Freighters/Transports Studies

Introduction

Commerce makes the galaxy function. The simple movement of cargo and passengers up and down the hyperspace lanes allows a myriad of planets to even exist. Without importing raw materials and metals, the shipyards at Bilbringi simply could not produce anything. The need for foodstuffs for the capital planet of Coruscant is essential to the economy of dozens of agriworlds, such as Ukio and Ertegas. And the only way to get items from planet A to planet B is through freighters.

Freighters

What is a freighter?

The term freighter covers a wide range of vessels, varying from a few dozen meters long to gargantuan monsters as long as a warship. The main characteristics of a freighter are constant throughout this range, though.

Cargo space

  • The primary reason to use a freighter is the cargo space. The size varies from a few cubic meters of space all the way to the bulk freighters carrying 19,000 tonnes. Cargo space is typically only limited by the needs of the user, the size of the vessel, and the slips needed for docking.
  • If a bulk freighter is the size of a medium cruiser, the dock fees alone would be astronomical. The counter-weight to this is that you can carry a gargantuan amount of product and a smart individual can make a lot of money hauling in this way.

Ease of use

  • The life of a freight runner does not draw the most intelligent and talented individuals, and as such, the vessel classes need to reflect the average expected expertise. The majority of freighters are as simple as possible, controls and systems which can suit almost any alien (even a Wookie!), and are rarely elegant.

Relatively basic amenities

  • Freighters are not luxury yachts (see section on Yachts), and typically have few little in the way of amenities. Basic crew compartments, with fixtures such as a kitchenette and bunk beds, feature on most light and heavy freighters. There are always exceptions, in the form of the Action-Keynne XII, which was built specially to be luxurious and functional.

Little or no firepower

  • Freighters and transports are not military vessels. They are not designed with the intention to wage war, though they are often pressed into running as assault ships (the exception here is the Star Galleon, which was built to be a strong defensive vessel). They rarely have much in the way of armaments, basic shielding and countermeasures, and the majority of their tactics revolve around running, hiding or surrendering.

Hyperdrives

  • Galactic transportation requires the use of a hyperdrive, a device would allows the vessel to accelerate to the faster-than-light speeds, and traverse the distances between the stars in a fraction of the time it would normally require. Some shuttles and short distance haulers do not have hyperdrives, as they can be expensive to acquire and maintain. These vessels are typically only used around stations and within a system. Coruscant makes the most obvious use of these types of shuttles, transporting officers from the surface to the defensive platforms, for example.

Customisation

  • All ships, be they starfighters or Imperial II-Class Star Destroyers, have an initial, intended setup, also known as being stock. This is the condition the shipyard or factory completes the vessel to, where their work is complete, and the customer can take ownership. After this exchange, however, the world is the limit.
  • Corellian Engineering Corporation (CEC) light freighters, in particular, are well known for the customization aspects. Want to beef up the weapons systems? Go ahead! Better shields, faster hyperdive, more cargo space? These are only limited by the frame of the ship design. The Millennium Falcon is an excellent example of a customized vessel (and a prime example of ‘enough is enough already’)
  • The Possessions system allows for a wide range of customizations for ships owned by the membership, even personal ones.

Uses

The uses of a freighter vary far and wide, based on the type of freighter in question, and the needs of the user.

Bulk Cargo Hauling

  • The movement and transportation of products across the galaxy. The primary intended use of all freighters built (though not necessarily their final use).

Troop/Personnel Transportation

  • When armies need to move from planet to planet, they must be conveyed there. Freighters and transports are often pressed into service as troop transports, though they are not able to drop them directly to the planet’s surface. Their lack of weaponry and heavy shielding can also be a hinderance.

Settling New Planets

  • Similar to the transportation of troops, this use is civilian in nature. New settlements and new colonies require an astonishing amount of raw materials, building supplies, and, of course, the settlers themselves. Heavy freighters in a large convoy are used for this purpose, often with small freighters to serve as couriers and protectors.

Supply Ships for Fleets

  • Soldiers and Sailors can only fight if their bellies are full. Heavy freighters are often attached to military fleets as supply ships, providing the necessary foodstuffs, repair materials and consumables for a fleet on patrol. This frees up space on the naval vessels for more militarily significant.

