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It had a modular hull structure featuring a front five-person command pod and aft engine section. These were permanent, while the central section could be reconfigured according to mission requirements. A spacetrooper module could carry 40 spacetroopers, sporting separate launching pods and power couplers for recharging the space suits. Standard troop transport configuration had place for 68 troopers with necessary equipment. There were also cargo modules available for making the ship suitable for transport duty, or additional weapon pods to reconfigure the Beta into a more powerful gunship. Its basic armament in non-gunship configuration consisted of four laser cannons, one concussion missile launcher and one tractor beam projector. Beta-class assault shuttles were both atmosphere and space capable, and had a limited hyperspace capability with Class 3 hyperdrive and a navigation computer limited to three jumps.
The downside to the modular construction of the ship was that the stresses spread along its frame, originating in the modular coupling system, made it require a complete refitting after a two-year-long period of service. This led to the introduction of the Gamma-class assault shuttle with permanent spacetrooper hold. Other roles of Beta-class shuttles were taken up by other classes of space transports. Most of Betas were removed from service with the introduction of Gammas, but their career came to a revival with the campaign of Grand Admiral Thrawn against the New Republic five years after the Battle of Endor. They were used mostly as boarding craft and transport troopships.
- "Small Favors"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 12
- Heir to the Empire (First appearance)
- Dark Force Rising
- The Last Command