Those are our reinforcements? Some old transports?"
"In our position, you take what you can get, kid."
- ―Ezra Bridger and Kanan Jarrus
The Sphyrna-class Hammerhead corvette, also known as the Sphyrna-class C80 corvette and known more commonly as the Hammerhead corvette, was a model of corvette that saw wide use during the Imperial Era as an armed transport, and later served as a mainline warship in the naval forces of the Alliance to Restore the Republic and subsequent New Republic Security Bureau during and after the Galactic Civil War against the Galactic Empire. The corvette witnessed continued use during the Cold War by the Resistance against the First Order, and subsequently in the pan-galactic war between the forces of the galaxy and the Sith Eternal.
Sphyrna-class Hammerhead corvettes, also referred to as C80 corvettes or Hammerhead-class cruisers, were inspired by a similar starship design by Rendili Hyperworks that dated back centuries prior to the Imperial Era. The Sphyrna-class was a joint operation between two companies, as it was designed by Corellian Engineering Corporation and manufactured by Rendili StarDrive. A big, bulky transport, the Hammerhead was built for the transportation of goods and individuals safely, comfortably, and without the need for escort ships. It had a cylinder-shaped hull that contained a number of large modular cargo holds, external docking points for cargo containers, and an external cargo lift.
The flight deck, crew berths, and passenger staterooms were located in the angular, vertical bow, which gave the ship its notable physical profile and name. Three large pylon mounted ion sublight engines dominated the ship's aft which gave it a sublight speed of 900 kilometers per hour. The engines were placed on an inverted triangular engine block which also housed the ship's main reactor, the ship's hyperdrive, and the bulk of the engineering section. The Hammerhead was equipped with a primary class 3 hyperdrive along with a secondary class 15. It was equipped with a navigation computer and a medium range sensor.
The engine block was connected to the ship's main fuselage, ultimately ending up at the front of the ship at its spacious cockpit. The bridge of the Hammerhead had four crew stations, though it could be operated by two crew members, or in certain situations even a single pilot. Despite this, it could be fully crewed by thirty-five crew members and carry 125 passengers. A circular tactical display console was used for crew briefings, often led by the fleet group commander to coordinate their ships. The console was situated in the middle of the bridge room, behind the command chair. It held enough consumables for six months and cost 1,000,000 credits to manufacture. Hammerheads typically held a cargo capacity of 22,833 metric tons.
Armament and defense
Hammerhead corvettes carried a respectable armament of heavy laser cannons and turbolasers, with the standard variant being armed with two dual forward-mounted heavy laser cannons by the bridge and a dorsal turret-mounted twin light turbolaser battery at the ship's engine block. The ship's internal systems were easy to maintain and upgrade, and were backed by numerous redundant systems; because of this, popular upgrades were to add a second turbolaser battery and to upgrade the ship's ion engines for even greater speed. The hammerhead was specifically designed for ramming attacks; a common tactic was to keep the hammerhead facing an opponent, to keep its powerful forward shields and tough reinforced hull in line for a potential ram - even heavy collisions only resulted in minor damage to a hammerhead's bow. In addition to standard armament, Hammerheads could mount external ordnance racks, as well as quad turbolaser batteries. With its heavy defenses and ramming ability coupled with a decent armament, Hammerheads were deployed as heavy attack ships, and were fully capable of taking on vessels of similar size, or even larger ships when deployed in groups.
Variants and upgrades
Throughout its existence, several variants of the Hammerhead existed. One was commonly seen utilized by early rebel cells that featured a large ventral cargo bay and three dual laser cannon, as well as a vertically-elongated bridge section characteristic of the Hammerhead. In its early years, the Rebel Alliance continued to use this model. The Hammerhead Scout Corvette and the Hammerhead Torpedo Corvette were part of this variant.
By 0 BBY, however, the Alliance had modified its previous Hammerheads, such as the Lightmaker, into a slightly different refit. Several new features were added to the original Hammerhead structure, including two extra modules mounted to the port and starboard of the craft at the docking tubes, which included a ventral and a dorsal turret-mounted twin light turbolaser battery, increasing the total number from one to five. Six escape pods were added in place of the cargo bay, and a fourth sublight ion drive mounted on top of the primary three, giving it enough power to single-handedly move a disabled Imperial I-class Star Destroyer. Additionally, the hull and frame of the ship was fitted with additional modules and compartments. Due to the ship's easily upgradeable systems and tough hulls, smugglers and pirates acquired Hammerheads and highly modified them with more powerful armament and better cargo-handling systems.
