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The Low Altitude Assault Transport (LAAT), also known as the LAAT-series gunship nicknamed "Larties" by some clones, was a gunship series used by the Grand Army of the Republic during the Clone Wars. The series was produced by Rothana Heavy Engineering.
The LAAT was an engineering masterpiece that took years to produce. The Kaminoans had to overcome many tasks that faced them from new weapon designs to stability. They used repulsorlift turbines located in the wings and base of the transport to provide stability against the anti-aircraft weapons deployed by the CIS. They also created a new weapon that would bring mass damage to the battle field, an ion repeater that created a beam to chop through buildings and people. The problem with this was that it constantly overheated. However, the Kaminoans developed a solution consisting of side mounted and wing mounted turrets that were controlled manually with their own mass drive engine. This meant that the weapon wouldn't overheat the main engine.
The LAAT series gunships were designed to transport up to 30 clone troopers into combat and support them. It also had a rear hangar that could hold up to 4 speeder bikes to support reconnaissance operations or search and rescue missions. Early LAAT were in-atmosphere-only vehicles, requiring cruisers to land somewhere on the planet in order to launch. Although, with their range, it was common practice for cruisers to dip into the atmosphere, let the LAAT fly to the target zone, and be gone before combat even started. Later versions allowed it to fly through space and actually be used for boarding in ship-to-ship battles. Some versions of the gunship included Bacta tanks for medical transportation. Also sometime after the battle on Geonosis, an Alpha-Class Arc Trooper/Special Ops gunship was introduced with a new paint style, increased maneuverability and more flight time.
The gunship's many weapon systems were designed for both air-to-air combat and air-to-ground support. For long range or slow/fixed targets the LAAT used 2 mass-driver missile launchers (atop the craft) which held a variable payload depending on the mission. 4 light air-to-air missiles hung below each wing (8 in total) for any in-flight targets. 4 composite-beam pinpoint laser turrets - 2 of which were manned by clone troopers and the other two remote controlled by the co-pilot/gunner (on each wing) had a wide field of rotation and could serve in both air-to-air and air-to-ground operations. 3 anti-personnel turrets (2 at the front, one at the rear of the craft) supported further ground operations by ensuring a clear path for the deployment of troops or vehicles.
The gunship was proven excellent in its performance; so maneuverable, in fact, that only the most mobile of enemy craft could keep one in its sights. Even experienced pilots found it impossible to avoid its numerous weapons. These Clone transports were effectively used on the first battle of Geonosis when the Jedi found a droid manufacturing plant on the planet. The LAAT had been used on many planets and was very effective at getting troops into battle.
The most common LAAT-series model was the LAAT/i, an infantry transport and mobile gun platform used throughout the Clone Wars. The LAAT/i could carry up to 30 clone troopers into combat. Because they could carry so many troops into combat, they were used to get recon troopers down before bringing in the larger craft. Variants were modified to carry additional military speeders or deploy larger war machines, such as walkers, onto the battlefield. Later versions of the LAAT/i removed the gunnery balls for forward doors, allowing them to drop from an orbital cruiser, instead of needing the cruiser to enter the atmosphere, allowing for much faster and stealthier troop deployment.
In addition to the LAAT variants, there were several other gunship models that both pre- and post-dated them and were designated with similar acronyms. Most notable were the AIAT/i gunship, the VAAT/e transport, and the HAET-221 gunboat.
LAATs continued to be used well into the era of the Galactic Civil War, for example during the Kamino Uprising, where clone anti-Imperial troopers and Kaminoans attempted to escape the planet in these transports. It was also used in small numbers by the Alliance to Restore the Republic as a troop transport.
- Low Altitude Assault Transport/infantry
- Low Altitude Assault Transport/carrier
- Low Altitude Assault Transport/stealth
- Low Altitude Assault Transport/vehicle
- Multi-Altitude Assault Transport
- Space gunship
Behind the scenesEdit
In Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds: Clone Campaigns the LAAT/i Gunships were misidentified as "Gunship Fighters."
In Star Wars: Battlefront II, the LAAT was classified as a space drop ship, probably modified.
The fighting style of these gunships appears similar to that of another real-life helicopter, the UH-1 Iroquois in the Vietnam War.
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Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Clone Wars Campaign Guide
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Inside the Worlds of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones
- ↑ Galaxy at War
- ↑ The New Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Incredible Vehicles
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
- ↑ Darth Vader and the Lost Command 1
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Crimson Empire III: Empire Lost 2
- ↑ Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
- ↑ Star Wars: Battlefront II
- ↑ Galaxy at War
- ↑ Knight Errant: Escape 2