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"Imperial landing craft. We're about to have plenty of company."
Commander Arhul Narra[14]

The Sentinel-class landing craft,[5] also known as the Sentinel-class shuttle,[3] was a transport used primarily by the Galactic Empire to carry troops, small vehicles, and supplies.


"I have a Sentinel-class ship that's standing idle. I think you'll find she's just what you need."
Wedge Antilles to Massimo[src]

Sentinel-class schematics

With its folding wing configuration and matching cockpit module, the Sentinel-class landing craft was based on the Lambda-class shuttle,[15] both shuttles having seen design origins in the Theta-class shuttle.[3] However, unlike its predecessor and its counterpart, the landing craft's exterior was encased in armor plating 25% heavier than the armor of a Lambda-class. The landing craft was also equipped with four deflector shield projectors.[16] Despite its large size and heavy weight, the Sentinel-class was fast and agile due to its Cygnus HD7 engine array.[1]

The Sentinel relied on a crew consisting of a pilot, a co-pilot/sensor officer, as well as three gunners, the minimum crew required was just one person. The head gunner handled the eight fire-linked laser cannons, while the remaining gunners manned the ion cannon, the repeating blasters and the fire-linked missile launchers.[6]

The vehicle's sensor suite, which was located in the cockpit, allowed navigation in nearly all conditions and featured infrared imaging, motion detectors, and life-form indicators. The vessel's computer also featured an automatic mapping function and a rudimentary autopilot that could pilot the vessel towards an Imperial garrison, starship, or homing beacon during emergencies, and included powerful communication arrays which enabled contact with all Imperial starships and garrisons within a given system.[4]

A Sentinel-class landing craft with wings folded for landing

The interior of the shuttle could be customized for each mission, removing or adding seating.[6] In its standard configuration, a Sentinel-class could carry 54 stormtroopers[16] (approximately six squads), 12 E-Web heavy repeating blasters, and 6 74-Z speeder bikes. When its seats were removed and it was converted to carrying supplies, it could transport 36 74-Z speeder bikes, or 12 compact assault vehicles[1] such as AT-STs[7] or AT-PTs.[17] Its total cargo capacity was 180 metric tons.[5]

Sentinels could also carry TIE Maulers and SPMA-Ts into battle.[7] For insertion into a planet, a Sentinel carried a Class 1.0 hyperdrive.[5] Sentinels were also used to deploy Marine landing forces onto enemy starships.[18]

The landing craft's weapons load consisted of 8 laser cannons, 2 concussion missile launchers, 1 retractable turret-mounted ion cannon, and 2 rotating repeating blasters (retractable, used when landing).[1] Three gunners were responsible for manning these weapons, which were all linked to the shuttle's precise targeting computers. Since the Sentinel-class was heavily armed, it also served as a combat support vehicle.[3]

Sentinel-class landing craft were deployed from Imperial airbases.[19]


Cattena Squadron prepares to deploy from inside of a Sentinel.

After the Clone Wars, the Galactic Empire made a change from starships like the Acclamator-class assault ship that were able to land on planets in order to unload troops, to space-bound Star Destroyers, the sheer size of which required them to remain in orbit above the planet. That change brought about the need for a dedicated, armored, and maneuverable landing craft to safely transport troops directly into battlefields.[3] The Cygnus-Sienar shuttle family fulfilled most of the Empire's needs for light transports, introducing the Sentinel-class landing craft some time before the Battle of Yavin, and it eventually became the main troop transport in the Imperial Navy.

