Imperial Lambda-class shuttle

  • Appeared in:
  • Size:
    20 meters long
  • Weapon:
    Five double laser cannons
  • Affiliation:
  • Type:
    Multi-purpose shuttle
  • Manufacturer:
    Sienar Fleet Systems

From the Movies

An elegant example that stands apart from typical brutish Imperial engineering, the Lambda-class shuttle is a multi-purpose transport used in the Imperial starfleet. The Empire pressed the shuttle into service for both cargo ferrying and passenger duty. Even the Empire's elite, like Darth Vader and the Emperor Palpatine used Lambda-class shuttles.

With a trihedral foil design, the craft bears a strong resemblance to Incom's popular T-16 skyhopper. It has three wings: a stationary center foil and two articulated flanking wings. When in flight, the side wings fold out for greater stabilization. When landing, the wings fold in, shrinking the vessel's silhouette.

Prior to the Battle of Endor, the Rebellion managed to steal a small Imperial shuttle, the Tydirium. Refitted and filled with a squad of Rebel commandos, the Tydirium breached the security screen around the second Death Star to start the events that would lead to the Battle of Endor.

The well-armed vessel has two forward-facing double laser cannons, two wing-mounted double cannons, and a rear-facing double laser cannon. It is equipped with a hyperdrive.

From the Expanded Universe

Sienar Fleet Systems developed the Lambda-class shuttle, with subcontractor Cygnus Spaceworks developing a heavier, combat-ready version of the craft armed with 10 laser cannons.

Though designed primarily for space travel, the shuttle's broad wing surfaces give it stable atmospheric maneuverability. Its large interior hold can carry 20 soldiers, or 80 tons worth of cargo. Since the craft is hyperspace-capable and well-armed, Lambda-class shuttles do not require a military escort, though the increasing threat of Rebel forces meant that these ships rarely traveled alone.

The Emperor's Lambda-class shuttle was heavily modified, though its exact design specifications remain classified. It was rumored that Palpatine's personal craft even carried a prototypical cloaking shield.

Behind the Scenes

Early designs of the shuttle were very box-like and square. As the concept was refined, the shuttle developed boat-like characteristics, and even a barge-like profile. A breakthrough illustration was a TIE-like cockpit pod bracketed by three large wings. Borrowing from the skyhopper design developed years earlier for A New Hope, final shuttle concept designs began to take shape through the illustrations of Joe Johnston, Ralph McQuarrie and Nilo Rodis-Jamero.

Two models of the Imperial shuttle were made by ILM modelmakers Charlie Bailey and Bill George. One model was 28 x 30 x 18 centimeters in size, the other 33 x 53 x 56 centimeters. For new scenes in the Special Edition re-release of the Star Wars trilogy, the shuttle was rendered as a computer-generated creation.

Keywords: Databank - Episode V, Databank - Episode VI

Filed under: Vault, Starship
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