- "Warning. Enemy capital ships. Venator-class."
- ―A tactical droid
The Venator-class Star Destroyer, also known as a Republic attack cruiser or Jedi Cruiser, was a dagger-shaped capital ship used by the Galactic Republic Navy for ship-to-ship combat, capital ship escort, and fighter carrying against the Confederacy of Independent Systems during the Clone Wars. Having eclipsed the Republic's diplomatic frigate, the attack cruiser faced the Separatist dreadnoughts in some of the most well-known battles of the Clone Wars, including those of Sullust, Christophsis and Coruscant.
During the early period of the Clone Wars, the Venator-class Star Destroyer featured a wide array of hangar space. The forward section of the Star Destroyer featured a passage down the middle, with bays for starships on either side. It was mainly accessed by large doors on top of the ship. At the fore of this passage, at the bow the ship, was a collection of hyperspace transport rings. Towards the aft of the passage, doors in the floor could open, leading to a space where Republic frigates could dock. If no cruiser was docked, however, the space could be used by personnel to jump out of the Star Destroyer directly onto the battlefield, or to deploy walkers without the need for dropships. Overseeing the passage was a raised command station positioned at the aft. Even further aft, the Venator-class had two independent docking bays on their port and starboard sides, again protected by blast doors.
Towards the end of the war, a different type of Venator was used. These featured a set of smaller doors on the dorsal side of the ship, and lacked access from the ventral side altogether, with the blast doors that previously lead to the main hangar space replaced with additional lighting, a crane and sometimes additional weaponry, such as a built-in beam weapon. Additionally, the side doors no longer led to independent hangars, but another passage that linked the two sides of the ship. The central hangar row then joined the smaller passage in the middle, replacing where the command station used to be. At the front of the main passage was a small hole starfighters could launch from without having to go through any of the main doors.
Venator-class Star Destroyers featured two bridges, with the starboard one serving as the primary command center of the ship. These bridges were raised from the main body of the destroyer and provided a wide, panoramic view of the battle. However, the bridges' exposed nature made them vulnerable to attack. The bridges featured large windows at the front, with two sunken pits behind, with a raised command walkway in between. This design would become a staple in Imperial vessels, as it gave emphasis to the command hierarchy. Further behind, a holotable sat between two sets of blast doors. This could be used to communicate with other personnel and analyze ship or troop movements.
Venators usually required specialized landing strips to perform atmospheric landings, such as those on Coruscant, with Acclamator-class transgalactic military assault ships performing surface landings on the battlefield due to their legs. However, surface landings could occur, as exemplified during the Battle of Kashyyyk.
One Venator was hijacked by the Separatists, under a super tactical droid. They loaded it with Rhydonium, and used the ship to destroy the Republic strategy conference. However, their attempts were foiled by D-Squad, where R2-D2 blew the ship up early so it wouldn't reach the Republic station over the planet Carida.
Age of the EmpireEdit
During the Imperial Era, the design of the Republic attack cruiser ultimately evolved into the similarly wedge-shaped Imperial Star Destroyer, the signature battleship of the Galactic Empire. As of the Campaign at Salient, during which Venator-class Star Destroyers reassigned from Telos deployed ARC-170 starfighters to assist Governor Wilhuff Tarkin and the Executrix, the vessel was considered an older-generation model. However, at least one Venator-class was stationed at the Anthan Prime Orbital Dockyard several months after the Battle of Yavin.