The Arquitens-class command cruiser, also known as the Imperial light cruiser, was a multipurpose light cruiser used by the Imperial Navy, in which it filled roles from detached patrol vessel to communications ship to capital ship support. It was a reworking of Kuat Drive Yards' Arquitens-class light cruiser, though they shared only structural similarities.
The Arquitens-class command cruiser was manufactured by Kuat Drive Yards for the Imperial Navy, initially entering service as a reworking of the Arquitens-class light cruiser which had served with the Republic Navy. The multipurpose light cruiser design served in a variety on roles, protecting remote Imperial assets, performing detached patrol duties in the Outer Rim Territories, acting as support to larger battle groups, serving as an armed transport, and as a communications ship.
Measuring 230 meters in length, the command cruiser had several subtle updates in its design despite appearing to be a simple repaint of its predecessor; in reality they shared few characteristics besides the basic hull shape—kite-shaped hulls with two forward spars—and the class name. Structural changes included an enclosed horizontal housing on the three powerful main engines, as well as the shape of its bridge tower. The Republic variant's side-mounted turbolaser batteries were removed and replaced with eight escape pods, and lateral entry ways near the bow allowed the deployment of Imperial Jumptroopers. The vessels also featured a detention block.
The Arquitens-class was armed with four turbolaser batteries, eight quad laser batteries mounted on four turrets–two dorsal and two ventral, four forward-mounted concussion missile launchers on the port and starboard and a tractor beam projector. However, an Arquitens-class could also be armed with three dorsal quad laser battery turrets, two ventral turrets, six twin laser cannon turrets– with two mounted near the engines at the dorsal and ventral hull, and the other four placed above the port and starboard docking tubes on the dorsal and ventral sides. It additionally had a dorsal missile launcher, and its four concussion missile launchers.
The Arquitens-class was protected by deflector shields and equipped with a class 2 hyperdrive with a class 12 backup. The cruiser's small craft launch and recovery systems, positioned between the two spars, could dock either a Sentinel-class landing craft, two TIE/ln space superiority starfighters, TIE/sa bombers, TIE/d "Defender" Multi-Role Starfighters, or three TIE/IN interceptors.
Several years prior to 4 BBY, the Imperial Navy recalled all of the Arquitens-class light cruisers still in service to Kuat Drive Yards, where they would be refitted as part of a service life extension program. The result, the Arquitens-class command cruiser, featured radically improved speed, agility, combat ability, power output, and other systems, in line with the navy's order of battle. Though this generation of refits would eventually be retired due to age, they would be replaced by production-line command cruiser variants that served well into the Imperial Era.
About four years before the Battle of Yavin, after Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin ordered the destruction of the planet Lothal's Imperial Communications Center, the local Imperial forces used an Arquitens-class command cruiser known as the Tellstar to capture and relay information from surface courier droids brought aboard. It was successfully infiltrated by a team of Lothal-based rebels known as the Spectres to discover the location of Kanan Jarrus, a Jedi who survived the destruction of the Jedi Order at the end of the Clone Wars.
Several command cruisers also responded to attack by Phoenix Cell on an Imperial convoy. Later on, during the blockade of Ibaar, at least three of them worked alongside a pair of Gozanti-class cruisers under the command of Imperial Security Bureau Agent Alexsandr Kallus to preventing Phoenix Squadron from delivering relief supplies to the starving Ibaarans. The Imperial blockade was successful in driving off the first run of Phoenix Squadron, but was broken in the second run when the rebel fleet was joined by the prototype B-wing fighter, which possessed a beam cannon strong enough to pierce the shielding and armored plating of one of the blockades' three Arquitens-classes. The command cruiser's destruction allowed the rebel cell to make their run and drop the relief supplies before jumping into hyperspace once again.
Above the planet Garel, a command cruiser was on patrol in the system until they received word of a theft of a shuttle from Garel City Spaceport and was deployed to investigate. Arriving in orbit above Garel the Imperials found the aforementioned transport docked with the Shadow Caster; opening a channel with the ships, the Imperials demanded them to surrender and prepare for boarding. Unknown to the Imperials, the shuttle was taken by Lothal rebel operative Sabine Wren who specialized in explosives and was working alongside her old friend, the bounty hunter Ketsu Onyo, Sabine devised a plan to escape by overloading the shuttles' hyperdrive while escaping aboard the Shadow Caster. Sabine alerted the Arquitens-class that their ships were damaged and their hyperdrive was in danger of self-destructing; buying the rebels time to plan for an escape on the Shadow Caster. Sabine then planted explosive charges on the shuttles' control panel and re-activated the shuttles' droid pilot, telling him that his ship was going to come under attack by the command cruiser, and suggesting for it to enact emergency protocols to escape destruction. Sabine evacuated aboard the Shadow Caster with Ketsu, Chopper, and EG-86 while the GX1 shuttle was caught in a tractor beam and dragged towards the command cruiser before exploding. The resulting explosion crippled the command cruiser's tractor beam projector, allowing the Shadow Caster to break free and escape into hyperspace.
Two Arquitens-class command cruisers were assigned as an escort detail for the prototype Imperial Interdictor under the command of Admiral Brom Titus while it was undergoing trial runs in the Del Zennis system. During the trial runs, the Interdictor managed to capture the flagship of the Phoenix rebel cell: the Liberator, along with Ezra Bridger and the cells' commanding officer Jun Sato. The victory was short-lived however, as the rebels managed to escape capture and sabotage the Interdictor's gravity wells before escaping back aboard the Liberator. Brom Titus, in a last ditch effort, activated the ship's gravity well to pull the rebels flagship back; but due to Chopper's sabotage to the gravity well generators, the command cruisers were also dragged in towards the Interdictor, crashing into the ship and allowing the Liberator to jump to hyperspace before the Interdictor itself collapsed in on itself and imploded. Agent Kallus arrived shortly afterwards to find Brom Titus in an escape pod, and proceeded to chastise the admiral for not heeding his advice earlier regarding Ezra.
