4 meters or less
Mandalorian iron armor
- "The kind of surprise that makes you look up and run for a bomb shelter. With a MandalMotors logo on the fuselage."
- ―Goran Beviin
The Bes'uliik was a cutting-edge starfighter created by MandalMotors after the Yuuzhan Vong War, the first prototypes of which entered service with the Mandalorians in 40 ABY, during the Second Galactic Civil War.
- "Now tell me it's not gorgeous."
- ―Jir Yomaget
A Bes'uliik was originally designed for a crew of three, or two with an increased weapons/fuel loadout, although the earliest production prototypes were flown by single pilots. The fighter was designed to be versatile, capable of being everything from a planetary-attack bomber to a long-range "hunter-killer". The spaceframe measured fifteen meters long, with a wingspan of a little over half its length. The hull was a plain, clean-lined "V"-shape with a squared-off tail and a dark gray finish with high-tech baffled exhausts to enhance its stealth capabilities. The four blasters and two additional weapons mountings were all located on the underside of the fuselage. The cockpit hatch hinged at the top for entry and the bottom edges for ejection, but there were also side hatches, and on the prototype, these bore the mythosaur logo stenciled in a lighter gray color. Inside, the cockpit made use of advanced display technology, and control systems that could be activated simply by where the pilot was looking. The fighter was also able to tilt vertically on its tail section, to land and take off in a tiny area, approximately eight-by-four meters.
Late in the design process, the design was modified to add a protective layer of beskar armor, the legendary Mandalorian iron. The designers considered applying this as either as an outer skin or part of a laminated composite spaceframe. The initial prototype was completed with an ultra-thin beskar outer skin, but there was also some discussion of a heavier layer of solid hull armor. Although this would render the fighter heavier, there were also hopes that a new alliance with the Verpine engineers of the Roche Asteroid Belt would extend to a technology exchange, enabling the designers to lighten the underlying spaceframe structure to compensate,, or to improve fuel economy.
- "Shab, a Mando-Verpine assault fighter. That'll cause some sleepless nights on Coruscant."
- ―Medrit Vasur
The Bes'uliik was originally designed as the Kyr'galaar, a name which seems to have meant "death-hawk" It was conceived after the Yuuzhan Vong War as a single development prototype combining all the new ideas being produced by MandalMotors designers—a necessarily economizing approach, as their energies were focused on reestablishing commercial production of existing designs. In 40 ABY, when a lode of beskar was found 100 kilometers north of Enceri, it was realized that the powerful armor could also be applied to the new fighter. This was originally hinted to Mand'alor Boba Fett by his lieutenant Goran Beviin soon after the discovery, and formally suggested by Jir Yomaget of MandalMotors when he showed Fett the new design shortly afterward. It seems to have been at around this time that the name was changed to Bes'uliik, or "iron beast", in honor of the ancient Basilisk war droids of the Mandalorians' warrior past (the name of which was Bes'uliik in the original Mando'a). Fett and Yomaget decided that, for export versions, the fighter's armor and capabilities would be significantly reduced, but half of the production run would be retained for "defense" of Mandalore and the Mandalore Sector, with the full capabilities of the prototype, and possibly with even heavier armor.
The first Bes'uliik was quickly completed and put into testing, and very soon after, four spaceworthy (and even combat-ready) prototypes were complete. At this point, these fighters were deployed as a combat flight, led by Fett in person, to destroy factories on Murkhana in a punitive raid on behalf of their Verpine allies—and also to display the new fighter's capabilities to potential buyers. The extent of Mandalorian confidence in the new fighter's abilities can be gauged by the fact that Fett gave Murkhana advance warning of exactly what they were going to target. At first Murkhana targeted the small group of ships with several squadrons of standard fighters. The defenders then realized how powerful the ships were, eventually having the entire fleet bombard the small group. Most of the shots ricocheted off harmlessly, allowing Fett and his team to easily accomplish the raid with little to no damage. Luke Skywalker piloted a Bes'uliik during the Battle of Shedu Maad in 40 ABY against Jacen Solo's personal Star Destroyer.
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ Sacrifice, pages 180-181
- ↑ Sacrifice, pages 273-274, 361-364
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Sacrifice, page 181
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Sacrifice, page 182
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Sacrifice, page 273
- ↑ Sacrifice, page 274
- ↑ Sacrifice, page 180. The name kyr'galaar does not appear to be directly translated in any canon source, but the meaning can be inferred from the use of the component elements kyr and galaar, found in the Mandalorian lexicon available at StarWars.com (September 2006 version) and KarenTraviss.com (March 2007)
- ↑ Sacrifice, page 161
- ↑ Sacrifice, page 162
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Sacrifice, page 183
- ↑ Sacrifice, page 341
- ↑ Sacrifice, pages 361-664
- ↑ Sacrifice, page 362