Piracy

  • Not all freighters are used for peaceful or civilian uses. Piracy is the capturing of other ships, with the intention of pressing them into service for the pirates or for sale whole or for scrap. Light freighters are a perfect all-round vessel, and pirates love both their versatility and customisation. This allows them to add weapons, shielding, docking umbilical systems, and other equipment useful in piracy.

Smuggling

  • While the transportation of products was always their intended use, smugglers have used their freighters to circumvent laws, or tariffs and taxes. These illegal acts typically involve the movement of illicit product, like Ryll spice or slaves, to systems where these products are banned, or transporting highly profitable products past customs so as to maintain the profit margin. Freighters are perfect for this use, though they are often customized with hidden compartments and stronger weapons and engines.

Producers

Corellian Engineering Corporation
The Corellian Engineering Corporation is one of the most prolific producers of starships in the entire Galaxy, with it’s main base of operations centered in and around the Corellian system. This manufacturing monster produces three of the most well known series of freighters, the YZ line, the YT line and the YV line. There is almost no locale in the Galaxy which does not have a Corellian built freighter in it.

Though the majority of its sales come from the civilian industry, CEC does subcontract for other companies, such as building Imperial Star Destroyers. These Star Destroyers were considered to be faster at sublight and hyperspeeds than the standard ISD, though Han Solo has said that he has outrun even these ISDs.

It is this propensity for speed and staggering customization that has spurred the sales for the Corellian Engineering Corporation. Their most recognisable design of all is the YT-1300 LIght Freighter, as the Millennium Falcon is of this type. Almost infinitely customizable, with powerful engines and good maneuverability, it is a class above its competitors.

Sorosuub Corporation
The Sorosuub Corporation is a massive multi-disciplinary conglomerate, run primarily by Sullustans. It’s main concerns revolve around mineral processing and refinement, but have numerous sub-companies and divisions which have their own focuses, ranging from energy mining to food production.

One of these divisions produces high-class luxury yachts and shuttles. Originally, these vessels were built for Sorosuub Corporation high-level managers and C-level executives, but numerous versions have been sold to the general public, though at a dear price. A prime example of these vessels is the SoruSuub 3000 Space Yacht, which has seen extensive use throughout the galaxy.

Sienar Fleet Systems
One of the foremost producer of weapons, military equipment and ships, especially for the Galactic Empire and Galactic Republic, Sienar Fleet Systems is a massive corporation, influential and powerful throughout the Galaxy. Primarily known for the TIE line of fighters built for the Empire, the corporation have a myriad of divisions, like Sienar Army Systems, which produces some ground vehicles, and military transports.

The most well known shuttle built by Sienar Fleet Systems is the Lambda-class T-4a Shuttle. Primarily used by the Galactic Empire, this shuttle was colloquially known as the Imperial Shuttle, and was used extensively throughout the Galactic Civil War. It would be replaced later by the Upsilon-class Command Shuttle, after Sienar Fleet systems became Sienar-Jaemus Fleet Systems under the First Order.

Types of Freighters

Light Freighters

YT-1300
The YT-1300 Light Freighter is a 35-meter long Light Freighter designed to be modifiable by applying a modular design. It is lightly armed with two laser cannon turrets . Hyperdrive capable, this vessel has great maneuverability, with average shielding and speed. Built by the Corellian Engineering Corporation, this vessel became one of the most popular space transport hulls ever produced with the most notable example being the heavily modified Millennium Falcon.

XS-800 Light Freighter
The XS-800 Light Freighter is a 90-meter long Light Freighter designed for passenger comfort for long journeys with personal refresher stations and climate controlled individual cabins. It is lightly armed with only a single double laser cannon. Hyperdrive capable, it has low maneuverability and speed, with light armoring. Built by the Corellian Engineering Corporation, it has two escape pods capable of safely rescuing all 8 passengers and 2 person crew as well as a cockpit designed to separate from the ship and land on a planet if necessary.

YV-666 Light Freighter
The YV-666 Light Freighter is a 62-meter long Light Freighter. It is armed with one retractable quad laser cannon turret and one concussion missile launcher. Hyperdrive capable, this vessel has great maneuverability and speed, with heavy armoring and shields. Commonly used by Trandoshan Slavers, this vessel possessed two vertical maneuvering fins at the rear of the ship that gave it enhanced maneuvering. Larger than Corellian Engineering Corporation's YT series, it still possessed the ability to be modified.

