“That’s no moon, it’s a space station!” Of course, it wasn’t just any space station – it was the Death Star, the most famous battle station in sci-fi and movie history, famous for its ability to destroy entire planets. But the Emperor’s ultimate weapon was just one of the many high-tech marvels found in the Star Wars epic.
When it comes to powerful ships, there’s certainly no shortage in the Star Wars Universe. After all, this is the universe that gave us the Death Star and a host of other devastating ships such as the speedy Millennium Falcon, the small but deadly TIE fighter, the robust upstart X-wing and of course, the iconic Imperial Star Destroyer. While some may argue massive craft like the Death Star belong in the category of space station rather than starship, that could also be applied to battleships like the Super Star Destroyer or the Eclipse flagship, and since massive constructions like the Death Star and the Executor-class dreadnought are mobile, they could be counted as starships as well.
We searched the extensive lore of the Star Wars Universe – from the live-action movies and the animated series to the extensive novels and comics of the Expanded Universe – to seek out the most powerful starships, superweapons, and fighters the series has to offer. Our ranking is based on a combination of size, speed, armor, feats, and weaponry. These are the vessels used to explore and conquer the galaxy.
We hope you enjoy, and may the Force be with you.
15. T-65 X-Wing Fighter
When it comes to fighters, the Incom X-wing is the all-purpose starfighter synonymous with the Rebel Alliance and with the Star Wars franchise in general. Known as the fighter that killed the Death Star, the X-wing formed the backbone of the Rogue Squadron and would go on to serve the New Republic. It would be one of the galaxy’s most prominent lines of fighters for over 40 years. The X-wing was a robust craft, with a hyperdrive, deflector shields, proton torpedoes, and frequently an R2 astromech droid for repairs and navigation assistance. The X-wing, with its revolutionary design, slim frame, multiple laser cannons and dual launch tubes, was the perfect balance of speed, maneuverability, and weapons systems.
X-wing fighters were famous for their dogfights with Imperial TIE Fighters during the Galactic Civil War. Fighter squadrons of X-wings could function in atmospheric conditions and in space, eliminating the need for a carrier. This enabled the Rebellion to engage the Empire in hit-and-run campaigns. The cultural impact of the craft has been widespread, appearing in action figures, video games, and even life-sized LEGO playsets.
14. TIE/D Defender
The TIE/LN starfighter, more popularly known as the TIE fighter, is the signature fighter of the Galactic Empire which is instantly recognizable by the distinctive roar of its engines. With its spherical cockpit and twin vertical solar array wings, the symmetrical craft is symbolic of the Imperial presence throughout the galaxy. Swarms of them are featured in every film in the original Star Wars trilogy. TIE Fighters are famously minimalistic. The original LN models have no hyperdrive, life support, or deflector shields. Not so with the top-of-the-line TIE Defender.
The TIE Defender takes its class to a new level, adding a third wing and giving it a hyperdrive and deflector shields. The Defender was also larger and heavier than any of its brethren. It was armed with missiles that could cause enormous damage to a target area. The TIE Defender was manufactured at the behest of Grand Admiral Thrawn, and the Lothal resistance feared that large-scale manufacture of the craft could spell the end of the Rebellion. The TIE Defender is one of the few TIE models not featured in the movies that have since crossed over to the games, comics, books, and toys.
13. Millennium Falcon
The Millennium Falcon may be the fastest ship in the Star Wars Universe. At least according to Han Solo who was convinced that the former Corellian light freighter turned smuggling vessel was the fastest in the galaxy, and no ship so far has been able to outrun it, meaning he probably isn’t lying. In fact, it’s regarded as one of the fastest ships in any sci-fi universe. The humble-looking Falcon’s appearance was defied by modifications which gave it the latest in hyperdrive, shields, and weapons systems. The Falcon has a Class 0.5 hyperdrive, the fastest in the canon.
The Falcon’s real achievements go beyond its incredible speed. In the Star Wars movies, it served the Rebellion well as a full-on fighter, making it one of the most versatile craft the Star Wars Universe has to offer. The Millennium Falcon was able to outperform almost every single ship it faced off against, even when it was described as a “piece of junk” by Luke Skywalker. The fact that it survived long enough to see it decades in the future in Star Wars: The Force Awakens shows you just how reliable a ship the Falcon really is.
