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Star Wars: Imperial Torpedoes

Written: 1998.08.01
Last Revised: 1998.09.28

Proton torpedo launch
A pair of proton torpedoes are launched from an X-Wing fighter during the Battle of Yavin
Proton torpedo diagram

Proton Torpedoes

As the above image caption indicates, Imperial MG7-A proton torpedoes are nuclear weapons utilizing advanced technology to direct the energy release toward the target rather than allowing it to disperse in all directions like the energy from a primitive Federation photon torpedo. This makes them tactically superior to photon torpedoes in some ways, because there is no danger of damage to the vessel which fired the torpedo. However, most proton torpedoes are low-yield devices intended for use against "soft targets" like ground installations or fighters, and proton torpedoes are generally useless against capital ships until their shields are dropped. Even the special emission-type heavy proton torpedoes carried by B-wing fighters are totally useless against capital ships until their shields are dropped, but they are useful against smaller targets.

Proton torpedoes are highly maneuverable; Luke Skywalker's torpedoes easily executed a 90 degree turn within the 2 metre diameter of the DS1's exhaust port in ANH. Based on a very conservative travel-speed estimate of 1 km/sec, this equates to a 72,000 g turn! Proton torpedoes are also very accurate, and can strike to within 3 metres under optimum conditions (although broadband sensor jamming tends to reduce their accuracy in battle). These torpedoes can be carried by starfighters and can potentially be used against Federation starships in a swarming attack. This may be most useful against their smaller, more highly maneuverable starships like their Defiant-class vessels, which may be able to elude the fire from our heavy turbolaser turrets. If this is the case, we might be able to hit them only with our light defense cannons, so these vessels would be ideal targets for fighters carrying heavy torpedoes.

Concussion missile launcher diagramThe energy yield of proton torpedoes depends on the exact model being used, but the largest ones exhibit power in the megaton or gigaton range. The recoil dissipation bracings on Imperial Star Destroyers can withstand "explosions measured in the giga-tonnage range" (ref. Slave Ship), and the Rebel fighters in Iron Fist used their proton torpedoes to blast through the hull armour of an unshielded Executor-class Star Destroyer.

However, it should be noted that this was a special mission, and the fighters probably carried the largest-yield weapons available. In general, proton torpedoes are armed for light targets only, and are only useful for pinpoint attacks on vessels whose shields have already been dropped by capital ship weapons.

Concussion Missiles

Imperial concussion missiles, like proton torpedoes, are nuclear-yield explosive devices. However, they are designed to penetrate a heavily armored target and detonate inside the armor shell, for increased effectiveness. Their pre-flight configuration is markedly different from their appearance in flight, as can be seen by comparing the Millenium Falcon's concussion missile launch rack (at right) to its missiles in flight (below). This substantiates that fact that concussion missiles are not simple 20th century-style missiles, contrary to the erroneous claims of various Federation cultists. We do not predict that concussion missiles will play a significant role in a conflict with the Federation because we would have to drop a Federation starship's shields before we could use them, and once their shields are dropped the ship would be quickly destroyed regardless of whether concussion missiles are used.

Concussion missile launch
The Millenium Falcon launches concussion missiles

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