- "ARC troopers, you were selected for this task because you are the best; the elite. You all know what to do."
- ―Obi-Wan Kenobi
Advanced Recon Commandos—also known as Advanced Recon Clone troopers or simply ARC troopers—were an elite variant of clone trooper in the Grand Army of the Republic during the Clone Wars. Although much rarer than other clones on the galactic scale, they were also among the most skilled soldiers in the galaxy.
During the early stages of the clone army's planning and development, Jango Fett and his Mandalorian military advisors advocated the creation of clones capable of handling covert missions too delicate for the standard units. To achieve the desired results, the Kaminoans did not apply the standard behavior correction and enhanced the prime clone's genetic sample to increase physical prowess. ARC troopers had special training that allowed them to act without thinking. They claimed it was similar to the Jedi's use of the Force.
The first attempt at genetic alterations failed, resulting in the Null-class ARC troopers. The Nulls were the first clones of Fett made by the Kaminoans, and served as prototypes for the Grand Army. Only 6 of the 12 Null prototypes survived the embryonic stage of development. Once they were deemed a failed project by the cloners, they were adopted and trained by Kal Skirata, who saved them from termination. The Nulls' botched genes made them unstable and more violent and unruly than the Kaminoans had hoped for. Having learned their lesson, the Kaminoans succeeded in their second attempt at creating stable clone soldiers, generating 100 ARC troopers, designated the Alpha-class.
After completing standard flash training and accelerated growth, these clones were placed under the direct tutelage of Jango Fett. Under Fett's strict discipline they learned to use their fierce independence, innate creativity, and physical superiority in combination with their training in advanced weapons and vehicles to become virtual one-man armies. After completing their training, the ARC troopers were locked in stasis on Kamino until they were required.
Two months after the Battle of Geonosis, a Confederacy assault on Kamino prompted their early activation. As droid detachments closed in on Tipoca City, Prime Minister Lama Su activated the Advanced Recon Commandos and authorized their deployment to hot-spots across Kamino in a last-ditch effort to save the planet's precious cloning facilities. The ARCs worked with a force of Jedi to repel the droid forces.
Following the First Battle of Kamino, the ARCs were integrated into parts of the Grand Army of the Republic. As the ARCs took their place in the larger world, they developed distinct personalities due to their unaltered nature; some gave themselves names, others formed relationships outside the GAR. Once integrated, Advanced Recon Commandos worked as solo operatives or in small squads led by ARC captains, either performing self-contained missions or supplementing larger Grand Army of the Republic operations. One notable exception was the aftermath of the Battle of Hypori, where a twenty-man ARC trooper team under the leadership of Captain Fordo engaged General Grievous in combat.
As the Clone Wars progressed, some battles were won by the Republic largely thanks to the ARC troopers, most notably the Battle of Muunilinst, where the Muunilinst 10 disabled Separatist defenses that were causing damage to Republic forces. Soon, as their reputation spread among the GAR and throughout the galaxy, the Advanced Recon Commandos proved time and time again as to why they were they regarded as the best of the best in the Grand Army. As perfect soldiers, the ARCs and Jango were almost exactly alike; in fact, the leader of the Muunilinst 10, Fordo, had adapted the same blaster-spinning routine as Jango Fett.
However, because of their training as independent soldiers, they were more prone to questioning orders. In one unforgettable incident on Ord Cestus, ARC trooper Alpha 98 (known as Nate and later as Jangotat) disobeyed an order from his Jedi commander and sacrificed his life to destroy a local group of despots.
Though only 106 Advanced Recon Commandos of the Alpha and Null classes were originally produced, they were able to pass on the ARC tradition to new officers after the death of Jango Fett in 22 BBY. Following his escape from Rattatak in early 20 BBY, Alpha-17 "Alpha", one of the earliest ARCs, returned to Kamino to flash-train the second generation of clone trooper commanders in the same manner that Fett had trained him. Commanders such as Bacara and Cody, though not genetically modified in the same manner as the Alpha class, were able to adopt some of the individualized practices of the ARCs and brought a new sense of creativity to the strategy of Grand Army of the Republic. These Clone commanders of ARC designation trained by Alpha-17 and others should not be confused with those Alpha-class ARC troopers that achieved the rank of "Commander" during the war.
After the Clone Wars, all remaining Alpha-class ARCs in the Grand Army were offered either retirement or the option to train their successors, the stormtroopers, passing on their combat experience. Due largely to their individualistic nature and also to imperial hostility to the free-spirited nature of the ARCs, most deserted during the final days of the Clone Wars, though those who remained were able to help in the training of stormtroopers. Many went rogue, following in Jango Fett's footsteps by becoming bounty hunters and assassins. These include Alpha-26 "Maze", Alpha-66 Muzzle, and Alpha-02 "Spar" (who deserted during the war for political reasons). Some ARCs later joined the Alliance to Restore the Republic, and some adopted the Mandalorian culture of Fett. For those that remained in imperial service, a number of ARC troopers were assigned to become part of the Imperial Commando Special Unit, a special forces unit that was attached to the elite 501st Legion.