12. Trade Federation Battleship
This menacing crescent-shaped battleship from Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace is nearly 3,400 meters long and wide and is the main capital ship of the Trade Federation’s Trade Defense Force. Modified from enormous cargo ships, the Lucrehulk-class battleship has hundreds of crew, as well as a hull of nearly impenetrable armor bristling with weapons. As if those weren’t enough, the ship can hold hundreds of starfighters. The Trade Federation flagship was able to control a massive droid army down on the surface of the planet of Naboo and maintain a blockade of the entire planet effortlessly.
The ship was shown to have a crippling design flaw, as a young Anakin Skywalker was able to shoot its reactor accidentally, destroying the Droid Control Ship. Later models of the Lucrehulk-class battle cruiser were also used by the Separatists with improved weapons, shielding, and no such weaknesses. The improved Lucrehulk ships were among the most powerful battleship in the Confederate Navy. During the Battle of Geonosis, the cruisers carried legions of battle droids. Some also participated in the Battle of Coruscant.
11. Republic Attack Cruiser
The Republic Attack Cruiser, also known as the Jedi Cruiser or the Venator-class Star Destroyer, was a capital ship used by the Galactic Republic during the Clone Wars. The 1,155-meter-long dagger-shaped warship was the predecessor to the ever popular Devastator class of Imperial Star Destroyer and boasted a vast array of weapons, including 8 heavy turbo laser turrets, 52 point-defense laser cannons, 4 proton torpedo tubes and 6 tractor beam projectors.
The battle cruiser was originally conceived to face the Separatist dreadnoughts in battle during the Clone Wars, and it packed around 7,400 crew members and more than 200 starfighters in its arsenal. Specifically designed for ship-to-ship combat, the development of the Venator-class clearly marked the galactic turn from tenuous peace to all-out war and dictatorship and helped lay the basis for the Republic to become the Galactic Empire. After its development, the battleship quickly eclipsed the diplomatic frigate of the old Republic. The Republic Attack Cruiser was involved in some of the most legendary battles of the Clone Wars, including the battles of Sullust, Christophsis, and Coruscant.
One of the flagships of the Dark Lord of the Sith Naga Sadow during his rule of the ancient Sith Empire, the Corsair played a major role in the Great Hyperspace War in 5,000 BBY. A Sith vessel, the Derriphan-class battleship was well-armored. Despite its lack of shielding, it could sustain a large amount of damage and still be fully operational. The Corsair was a reliable enough ship to still play a major role in a battle a millennium later when it was discovered by Exar Kun.
The Corsair had relatively moderate weapons systems, with six starfighters, two shuttles, and standard point-defense weapons including laser cannons and heavy concussion missile launchers for protection, each of which held a payload of sixty missiles. At 215 meters long, the ship required a crew of only twenty-five but could support up to 850, with consumables for one year. However, what makes the Corsair so special are the Force-enhancing Sith magic crystals of immense power on its command deck. These crystals enhanced the power of the Sith wielding them from the command deck of the ship, and they were able to interfere with the stars themselves, even able to tear out the core of a star, causing it to implode.
9. Invisible Hand
The Providence-class dreadnought of the terrifying General Grievous was the capital ship of the Confederacy of Independent Systems during the Clone Wars. The kilometer-long battleship was capable of launching 20 squadrons of droid starfighters and 400 ground assault vehicles from its dual main hangers and was heavily armed with 14 quad turbo laser cannons, 34 dual laser cannons, 12 ion cannons, 2 heavy ion cannons, and 100 proton torpedo launchers. On board, it was guarded by vulture droids, standard battle droids, and Grievous’ IG-100 MagnaGuards. It was from this powerful flagship that General Grievous launched the Battle of Coruscant, which led to the capture of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine.
At the height of its power during the Clone Wars, the Invisible Hand was one of the most feared ships in the galaxy. Each shot from one of its many ion cannons released as much heat as a 4.8 megaton bomb and the maximum yield of one of its turbo lasers was equivalent to a magnitude 10 earthquake. Its modified hangar bay was large enough to allow the ship to serve as an invasion craft as well as a carrier.
8. Imperial Star Destroyer
Ask any fan when they first fell in love with Star Wars, and many will probably mention when their jaws dropped during the opening scene of Star Wars IV: A New Hope, where the Imperial Star Destroyer passes overhead, seemingly miles long. The Devastator was a 1,600-meter-long Imperial I-class Star Destroyer that served as Darth Vader’s flagship for a time. Teeming with a full 40,000 member crew and armed with 60 turbo laser batteries, 60 ion cannons and 10 powerful tractor beams, the mere sight of a Star Destroyer was frequently enough to make the enemies of the Empire surrender.
