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This devastating weapon, similar to the concept of mines, was designed to take advantage of Imperial starfighter tactics: high speed, en masse, swarming attacks. The cluster bomb consisted of explosives that detonated an initial blast in the direction of the starfighter formation, followed by a cloud of magnetized grenades and shrapnel. Each bomb was equipped with explosive dampeners to prevent the back-blast from damaging the launching ship. The blast yield was more than 100 meters and was particularly lethal against small starships, especially unshielded ships such as TIE/LN starfighters. However, the grenades released by the cluster bomb were indiscriminate, incapable of distinguishing between friend and foe.
These weapons were typically ovoid in shape, but could be disguised in any form or fashion. Examples of disguises include cargo modules, air locks, sensor towers, and other seemingly vital components that would lure opportunistic starfighter pilots to come close to the lethal trap.
While the FreiTek CL-3 (pictured) used in the Battle of Endor and later was one of the most well-known cluster-bomb types, the technology was not confined to the Rebellion. The Empire also used cluster-bombs with its own forces, though these were models specialized for ground-attack duty and carried by TIE/gt starfighters and TIE/sa bombers. They scattered explosives over a large area, causing wide-scale destruction—though they were, like their space-bound cousins, completely indiscriminate.
- Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption
- Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi (First appearance)
- Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor (Mentioned only)
- Dark Force Rising (First identified as Cluster bomb)