The Gladiator-class Star Destroyer, also known simply as the Gladiator, was a class of Star Destroyer used by the Galactic Empire. One such vessel was the Hoplite, which served as the flagship of Captain Malthegn and a small battle group stationed on Ilum.
The Gladiator-class Star Destroyer was a class of Star Destroyer that was manufactured by Kuat Drive Yards, designed by the legendary Walex Blissex, and cost 34,000,000 credits. Considered to be the smallest of the Star Destroyers at 600 meters, the Gladiator-class was equipped with a class 1 primary hyperdrive and a class 8 secondary, a navigation computer, and a long-range sensor. It utilized a solar ionization reactor that was located on its ventral hull, and had a hangar at the bow with two prongs.
Despite its size, the Gladiator-class was very powerful boasting twelve turret-mounted dual light turbolasers, three port, three starboard, and four aft turret-mounted medium laser cannons, ten assault concussion missile launchers, as well as four forward, two port, and two starboard medium tractor beam projectors. The concussion missiles were capital grade and had the ability to devastate ground targets and hostile space installations.
A Gladiator-class Star Destroyer was operated by 1,255 officers, pilots, and enlisted crewmembers. It had the capacity to transport 1,200 soldiers, or two battalions, as well as two squadrons of starfighters which numbered to twenty-four ships. It could also carry five AT-STs, landing craft and shuttles. It had the ability to carry consumables for two years.
Originally intended to serve as a dedicated Star Destroyer escort in heavy battle lines, the Gladiator-class was repurposed into primarily an independent, long-range patrol vessel. Due to its firepower, it also served in anti-ship, escort, and orbital bombardment capacities. The Gladiator-class could also serve as a blockade vessel and as the flagship of a small battle group.
Initially designed by Walex Blissex for action during the Clone Wars between the Galactic Republic and the Separatist Alliance, the Galactic Empire incorporated the Gladiator-class into the Imperial Navy to serve as a dedicated system patrol craft with no need for secondary support vessels.
Early during the Imperial Era, a joint Imperial Army and Imperial Navy mission was established on the Jedi planet Ilum after the 481st Legion was pulled out. A garrison was established on the planet while a naval battle group blockaded the area. After several years, the garrison dwindled in strength and the battle group saw fluctuations of power in that time as the Imperial Military used the posting to get rid of ineffective officers, ships, and malcontents despite Galactic Emperor Palpatine insisting on Ilum's importance. Eventually, the Gladiator-class Star Destroyer Hoplite commanded by Captain Malthegn, served as the flagship of the battle group.
As a result of making a good patrol craft, many Gladiators were dispatched to patrol duties in the Outer Rim Territories through remote systems that the Rebel Alliance used to establish secret bases. The Empire believed these vessels were enough to perform their duties, and during this time expected them to encounter pirates in converted freighters or salvaged starfighters. When a Gladiator did appear over a world that supported the Rebel Alliance, rebel forces there had little options except attempt to remain hidden, flee, or attempt to destroy the Gladiators.
During the Galactic Civil War, the Blood Ambition, a Gladiator I variant, served as the flagship of a naval task force led by Captain Ralchio Nervi. The task force consisted of the Raider I-class corvettes Sargantuan and Warhawk, an invasion force that consisted of two battalions and was led by Lieutenant Colonel Erle Hovlinn, and squadrons of TIE fighters. The task force participated in the Battle of Xorrn, where it was destroyed.
Behind the scenes
The Gladiator-class Star Destroyer was first introduced into the Star Wars canon with Nexus of Power and further supplanted by Starships and Speeders. It first appeared in Star Wars Legends in The Pirates of Tarnoonga.
- Friends Like These (First appearance)
- Nexus of Power (First mentioned)
- Starships and Speeders
- Star Wars Ships and Vehicles 4 (Ships and Vehicles: Star Destroyers and Dreadnoughts)