The primary use of the Sentinel-class was to transport troops between Star Destroyers/Cruisers/Star Dreadnoughts and the surface of a planet, but they could also serve as air support, short-range scouts, light cargo vessels, and even starfighter support.[3] The vehicle was also used in conjunction with larger Y-85 Titan dropships or AT-AT barges for joint infantry and armor assaults, as well as making an excellent atmospheric transport, with many Imperial garrisons keeping at least one Sentinel on-hand for this purpose.[4]

Landing craft carried ground forces into numerous battlefronts early in the Galactic Civil War.[7]

A modified version carried special containers for extra cargo, used to deploy vehicles as big as AT-STs.[9]

A Sentinel flying over Cloud City

A number of Sentinel-class landing craft were used on the desert world of Tatooine, where they deployed sandtroopers and their dewback mounts to search for the missing Death Star plans in 0 BBY.[5][20]

In 0 BBY, shortly before the Battle of Yavin, a Jedi and some Rebel prisoners tried to escape the Death Star in a Sentinel but the 501st Legion blew the Sentinel up before they managed to take off. They then killed the Jedi leader and the breakout was over.[18]

Imperial officer Brenn Tantor, before his defection to the Rebel Alliance, used the Battlefield Holographic Control Interface to order Sentinels to deploy reinforcements from orbit to numerous battlefronts.[17]

Sentinels also carried reinforcements to Darth Vader in the Evacuation of Yavin.[19]

These shuttles could carry a modified recon speeder bike that featured an encrypted communications link to the Sentinel.[6]

More than six months after the Battle of Yavin,[21] a Sentinel deployed a strike force to destroy the Rebel starship Nonnah.

A landing craft also carried a force to attack Red Squadron on Lubang Minor, but was destroyed by a veteran clone trooper.[14]

An Imperial squad disembarking from a Sentinel

The Rebel Alliance had at least one Sentinel, and used it in a raid on the Kessel prison.[10]

In 3 ABY,[22] Sentinels carried snowtroopers to the surface for the Battle of Hoth.[9] A short time later, the Empire deployed seven landing craft to carry its occupation force to Bespin.[19]

A Sentinel boarded the Emperor was attacked in mistake by Dr. Raygar by using a cannon that the doctor made from the powers of the Sunstar that was meant for the Emperor. It was seen Dr. Raygar entered to receive his punishment from Emperor Palpatine.

Rebel prisoners from the battle later took a Sentinel to escape the Maw after they were freed by Rogue Squadron.[9]

Production continued after the Battle of Endor, selling them to Imperial groups and private companies, by 6 ABY the shuttle had became quite common.[1][5] Because of their versatility along with heavy arms and armor, the Sentinel-class saw great popularity inside and outside the Galactic Empire, being used by various other groups including the Rebel Alliance, the New Republic,[5] Galactic Federation of Free Alliances, mercenary groups, and continued serving the Imperial Remnant long after the death of Emperor Palpatine during the Battle of Endor in 4 ABY.

The New Republic developed its own unique replacement for the Sentinel-class, the Bantha-class assault shuttle, which featured much heavier armor than its Imperial counterpart.[4] At least one Sentinel, called the Neuer was still in use by the Fel Empire as late as 139 ABY.[23]

Behind the scenes[]

Several sources list the Sentinel-class as being 20 meters long (i.e. The New Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels), the same length as the Lambda-class shuttle. Based on the vessel's similarity to the Lambda-class and other craft in the same family (especially the Kappa-class shuttle), a more realistic length would fall somewhere between 29 and 45 meters. The space combat simulator Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance depicts the Sentinel-class at a length of 38 meters, and a side-by-side comparison in the Star Wars: Empire at War terrain editor scales the Sentinel-class at approximately 31.6 meters. However, the scales from both Empire at War games are known to be notoriously incorrect, especially the distortion between starfighters and capital ships. It is currently unknown which is the official canon length.

The Sentinel-class landing craft is one of few C-canon elements to be used in the films; it first appeared in the Shadows of the Empire game, and appeared in the special edition of A New Hope.

Sentinels serve as the Imperial landing craft in all three Star Wars RTS video games: Star Wars: Force Commander, Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds, and Star Wars: Empire at War.


Stormtroopers disembarking from a Sentinel

Non-canon appearances[]


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Notes and references[]