclipse, Eclipse II) with a command that could wipe the floor with a Coruscant-class defense fleet singlehandedly. Thus, he forces Vader to rely upon his Star Destroyers for major actions, and he plants a few people close to him in high positions on those ships just to make sure that his beloved apprentice doesn't attempt a coup.
  15. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    They're the same ship. Executor and Lusankya have no large-scale design differences. They've both got the same armaments, too. Sorry, buddy, but that's how retcons work.

    Do keep in mind, also, that we're discussing role and not name/length or anything of the sort here.

    EDIT: Funny, he trusted Vader to be his eyes and ears on the Death Star. And I'm sorry, but Death Squadron can't quite take on Imperial Center's defenses: HIMS Guardian is there, along with a full Sector Group and Azure Hammer Command will gladly play the hammer to the planet's anvil.

    Your speculation is incorrect.
  16. Kudzu Jedi Knight

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    Jun 18, 2005
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    Ah - but Lusankya and Friends are stated multiple times to be eight kilometers in length, while the Executor has been given a confirmed length of nineteen kilometers.

    That new length has not been confirmed to extend (pardon the pun) to the other ships ostensibly of its "class".

    EDIT: Funny, he trusted Vader to be his eyes and ears on the Death Star.

    That was before Lieutenant Commander Skywalker rose to certain prominence.

    And I'm sorry, but Death Squadron can't quite take on Imperial Center's defenses: HIMS Guardian is there, along with a full Sector Group and Azure Hammer Command will gladly play the hammer to the planet's anvil.

    Your speculation is incorrect.


    Guardian wasn't built at the time that Executor was completed. A 19 km ship with 5,000 weapons would be considerably more than the Coruscant defense fleet might be able to handle, I would expect. Force Vader to rely on Death Squadron, having a fifth of those 5,000 weapons, and suddenly you have something that you can use to keep your apprentice in check. A ship that is only truly and fully useful in terrorizing enemies and civilians and in commanding fleet operations.
  17. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    We're not discussing length here. Cease and desist, or you'll be violating the rules of the thread. For the intents and purposes of this thread, the length doesn't matter. I'll accomidate you in the length thread, if you want to take it there.

    Don't trash this thread with your off-topic spam.
  18. Excellence Jedi Knight

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    Jul 28, 2002
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    The Venstar has around 10 turbos and Acc just 36 guns. The movie showed the former with a high rate of fire. What I was saying, is that laser fire is pouring into you over and over. Shields will weaken and fall, and another hundred guns won't really make that much difference.

    Star Cruiser are fighter carriers, really, with ion and turbo gun clusters of 6s and 12s. They're not weak, even if gun counts are small.
  19. Kudzu Jedi Knight

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    Jun 18, 2005
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    In the Enemy Lines duology, Lusankya is described as a battleship, while the Executor is a command ship as stated by the Emperor, perhaps only in the function of it being Supreme Commander Darth Vader's flagship.

    Of course, in certain uses, the SSD can also serve admirably as a rather large flying cross between a sword and a battering ram.
  20. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    And this is the Empire we're talking about. Overkill & psychological warfare are a major factor in the majority of weapons systems, right down to stormtrooper helmets looking like skulls. And as GAJ said, gun counts and lengths are not the purview of this thread.
  21. Charlemagne19 Force Ghost

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    Ultimately, the Imperial Star Destroyer (barring the Yuuzhan Vong) is in and of itself the only ship you'll ever need for dealing with any threat in the galaxy. Try and realize that with 25,000 ships the entire galaxy would be patrolled and things like Hapes could be crushed like insects at any given time (and often were). Mon Calamari was allowed to stay "free" probably because the Emperor wished to see who else he could 'smoke out' into the Rebellion for eventual annihilation. Remember, the Separatists probably contained most of his political opponents and it gave him legal justification to destroy them.