Heavy Freighters

GR-75 Medium Transport
The GR-75 Medium Transport is a 90-meter long Freighter designed to carry 19,000 metric tons of cargo into modular cargo pods designed into its interior space. It is armed with limited defense, four twin-linked laser cannon turrets. Hyperdrive capable, this vessel has moderate maneuverability and speed and an only lightly armored hull. It found use by the Rebel Alliance during the Galactic Civil War to move supplies in their efforts against the Galactic Empire.

Action VI Transport
The Action VI Transport is a 125-meter long Freighter, designed to carry up to 80,000 metric tons of cargo and operate in convoys or well-patrolled areas of space. It is armed with no weapons. Hyperdrive capable, this vessel has moderate speed, with below average shields and armor. Since the vessel lacks any form of defense, they were often prime targets for pirates and have to rely on protection from other capital ships and starfighter escorts.

Baleen-class Heavy Freighter
The Baleen-class Heavy Freighter is a 426-meter long bulk freighter designed to transport up to 75,000 metric tons of cargo within the ship as well as up to 200 10-ton cargo containers in a lattice cargo array. It is unarmed, with no weapons, but does have a tractor beam emplacement that allows it to lock onto and move other vessels or objects. Hyperdrive capable, this vessel has substandard maneuverability and speed with limited armoring. The vessel's forward compartment could be opened in transit and used to salvage items found drifting in space, even entire starships.

Shuttles and Yachts

What are shuttles?

Shuttles are typically smaller vessels, used to move passengers between locations, occasionally through hyperspace. The primary use for Shuttles is transporting passengers, and they are rarely large enough to carry more than ten at any given time. The amenities of a shuttle are relatively bare, with little more than seating in the passenger hold. Larger shuttles may include in-flight stewards, but typically the distances travelled are too short to need such extravagance.

Lambda-class Shuttle
The Lambda-class T-4a Shuttle is a 20-meter long trihedral foiled Shuttle designed as a multi-purpose transport that can carry 20 passengers and 80 tons of cargo. It is armed with four double laser cannons and one retractable rear-mounted double laser cannon. Hyperdrive capable, this vessel has great maneuverability and speed, with heavy shielding and armor. Also known as the "Imperial Shuttle", this vessel was a light utility craft in common use throughout the Imperial Navy as a transport for troops and high-ranking individuals. In an emergency the cockpit could be jettisoned from the main body and travel a short distance at sublight speed.

CSS-1 Corellian Star Shuttle
The CSS-1 Corellian Star Shuttle is an 80-meter long Shuttle designed as a diplomatic vessel to transport ambassadors on missions throughout the galaxy featuring large conference rooms as well as the ability to transport 200 passengers and 900 metric tons of cargo. It is lightly armed with two laser cannon turrets and has powerful shields and extensive heavy armoring. Hyperdrive capable, this vessel has average maneuverability and speed. Built by Corellian Engineering Corporation, this design served the Galactic Republic for years to transport politicians.

What are yachts?

If you want to travel the galaxy, visit the most luxurious locales and dine on in the best restaurants, would you really do so aboard a YT freighter? Of course not! Yachts are specifically designed with the creature comforts in mind, with all the passengers being treated as kings or queens. The richest merchants and governors typically travel exclusively in a personal yacht, fitted with the accoutrements they are willing to pay for.

SoruSuub Luxury 3000 Space Yacht
The SoruSuub Luxury 3000 Space Yacht is a 55-meter long Shuttle designed as a spacious luxury transport yacht with an observation level and exterior deck along with a host of internal luxury amenities for up to 10 passengers. It is lightly armed with three retractable laser cannons. Hyperdrive capable, this vessel has average maneuverability and speed, with heavy shielding and armor. Produced by SoroSuub Corporation, these vessels were in use as early as the Clone Wars by those who preferred to travel in comfort.

Military Application

How does a military move its troops across vast distances? Between an orbiting vessel and the surface? From one base to another across the surface of a planet? Military transports are an essential part of successful military operation and can often be used to support a military action with their mounted weaponry.

Tactics and Stratagem

The use of troop transports to move soldiers into battle has been around for centuries, and has only gotten more intricate and difficult with the use of space-borne transports. There are of course restrictions, and general ‘rules of thumb’, in determining the employment of transports in battle.

