- "Make no mistake, the Mon Calamari saved the galaxy. Their cruisers protected our fleet at the Battle of Endor, allowing the starfighters to penetrate the second Death Star's core. Without Admiral Ackbar and his people, we would all be the Emperor's slaves."
- ―Mon Mothma
First used as transports, designed by the Mon Calamari and primarily built in their shipyards, these were the first large capital ships available to the Alliance Fleet, giving it for the first time the ability to rival the larger Star Destroyers of the Imperial Navy. More advanced versions of Mon Calamari warships continued to fill major roles in the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances fleet.
- "You have to understand the Mon Calamari ethos. They were never a warlike species at all until the Empire started enslaving them and ravaging their world. Those wonderful Star Cruisers of theirs were originally passenger liners, you know, that we helped them convert into warships."
- ―Leia Organa Solo
The Mon Calamari cruisers were originally built for civilian purposes, serving in numerous peaceful roles like passenger ships and deep space exploration vessels by the Mon Calamari species. Yet, when the Galactic Empire invaded and conquered their home system and enslaved their people, the Mon Calamari converted their ships to capital warships. Admiral Ackbar convinced his people to join the Rebellion. They in turn donated their fleet of cruisers to the Rebel Alliance, while many Mon Calamari joined to serve in the Rebel Fleet. These cruisers were powerful enough to rival the Empire's Star Destroyer.
In addition to these original retrofitted civilian ships, the Mon Calamari also designed military variants of the cruisers. The plans for these models, however, were confiscated by the Galactic Empire sometime before the Battle of Yavin. They were held on Carida to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands, until Rebel leader Mon Mothma enlisted the assistance of freelance smugglers Han Solo and Chewbacca to steal the schematics for the new Mon Cal cruisers. After encountering much resistance, the duo made their way off-world with the plans in tow.
Many different vessels were designed and deployed by the Mon Calamari during the Galactic Civil War. One such vessel was a cruiser attached to the New Republic's headquarters in Space City orbiting Nespis VIII. One of the designs was characterized by a raised rear similar to the most common type of MC80 Star Cruisers, but with a much more streamlined profile. During the destruction of the Nespis VIII spaceport, this vessel survived the battle and escaped into deep space, along with the rest of the fleet.
New Republic designs
By the time of the New Republic, the Mon Calamari had begun to produce military-optimized designs that were no longer modified civilian designs. The individualization that marked the Rebellion-era designs all but disappeared in an effort to simplify the New Republic's logistics.
By the Yuuzhan Vong War, the New Republic Defense Fleet fielded several new and more powerful variants of the Mon Cal cruiser, including the Mediator-class battle cruiser and the Viscount-class Star Defender. These new warships would play key roles in defending the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances as well, with numerous vessels serving in the various fleets of the Galactic Alliance Defense Force.
The hallmark of the design was typically very strong shielding with a respectable battery of turbolasers and ion cannons. They did not have as much total firepower as an Imperial-class Star Destroyer. However, the Mon Calamari cruiser made up with this with a better all-around firing arc, compared to the Star Destroyer which could project firepower effectively to the front and sides but not the rear. They also had highly accurate targeting computers, giving them an advantage in long-range battles.
Rebellion-era Mon Calamari ships had extremely powerful deflector shields for ships of their size, in part because their civilian-spec hull structure was somewhat weaker than a true military starship. A distinguishing feature of Mon Calamari cruisers was the redundancy of weaker shield generators contributing to the shielding system. Mon Calamari cruisers carried three times the usual number of generators for ships of their size. Although each generator was weaker than the Imperial standard unit, the quantity of shield generators allowed for faster energy replenishment. Also, this made the generators much harder to destroy, as they could not be seen clearly and were in fact inside the ship. These shields also allowed Mon Calamari Cruisers to survive better against spacial elemental threats.
Fighter squadrons were carried onboard in a series of hangar bays. Most cruisers carried the standard complement of four squadrons. Some MC80B cruisers and later designs could be refitted to carry as many as eight.
All Mon Calamari cruisers were handcrafted, ensuring that each vessel was different. The ships had a distinct organic look that directly contradicted the stark, harsh factory lines that signified the Imperial starships. Each vessel had a unique, seemingly random assortment of lumps and bumps dotting its surface. These were in fact highly modular capsules that could be retrofitted to house crew's quarters, maintenance facilities and, in time of conflict, shield generators, turbolasers, and ion cannons. As the modules were interchangeable, the cruisers were very versatile, able to be fitted for pleasure cruises, scouting missions and frontline capital ships. However, because the ships' designs were so varied, maintenance and repairing a damaged cruiser was often a long and difficult process.
Until the MC90 class, Mon Calamari cruisers were not designed to accommodate different species. Holographic displays and monitors were optimized for Mon Calamari vision, and some controls required movements that were nearly impossible for Humans to perform.
- M-class luxury liner
- MC40a light cruiser
- MC80 Star Cruiser
- MC90 Star Cruiser
- MC140 Scythe-class main battle cruiser
- Mediator-class battle cruiser
- Mon Calamari capital ship (Clone Wars)
- MC30c frigate
- ShaShore-class frigate
- Tri-Scythe-class frigate
- Mon Calamari heavy carrier
- Mon Calamari Star Cruiser (stocky)
- Recusant-class light destroyer
- Viscount-class Star Defender
Behind the scenes
There is some debate amongst fans to the various sizes and powers of the assorted Mon Cal cruisers. Fans of the West End Games stats compose one camp, while the other is composed of more technical-minded fans.
This page does not go into the various arguments of each group, instead serving as a basic coverall for the various Mon Calamari cruisers. For more information on these debates, see the various WEG sourcebooks or the Incredible Cross-Sections book series.
This type of vessel shared some similarities with a discarded concept art made for the production of Return of the Jedi.