- "The ship's sending out seismic tanks. They look modified."
- ―Kit Fisto
A seismic tank, also referred to as "seismic charge minelayer" or "seismic hover tank," was a repulsorcraft that traveled very close to the surface of a planet and inflicted damage to an opposing force by ejecting a large piston downward onto the enemy, smashing them, and then creating a shockwave that rippled away from its impact zone. It was originally designed by Haor Chall Engineering for the Commerce Guild as a mining vehicle used to tear up the surface of a planet to reveal precious minerals. However, with the outbreak of the Clone Wars between the Galactic Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems, the tank was put to military use on battlefields such as Dantooine and Ukio.
- "Recharge accelerators."
- ―Battle droids in the tank's command bridge
The seismic tank, also referred to as "seismic charge minelayer" or "seismic hover tank," was a massive, fifty-five-meter-tall repulsorlift craft with a huge seismic driver in its core. Magnetic impellers guided the driver, which was almost frictionless, through a channel located in the center of the tank. The heavy metal core of the driver gave it an enormous amount of inertia as it fell toward the ground below. The impellers were also responsible for keeping the driver perfectly centered in the channel and for making sure the resulting shockwave did not travel up the shaft and into the rest of the vehicle.
Four repulsorlift generators carried the tank at heights of up to thirty meters, while stabilizing repulsorlifts lined the tank's lower section. To result in its full gravitic force being intact upon impact, the repulsorlifts did not envelop the entire craft. This resulted in the tank being very unwieldy and slow. The seismic tank was operated from a topside command bridge by a team of battle droids. Repair droids monitored the driver, as misalignment could result in a shockwave ripping the vehicle apart. The tank was also capable of being modified for space flight and use as a chemical dispenser into planetary atmospheres.
The seismic tank was originally used for mining purposes. When the driver would exit the channel and impact the ground, the resulting force would pulverize the terrestrial surface and expose harder minerals and metals. The tank was also used for military purposes as a form of self-propelled artillery, as the driver could be used to crush enemy forces. Modified versions of the tank could also carry chemicals used for war purposes.
- "They're dropping something into the atmosphere. What is it?"
- ―Kit Fisto witnesses the seismic tanks' payload of chemicals over Ukio
Seismic tanks were a result of the skilled legal departments of megacorporations like the Trade Federation that were capable of finessing legislation passed by the Galactic Republic for the purpose of limiting the military prowess of large companies. The tank was legally designed by Haor Chall Engineering as a mining tank, and this was how companies such as the Commerce Guild were able to justify its use. However, when the galaxy-wide Clone Wars between the Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems began in 22 BBY, there was no longer a need for such excuses. An instance of the tank seeing use for military purposes occurred during the Battle of Dantooine. A large army of B2 super battle droids and clone troopers fought in a large open plain as a seismic tank hovered overhead. To the clones' surprise, the tank dropped its driver and smashed the forces below, destroying droids and clone troopers alike. Jedi Master Mace Windu fought his way into the tank and destroyed it from the inside. The entire incident was witnessed by a young farmer boy named Paxi Sylo.
Another use of the seismic tank during the Clone Wars happened on the agriworld Ukio. Separatist forces were attempting to invade the planet in order to cut off major food supplies to the Grand Army of the Republic. A lone Lucrehulk-class battleship deployed numerous seismic tanks into the planet's atmosphere to release a chemical designed to cling to the locals' planetary shield. This resulted in a sort of portable eclipse that blocked sunlight from reaching the crops below, forcing the local liege to open the shield, which allowed the Separatist forces to enter the atmosphere and invade the planet. Though Jedi Generals Kit Fisto and Keelyvine Reus led a defense effort, the planet was ultimately lost to the Separatist forces.
Behind the scenes
The seismic tank first appeared in the twelfth chapter of the animated television miniseries Star Wars: Clone Wars. The episode aired on Cartoon Network on March 29, 2004. The tank later appeared in the 2009 webcomic The Clone Wars: Act on Instinct.
- Star Wars: Clone Wars – "Chapter 12" (First appearance)
- Star Wars: Clone Wars – "Chapter 13"
- The Clone Wars: Act on Instinct
- Labyrinth of Evil (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide
- The New Essential Chronology (First identified as seismic charge minelayer)
- Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide: Special Edition
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia (First identified as seismic hover tank)
- Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide: Updated and Expanded
Notes and references