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"I didn't hit it that hard. Must've had a self-destruct."
Han Solo, after witnessing a Viper probe droid self-destruct[1]

An Imperial probe droid self-destructs upon a Rebel encounter

A self-destruct mechanism was a defensive system installed or imbedded in some craft, such as starfighters, starships (like Imperial Star Destroyers), or simply probe droids, that allowed it to destroy itself in certain circumstances akin to being under threat of capture or an attempt to protect information it was carrying. This was installed in Imperial probe droids, which allowed them to self-destruct if confronted after they accomplished their tasks.[1]

During the Clone Wars, the Infiltrator demolition droids are both the demolition droids and have the explosion charges which means there are bombers of the Confederacy of Independent Systems set themselves to self-destruct to blow up the central power distribution grid on Coruscant goes the mandatory blackout, even to stop the vote for the bill to de-regulate banking conglomerates.[2]

In case their Star Destroyer were taken over by enemies, Imperial officers were taught three methods of self-destruct. The "automatic self-destruct" could only be set by combining the codes given to the three top officers on board. It gave the longest time to detonation, allowing more troops to reach the escape pods in time. However, if the ship had been thoroughly infiltrated by enemy fighters, there was no guarantee that the three top officers would all be alive to use their codes, and the extra time to detonation would also give the invaders a greater chance to escape. The "core engine method" required to have access to the ship's reactor, which could prove difficult during intra-ship combat. The "captain's-word method" required that the captain signal for all personnel to abandon ship before sealing himself or herself in the bridge, providing cover for escape pods, and then piloting the vessel into the nearest planet, star, or other gravitational singularity.[3]

Grysks preferred to use self-destruct mechanisms when the enemy could capture the ship and study it, and of course, know what species Grysk took control of. When Grand Admiral Thrawn and Admiral Ar'alani were fighting against the Grysk Hegemony, specifically with a Grysk commander, the Grysk destroyed his two warships before the Steadfast and the Imperial TIE defenders could capture the ship.[4] Jixtus's fleet, a fleet part of the Grysk military, self-destructed following the Kilji war cruiser Whetstone's attack on its flagship, which also self-destructed.[5]

The E-XD-series infiltrator droids have the self-destruct mechanisms that is called the "proton warhead" one is EXD-9 that it blew up Imperial I-class Star Destroyer.[6]

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