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"Master, General Grievous's ship is directly ahead, the one crawling with vulture droids."
―Anakin Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi, referring to the Invisible Hand during the Battle of Coruscant[src]

The Variable Geometry Self-Propelled Battle Droid, Mark I, also known as the Vulture-class starfighter or more simply as the vulture droid, was an unmanned model of droid starfighter utilized by the Trade Federation and later the Confederacy of Independent Systems. Constructed in the cathedral factories of Xi Char, their creation through precision manufacturing was considered an act of religious worship.

CharacteristicsEdit

Vulture Droid SWCT

A Vulture droid in flight mode

With the effectiveness of droid starfighters debated in strategic circles for generations, vulture droids were as such capable of extreme maneuvers that could crush even the sturdiest organic pilot, but lacked the resourcefulness and cunning that living pilots brought into combat.[3] Nonetheless, a lack of life-support systems allowed more room for armaments and fuel, and the lack of an organic pilot removed any moral responsibility for its destruction.[5]

Like the ground forces made up of battle droids, vulture droids were remote controlled by a control ship, but as time passed were able to operate with limited independence due to the installation of artificial intelligence.[3][5] They were also known to be able to communicate with each other by chattering.[8] While not in flight, vulture droids could transform into walking mode to patrol the surface or provide support during battles, and was specifically designed to fill both space and ground-based roles.[3][5]

A variant of the vulture droid featured an ion weapon. One of this variant battled Ahsoka Tano and Padmé Amidala while they were flying N-1 starfighters during starfighter practice. The unit was destroyed.[9]

The design of the vulture droid formed the basis for producing the hyena-class bomber, another type of automated droid starfighter used by the Separatist Alliance.[10] Vulture droids were not considered as smart as tri-fighters and hyena bombers, and relied on speed and overwhelming numbers in combat scenarios.[5]

HistoryEdit

Invasion of NabooEdit

"Fighters, straight ahead."
Bravo Leader's Ric Olié, during the Battle of Naboo[src]
TF-DCS-ST

Vulture droids being launched from a Lucrehulk-class cargo freighter

In 32 BBY, vulture droids were deployed with the rest of the droid forces by the Trade Federation to seize Naboo. During the space battle over the planet, vulture droids were controlled by a Droid Control Ship, made out of a modified Lucrehulk-class LH-3210 cargo freighter, and engaged Bravo Flight's N-1 starfighters. All of the droid starfighters were deactivated when Anakin Skywalker destroyed their control ship, the Saak'ak.[11]

Clone WarsEdit

During the Clone Wars, many vulture droids were painted with the blue and white hexagonal markings that symbolized the Separatist Alliance. They fought in numerous battles such as the Battle of Coruscant.[8]

In addition to being launched from capital ships, vulture droids were also deployed from Automated vulture droid deployment stations to defend areas from potentially hostile approaching vessels.[12]

At some period during the war, vulture droids were upgraded to carry missiles which could deploy Pistoeka sabotage droids against enemy starfighters.[8]

ChristophsisEdit

In 22 BBY, vulture droids participated in the Battle of Christophsis, which ended in defeat for the Confederacy of Independent Systems. Jedi General Anakin Skywalker destroyed Admiral Trench's flagship Invincible with the stealth ship, ending the Separatist blockade of the system.[13] Clone Captain CT-7567 "Rex" and Clone Commander CC-2224 "Cody" apprehended Clone Sergeant Slick, ending the traitorous clone's collusion with the Separatists.[14] Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi captured General Whorm Loathsom, ending the Confederate occupation.[15]

TethEdit

Vultures Teth

Vulture droids strafe Republic ground troops at the Battle of Teth

Vulture droids participated in the Battle of Teth, a crushing blow for the Confederacy of Independent Systems. Despite fierce Confederate resistance, Skywalker rescued Rotta the Hutt and delivered him to Jabba's palace on Tatooine.[15]

RylothEdit

Vultures Ryloth

Vulture droids prepare to intercept Blue Squadron at the Battle of Ryloth.

Vulture droids participated in the Battle of Ryloth, a protracted campaign in which the Separatists resisted the Republic's attempt to liberate the Twi'lek homeworld. Notably, a swarm of Vultures almost completely eliminated the V-19 Torrent starfighters of Blue Squadron and rammed the bridge of the Resolute.[16]

Other battlesEdit

The droids continued to see action throughout the rest of the conflict. From large scale battles such as at Umbara,[17] to smaller skirmishes such as over Felucia after the destruction of the Felucia medical station.[12]

88th Flight

Vulture Droids activated in Skytop Station

The droids were involved in the Battle of Coruscant, the last major CIS offense of the Clone Wars, and at the Battle of Utapau, where General Grievous was killed. After the murder of the Separatist Council, all Confederate droids were shut down, including the vulture droids.[8]

Post-Clone WarsEdit

During the Imperial Era, Vulture droids fell into the hands of various rebel groups including Cham Syndulla's Free Ryloth movement[6], Berch Teller's rebel cell[4], and the smuggler–turned–insurgent leader Nevil Cygni ("Nightswan").[18] In 14 BBY, hundreds of Vulture droids were used by the Free Ryloth movement to attack the Imperial Star Destroyer Perilous during an assassination attempt against Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader.[6]

Later, Berch Teller's rebel cell obtained Vulture droids and other former Separatist equipment and material from Vice Admiral Dodd Rancit, who was conspiring against his rival Moff Wilhuff Tarkin.[4] The Chiss Imperial Navy officer Thrawn collected various Clone War artifacts including Vulture droid parts. The insurgent leader Nevil Cygni also procured 400 Vulture droids during the Umbaran uprising.[18]

By the time of the cold war, Vulture droids were used as private security forces by the houses of Cato Neimoidia.[7]

AppearancesEdit

Non-canon appearancesEdit

SourcesEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

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