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It was similar to its cousin, the Lambda-class shuttle because it featured three wings. Both vehicles also shared the same manufacturers. The landing craft's exterior is however encased in armor plating 25 percent heavier than the armor of a Lambda. The landing craft is equipped with four deflector shield projectors. Despite its size, the Sentinel is fast and agile due to its Cygnus HD7 engine array.
The Sentinel relied on a pilot and a sensor officer along with the three gunners to pilot it. The vehicle's sensor suite which was located in the cockpit allowed navigation in nearly all conditions and featured infrared imaging, motion detectors and life-form indicators. The vessel's computer also had an automatic mapping function and a rudimentary autopilot that could pilot the vessel towards an Imperial garrison or starship or homing beacon during emergencies and powerful communication arrays which enabled contact with all Imperial starships and garrisons within a given system.
In its usual configuration, it could carry approximately six stormtrooper squads or 54 stormtroopers, 12 E-Web repeating blasters and 6 74-Z Speeder bikes. When its seats were removed and it was converted to carrying supplies, it could carry 36 74-Z speeder bikes or 12 compact assault vehicles like AT-STs and AT-PTs. Its total cargo capacity was 180 metric tonnes.
The landing craft's weapons complement consisted of 8 laser cannons, 2 concussion missiles launchers, 1 retractable ion cannon and 2 rotating repeating blasters. Three gunners are responsible for manning these weapons which are all linked to the shuttle's precise targeting computers. Since the Sentinel is heavily armed, it also serves as a combat support vehicle.
It was introduced before the Rebellion on Kamino and became the main troop transport in the Imperial Starfleet. The Sentinel was often used to transport troops between Star Destroyers/Cruisers/Dreadnaughts and planets.
The vehicle also made an excellent atmospheric transport and many Imperial garrisons had one of these vehicles. Several Sentinels were used on the desert world Tatooine, where they deployed sandtroopers and their Dewback mounts to search for the missing Death Star plans.
Sentinels were also used in conjunction with larger AT-AT barges for joined infantry/armor assaults. However, because of their popularity, they were used by other groups including the Rebel Alliance, the New Republic, Galactic Alliance, mercenary groups, and the Imperial Remnant.
During the Galactic Civil War, the Rebels used a fleet of captured Sentinel landing craft as support ships. The Alliance logo was painted on their central wing, to help tell them apart from the Imperial ships. The New Republic also developed its own version of the popular starship called the Bantha-class Assault Shuttle which featured more armor than its Imperial counterpart.
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- Sentinel-class landing craft in the Star Wars Databank