Air Cover

  • Does the enemy control the skies? If they do, it would not be a good idea to load a massive transport full of your best troops and send them down only to be destroyed enroute.

Troop Quantity

  • How many troops do you really need to drop? Can a squad do the mission needed? Or are you looking to drop an entire regiment in one fell swoop?

Troop Needs

  • Will the troops have access to supplies, medical equipment and support when they are on their mission? Does the troop transport need to act as air cover and ground support, or an infirmary?

Mission location

  • You cannot fit a Titan into a box canyon, and it would be silly to try!

Squad/Platoon Transports

Imperial Dropship
The Imperial Dropship Transport is a 16.8-meter long troop transport which requires one pilot, one gunner and one technician to operate and maintain it. It was designed for the Galactic Empire as a troop transport and gunship to move small contingents of troops and provide light close-air support. It is armed with two missile launchers, two light lasers, and two blaster cannons.

This vessel has great maneuverability and speed in an atmosphere but is lightly armored with the troop bay usually exposed during atmospheric flight for rapid deployment. Operated by the pilots in the flight, each can carry up to 18 troops or passengers. Known simply as an IDT for short, it shares a similar design to the Galactic Republic's LAAT transports and were used extensively by the Galactic Empire to transport stormtroopers.

Atmospheric Assault Lander
The Atmospheric Assault Lander Flight is an 18-meter long troop transport which requires one pilot, one gunner and one technician to operate and maintain it. Designed by the First Order as an armored and shielded troop transport for rapid transport from space down to planetary surfaces. It carries powerful shields, and its armoring contains pockets of inert gas that dampen the impact of blasts against the hull while armed with one anti-personnel blaster cannon. Operated by the pilots in the flight, each can carry up to 20 stormtroopers or passengers. Used by the First Order specifically for the purpose of quickly deploying stormtroopers from Resurgent-class Star Destroyers to planets for rapid assault missions.

Nu-Class Troop Transport
The Nu-class Transport is a 19-meter long troop transport which requires one pilot, one gunner and one technician to operate and maintain it. Designed for use during the Clone Wars by the Republic Navy as a multi-purpose transport, it had limited offensive capabilities, limiting its use in active combat. It is armed with two double light laser cannons and two medium laser cannons in a forward firing arc. Hyperdrive capable, this vessel has great maneuverability and speed with a heavily armored hull and strong shields. Operated by the pilots in the flight, each can carry up to 30 troopers or passengers. Also known as the "Republic attack shuttle", its design inspired what would become Lambda-class shuttle used extensively by the Imperial Navy.

Large Transports

CR25 Troop Transport
The CR25 Troop Carrier Flight is a 60-meter long troop transport which requires one pilot, one gunner, one communications officer, two engineers, and one technician to operate and maintain them. Designed as a heavily armored multipurpose drop ship for troops and armor. It is lightly armed with twin turbolaser cannons. Hyperdrive capable, this vessel has substandard maneuverability in an atmosphere due to its lack of aerodynamic features and its heavy carrying capacity, but its powerful engines provide substantial speed. Operated by the pilots in the flight, each can carry up to 40 troops in addition to a range of armor, or passengers. The CR25 was the favored dropship of the Rebel Alliance due to its ability to quickly move troops and equipment to the surface in adverse conditions.

Sentinel Landing Craft
The Sentinel-class Landing Craft is a 38-meter long troop transport which requires one pilot, one copilot, three gunners and one technician to operate and maintain it. Designed as a heavily armored and shielded multipurpose drop ship for transporting troops and armor directly into battle safely. It is heavily armed with eight retractable laser cannons, two retractable repeating blaster cannon turrets, one retractable ion cannon turret and two concussion missile launchers. Hyperdrive capable, this vessel has great maneuverability and speed thanks to its aerodynamic features and a powerful engine. Operated by the pilots in the flight, each can carry up to 75 stormtroopers or passengers or with alternate configurations depending on the nature of the mission a range of different armor or support vehicles. The Sentinel-class Landing Craft was frequently used by the Galactic Empire to transport troops and other equipment from Star Destroyers to planetary surfaces in conjunction with Y-85 Titan Dropships carrying heavy walkers. Known also as the "Imperial landing craft", it was utilized by the Galactic Empire to ferry troops as they transitioned to massive Star Destroyers that needed to remain in orbit above a planet.