    The only role that could theoretically be made for a SSD is the role of a Command ship whereas large scale communications across the GAlAXY could be undertaken from what basically amounts to a mobile fleet headquarters. The role it was utilized in Borealis was a standard SSD's role rather than one uniquely suited to a SSD. Certainly, an intimidation role is necessary but I believe the battle of Mon Calamari is a different matter entirely as the ship had no combat role whatsoever as it simply let the World Devastators do their dirty work while it handled communications across the galaxy.

    I wager that the SSD Executor was so valuable in part because it was the ship headquarters for the Imperial fleet as a whole, not just the Death's head. I imagine that explains why "every officer wortwhile" was posted there. It also fits with Darth Vader's role as Supreme Commander of the Imperial Military machine in the latter years. It's a supervisor's ship and more space station than battlecruiser (the low number of turbolasers on the Death Star and other offensive weaponry can be compared). It even says as much in the Empire Strikes Back Galaxy Guide.

    It was deliberately meant to be a "replacement" for the Death Star (probably until the second one was completed) that satisfied military men.

    We also don't necessarily understand fantasy physics I remind everyone. Just because a comparative engine/hyperdrive/shield generator/power core can power X number of weapons on a certain ship, doesn't necessarily mean that X number will work in a directly porportional range as REAL engineering has shown. For all we know, its entirely because the power cables won't handle it.

    Also, I remind you gentlemen that the turbolasers on a SSD are 10D Capital ship scale damage according to my personal Star Wars Bible of WEG while they are 7d for a Imperial Star Destroyer. That roughly means that the turbolasers for a Starcruiser like that are the number and a half more or less and designed for cracking open shields and continents.
  22. EH_Pilot Jedi Master

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    Dec 12, 2003
    star 4
    Could it be...perhaps, that the ships were built to be....custom-made?

    Obviously, if you're going to bury a ship, you won't really care if it's big enough or has as many guns as its sister ship.

    Maybe some of the ships were Super while others were Executors.

    Frankly, there's got to be something wrong with some of these ships to explain why they fail so completely and utterly.
  23. Fingolfin_Noldor Jedi Padawan

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    WEG ratings for weapons has always been faulty, which is why, it should be examined with a pinch of salt, plus vodka mixed with spirit. Till this day, no one seems to accept that there are 8 heavy turbolaser turrets, each with 8 barrels for ISDII, or 2 for ISDI, and 2 quad turbolaser batteries like the Venators which have a double turbolaser at the starboard and port side. Anyone who watched ROTS would know these guns are meant to kill capital ships.

    It seems SSD threads are in season, for some unforeseen reason for which I shall try my very best not to speculate too much but nevertheless, they are an intriguing phenomenon which tickles the brain in a most undeniable profoundly intriguing manner that often requires the occasional flinging of food.

  24. Charlemagne19 Force Ghost

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    star 8
    WEG ratings for weapons has always been faulty

    I disagree.

    Till this day, no one seems to accept that there are 8 heavy turbolaser turrets, each with 8 barrels for ISDII, or 2 for ISDI, and 2 quad turbolaser batteries like the Venators which have a double turbolaser at the starboard and port side. Anyone who watched ROTS would know these guns are meant to kill capital ships.

    We don't know necessarily this to be the case or that they haven't been refitted.

  25. Fingolfin_Noldor Jedi Padawan

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    Aug 10, 2004
    star 4
    Nonsense. It's movie evidence. Unless you are telling me they are illusions. The Venator itself has 8 Heavy turbolaser turrets with 2 barrels each. Are you denying this? The ISD follows the same design philosophy and therefore should also sport similar turrets.

    Plus, extremely old design schematics of the ISD have long pointed out that these were Heavy turbolaser turrets, and close study of the models themselves point that these had 2/8 barrels depending on model. What fasicinating reason do you think that these turrets are there for? Plus, the Incredible Cross Sections for the Star Wars trilogy itself says that those turrets have their own power capacitors etc. to ensure those cannons lay down heavy volleys.
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