White Star

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The plucked space-chicken.

The White Star is an escort-sized warship featured prominently in Babylon 5. Rivalry between Trekkies and Fivers resulted in numerous debates over the possible outcome of a battle between the the White Star and the USS Defiant.


The White Star was the first of a class of starships built by the Minbari for use in a prophesied war against the Shadows. The ships incorporate both Minbari and Vorlon technology.

The White Star is an extremely small warship by B5 standards, measuring as little as 120m in length. Nonetheless, it is an extremely powerful ship for its size, carrying firepower rivalling that of the large capital ships (cruisers and "destroyers") of the other Young Races. Thanks to its small size and mass, however, it is much faster than most other warships, enabling it to outrun and outmaneuver most foes. Like other Minbari ships, the White Star's propulsion system relies in part upon direct manipulation of electromagnetic and gravitational forces; a side-effect of this technology is that the White Star can accelerate far harder than its crew would otherwise be able to endure. Another benefit is that the White Star is able to generate a tractor beam using the same technology.

The White Star has its own jump engines, enabling it to open a vortex into hyperspace. In the timeframe of the series (around 2260), this capability was extremely unusual for a ship of its size, particularly for the Young Races.

The White Star carries several weapon systems, all of them bearing forward. Its most powerful weapon is a sustained-fire, fixed-axis beam weapon that appears to run along the centerline of the ship and fires directly forward from the bow. This weapon appears to carry firepower similar to that of one of the beams of a far-larger Narn Heavy Cruiser.[1] Other weapons include pulse cannons mounted in the ship's wingtips and in the bow above the centerline. The ship appears to have a weapons range of a few thousand kilometers, with the bow-mounted pulse cannons having the greatest accurate range.[2]. The White Star is not known to carry guided missiles of any type.

For defense, the White Star appears to possess the stealth capabilities found in other Minbari warships, making it extremely difficult to target. EarthForce weapons that easily hit targets in a squadron of Starfuries failed to hit White Star-class ships at apparently similar range.[3] The hull of the White Star also includes Vorlon technology that can reflect much of the energy from attacking beams and pulses back to space. The hull armor is a type of organic technology that learns the characteristics of weapons to which it has been exposed, enabling it to more effectively resist subsequent attacks. Even after learning their characteristics, however, a White Star's hull is not capable of completely resisting fire from capital warships, although they do seem to be able to shrug off fire from fighters.

The White Star has a launch and recovery facility at its stern capable of holding at least two Minbari Flyers or three Minbari fighters. The bay can not handle a shuttle, but there is a hatch on the keel that the ship can use to dock with shuttles or larger vessels.

The White Star in Debates

In versus debates, Fivers typically argue that the White Star's speed and stealth technology will enable it to avoid most enemy fire, while its hull armor can reflect most of the energy from opposing beam weapons, such as phasers. Consequently, the White Star will be able to rain fire upon its target while taking few, if any, hits in return.

Fivers are also prone to argue that the White Star must be rather large, typically claiming a length of 475 meters, despite the ship's small size being an important feature in the series.

External Links


  1. B5 "Walkabout"
  2. B5 "War Without End"
  3. B5 "No Retreat, No Surrender"