In a civilian capacity, Hammerhead corvettes were utilized by shipping companies for the transportation of goods and personnel. Smugglers and pirates utilized Hammerhead corvettes as part of their fleets. In military capacities, the Alliance deployed Hammerheads with great effectiveness against the Imperial Navy. The Alliance used Hammerheads as a heavy attack craft, pitting itself against vessels of the same size or larger while in groups. Pointing itself towards a target, a Hammerhead kept its strongest shields between it and its opponent and remain aligned for a potential ram, and were specially used for ramming. Additional military roles included serving as an escort, a scout ship, and as a spacetug.
The Sphyrna-class Hammerhead corvette predated the CR-series corvettes from the Corellian Engineering Corporation, including the CR70 corvette that was active during the implementation of Order 66 at the end of the Clone Wars.
- "Senator Organa heard about our losses on Garel. He's sending us reinforcements. His agent is coming to Lothal with three cruisers."
"Three cruisers? That is good news."
- ―Captain Hera Syndulla and Jedi Kanan Jarrus
Already decades old during the Imperial Era, Hammerhead corvettes were used by private shipping companies, smuggler and pirate fleets, and by other factions, including the Royal House of Alderaan. Shortly after the transformation of the Galactic Empire in 19 BBY, at least one derelict Hammerhead corvette was among the wreckage on the planet Bracca alongside other starships including Venator-class Star Destroyers, Providence-class Dreadnoughts, and Acclamator-class assault ships.
By 3 BBY, after learning of the losses of the early Alliance's Phoenix Cell at the Battle of Garel, Imperial Senator Bail Organa of Alderaan dispatched his adopted daughter, Princess Leia Organa, along with three Hammerhead corvettes—Lightmaker, Amity's Arrow, and Duchess Senna—from the Alderaanian fleet to Lothal to reinforce the rebel group, under the guise of a Senate-sponsored delivery of relief supplies to the people of Lothal. Phoenix Leader Captain Hera Syndulla informed Jedi Kanan Jarrus about the situation, and he and his Padawan Ezra Bridger traveled to Jalath city to receive them.
The princess planned for the Spectres to steal them to conceal Alderaan's involvement with the rebellion, but Imperial Lieutenant Yogar Lyste, the port commander, installed gravity locks and deployed two AT-ATs to prevent the corvettes from being stolen. With the aid of former Governor of Lothal Ryder Azadi, who had constructed the locks while he was in prison, the rebels were able to commandeer the corvettes and add them to their growing fleet within hours of their arrival.
After the mission, Leia Organa sent a correspondence to the Imperial Governor of the Lothal sector, Moff Stattata, 650,000 credits per vessel stolen—along with an extra 292,500 credits for the 68,500 metric tons of cargo that consisted of relief supplies the vessels were fully-loaded with—as "full Imperial compensation" with threats of bringing the matter to the attention of the Senate. Sometime later in 2 BBY, the former Sith Lord Maul assaulted one of Phoenix Cell's corvettes. He interrogated the crew, leading to Maul capturing the Ghost personnel in order to unlock holocrons.
While Phoenix Cell was headquartered on Chopper Base on the planet Atollon, Phoenix Cell ships were stationed at the base. CR90 corvettes, GR-75 medium transports, and Hammerhead corvettes usually docked at the base for repair or resupply as Chopper Base became an important hub for the Alliance in the Outer Rim Territories.
Later, Phoenix Cell escorted one of their Hammerheads to evacuate rebel sympathizers at Mykapo in front of an imminent Imperial takeover. The same transport, was later destroyed during the Battle of Atollon.
Galactic Civil War
- "Call up a Hammerhead corvette. I have an idea."