Some ARC-style troopers, possibly a new batch of ARCs, took part in the Kamino uprising by leading the secretly grown clone anti-Imperial troopers against the Imperial stormtroopers of the 501st Legion in a fight to liberate Kamino from the Empire. The anti-Imperial clones failed, however.
- ARC commander: Although some ARC trooper captains were promoted to the rank of commander and wore yellow ARC trooper armor, most of the officers that were labeled an "ARC Commander" were not originally Alpha-class ARC troopers. These ARC commanders were regular clone officer commanders that were specially trained by Alpha-17 to instill more independence, aggressiveness, and to think outside the box.
- ARC captain: These ARCs wore red-striped armour and had control over all subordinate ARCs, commandos, and standard clone soldiers.
- ARC lieutenant: These were the first and most common ARCs during the Clone Wars. They fought in various battles including the Battle of Muunilinst and wore blue-striped armor.
- ARC sergeant: ARC Sergeants wore green-striped armor. The only known ARC sergeant was the Null ARC Trooper A'den. These ARCs would have been able to command small squads of commandos or standard clone soldiers.
There were a few subdivisions of the Advanced Recon Commando:
ARC Commander Training Program
The Alpha training program was a program designed to equip clone trooper commanders with ARC training. During this training, the ARC trained clone commanders were taught to think more creatively and to bring out their independence and tactical genius. They became some of the most outspoken and independent clones, and those who graduated Alpha-17's program were awarded the title of ARC commander, becoming a tight fraternity of elite soldiers.
- DC-17 hand blaster
- miniature flamethrower
- WESTAR-M5 blaster rifle
- DC-15A blaster rifle
- DC-15S blaster
- Fragmentation grenades
- Reverse-polarity pulse grenade
- EMP grenades
- Ion grenades
- HX2 antipersonnel mines
Created early in the war, ARC troopers wore a more advanced and versatile version of the Phase I armor, along with command pauldrons and kamas. They often had a periscope rangefinder attachment on the right side of their helmets, similar to those on Mandalorian helmets.
While each mission profile required a different loadout, ARC troopers were commonly armed with the WESTAR-M5 blaster rifle, DC-15A blaster rifles, DC-17 hand blasters, and frag and reverse-polarity pulse grenades. When heavier firepower was required, ARCs donned specialized armor to bear the weight of reciprocating quad blasters, PLX-1 portable missile launchers, or Z-6 rotary blaster cannons. Many individual ARC Troopers also had bandoliers and pouches for extra equipment, such as EMP grenades and extra ammunition.
ARCs received training that gave them access to vehicles which usually required a specialized clone trooper to operate. To enhance ground range and mobility, ARCs made use of the BARC speeder, named for the Biker Advanced Recon Commandos who used it. For small squad operations, Advanced Recon Commando pilots could pilot LAAT/i gunships to drop units behind enemy lines. Advanced Recon Commando heavy gunners used larger weapons.
- First Battle of Kamino
- Battle of Ohma-D'un
- Battle of Jabiim
- Battle of Pengalan IV
- Battle of Muunilinst
- Battle of Hypori
- Mission to Ord Cestus
- Battle of Colla IV
- Battle of Praesitlyn
- Battle of Byblos
- Third Battle of Kamino
- Battle of Lola Sayu
- Battle of Umbara
- Battle of Coruscant
Behind the scenes
In Star Wars: Battlefront, the ARC troopers (named in the game) are the heavy weapons specialist. They appear in the campaign's Geonosis mission. As the ARCs were in stasis at that time, they were not canonically present at the battle there.
In Star Wars: Battlefront II, the clone heavy troopers on Geonosis are given the appearance of ARC troopers. As the ARCs were in stasis at that time, they were not canonically present at the battle there.
- Star Wars Miniatures: Clone Strike
- "Guide to the Grand Army of the Republic"—Star Wars Insider 84
- Underworld: A Galaxy of Scum and Villainy
- Star Wars: Lethal Alliance
- Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith The Visual Dictionary
- Episode III: Revenge of the Sith: Prima Official Game Guide
- "Q&A"—Star Wars Insider 95
- Star Wars Roleplaying Game Saga Edition Core Rulebook
- The Force Unleashed Campaign Guide
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- The Clone Wars Campaign Guide
- Galaxy at War
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Complete Season Three
- "Ask Lobot"—Star Wars Insider 130
- Official Site Snapshots from Comic-Con 2010, second slideshow, picture 13
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
Notes and references
- Alpha-class Advanced Recon Commando
- Null-class Advanced Recon Commando
- Rail-class Advanced Recon Commando