A concussion missile was a short-range, winged or wingless anti-vehicle missile generally deployed by starship- or vehicle-mounted launchers. There were a wide range of concussion missiles, varying in speed, maneuverability, and destructive capability. The concussion missile evolved from the ancient concussion spheres that were bigger, slower, and less destructive weapons similar to traditional bombs. This missile type was a weaker form of assault concussion missile, but could, however, have their explosive yield and exit velocity increased via advanced concussion missile upgrade.
Weapons manufacturers generally produced both the launchers and the missiles, and sold them as units. Ground forces used them against any fast-moving vehicle. In space combat, concussion missiles ranged in potency from anti-starfighter weapons launched from other diminutive craft to devastating warheads capable of crippling massive capital ships that were launched from specialized defensive satellites. Concussion missiles could also be set to airburst above their intended target to great effect, dispersing shock waves and damaging infrastructure.
Each missile was stored and launched from a pressurized canister which was designed to protect it during transport, storage, and loading, but also acted as a launch tube. The canisters were racked in circular magazines that were loaded into a vehicle. In ground-based launchers, the missile was launched sideways before igniting and traveling its course.
Each concussion missile featured an armor-piercing tip that penetrated a target's hull before igniting the missile's compact energy pack, causing more devastating results than single-shot turbolaser cannons. The impact would trigger the missile's warhead, which contained a small energy pack that triggered a concussion blast that damaged the surrounding area and disrupted instruments and equipment. A concussion missile did not necessarily need to impact in order to detonate, however; some could be set to explode at a preset proximity to the target. In atmosphere, the missile created a deafening sonic boom and caused major damage to the surrounding area.
The Victory I-class Star Destroyer was well known for its battery of concussion missiles, but newer capital ships like the Imperial-class Star Destroyer replaced them with ion cannons because missiles were expensive and could only be carried in limited numbers. Some were equipped with multiple lock-on systems.
During the Battle of Endor, Lando Calrissian fired concussion missiles at the main reactor of Death Star II, triggering the fatal blow, after wingman Wedge Antilles used proton torpedoes to take out the battle station's power regulator.
Behind the scenes
In early LucasArts games, such as Star Wars: X-Wing, concussion missiles were simply referred to as missiles. This kind of warhead is used commonly in all of the X-wing games. The games also depict concussion missiles as being less damaging than proton torpedoes, although other sources reverse this relationship.
Notes and references
- Fantasy Flight Games card image—Cluster Missile
- Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron
- Star Wars: Empire at War
- Legacy of the Force: Revelation
- Star Wars PocketModel TCG – Base Set (Card: Concussion Missile) (backup link)
- The Star Wars Sourcebook
- Star Wars: Rogue Squadron: The Official Nintendo Player's Guide
- Legacy of the Force: Fury