- ―Admiral Raddus during the Battle of Scarif
After the rebellion was reorganized into the Alliance to Restore the Republic, several modified Hammerheads partially made up the motley assortment of vessels that was the nascent Alliance Fleet. One such ship was the Lightmaker, which was part of Admiral Raddus' fleet just prior to the Battle of Yavin, under the command of Kado Oquoné. The vessel was present at the Battle of Scarif. During the battle, Raddus ordered it to ram into the side of the disabled Imperial I-class Star Destroyer Persecutor, causing it to crash into a second Star Destroyer, the Intimidator, and then into the Shield Gate, allowing the Death Star plans to be transmitted from the Imperial base on the planet's surface. After the transmission is received by the fleet, at least one Hammerhead corvette, the Consonance, along with some of the fleet began the jump into hyperspace just seconds before the arrival of the Devastator.
Shortly after the siege on Tureen VII, at least one Hammerhead corvette was present with a large contingent of the Alliance Fleet, while another painted in orange markings was active in a small Alliance naval group along with an EF76 Nebulon-B escort frigate, a CR90 corvette, and several T-65B X-wing starfighters.
At one time, a shipping company owner in financial trouble planned to use their Hammerhead corvette to ram the Imperial Central Bank's aurodium vault for the Halla sector. In another instance, an eccentric engineer sought to test the limits of the Hammerhead's ramming capability by designing a ship-sized vibroblade to be fitted to the front of a Hammerhead corvette, although there were unforeseen consequences of the innovative modification.
New Republic Era
One Hammerhead corvette, the Sterdic Star, was part of the naval force of the Resistance. The Sterdic Star was damaged during a mission and crashed on Taul, killing the ship's crew except for C-3PO and a group of droids. In 35 ABY, numerous Hammerhead corvettes were part of an enormous fleet of 14,000 vessels rallied by Lando Calrissian and Chewbacca in the Millennium Falcon as they flew across the Core Worlds to assist the Resistance destroy the Final Order, a massive armada of the Sith Eternal, stationed in Exegol's atmosphere during the Battle of Exegol.
Initially alone, the Resistance forces succumbed to large casualties against the Sith Eternal forces and were at the breaking point when the citizens' fleet arrived. The starships of the fleet began engaging the Xyston-class Star Destroyers that had the potential to each single handedly destroy an entire planet. When the resurrected Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Sidious used a massive amount of Force lightning, the ships of the citizens' fleet were disabled and began falling towards the planet's surface until Sidious began fighting the Jedi Rey. The ships not destroyed then regained power and control, and continued to fight against the Sith armada. Eventually, Rey finally killed Sidious and the remaining forces of the Sith Eternal were annihilated. Many Hammerheads then retreated from Exegol as the enormous galactic fleet left the planet.
Behind the scenes
Sphynra-class corvettes first appeared in "A Princess on Lothal," the tenth episode of the second season of Star Wars Rebels. The ships are based on the Hammerhead-class cruisers from the now Star Wars Legends video game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. In Linnaean taxonomy, Sphyrna is the genus name for the Earthly hammerhead sharks.
In Star Wars: The Rebel Files, an image of the Thranta-class corvette from the Star Wars Legends video game, Star Wars: The Old Republic, was used in place of a canon Sphyrna-class corvette.
Despite the specifications in Star Wars Encyclopedia of Starfighters and Other Vehicles listing the ship as 315 meters, various episodes of Star Wars Rebels and the movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Story depict the vessel considerably smaller, especially in screenshots alongside the Ghost and other vehicles. Leland Chee later stated on twitter that the 315 meters was incorrect and that the production list of Rogue One listed the length as 116.7m.
In the Fantasy Flight Games sourcebook, Dawn of Rebellion, the book establishes that the Sphyrna-class corvette is known as the Hammerhead-class corvette. It also establishes that it was manufactured by Rendili StarDrive, was worth 1,000,000 credits, was equipped with three RSD 88D-II BrightStar ion engines, had a class three primary hyperdrive and class fifteen backup hyperdrive, had a crew of 35 officers and crew members, with a passenger capacity of 125. It also had six months worth of consumables. Additionally, it is stated that Rendili classified the vessels as "Armed Medium Transports." Dawn of Rebellion and Star Wars Encyclopedia of Starfighters and Other Vehicles establishes that the Hammerhead-class and Sphyrna-class corvettes are intended to be the same starship, however, since the Star Wars Encyclopedia of Starfighters and Other Vehicles is the most recent source and is not a roleplaying sourcebook but rather an encyclopedia, this article assumes that the encyclopedia contains factual information.