Each Star Destroyer was capable of carrying a further fleet of around 72 starfighters, as well as heavier land-based vehicles like AT-AT and AT-ST walkers. Assuming the Devastator can be used as a model for all Star Destroyers, the ship boasted a crew of around 10,000 officers, 30,000 enlisted, and around 10,000 Stormtroopers, with consumables for a full two years. A Star Destroyer was unmatched in one-on-one combat by almost any other ship in the galaxy. No wonder the best idea for anyone who spotted one was to run.
7. World Devastators
Described as “more lethal than the Death Star,” the World Devastators were superweapons used by the Galactic Empire under the reborn Emperor Palpatine when he attempted to retake control of the galaxy. The World Devastators were planetary assault ships like the Death Star before them, but instead out outright destroying planets, they used powerful tractor beams to break apart a planet’s surface and draw them into molecular furnaces. They would then break down the planet’s rubble into raw materials, which were then used by its droid-controlled factories. The insidious genius behind the World Devastators’ design was that a target world’s resources would be used for the Empire’s benefit as their foundries churned out ships, fighters, and droids.
Though no two World Devastators were exactly alike, the Silencer-7 was the largest ever created at 3,200 meters long and 1,500 meters tall, and with 125 heavy turbo lasers, 200 blaster cannons, and 80 proton torpedo tubes, 15 ion cannons, and 15 tractor beam projectors, it could take on virtually any target.
The World Devastators had hyperdrive capability and had ion engines that allowed them to travel in deep space. They were controlled by central droid brains that could create automated TIE fighters, battle cruisers, and even other World Devastators, making the final product something akin to a terrifying combination of the Death Star and the Von Neumann concept of the self-replicating machine. The end result was profoundly terrifying.
6. Imperial Super Star Destroyer
Most estimates say it if you were to land this massive ship in New York City, it would occupy most of Manhattan. As the flagship of the Imperial Navy, the Super Star Destroyer is a marvel of technology and military might. The Executor was the first of the four Executor-class Star Dreadnoughts in service before the Battle of Hoth and served as Darth Vader’s command ship. It was the largest traditional starship in the Imperial Navy, with various estimates putting it between 8,000 to 19,000 meters long. Armed with over 5,000 turbo lasers and ion cannons, Super Star Destroyers were easily a match for anything else and was only assigned to the most important and prestigious missions.
Perhaps most important was the sheer terror the Super Star Destroyers inspired. At over five times the length of the standard Star Destroyer, they could frighten rebellious systems into submission. The ships could hold hundreds of TIE fighters and support ships, and for ground assaults, held a full corps of Stormtroopers (38,000 ground troops), three prefabricated Imperial bases, and enough Imperial walkers to launch a full invasion of Rebel bases.
The Eclipse was a special Super Star Destroyer manufactured by Kuat Drive Yards as a flagship for the revived Emperor Palpatine six years after the Battle of Endor. It was the prototype of its class and regarded as the start of a new generation of Imperial weaponry. In terms of length, mass, and volume, the Eclipse was among the largest dreadnoughts ever launched in galactic history. At 17.5 kilometers long it was large enough to be classified as a space station.
Palpatine’s flagship was one of the most heavily-armed battleships in the galaxy, with 500 heavy laser cannons, 500 turbo lasers, 75 ion cannons, 100 tractor beam projectors and 10 gravity well projectors. It could also hold over 600 TIE fighters, 5 prefabricated garrison bases, and over 100 Imperial walkers. Its full crew was a staggering 700,000 individuals. The Eclipse even sported its own axial super laser, similar but less powerful than the planet-destroying one in the Death Star, though still powerful enough to crack a planet’s crust or easily destroy other Super Star Destroyers. Would it not for the unconventional means by which is was destroyed, the Eclipse would have been unmatched.
4. Death Star I
Nothing symbolized the “rule by fear” decree of the Empire more than the Death Star. The infamous moon-sized mobile battle station was Palpatine’s ultimate weapon and the main symbol of Imperial oppression. The Death Star measured over 120 kilometers in diameter with 357 internal levels, and cost over one trillion galactic credits to build. It was the size of a class IV moon and was the largest starship ever built in galactic history (before the construction of the larger second Death Star). Half of its interior was taken up by the reactor core and the superlaser housing, though the station was still large enough to hold a crew of 265,000 soldiers, gunners, ground troops, starship crew, and pilots. Combined with all other onboard personnel, the Death Star held a staggering 1 million beings, and that was with minimum crew standards. It was able to support over 2 million with ease.
