- "Without the weapon itself, our project is nothing more than a very costly artificial planetoid."
- ―Mas Amedda
The First Galactic Empire
First Death Star
The first superlaser, installed on the original Death Star, was designed over an extended period beginning before the Clone Wars, finally coming online due to the work of Orson Krennic and Galen Erso. Powered by eight kyber crystals, laser beams generated from these crystals were focused and combined into a single blast. It was capable of destroying a planet but could be fired at lower power by expending the charge of only a single one of its vast power reactors to devastate an area encompassing roughly 1/8th of a planet's surface. The recharge time on the reactors was nearly an entire day, limiting how often the weapon could be used. The targeting system was accurate only on the order of several kilometers, which was considered acceptable, since even on low power this would guarantee the destruction of the target due to the size of the blast and at full power would be completely negligible on the scale of an entire planet.[source?]
The first use of the weapon was on Jedha City, a city on the moon Jedha, as a demonstration by Krennic to Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin that the system was operational; Krennic had wanted to use the weapon at full power but was ordered to use it at the lower setting as Tarkin did not yet wish to reveal the full power of the system to the galaxy. The superlaser was again used on the high-security data bank on the planet Scarif, again on a regional scale, in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent the Death Star plans being stolen by Rogue One. The superlaser was used for the final time, at full power, to destroy the planet Alderaan. Although the plan was to use it at full power on the moon Yavin 4, in order to destroy the rebellion, the station was destroyed before it could be fired again.
Second Death Star
A second generation superlaser was installed aboard the Second Death Star. This unit featured across-the-board improvements from the first generation unit. The targeting system was greatly improved, giving the system the ability to hit individual capital ships, and the power regulation was revamped, giving it the capability to fire with enough force to destroy any capital ship in a single hit, while recharging for another similar-strength shot in only 3 minutes. The full-power recycle was also improved, shaving the time between shots from almost a day to only 5 hours.
A trap was set for the rebellion by spreading false intelligence that the superlaser was not operational, only to use the in-fact perfectly functional weapon against several rebel capital ships at the Battle of Endor. Because the Second Death Star was destroyed before completion during that battle, its superlaser was never fired at full power.
Rise of the First Order
Approximately thirty years after the destruction of the second Death Star, the primary base of the First Order—Starkiller Base—harbored a superweapon built into the planet's crust that was capable of destroying entire star systems, as demonstrated during the Hosnian Cataclysm. The weapon was powered by drawing on the energy of a star, which eventually led to the planet's collapse during an attack by the Resistance on Starkiller's thermal oscillator.
The siege cannon
In 34 ABY, the First Order used a miniaturized version to crack open a Resistance hideout on the planet Crait. At only 200 meters, this siege gun could be placed inside larger warship or be tugged underneath a planetary shield via AT-HHs.
Return of the Sith
About a year later, the fallen Emperor returned to the galaxy in full force, unleashing the military of his Sith Eternal, which consisted of hundreds of Xyston-class Star Destroyers, all of which were armed with powerful axial superlasers that could destroy a planet with a single sustained burst.