Loronar's Torpedo Sphere Dedicated Siege Platform
Torpedo Spheres were large battlestations and a type of Dedicated Siege Platform, several times the mass of an Imperial-class Star Destroyer. As their name suggests, they had spherical spaceframes, although they were oblate in shape, rather than perfectly spherical. Due to their large size, they were equipped only with Class 3 hyperdrives, and they carried a standard crew of 63,275 Navy personnel and 8,540 troops; at least one Torpedo Sphere was said instead to have had a full crew complement of 61,245, perhaps representing a post-refit revision.
Offensive and defensive systemsEdit
The main weaponry of each Torpedo Sphere consisted of 500 proton torpedo tubes and 100 turbolaser batteries, organized around the ship's equator. The torpedo tubes were grouped in 125 clusters arranged in several tiers below the hull centerline, with each cluster consisting of four tubes centered around a DER targeting control room; it appears that there was one reserve tube for every six clusters, as each torpedo magazine fed 25 tubes. Only 50 torpedo tubes could be recalibrated at a time to acquire starship-sized targets.
A Torpedo Sphere was equipped with a dozen large hangar bays, each normally operating a flight of two or three transports or personnel shuttles—although each was capable of launching four shuttles simultaneously, and all were connected by lifts to internal bays where additional craft could be stored and serviced. Torpedo Spheres did not carry TIE Fighters or defensive batteries, however, and this lack was not entirely compensated for by the Bombard Squadrons which they commanded, as these consisted mainly of light cruisers and pickets.
There was a feeling among senior Navy personnel that they required further reinforcement to operate safely in systems with a hostile naval presence, so much so that admirals were known to have illegally increased their escort screens by transferring ships from other squadrons, without notifying their local Moffs.
The main bridge was situated at the station's upper pole, with a massive viewpanel filling the forward bulkhead, offering a spectacular view of the target. An extensive onboard security system was in place, with a network of holocameras and sensors supervised from twenty security stations throughout the hull.
Similar torpedo platforms dated back to the Clone Wars, predating the development of high-powered beam-weapon technology which was first perfected with Eye of Palpatine, but the term "Torpedo Sphere" refers to the battlestations built by the Loronar Corporation, which Bevel Lemelisk only began to design shortly before the Battle of Yavin, as work on Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin's Death Star neared completion.
Just after the Battle of Yavin, only six 1.9 km long vessels were stated to have been made, but their value was high, considering the increase in Rebel activity. Additional Dedicated Siege Platforms saw use against Rebel bases and later on, planets that attempted to liberate themselves from the remnants of the Empire. Titus Klev served as commander of one of these at the Battle of Wann Tsir.
Although Torpedo Spheres were initially projected to be assigned to every Sector Group, the total completed number is unknown. In 10 ABY, New Republic historians estimated that the average Imperial Sector Group Commander or Moff had at least two ships of this kind in service throughout the early years of the Galactic Civil War and they were part of the regular Imperial Naval structure for sectors.
Ostensibly, Torpedo Spheres were useful only for the specific purpose of bringing down planetary shields. They took advantage of the fact that planetary shields were not uniform, and experienced anomalies and fluctuations. Using thousands of Dedicated Energy Receptors (DERs), a Torpedo Sphere could find a shield's weak spots.
Although these weak spots were rarely more than 20% less powerful than the rest of the shield, this drop in power was enough for the Torpedo Sphere to work with. Numerous proton torpedoes were focused on a single weak spot, in order to temporarily open up a small hole in the shield. Once a hole was opened, a carefully timed turbolaser blast was used to destroy the shield generator, bringing down an entire section of a planetary shield.
The process of analyzing a shield, bombarding it with torpedoes, and destroying a shield generator was extremely difficult and complicated. Weak spots were rarely more than 6 square meters in area. It took hundreds of technicians to properly coordinate the torpedo tubes. Holes in the shielding usually lasted mere microseconds. Even the location of a shield generator was not immediately apparent. Because full planetary shields could block sensors, the crew of a Torpedo Sphere had to study a shield's power waves in order to discover the location of a shield generator.
Once a generator and weak spot was found, the Torpedo Sphere had to be maneuvered into position so that it was aligned with both of them, allowing it to fire upon the generator with its turbolasers. If the calculations and timing of the attack or the aim of the gunners was just slightly off, the entire process had to be repeated again.
One Torpedo Sphere was converted while under construction into a research space station and placed in orbit around the planet Tshindral III, while another was assigned to undergo an extensive refit at Tallaan within only two or three years of its launch—in the course of which it was sabotaged and destroyed by Justice Action Network (JAN) operatives. A much larger torpedo sphere was rammed and destroyed by the commandeered cargo ship Black Ice during an attack on the Rebel base at Fangol.
By the time of the Battle of Endor, a sphere was being used defensively to guard the major shipyards at Corellia: a few months after Endor, this Torpedo Sphere distinguished itself at the Battle of Tralus, but it was destroyed when it was rammed by the Super Star Destroyer Aggressor at the end of the engagement.
Another Torpedo Shpere was stationed at Chasin at the time of the Imperial Civil War, and was destroyed when the captain of the Super Star Destroyer Javelin rammed his ship into it during the fighting.
At least one Torpedo Sphere presumably served as a testbed for the Two-Wave Gravshock Device, a gravitic "planetbuster" carried within a Torpedo Sphere hull, designed to cause earthquakes and tsunamis on a hostile world.
- Black Ice (First appearance)
- The Glove of Darth Vader (Mentioned only)
- Children of the Jedi (Mentioned only)
- Imperial Sourcebook (First mentioned)
- Death Star Technical Companion, First Edition
- Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game, Second Edition
- Death Star Technical Companion, Second Edition
- Dark Empire Sourcebook
- The Last Command Sourcebook
- Imperial Sourcebook, Second Edition
- The Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels
- The Thrawn Trilogy Sourcebook
- Lords of the Expanse
- Star Wars Encyclopedia
- The Essential Guide to Droids
- A Guide to the Star Wars Universe, Third Edition
- Starships of the Galaxy (2001)
- "Who's Who: Imperial Grand Admirals"—Star Wars Insider 66
- The Essential Atlas
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 Imperial Sourcebook
- ↑ Wizards of the Coast
- ↑ The Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Black Ice
- ↑ Children of the Jedi
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Dark Empire Sourcebook
- ↑ Lords of the Expanse
- ↑ "Who's Who: Imperial Grand Admirals"—Star Wars Insider 66
- ↑ The Essential Guide to Warfare