- "Affirmative, AT-ST support is on the way."
- ―An Imperial technician
The All Terrain Scout Transport (AT-ST), also known as a Scout Transport, Scout Walker, or derisively as a chicken walker, was a lightweight, bipedal walker used by the ground forces of the Galactic Empire. Later, the First Order used an updated variant of the AT-ST within their military.
- "The AT-ST kept spitting lasers at us, and we kept sinking lower and lower into the snow. Each blast took another bite out of the lip of the trench."
- ―Chanda Bethari describes an AT-ST firing on Hoth
AT-STs were commonly used to screen the flanks of larger assault walkers for major ground operations. The Empire used them for swift reconnaissance and troop support. As such, they were essential for cleaning up minor resistance along the path of a planned invasion route, and could quickly eliminate any small threats that evaded an AT-AT's barrage. The walker was commonly used on anti-personnel hunting missions, and was piloted by two AT-ST drivers with superior skills of balance and agility.
AT-STs were equipped with two chin-mounted MS-4 twin blaster cannons capable of firing at a range of two kilometers. It also featured one cheek-mounted 88i twin light blaster cannon and one cheek-mounted DW-3 concussion grenade launcher capable of doing massive damage to enemy vehicles and ground troops at close range. They were excellent at dealing with large amounts of infantry as well as mounted turrets that were too risky to be taken out with rocket launchers. Its clawed feet could slash apart wires and fences at ground level.
Reinforced armor plates enveloped the control cabin, protecting the two-person crew. Its two armored viewports were deliberately set to give any viewer the unsettling sensation of staring into the face of a soulless beast or oversized combat droid without actually being needed due to their impressive sensor package. Inside the control cabin, the command module featured a holographic 360-degree view of the combat zone. The "head" itself was capable of rotating 240 degrees side to side, greatly benefiting the gunner's target-acquisition abilities and capabilities for destruction. The walker's deceptively rickety gait belied a potent patrol vehicle. Gyros, flexible joints, footpad sensors, and shock absorbers formed a sophisticated system that controlled balance and stabilized the walker across a variety of terrains.
Despite its speed and agility, an AT-ST walker's offensive and defensive power were significantly compromised. Offensively, its weapons systems were only good against lightly armored targets at close range. Defensively, its lighter armor could repel attacks from small-arms fire, but not laser cannons, missiles, or other heavy ordnance. Its armor did not cover its entire frame, lest the walker lose its agility. Striking the walker's unprotected gyros underneath the command module could destabilize the walker and cause it to fall. Additionally, deep trenches or cable lines leveled at the height of the AT-ST's ankles and knees could cause it to trip and topple the vehicle. AT-STs are also known to require constant maintenance, having perhaps the highest maintenance-per-hour record in the entire Imperial Army.
The modular design of the All Terrain Scout Transport allowed for ease in customizing the walker with armaments and tools for specific mission parameters. Mortar launchers were one such weapon that could be attached to the command pod of the AT-ST.
The Ewoks of Endor discovered that the AT-STs were vulnerable to anti-Gorax traps. Ramming logs could smash through the walker's head, destroying the cockpit. One of its other weaknesses was its susceptibility to hijacking, despite the height of the vehicle seemingly making hijacking an impossibility. A sufficiently strong force could rip the entrance hatch off the top of the walker. If commandeered, the walker's cannons could easily penetrate other AT-STs' armor.
AT-ST Mark III
The AT-ST Mark IIIs were equipped with experimental armor that provided more speed and durability than that of the standard AT-ST. Mounted with twin heavy laser cannons and piloted by veteran crews, they excelled against most targets.
Cold weather AT-ST Mark III
A variant of the AT-ST Mark III. This variant had its internal systems retrofitted to allow for optimal performance in sub-zero temperatures.
Enhanced AT-ST Walker
First Order AT-ST
The First Order utilized an updated version of the AT-ST that featured upgraded armor and gyroscopic systems.
All Terrain Heavy Scout
- "The big AT-AT's mostly advanced up the middle, so out on the edge of the battlefield we'd been pinned down by a little scout walker. I guess it wanted to keep us from flanking it's big cousins."
