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"Certainly the Chiss have no territorial ambitions beyond our own borders."
"Yet you identify yourself as an expansionary fleet."
"The title also includes the word defense."
―Thrawn and Fsir[2]

The Chiss Expansionary Defense Fleet, also known as the Chiss Defense Fleet and the Ascendancy Defense Fleet, was the external defense fleet of the Chiss Ascendancy's military concerned with protecting Chiss interests beyond it's borders and investigating threats to the Ascendancy from outside of Chiss territory. The Fleet was bound by a set of laws prohibiting pre-emptive strikes.[1]

The fleet operated in the galaxy's Unknown Regions, and included Admiral Ar'alani, a Chiss female officer, as well as Senior Captain Mitth'raw'nuruodo before he joined the Galactic Empire. The human Eli Vanto, a commander in the Imperial Military and a personal friend of Thrawn, would also join after Thrawn sent him as an Imperial liaison to the Chiss Ascendancy. The fleet also had specialized military uniforms.



"An enemy bold enough to stage a deliberate attack on a Chiss warship needs to be identified. That's the primary mission of the Expansionary Defense Fleet, after all."

For years prior to the Nikardun conquests, the Chiss Defense Force had pled with the ruling Chiss Syndicure to expand its capabilities and mandate. Shortly before the young Chiss Kivu'raw'nuru was recruited from his humble family to become a member of the Mitth family, the Syndicure finally agreed; establishing the Chiss Expansionary Defense Fleet with the mission to "watch over Chiss interests in the parts of the Chaos extending beyond the Ascendancy's borders, to learn who was out there and assess their level of threat." At that time, the Aristocra provided funding for many new ships, bases, and support facilities, and the young Expansionary Fleet needed many competent officers and warriors.[1]

Nikardun conquests[]

"I am Commander Mitth'raw'nuruodo, officer of the Expan­sionary Defense Fleet, servant of the Chiss Ascendancy."
―Mitth'raw'nuruodo, introducing himself to Anakin Skywalker[5]

By the time of the Clone Wars, the Chiss Expansionary Defense Fleet was the active external branch of the Chiss Defense Force. During the war,[5] Chiss Defense Fleet officer Senior Captain[1] Mitth'raw'nuruodo was near the Outer Rim world of Batuu on a mission when he encountered Jedi General Anakin Skywalker of the Galactic Republic. Thrawn assisted Skywalker in destroying a Separatist droid factory on the remote world of Mokivj and returned to Chiss space with a deflector shield generator he termed a "Republic energy shield"[5] which was much more powerful than the electrostatic barriers employed by the peoples of the Unknown Regions at the time.[1] Thrawn proceeded to use the "Republic energy shield" aboard his Springhawk to help defeat the Nikardun General Yiv the Benevolent.[1]

After defeating Yiv, the Ascendancy sent the Fleet on the Nikardun campaigns to eliminate remnants of the Nikardun Destiny. The Syndicure saw the Nikardun forces as enough of a threat to bend the non-aggression protocols to allow the campaigns.[2]

Imperial–Grysk conflict[]

The Chiss Expansionary Defense Fleet remained active during the Galactic Civil War. After the Batonn insurgency, Thrawn was promoted to the rank of Imperial Grand Admiral. He dispatched his friend and protégé Commander Eli Vanto to rendevous with Chiss Expansionary Defense Fleet Admiral Ar'alani and join the Chiss Ascendancy. During the Imperial–Grysk conflict, Chiss Defense Fleet forces monitored the battle against Grysk forces.[5]


"The Syndicure doesn't control the Expansionary Defense Fleet. All they can do is advise, encourage, and make trouble."
"Especially the latter."
―Thrawn and Samakro[2]

The Chiss Expansionary Defense Fleet was the external naval branch of the Chiss Ascendancy's armed forces; collectively the Ascendancy military. The Chiss Ascendancy was ruled by the Syndicure and the Aristocra,[5] yet Chiss family politics officially had no impact on the Defense Fleet's descisions. In practice, there were indeed "unofficial" moments where they played a role, however.[1] It was an acknowledged fact that the decisions of the Syndicure, while not orders, carried weight.[2]

There were multiple military ranks used in the Chiss Expansionary Defense Fleet, including the ranks of Admiral and Commander. Part of the role of the Chiss Expansionary Defense Fleet was defending Chiss colonies, as well as monitoring battles between other factions and governments.[5] The Expansionary Defense Fleet was also not supposed to interfere with events occurring within Chiss borders, with that role being handled by the Chiss Defense Force.[6]


"I am Admiral Ar'alani of the Chiss Defense Fleet."
―Admiral Ar'alani[3]

Admiral Ar'alani and Lieutenant Eli Vanto of the Chiss Defense Fleet.

Officers of the Chiss Expansionary Defense Fleet were outfitted with a type of uniform which was able to absorb energy, protecting the wearer from blaster fire.[5] Chiss uniforms were typically black in color—with the exception of ozyly-esehembo's uniforms, which were white—and featured the emblem of the Chiss Ascendancy on the upper arm.[4] Rank was indicated by silver bars placed on the collar of the uniform.[3] The rank bars were absent on the uniforms of cadets. Fleet Officers and cadets who belonged to one of the Nine Ruling Families had a shoulder patch with that family's insignia.[1]

There were some exceptions to the basic Chiss uniform, as Admiral Ar'alani wore a pure white uniform in stark contrast to the black uniforms of her crew.[4]

Starships of the Chiss Defense Fleet[]

The Chiss Defense Fleet used several types of starships, including Chiss heavy cruisers.[3] The Steadfast was an example of a Chiss warship,[4] and the Chiss vessel Whirlwind was also part of the fleet.[1] Chiss shuttles, also referred to as Chiss courier ships, were also deployed.[5] Chiss defense platforms were also utilized by the Chiss Defense Fleet. Another type of warship used by the Chiss was the Nightdragon man-of-war. Other ships such as missile boats, patrol cruisers, patrol ships, freighters, heavy cruisers, and destroyers were used.[1]

Ranking of the Chiss Defense Fleet[]

Navy Rank
Supreme Admiral[6]
Supreme General[6]
Fleet Admiral[6]
Senior General[6]
Mid Admiral[6]
Mid General[6]
Senior Captain[6]
Mid Captain[6]
Junior Captain[6]
Senior Commander[6]
Mid Commander[6]
Junior Commander[6]
Lieutenant Commander[6]
Senior Warrior[6]
Mid Warrior[6]
Junior Warrior[6]

Behind the scenes[]

The Chiss Defense Fleet first appeared in Star Wars canon in the 2017 novel Thrawn, written by Timothy Zahn.[3] The Defense Fleet originated in the 1998 Star Wars Legends novel Vision of the Future,[7] and first appeared in the 2004 novel Survivor's Quest, both written by Zahn.[8]



Notes and references[]

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