The Death Star was heavily armored and armed with 15,000 capital ship turbo lasers, 768 tractor beam projectors, 7,000 TIE fighters, 4 strike cruisers, over 20,000 military transport vessels, and 11,000 combat vehicles. But by far its primary weapon and centerpiece is the awesome planet-destroying super laser. The weapon was powered by a hyper matter reactor and massive kyber crystals that gave it the ability to destroy an entire planet. The Death Star was even meant to function as a planet of its own, and it came complete with comforts rare to find at an Imperial outpost, including recreation areas, cantinas with bartender droids, and commissaries with expensive luxuries.
3. Galaxy Gun
One of several superweapons commissioned by the reborn Emperor Palpatine, the Galaxy Gun was designed by Umak Leth and constructed in 10 ABY by the Galactic Empire. Taking the form of a 7,250 meter-long tube-shaped weapon built above the planet Byss, the Galaxy Gun fired projectiles equipped with particle disintegrator warheads able to destroying a planet. The projectiles were capable of traveling through hyperspace at speeds equivalent to a Class .75 hyperdrive, allowing for quick and lethal interstellar targeting. When the fired projectile exited hyperspace, its automated defenses would deflect attacks by enemy forces. Its laser cannons would exchange fire with warships while its armor plating and powerful deflector shields protected against enemy fire, even including ion cannons and turbo lasers.
The particle disintegrator warhead on the Galaxy Gun’s projectiles triggered nuclear explosions that could encircle the surface of a target planet within minutes. The weapon had multiple power settings enabling it to destroy selected cities and military bases, a targeted land mass while preserving the rest of the planet, or at its maximum setting could convert all matter into energy, effectively vaporizing the target world and all its inhabitants. The Galaxy Gun was, in essence, a stripped-down Death Star with a much larger range, making it one of the deadliest craft in the Star Wars Universe.
2. Death Star II
Many people question the wisdom of the Empire in choosing to build a second Death Star after the destruction of the original; what many people may not know is that this larger second version of the planet-destroying superweapon, when completed, would have been invincible. The only way to destroy it was to strike while it was still under construction. Not only was the second Death Star larger (160 kilometers) and more deadly than the first, but the infamous design flaw in the original was corrected and the exhaust ports were replaced with millimeter-wide heat dispersion ducts.
The super laser of the second Death Star featured greatly increased power, with the ability to recharge in a matter of minutes rather than hours. Its targeting system was also improved so it could target capital starships instead of just planets. For defenses, an extra 20,000 turbo lasers were added to the design to repel fighter attacks to go with its 7,500 laser cannons, 5,000 ion cannons and 768 tractor beam projectors. The new Death Star also would have also carried more TIE fighters, ground troops, and ground assault vehicles. Overall, the second Death Star would have been effectively indestructible, and a vast improvement over the first.
1. Sun Crusher
On the surface, the Sun Crusher doesn’t look like much. The slender vessel is only slightly larger than a fighter, with a small cockpit designed for a crew of about six, and a few laser cannons for defense. But anyone doubting its status as the deadliest ship and most lethal superweapon ever devised in the Star Wars Universe does so at their peril; the Sun Crusher was a nearly indestructible craft capable of a magnitude of destruction that dwarfed even the mighty Death Star. While the Death Star could only destroy individual planets, the Sun Crusher destroyed entire star systems. It carried 11 resonance torpedoes which traveled to a target systems’ star at near-lightspeed, burrowing into the star’s core upon impact and releasing packets of energy that made the star’s core unstable. This would start a chain reaction that would force the star to go supernova, sending shockwaves of energy and radiation outwards and destroying every planet along with all life in the system.
The Sun Crusher could destroy a solar system within hours and once the chain reaction was started it was impossible to stop the supernova. Its resonance torpedoes could also be turned against other ships, instantly destroying them in one shot. As if that weren’t enough, its shimmering layers of Quantum-crystalline armor made the craft impervious to damage. It was able to survive being rammed straight through the bridge of an Imperial Star Destroyer and even took a blast from the Death Star Prototype’s super laser. The Sun Crusher was also equipped with a hyperdrive that allowed it to slip into a target system, fire its resonance torpedo, and escape without being noticed.
The Sun Crusher was truly a unique superweapon that represented the pinnacle of military technology: each of its components, including its molecular armor, unique miniature systems, and resonance torpedoes each cost about as much to develop as the original Death Star’s super laser. In the end, only being drawn into a black hole could finally stop the deadly superweapon. No other ship was shown to be as deadly or as tough as the Sun Crusher, and that’s why it earns the title of the most powerful ship in the Star Wars Universe.