Heavy Lifters

These transports are specially designed to carry either the largest ground vehicles into battle, or the most men and equipment as possible. Often they are lumbering behemoths themselves, and need protecting.

Titan Drop Ship
The Y-85 Titan Dropship is a 90-meter long dropship transport which requires one pilot, two copilots and one technician to operate and maintain it. Designed for use by the Galactic Empire to deploy walkers or prefabricated garrison bases from powerful magnetic clamps into battle from Star Destroyers in orbit above a planet. It was armed with two forward-facing twin laser cannons. This vessel has low maneuverability in an atmosphere due to its ungainly, boxy shape. However, it can descend from orbit at extreme speeds on a more-or-less direct path, giving ground-based defenses only a short window to hit the rapidly moving target. Operated by the pilots in the flight, each can carry a full armored platoon. When used in flights of four, the Titans can deploy an entire armored company in one drop. Finding limited use due to their sheer size and filling an entire Star Destroyer hangar, and lack of hyperdrives, their heavy armoring and shields made them difficult to stop from filling their missions of deploying powerful armor into battle.

Space-bound Transports

The following transports are almost exclusively used in space, as an assault boat to attack a platform or a starship, and to board and conquer with the troops in their holds. Typical designs are heavily armed, carry a platoon or more of troops, and are incredibly dangerous.

Delta-class DX-9 Stormtrooper Transport
The Delta-class DX-9 Stormtrooper Transport Flight is a 20-meter long troop transport which requires one pilot, two gunners and one technician to operate and maintain it. Designed for the Galactic Empire as a well armed and shielded troop transport and assault craft specifically to carry stormtroopers on missions to board and capture enemy ships or stations. It is well armed with eight forward-facing laser cannons and four ion cannons, in addition to two proton torpedo launchers that provided attacks only in a forward arc. Hyperdrive capable, this vessel has average maneuverability and speed. Operated by the pilots in the flight, each can carry up to 30 stormtroopers or passengers. It was used extensively by the Galactic Empire for boarding actions against hostile targets, though it saw less use if any heavy opposition was expected with further improvements in later ATR-6 and ETR-3 designs.

Gamma-class ATR-6 Assault Transport
The Gamma-class ATR-6 Assault Transport is a 45-meter long troop transport which requires one pilot, two copilots, four gunners and one technician to operate and maintain it. Designed for the Galactic Empire as a heavily armed and shielded troop transport and assault craft specifically to carry stormtroopers on missions to board and capture enemy ships or stations. It is well armed with four turbolaser turrets, two ion cannons, and two proton torpedo launchers. Hyperdrive capable, this vessel has average maneuverability but high speeds for a transport. Operated by the pilots in the flight, each can carry up to 40 stormtroopers or passengers. An improvement over the earlier DX-9 design with full firing arcs in every direction, with a much more sturdy construction significantly improving its defensive abilities. It was used extensively by the Galactic Empire for boarding actions against hostile targets.

Beta-class ETR-3 Escort Transport
The Beta-class ETR-3 Escort Transport Flight is a 45-meter long troop transport which requires one pilot, two copilots, four gunners and one technician to operate and maintain it. Designed for the Galactic Empire as a heavily armed and shielded troop transport and assault craft specifically to carry stormtroopers on missions to board and capture enemy ships or stations. It is well armed with four turbolaser turrets, two forward-facing laser cannons, two ion cannons, and two proton torpedo launchers. Hyperdrive capable, this vessel has average maneuverability but high speeds for a transport. Operated by the pilots in the flight, each can carry up to 40 stormtroopers or passengers. An improvement over the earlier ATR-6 design with stronger shields and heavier armoring, it carried a higher cost and didn't see as wide a deployment as its predecessor in the Imperial Navy.

Conclusion

We hope that you have learned at least a little about the use of freighters, transports and troop carriers throughout the Galaxy and the Dark Jedi Brotherhood, as well as their inherent importance in warfare.

When you are ready, click the link below to proceed to the exam.

(Information in the notes researched from Wookiepedia, X-Wing Alliance, Dark Jedi Brotherhood Possessions System)

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