- "What do we have parked at R/M, Colonel?"
"Several CR-ninety corvettes, two Carrack-class light cruisers, a couple of Victories, and a Venator-class destroyer—the Liberator."
- ―Wilhuff Tarkin and an Imperial colonel
The Carrack-class light cruiser, sometimes identified as the Carrack-class Imperial Ship during the Imperial Era, was a class of light cruiser that was introduced during the Clone Wars for the Galactic Republic, and continued to serve under the Galactic Empire and the New Republic during the Galactic Civil War.
Designed and manufactured on the planet Esseles by the Damorian Manufacturing Corporation, the Carrack-class light cruiser was intended to serve as an inexpensive alternative to larger capital ships. Despite this and not being designed as ships of the line, the cruisers were heavily armed for their size, and completely capable of combating larger enemies. The Carrack was 350 meters in length, 72 meter in width, and 75 meters in height. The Carrack had a crew complement of 1,092 individuals in normal deployments alongside 142 soldiers, although because of the simple controls and its automation, it could be flown by only two pilots. A second variant of the Carrack-class cruiser was designated as the Carrack-A. Imperial Carracks were also identified as the Carrack-class Imperial Ship.
The Carrack featured a dorsal rectenna amidships, and had a deceptive appearance. With the bridge at the front of the vessel, the cockpit viewports appeared to be that of a smaller ship, however, behind the windows were several bridge levels. In spite of its size, the Carrack-class did not feature any internal hangar bays. To compensate, the cruisers were outfitted with starfighter racks or gantries on the outer hull late in the design process. Each rack was able to carry five TIE line starfighters that were used for patrols, reconnaissance, or courier missions. They were not commonly used, however, as the Carrack-class normally relied on other vessels to provide defense in combat situations. The light cruiser had the capability of carrying cargo up to 3,500 metric tons. The interior of an Imperial Carrack featured many hallways and compartments, with consoles, computers, stations and storage crates placed throughout the ship.
Armament and engines
The Carrack-class light cruiser was notable for its impressive array of armaments for its size. In one configuration, the Carrack-class cruiser featured ten heavy turbolasers for offense, twenty laser cannons for defense, and five tractor beam projectors to capture and disable hostile ships. The cruiser's armament, paired with its maneuverability and speed, made it a highly versatile warship. As such, it was not uncommon for a fleet of Carrack-class light cruisers to destroy a vessel ten times larger than themselves. For a ship of its class, the Carrack was fast, being able to achieve speeds of 80 MGLT, similar to a T-65B X-wing starfighter. At full throttle, the Carrack could intercept and attack most enemies, outrun most vessels that it could not defend against in open space, and break through a sizeable blockade fleet.
The ship was powered by an ionization reactor at the ship's aft and contained twelve primary engines in three rows of four, and a row of four secondary engines at the base of the aft section. The Carrack was also equipped with a class 1 hyperdrive system.
Hull and structure
The Carrack-class cruiser's internal design featured a unique compartment system composed of high-density, overlapping armor plates along the forward and central hull. Despite using a large amount of space, these self-contained compartments with automatic hatches increased the survivability of the cruiser after experiencing a hull breach. It carried a forward and aft deflector shield generator which created a standard deflector shield grid.
The Carrack had several weaknesses, including the relatively light armor that protected the hull around its reactor, making the ship vulnerable to a proton torpedo or a precise hit from a laser cannon. This could eliminate the ship's core reactor and cause the ship and its crew to become powerless and adrift. Despite this setback, the efficiency of the compartment system and deflector shield grid ensured that a Carrack-class light cruiser could withstand several penetrating hits that may have destroyed a larger vessel. As such, it was not uncommon for afflicted light cruisers to be recovered in the aftermath of a battle with scores of survivors in its sealed compartments. Because of this, Carracks maintained a positive reputation, and became one of the popular postings of the Imperial Navy. The dorsal hull of a Carrack in Imperial service could also have multiple antennas added, as well as a domed apparatus.
The Carrack-class cruisers initially served as escorts for larger ships within the Galactic Republic Navy. Robust and reliable, the Carrack-class cruiser was an important workhorse for the following Imperial Navy. Although Star Destroyers were the most common symbol of Imperial naval power, the Galactic Empire enforced its rule through many smaller ships that formed the backbone of the Imperial Starfleet, which included the Carrack. Due to its characteristics, the Carrack-class was used to transport personnel such as planetary governors, admirals, sector moffs, and other Imperial dignitaries.
It was not rare to encounter pairs of Carracks substituting for the more combat ready starfighters as system patrol ships, often being dispatched to calmer parts of space. Imperial strategists quickly realized the cruiser's potential for serving in anti-starfighter roles over planets or in a fleet defense screen.
