- "No one ever gets to fire the baradium missiles."
- ―Han Solo
Although baradium was described as a "synthetic element", it may have existed in some form in naturally-occurring lodes, as quantities of it were discovered on Duro and Anobis after the Yuuzhan Vong War; these may possibly have been industrial by-products, however. During the Republic Dark Age, the surface of Chelloa contained vast deposits of baradium which could be tapped by exploding the ground.
When detonated, a baradium weapon produced an incandescent sphere of energy, normally vaporizing everything within it.[source?] The destructive force was described as a fusion reaction, and the majority of the energy produced was released as heat. A second component of a baradium explosion was a particle field, which formed the outer surface of the blast sphere, and which was sustained by the energy of the explosion inside: this had the useful effect of containing the destructive effect within a relatively precise perimeter. But although baradium was a very potent explosive, it was also costly to process,[source?] and extremely unstable: accidental detonation could be triggered by careless use, and would have a devastating effect. These factors placed important limits on the employment of baradium munitions. Baradium also caused poisoning after detonation.
Probably the best-known and most widespread form of baradium charge was a type known as a thermal detonator. The standard thermal detonators used by the Imperial Army had a five-meter blast radius, and could penetrate up to two meters of permacite, but they were designed to be placed manually against hardened targets as petards, rather than lobbed as grenades or mortar rounds. They were issued to Imperial Combat Engineers, and to stormtroopers.
Other thermal detonators were used by bounty hunters had a twenty-meter radius, and some could vaporize everything up to one hundred meters away.[source?] These were sometimes lobbed as grenades,[source?] or used as suicide weapons by terrorists. The ostentatious destructive potential of larger thermal detonators is perhaps best illustrated by the fact that a single Class-A thermal detonator, detonating in the basement, brought down Xizor's Palace, one of the largest buildings on Coruscant.
Much more powerful even than this were baradium missiles, which were capable of destroying capital ships in a single blast. One of these was acquired by the Jedi Order and supplied to the Myrkr strike team during the Yuuzhan Vong War. Carrying a charge of one metric ton of baradium, the blast-radius of a detonation in space was a full kilometer wide. To help ensure that it reached its target, it had deflector shields, and sufficient maneuverability to evade the defenses of enemy warships, both controlled by a droid brain pilot.
Several racks of baradium missiles were later found in the Missile Hold aboard the Star Destroyer Anakin Solo. These had a trigger mechanism using a deuterium-based proton charge, which on its own was capable of producing a blast comparable to some thermal detonators.
Baradium fission deviceEdit
Baradium was also used in the construction of superweapons that were capable of destroying an entire planet. Baradium fission devices were known to exist during both the Galactic Republic and Imperial eras. However, these weapons were banned sometime during the early Imperial era by the Senate via legislation strongly supported by Senator Bail Prestor Organa of Alderaan. The Rebellion did manage to obtain one baradium fission device and planned to use the device to destroy the Imperial Shipyards orbiting the planet Bilbringi. This mission would end in failure when the pilot charged to deliver the weapon ditched the device because he was unwilling to sacrifice the Millennium Falcon.
During the Cold War, Imperial Agent Cipher Nine had to defuse a baradium bomb that the Gormak had intended to use to destroy the Voss capital city of Voss-Ka. The Gormak built the device from scavenged hardware and copied the design from existing Imperial baradium bombs. Ultimately Cipher Nine was successful in preventing the destruction of Voss-Ka.
Other baradium weaponsEdit
A more specialized form of baradium weapon was the seismic charge, in which the baradium was combined with collapsium. Rather than a spherical blast-radius, the destructive power of a seismic charge was constrained into a narrow plane, producing a violent shearing effect through anything in the path of the blast.
In an attempt to counteract the instability of baradium-based thermal detonators, the Alliance to Restore the Republic developed the Thermal well, which combined baradium with ytterbium, to produce a much more stable explosive compound. This burned at several thousand degrees Celsius, and was capable of melting most objects within its blast radius.
Lastly, while baradium was normally used as an explosive, depleted baradium was used instead to make dense, small-caliber bullets. The YVH series could carry a depleted-baradium pellet launcher capable of shredding yorik coral.
Baradium's destructive power meant that thermal detonators were banned by the Old Republic,[source?] and more powerful models remained illegal under the Galactic Empire, while unauthorized possession of a thermal detonator was now punishable by death. But while a small baradium charge was issued as standard to stormtroopers, the cost of production and the problems involved in handling the material also meant that its use was limited, even within the massive military-industrial complex of the Imperial forces.
These limits did not completely prohibit the use of baradium weapons, however. Even under the Old Republic, thermal detonators were popular with bounty hunters and other fringe elements. During the Republic Dark Age, baradium was widely sought by Sith Lords like Daiman and Odion for their war effort against the Republic and the Jedi. In 1032 BBY, a Jedi team under Vannar Treece raided Chelloa to disrupt Daiman's baradium supply line. During the fighting, Odion's forces deployed a massive kinetic corruptor which harnessed the baradium by exploding a chunk of the landscape and killing many of the combatants.
Jedi Master Depa Billaba said that Mace Windu should have used a baradium bomb on Geonosis, rather than allowing the Clone Wars to begin. Subsequently, they were employed by the Grand Army of the Republic,[source?] and by elite Imperial soldiers such as stormtroopers. Merr-Sonn Munitions was known as the primary manufacturer, but a few other companies were authorized to produce detonators by the Empire, including BlasTech Industries subsidiary Tarascii Explosives. Large thermal detonators continued to be illegal under the New Republic, although that did not stop Han Solo from keeping a few in his private arsenal aboard the Millennium Falcon.
The Yuuzhan Vong War saw the one recorded use of a baradium missile, by the Myrkr strike team. The primary plan of the strike team's mission was built around this weapon, which was to be used to destroy the cloning facility creating the voxyn at Myrkr. In the event, it was fired instead against a Yuuzhan Vong cruiser, completely obliterating it even though it exploded half a kilometer from the warship's hull.
There is little further evidence for baradium missiles being regularly used in combat, however. The cache aboard the Star Destroyer Anakin Solo in 40 ABY may have been an anomaly, reflecting that ship's unusual role as command ship of the Galactic Alliance Guard. During the Battle of Kashyyyk, for example, Darth Caedus carried out the orbital bombardment exclusively with the Star Destroyer's long range turbolasers.
After the war, the Galactic Alliance attempted to reassert tight state control of baradium supplies, as a large-scale smuggling operation it was considered a serious issue in 35 ABY. Shortly before 40 ABY, however, large deposits of baradium were discovered on Duro, and these would prove to be the ultimate catalyst for the Second Galactic Civil War, when Thrackan Sal-Solo and his faction began secret military preparations to secure the supply for Corellia.
- Imperial Sourcebook, First Edition
- Episode I: The Phantom Menace: Prima's Official Strategy Guide
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 4 (THE1-2, Thermal Detonators)
- Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords: Prima Official Game Guide
- Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Core Rulebook
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ Star Wars: The Old Republic—Codex Entry: "Denova"
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Imperial Sourcebook, First Edition
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Legacy of the Force: Tempest
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Star Wars: Knight Errant: Aflame 1
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5
- ↑ Fate of the Jedi: Apocalypse
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 The Courtship of Princess Leia
- ↑ Shadows of the Empire
- ↑ Dark Nest III: The Swarm War
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 The New Jedi Order: Star by Star
- ↑ Republic Commando: Triple Zero
- ↑ Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, The New Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 Rules of Engagement: The Rebel SpecForce Handbook
- ↑ Legacy of the Force: Inferno
- ↑ Dark Nest I: The Joiner King