The Variable Geometry Self-Propelled Battle Droid, Mark I, also known as the Vulture-class droid starfighter, or more simply as the vulture droid, was an unmanned model of droid starfighter manufactured by Haor Chall Engineering and utilized by the Trade Federation and later the Confederacy of Independent Systems. Constructed in the cathedral factories of Xi Char, their creation through precision manufacturing was considered an act of religious worship.
- "Their creators assumed a given fighter would not survive long, and so programmed them to be swarming weapons."
"So burning through their resources as fast as possible? Without any long term considerations? Are you sure?"
"Look at the curve of the combat pods. The shape of the stripes. The position of the blaster barrels. Weapons such as this not only are functional, but also incorporate the artistry of their creators. The beings who created and built these fighters believe in short quick answers to questions and problems."
- ―Thrawn and Eli Vanto discuss vulture droids
With the effectiveness of droid starfighters debated in strategic circles for generations, vulture droids were as such capable of extreme maneuvers that could crush even the sturdiest organic pilot, but lacked the resourcefulness and cunning that living pilots brought into combat. Nonetheless, a lack of life-support systems allowed more room for armaments and fuel, and the lack of an organic pilot removed any moral responsibility for its destruction.
Like the ground forces made up of battle droids, vulture droids were remote controlled by a control ship, but as time passed later generations of the fighter were able to operate with limited independence due to the installation of artificial intelligence. They were also known to be able to communicate with each other by chattering. While not in flight, vulture droids could transform into walking mode to patrol the surface or provide support during battles, and was specifically designed to fill both space and ground-based roles.
A variant of the vulture droid featured an ion weapon. One of this variant battled Ahsoka Tano and Padmé Amidala while they were flying N-1 starfighters during starfighter practice. The unit was destroyed.
The design of the vulture droid formed the basis for producing the Hyena-class bomber, another type of automated droid starfighter used by the Separatist Alliance. Vulture droids were not considered as smart as tri-fighters and hyena bombers, and relied on speed and overwhelming numbers in combat scenarios.
Invasion of NabooEdit
In 32 BBY, vulture droids were deployed with the rest of the droid forces by the Trade Federation military to seize Naboo. During the space battle over the planet, vulture droids were controlled by a Droid Control Ship, made out of a modified Lucrehulk-class LH-3210 cargo freighter, and engaged Bravo Flight's N-1 starfighters. All of the droid starfighters were deactivated when Anakin Skywalker destroyed their control ship, the Saak'ak.
Starfighters of the Separatist AllianceEdit
During the Clone Wars, vulture droids were painted with the blue and white hexagonal markings that symbolized the Separatist Alliance. Vulture droids were also quickly upgraded to function independently from a Droid Control Ship. They would fight in numerous battles against the Galactic Republic during the war, and vultures became a larger threat to their adversaries as the war continued.
Vulture droids were the most common aerial unit in the Confederacy military. In addition to being launched from capital ships, vulture droids were also deployed from Automated vulture droid deployment stations to defend areas from potentially hostile approaching vessels. Munificent-class star frigates, which were one of the most common ships in the CIS fleet, could carry up to forty-two vulture droids.
In 22 BBY, vulture droids participated in the Battle of Christophsis, which ended in defeat for the Confederacy of Independent Systems. Anakin Skywalker, now a General of the Republic Army and Knight of the Jedi Order, destroyed Admiral Trench's flagship Invincible with the IPV-2C Stealth Corvette, ending the Separatist blockade of the system. Jedi General Obi-Wan Kenobi captured Separatist General Whorm Loathsom, ending the Confederate occupation.
Vulture droids participated in the Battle of Teth, a loss for the Confederacy of Independent Systems. Despite fierce Confederate resistance, Skywalker rescued Rotta the Hutt and delivered him to Jabba's palace on Tatooine.
Vulture droids participated in the Battle of Ryloth, a protracted campaign in which the Separatists resisted the Republic's attempt to liberate the Twi'lek homeworld. Notably, a swarm of Vultures almost completely eliminated the V-19 Torrent starfighters of Blue Squadron and rammed the bridge of the Resolute.
The droids continued to see action throughout the rest of the conflict. From large scale battles such as at Umbara, to smaller skirmishes such as over Felucia after the destruction of Felucia Medical Station HCTFF2. During the Battle of Horain, Clone Captain "Rex" attempted to contact his commanding officer, General Skywalker, for help, but General Kenobi instead came to aid the clone trooper, explaining that Skywalker was dealing with vulture droids.
The droids were involved in the Battle of Coruscant, which proved to be the last grasp of the CIS, and at the Battle of Utapau. During the former of these two battles, Count Dooku was beheaded by Anakin Skywalker, and days later General Grievous was killed at Utapau. After the deaths of the Separatist Council, all Confederate droids were shut down, including the vulture droids.
- "I have studied vulture droids, ensign. They do not normally fight this effectively."
- ―Thrawn, to Eli Vanto during the Battle over Umbara
During the Imperial Era, vulture droids fell into the hands of various rebel groups including Cham Syndulla's Free Ryloth movement, Berch Teller's rebel cell, and the smuggler–turned–insurgent leader Nevil Cygni ("Nightswan"). In 14 BBY, hundreds of vulture droids were used by the Free Ryloth movement to attack the Imperial Star Destroyer Perilous during an assassination attempt against Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader.
Later, Berch Teller's rebel cell obtained vulture droids and other former Separatist equipment and material from Vice Admiral Dodd Rancit, who was conspiring against his rival Moff Wilhuff Tarkin. The Chiss Imperial Navy officer Thrawn collected various Clone War artifacts including vulture droid parts. The insurgent leader Nevil Cygni, also known as "Nightswan," also procured 400 vulture droids during the Umbaran uprising.
By the time of the cold war, Vulture droids were used as private security forces by the houses of Cato Neimoidia. The X-wing drones used for First Order TIE Fighter Pilots had similar visual elements to vulture droids.
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Rise of the Separatists
- ↑ Ultimate Star Wars
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Tarkin
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 Lords of the Sith
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Poe Dameron 22
- ↑ Star Wars: Forces of Destiny – "The Starfighter Stunt"
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 13.2 Star Wars: Galactic Atlas
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary, New Edition
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Bounty Hunters"
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Cat and Mouse"
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 Star Wars: The Clone Wars film
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Storm Over Ryloth"
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Plan of Dissent"
- ↑ "Roger Roger"—Star Wars Adventures 19
- ↑ 22.0 22.1 Star Wars: On the Front Lines
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 Thrawn