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"It was a Lambda-class shuttle. You can tell by the sound of the engines—"
―Thane Kyrell[src]

The Lambda-class T-4a shuttle, also known as the Lambda-class shuttle, Imperial Lambda, Imperial Transport or the Imperial Shuttle, was a multi-purpose transport with a trihedral foil design used by the Galactic Empire during the Galactic Civil War, and was considered an elegant departure from the standards of brutish Imperial engineering. The shuttles were often used by high-ranking Imperial officers and such dignitaries as Darth Vader and Emperor Sheev Palpatine, but were more commonly found ferrying stormtroopers or cargo.

Description[edit | edit source]

"So, the problem with these Lambda-class shuttles, they fly fine with one, but it's much easier with a copilot… especially through hyperspace."
Luke Skywalker, to Shara Bey[src]

Front view of a Lambda-class shuttle

A hyperdrive-equipped multi-purpose transport, the Lambda-class T-4a shuttle was developed by Sienar Fleet Systems for use in the Imperial Navy.[1] Measuring 20 meters in length, the Lambda-class could attain a max speed of 850 kph, and was one of the more common Imperial ships found throughout the galaxy—along with its nearly-identical counterpart, the Sentinel-class landing craft. It had three wings: one tall, dorsal stabilizer that remained stationary, and two lower articulated flanking wings. While in flight, the wings folded outwards for greater stabilization, while during landing procedures the wings folded inward, reducing the vessel's silhouette. This triangular shape was considered elegant and a departure from the Empire's usually crude designs.[5]

Although Lambda-class craft could be flown by a single pilot, the presence of a copilot/navigator made it much easier, especially when traveling through hyperspace.[10] Additionally, in order to prove that the shuttle crew was working for the Empire, Lambda-class T-4a shuttles utilized special transponders to transmit secret codes to Star Destroyers.[7]

Despite the elegance of the Lambda-class's outer design, the inside of many shuttles often reeked of stale sweat owing to the numerous perspiring stormtroopers they hauled across the galaxy. Moreover, bored troopers were known to scratch their operating numbers on every available surface.[17]

A well-armed vessel, the Lambda-class T-4a shuttle was equipped with two forward-facing double laser cannons, two forward-facing wing-mounted double cannons, and a retractable rear-mounted double laser cannon.[7]

History[edit | edit source]

"Let's see what this piece of junk can do."
―Han Solo[src]

A Lambda-class shuttle takes off from Endor

The Imperial Lambda-class shuttle was the conceptual and engineering offspring of the Nu-class transport, a versatile craft that saw use during the Clone Wars.[18] Even the top members of the Empire's hierarchy, including Emperor Palpatine himself and his Sith apprentice Darth Vader, traveled in their own private Lambda-class T-4a shuttles;[5][11] with the Emperor's shuttle distinguished by a gray stripe on its nose.[19] Governor Wilhuff Tarkin and his death trooper guard arrived at Landing Pad 13 of the Imperial security complex on the planet Scarif aboard a Lamdba.[20]

During the Battle of Jakku, Lambda-class shuttles acted as evacuation shuttles from downed Imperial vessels, as well as troop transports to deliver Imperial ground forces to firefights across the surface.[15] During the battle, New Republic pilot Norra Wexley and former Imperial Grand Admiral Rae Sloane used a Lambda-class shuttle while tracking down Gallius Rax.[13]

Gideon's Imperial remnant used Shuttle 2743. Doctor Pershing was traveling on it when it was raided by Din Djarin and his allies to capture the doctor. They then used it to crash aboard Gideon's light cruiser.[14]

Decades later, the Empire's successor state, the First Order borrowed design philosophies exuded from the Lambda-class T-4a shuttle into their newer Upsilon-class command shuttle.[21]

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

The shuttles first appeared in the 1983 saga film Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi.[11]

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Non-canon appearances[edit | edit source]

Sources[edit | edit source]

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

Galactic Empire starship classes
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[edit]
Alliance to Restore the Republic starship classes
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Assault Frigate Mark II · DP20 · EF76 Nebulon-B · MC30C · Munificent-class Comms · Pelta-class (Pelta-class Assault · Pelta-class Command)
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L-2783 · MC40A
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Alderaanian diplomatic cruiser (CR70 · CR90) · Braha'tok-class · Free Virgillia-class · Sphyrna-class Hammerhead (Hammerhead Scout · Hammerhead Torpedo)
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Ainik-class · Caisson-class · CSS-1 Corellian Star Shuttle · GR-75 medium transport (GR-75 Combat Retrofit) · Jadthu-class · Unidentified Rebel Alliance vessel
Light craft
E-50 · HAET-221 · HWK-290 · Kom'rk-class · Lambda-class T-4a · LAAT/i · Sheathipede-class · T-1 · Taylander · Unidentified Rebel Alliance shuttle · UT-60D U-wing · VCX series (VCX-100) · Wayfarer-class · X4 Gunship · Y-45 · YT-series (YT-1300 · YT-1760 · YT-2400) · YV-series (YV-666 · YV-929)
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[edit]
New Republic starship classes
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Imperial dockyard
Heavy cruisers & battleships
MC80 (MC80 Liberty Type · MC80A Home One Type) · MC85 · MC95E · Starhawk-class (Starhawk-class Mark I · Starhawk-class Mark II)
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EF76 Nebulon-B · Nebulon-C · MC30C
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Alderaanian diplomatic cruiser (CR90 corvette) · Carrack-class · Raider-class (Raider II-class) · Sphyrna-class Hammerhead
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GX1 short hauler · Lambda-class T-4a · MG-100 StarFortress SF-17 · UT-60D U-wing starfighter/support craft · YT-1300 light freighter
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