- ―Chanda Bethari's account of fighting an AT-ST on Hoth
Part of the All-Terrain walker family, the AT-ST's role in supporting Imperial ground operations earned it the moniker "scout walker" owing to its ability in ferreting out enemy positions and inspecting locations in advance of larger walkers. It was better equipped than the Republic AT-RT.
In 14 BBY, an AT-ST attacked the Stinger Mantis ship on Zeffo, but was destroyed by the Jedi Padawan Cal Kestis. The Empire used AT-STs against the Partisans led by Saw Gerrera on Kashyyyk and Kestis, who helped the rebel group during the battle to take over an imperial refinery. The AT-STs were on Ilum when the Empire started mining the world to acquire Kyber crystals. When Kestis went to the planet to find a crystal to build a new lightsaber, two AT-STs were destroyed by the Padawan during his escape from the world.
The Imperial Military commonly used the AT-ST in a variety of environments. After rebel leader Saw Gerrera and his Partisans took to defending the world of Jedha, AT-STs were among the reinforcements deployed to aid the planet's occupying garrison; with the ancient Holy City consumed by surface warfare, the AT-STs were fielded for urban pacification against the Partisans whenever they could fit into the city's winding and narrow streets. While accordingly impractical during the Jedha insurgency, the walkers were also fielded to try to send a message beyond their blaster fire, but the Partisans instead chose to intensify their efforts against the garrison. With the Empire retaliating in equal force, battle continued in the streets, with AT-STs devastating the city and civilians. Even so, both sides continued to fight, with one AT-ST being deployed in Tythoni Square as part of the battle on Jedha in 0 BBY. The insurgency ended when all but at least three percent of the Imperial garrison retreated under protocol 13. Afterward, the DS-1 Death Star Mobile Battle Station destroyed the Holy City.
The walkers were also used in the Galactic Civil War, and between the Battle of Yavin and Battle of Hoth, the Alliance to Restore the Republic operated stolen AT-STs, and provided them to Saponza's Gang, who often fought against the walkers. Three AT-STs were deployed as part of Lieutenant-Inspector Magna Tolvan's attack on the Son-tuul Pride crime syndicate. Several fought alongside AT-ATs at the Battle of Hoth. They also notably participated in the Battle of Endor, where they were defeated by the Ewoks and their traps. The walkers were also used by the Empire in the final battle of the Galactic Civil War, the Battle of Jakku, which ended up being an overwhelming victory for the New Republic.
In 9 ABY,[source?] an AT-ST was used by looters to attack a village on the planet Sorgan. The AT-ST was destroyed in a battle between the looters and the village people led by Mandalorian bounty hunter Din Djarin and former rebel shock trooper Cara Dune.
Thirty years after the close of the Galactic Civil War, a splinter military group of the New Republic called the Resistance utilized old Imperial AT-STs in combat against the reorganized remnants of the Galactic Empire, the First Order. They possessed an orange repaint and were crested with the Resistance starbird.
Behind the scenes
The original model for the AT-ST was created by members of the Industrial Light & Magic team, and George Lucas thought it was "neat" and decided to include it in The Empire Strikes Back alongside the AT-AT, so the ILM model shop disassembled it and added a metal stop-motion armature.[source?]
Notes and references
- Ultimate Star Wars
- Starships and Speeders
- Star Wars: Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide
- Star Wars: Rogue One: Death Star Deluxe Book and 3D Wood Model
- Star Wars Battlefront
- Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
- Star Wars: Commander
- Aftermath: Life Debt
- Star Wars Battlefront II
- Star Wars Character Encyclopedia: Updated and Expanded
- Star Wars: Legion – AT-ST Unit Expansion (Card: AT-ST Mortar Launcher)
- The Mandalorian – "Chapter 4: Sanctuary"
- Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Visual Dictionary
- The events of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order take place about five years after the end of the Clone Wars, which Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates to 19 BBY. Therefore, it can be deduced that the events of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order take place around 14 BBY.
- Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
- "Walkers and Ground Vehicles of the Empire and the First Order" – Star Wars Encyclopedia
- The battle on Jedha took place during Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates to 0 BBY.
- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story novelization
- Doctor Aphra 19
- Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
- Aftermath: Empire's End