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"These gunships fly like butcherbugs and cut into us like Blood Carvers. We must have one."
Archduke Poggle the Lesser[src]

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.

DevelopmentEdit

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 slice 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.

CharacteristicsEdit

UsesEdit

LAATs-WF

LAAT/i and LAAT/c flying into the Second Battle of Geonosis

The LAAT series of gunships was designed to transport and support up to 30 clone troopers in combat. It also had a rear hangar that could hold up to four speeder bikes for reconnaissance operations or search-and-rescue missions. Early LAAT were in-atmosphere-only vehicles, requiring their transporting cruisers to land somewhere on the planet or at least enter its atmosphere in order to launch. Later versions allowed the gunship 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. Sometime after the First Battle of Geonosis, an Alpha-Class Arc Trooper/Special Ops gunship was introduced with a new paint style, increased maneuverability and more flight time.

WeaponsEdit

The gunship's many weapon systems were designed for both air-to-air combat and air-to-surface support. Against long-range or slow/fixed targets the LAAT used two mass-driver missile launchers (atop the craft) which held a variable payload depending on the mission. Four light air-to-air missiles hung below each wing (eight in total) for any in-flight targets. Four composite-beam pinpoint laser turrets - two manned by clone troopers, two remotely controlled by the co-pilot/gunner (one on each wing) - had a wide field of rotation and could serve in both air-to-air and air-to-ground operations. Three anti-personnel turrets (two at the front, one in the rear) supported further ground operations by ensuring a clear path for the deployment of troops or vehicles.

PerformanceEdit

The LAAT proved excellent in its performance. It was 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 gunship made their debut at the First Battle of Geonosis, where they proved critical in gaining air superiority and securing victory for the vastly outnumbered Grand Army of the Republic. Throughout the Clone War, the LAAT was used in countless battles for transportation and air support.

VariantsEdit

LAATi-MachinesOfWar

An LAAT/i in combat against Vulture droid starfighters.

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, although they were also used to deploy recon scouts in advance of a battle. 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 replaced the door-side gunnery balls in favor of larger doors to maintain pressurization of the interior. This allowed the gunships to be dropped from an orbital cruiser and fly in space, rather than needing the cruiser to enter the atmosphere. This allowed 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.

Notable modelsEdit

Behind the scenesEdit

In Knight Errant: Escape 2, an Odionate gunship appears that is very similar to a LAAT (nearly 1000 years before the Clone Wars).[12]

In the beginning of Dark Empire, a crashed vehicle that resembles an LAAT can be seen in the panel where the hyperspace wormhole first touches down on Coruscant.

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 design for the LAAT is largely based on that of the Soviet/Russian Mi-24 Hind helicopter gunship. The real-world gunship also fulfills the dual role of ground attack and troop transport.[13]

The fighting style of these gunships appears similar to that of another real-life helicopter, the UH-1 Iroquois in the Vietnam War.

In Star Wars Galaxies, players can obtain one as a part of the TCG Expansion released on March 16th, 2010. It comes in the form of a Speeder in the game.

AppearancesEdit

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Wookieepedia has 115 images related to Low Altitude Assault Transport.
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LAAT in Kinect Star Wars.

Non-canon appearancesEdit

SourcesEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

External linksEdit

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