Following the revelation of the rebel forces being stationed on Garel, the entirety of the Imperial fleet stationed over Lothal departed, leaving behind a minimal garrison, including at least one command cruiser under the command of Lieutenant Yogar Lyste to oversee the planet in case of another insurgency. Lystes' Imperial cruiser later encountered Princess Leia Organa as she flew in with relief supplies for Lothal on her Sphyrna-class Hammerhead corvettes, which she intended to deliver to Phoenix Squadron; after checking her codes, the Princess was allowed to land on Lothal.
Later, Agent Kallus received word of the Spectres' activity on the planet Nixus and departed with Admiral Kassius Konstantine aboard Kallus' personal command cruiser to intercept the rebels, only arriving into the system mere moments before the Ghost jumped into hyperspace past them. Using the hidden tracker built into Hondo Onaka's communicator he gave to Ezra, Agent Kallus pursued after the Ghost through hyperspace until reaching Wild Space, where he re-encountered the Ghost heading towards an imploded star cluster. Kallus hailed the Ghost offering a chance for the rebels to turn themselves in or be pulled in by the star cluster, only for the Ghost to fly ahead towards the cluster. Kallus ordered the launch of a pair of TIE fighters to try and slow the Ghost down long enough to get them in range of a tractor beam. Due to the Ghost being placed under the influence of Garazeb Orrelios's bo-rifle, however, the ship remained intact while the TIE fighters were both torn to pieces. Seeing the freighter's success in navigating the cluster prompted Kallus to begin a bombardment with the command cruisers' quad laser turrets, only to have the blasts get pulled into the gravity wells of the stars ahead of them. Kallus then ordered the command cruiser to pull back when he began to see dorsal sections of the hull get torn off and pulled into the stars.
In 2 BBY, an Arquitens-class command cruiser intercepted a rebel convoy near Teralov. The cruiser launched three TIE Interceptors which wiped out the convoy. Later, Grand Admiral Thrawn observed Cham Syndulla and the Spectres escape from a trap set by Captain Slavin from the bridge of a command cruiser. He allowed the Ghost to escape because he believed the rebels deserved their victory. Later, Admiral Konstatine commanded a single command cruiser, two Gozanti-class cruisers, and several TIE fighters and bombers during a skirmish over Mykapo. It was badly damaged when the Spectres and Iron Squadron dropped a magno-mine over the cruiser's forward compartment.
Captain Brunson later commanded a command cruiser which attempted to hunt down and destroy the Ghost on Geonosis, sending many jumptroopers to attack. However, the Spectres defeated the jumptroopers and used proton torpedoes to cripple the ship and flee into hyperspace. Lieutenant Yogar Lyste later commanded an Arquitens-class command cruiser stationed above Lothal which captured the rebel operative Ezra Bridger. However, Ezra's capture was a ruse to rescue the rogue ISB Agent Kallus, who had become a rebel agent known as Fulcrum. One command cruiser attempted to capture the rogue senator and rebel leader Mon Mothma but was badly damaged by Gold Squadron. Several command cruisers participated in Thrawn's assault on the planet Atollon, in which they attempted to cut the rebels off.
Soon after the rebel defeat on Atollon, the Rebel Alliance launched a mission to Jalindi to hijack the outpost there in order to spy on Imperial fleet movements in 1 BBY. This attempt was thwarted by the Arquitens-class cruiser, Marauder, commanded by Brom Titus. After a skirmish, the Partisans arrived and destroyed the outpost, resulting in a massive explosion that also claimed the Marauder.
A prison-tug, a modified variant of the Arquitens-class command cruiser, pulled Accresker Jail, a wreckage-prison, into battle in order for it to deploy its convict army. After some deadly spores were discovered in the prison, it was decided that it would be shot into a rebel planet and the cruiser was sent hurling into the wreckage. Following the Battle of Endor in 4 ABY, Arquitens-class cruisers were already an uncommon sight, largely due to an assault on the Fondor Shipyards in the same year that caused the shortage of available cruisers. One cruiser was present on the Imperial world Vardos during a skirmish there soon after the Imperial defeat on Endor, and another participated and was destroyed in a skirmish on Takodana in 5 ABY. One Class 546 model of this cruiser was under the command of Moff Gideon and his forces sometime after the Battle of Endor.
Behind the scenes
The Arquitens-class command cruiser was originally created for the animated series Star Wars Rebels. It first appeared in "Rebel Resolve," the fourteenth episode of the show's first season, which originally aired on February 23, 2015. The command cruiser was reworked from the Arquitens-class light cruiser that appeared in the earlier Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series, featuring subtle updates to its design, and was inspired by the transition of Venator-class Star Destroyers into Imperial vessels seen at the end of Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith. Various elements of the Arquitens-class asset were reused to create the Quasar Fire-class cruiser-carrier and class four container transport.
Although initially said to be the same as the Arquitens-class light cruiser, it was later identified as the Arquitens-class command cruiser by Star Wars: Armada's Imperial Light Cruiser Expansion Pack, clarifying the two to be separate models.
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- Star Wars Rebels: Visual Guide: Epic Battles
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