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The pipefighter was the key component of Operation Starlancer, which involved using several starfighters firing beams of energy supposedly focused through large lambent crystals to create a long-range weapon capable of hitting targets light years away, similar to a scaled down version of the superlaser in that the Starlancer beam was composite made of several intersecting beams of energy.
However, the entire Starlancer project was a fraud designed by General Wedge Antilles for the Battle of Borleias—the pipefighters were cobbled together out of spare parts and had no actual firepower. The entire purpose of the project was to lure the Yuuzhan Vong into attacking Borleias out of a need to stop a superweapon. In that sense, the pipefighters served their purpose.
The pipefighter consisted of three identical components and one non-identical component. The three similar components consisted of thick piping welded together at a sixty degree angle, with a third piece of piping bisecting that angle. The non-uniform piece, the central piece, consisted of three coplanar pieces of pipe protruding from a central point at 120 degrees from one another, with a fourth piece of pipe located in the center and perpendicular to the plane described by the other three protrusion.
When utilized the pipefighters would spread out so that the three uniform pieces described a vast, equilateral triangle, with the non-uniform piece located in the center. The parts describing the vertices of the triangle would fire off a thick stream of light which would connect all three points for several seconds. After a brief period of time those lasers shut off and the central protrusions each fired off, entering at the three protrusions of the central piece. This then directed an enormous beam of light through the protrusion perpendicular to its plane.
While holding Borleias, Antilles conducted a fake test firing of the pipefighters in which the central beam was fired toward the newly-captured Coruscant. In reality the light never reached the Domain Dal worldship it was aimed toward a small fleet dispatched at the edge of the Coruscant system, which fired on Domain Dal from afar in a direct line with Borleias, thus prompting Warmaster Tsavong Lah to assume that the pipefighters had fired upon him, and that the weapon would, given enough time, become more powerful, due primarily to Tam Elgrin providing false data on a giant lambent crystal which would be place in the central fighter to cause it to fire considerably more destructive energy.
The pipe fighters, operating with a fake lambent inserted into the central fighter, were destroyed during Operation Emperor's Spear when they were used to distract Charat Kraal and his coralskipper forces from the Lusankya, as well as to dictate Supreme Commander Czulkang Lah's attack.