The Carrack-class light cruiser were first introduced during the Clone Wars and served in the Galactic Republic. They were deployed as escorts for larger ships such as the Dreadnought-class heavy cruisers. Towards the later stages of the war, Carracks served in the Republic's Coruscant Home Defense Fleet, with three forming the majority of Home Fleet Strike Group Five. The unit consisted of the Carracks Integrity, Indomitable, and Perseverance, with the Integrity serving as the flagship of the group under Lieutenant Commander Lorth Needa. They were supported by the Dreadnought-class heavy cruiser Mas Ramdar. Home Fleet Strike Group Five participated in the Battle of Coruscant, and trapped Confederacy of Independent Systems Supreme Commander General Grievous aboard the flagship Invisible Hand and demanded its surrender.
Lieutenant Commander Needa did not believe Grievous' claims that he had Republic Supreme Chancellor Palpatine prisoner aboard his ship, and gave the Separatist general ten minutes to prove the claim before the ships of Group Five opened fire. Although Grievous did not surrender, Chancellor Palpatine was eventually rescued by Jedi Generals Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi.
At the end of the Clone Wars, the Republic transformed into the Galactic Empire and the Carracks were taken over and added into Imperial Navy service. In 14 BBY, Imperial Moff Wilhuff Tarkin contacted an Imperial colonel stationed at Galidraan Station and asked what Imperial resources were in the area, as he suspected an imminent attack from insurgents. Along with several other facilities, the colonel reported on the Imperial Navy's Belderone R/M Facility Four deepdock, where two Carrack-class light cruisers were parked, along with several CR90 corvettes and Victory-class Star Destroyers, and the Venator-class Star Destroyer Liberator. Tarkin deployed the Liberator to Nam Chorios, as that seemed the most likely target in the vicinity, although the insurgents ultimately chose to attack Lucazec next.
They were eventually deployed similarly to how the Rebel Alliance used CR90 corvettes, and were commonly dispatched to patrol star systems in the Core Worlds and the Corporate Sector. Due to their characteristics, Imperial Navy strategists were stubborn to retire them, allowing the Carrack-class to remain in operation in one form or another. Sometime between 5 BBY and 4 BBY, the a Carrack-class light cruiser experienced a technical mishap and was abandoned in the Kryton System. The Lothal-based resistance cell known as the Spectres travelled to tag the cruise with a rebel starbird in order to make the Empire believe that the Spectres were responsible for what occurred to the light cruiser. The group's droid, C1-10P, managed to board the ship and complete the mission.
New Republic service
In the months following the Battle of Endor in 4 ABY, in which the Empire faced a critical defeat in the Galactic Civil War, the Carrack-class light cruiser Oculus was used by the Alliance's successor, the New Republic, in its naval branch.
Behind the scenes
The Carrack-class light cruiser was first mentioned in canon in the 2014 novel Tarkin, written by James Luceno. It first appeared in the 2015 novel Aftermath, written by Chuck Wendig. In the Star Wars Legends continuity, the Carrack class was first mentioned in The Star Wars Rules Companion, a roleplaying game supplement to West End Games' Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game written by Greg Gorden and published in 1989. The vessel was visually depicted in the same year in Gorden's Imperial Sourcebook, a sourcebook for Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game, before making its first appearance in Timothy Zahn's 1991 novel, Heir to the Empire.
- Tarkin (First mentioned, simultaneous with Tarkin audiobook)
- Tarkin audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars Rebels: Chopper Chase
- Aftermath (First appearance, simultaneous with Aftermath audiobook)
- Aftermath audiobook
- Aftermath: Empire's End (Indirect mention only)
- Aftermath: Empire's End audiobook (Indirect mention only)
- Choose Your Destiny: A Scavenger Mission (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Force Collection (Card: Captain Needa (★★★))
- Star Wars: Build the Millennium Falcon 52 (Starship Fact File: Carrack-class Light Cruiser) (First pictured)
Notes and references
- Star Wars: Build the Millennium Falcon 52 (Starship Fact File: Carrack-class Light Cruiser)
- Star Wars: Build the Millennium Falcon 52 (Starship Fact File: Carrack-class Light Cruiser) establishes that the Carrack-class was introduced during the Clone Wars. Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates the war from 22 BBY to 19 BBY.
- Tarkin audiobook
- Star Wars: Squadrons
- Star Wars Rebels: Chopper Chase
- The events of Tarkin take place five years after the rise of the Galactic Empire, which Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates to 19 BBY. Therefore, Tarkin must be set in 14 BBY.
- Star Wars Rebels: Chopper Chase features Sabine Wren with purple and orange hair, placing it before "The Lost Commanders", where her hair is a mix of dark blue and light blue. Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Character Encyclopedia - Join the Battle! states that Rex was born thirty-two years before the events of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, which Star Wars: Galactic Atlas states begins in 0 BBY. Therefore, Rex must have been born in 32 BBY. As it also states that Rex is 28 during "The Lost Commanders", this episode must take place in 4 BBY. Because Chopper Chase must be set before the episode, this information places it by 4 BBY. However, it must also be set after Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion, as this was when Ezra Bridger joined the spectres. Since Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates that to 5 BBY, Star Wars Rebels: Chopper Chase must take place in between those years.
- Star Wars: Galactic Atlas
- The Star Wars Rules Companion
- Imperial Sourcebook
- Heir to the Empire