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 Starship and planetary weapons and defenses: Ion cannon

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Galen Durnal II

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Join date : 2013-09-07

PostSubject: Starship and planetary weapons and defenses: Ion cannon   Sun Feb 09, 2014 9:59 am

Ion cannon

v-150 Planet Defender anti-orbital ion cannon

Characteristics

These particles seriously interfered with the operation of electronics and computer systems, shorting circuits and often disabling them outright, in much the same manner as an electromagnetic pulse. The actual physical damage would sometimes result in fused joints on machines, due to the heat produced.

Large negative-ion pulses were charged in a turbine generator then channeled into a plasma charge or released as a large pulse towards a target. As a result, ion cannons were the weapon of choice for subduing, rather than destroying, enemy starships, vehicles, shields, or droids. There were many types of ion cannons, including ground-based like the N-K7, planet-based such as the one at Echo Base, and ship-mounted ion cannons such as the one on the Malevolence.

The ion cannon was not without its weaknesses, however. For instance, they "weren't known…for tight-beam accuracy," to the point that a ground-based ion cannon might hit the defender's own battle stations as well as its intended targets. Moreover, on capital ships, there would be crewmen that could repair any damage done, which would allow the vessel to continue fighting.

History

They were often used on capital ships, such as Star Destroyers, to facilitate the capture of enemy vessels or disabling them to allow safe close-range fire. They also helped to drop shields prior to destroying enemy vessels. Fighters such as the B-wing, Y-wing, TIE/D Defender,TIE Hunter and the Razor fighter in some cases, were also equipped with ion cannons, of much smaller size. Ships owned by bounty hunters were sometimes modified to use ion cannons, such as Boba Fett's Slave I.

A more powerful form of the ion cannon, the massive ion pulse cannon, was used in the Clone Wars, mounted on the CIS ship, the Malevolence. It was capable of disabling Venator-class Star Destroyers and could stop entire fleets in their tracks with a single shot. The weapon overloaded near the Balmorra Run thanks to the efforts of Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano, and Master Plo Koon. The Malevolence's sister ship, the Devastation, was even larger and more powerful than the Malevolence. The ship's ion cannons were as powerful as a shot from the Death Star's Superlaser, and could destroy any capital ship or even a planet. The reason they were so powerful is that the Devastation's pair of ion cannons and the Death Star's Superlaser ran on the same type of power source: Force crystals.

They could also be planet-based weapons, as seen in the Battle of Hoth, where the Rebel Alliance used a stolen v-150 Planet Defender to disable the Star Destroyer Tyrant, allowing a transport to escape through the Imperial blockade.

However, there are certain types of ion cannons which are meant to do more physical damage with electrical disruption as a plus. These types of ion cannon, however, have the drawback of low firing rate and are often just replaced with heavy turbolasers.

One type of ion cannon was the v-200 ion cannon, used to break through shielding and bring down heavily armored vehicles. There was also a specialized version for taking down the heavily armored spacetroopers.

The Galactic Empire also experimented with ion cannons by modifying AT-ATs to become All Terrain Ion Cannons, or AT-ICs, effectively creating a mobile ion cannon. The AT-ICs saw limited action during the Galactic Civil War.
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