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Template:Inuse Template:In-universe Template:Morereferences Speeder bikes and swoop bikes are small, fast transports that use repulsorlift engines in the fictional Star Wars universe. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi includes a prominent speeder bike chase; speeders and swoops also appear in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars IV: A New Hope and throughout the Star Wars Expanded Universe's books, comics, and games.

Origin and design

Various concept sketches came from producer George Lucas' call for a "rocket powered scooter" in Return of the Jedi.[1] While Industrial Light and Magic's (ILM) Nilo Rodis-Jamero designed a blocky vehicle with a large engine, Ralph McQuarrie's designs were more fanciful, with less of a sense of the vehicle's power source.[1] The final designs resulted both in full-scale Imperial speeder bikes used by the actors for film against a bluescreen, along with miniatures mounted by articulated puppets.[1] The BARC speeder in Revenge of the Sith was designed to appear like a predecessor to the speeder bikes in Return of the Jedi.[2] ILM's Doug Chiang designed Darth Maul's (Ray Park) speeder in The Phantom Menace to resemble a scythe, and Chiang's initial designs for the droid army's STAP vehicle resembled the speeder bikes from Return of the Jedi.[3][4] An all-CGI swoop appearing in A New Hope stems from a design created for Shadows of the Empire, and the swoop also appears briefly in The Phantom Menace.[5]

Depiction

Return of the Jedi's features a speeder bike chase in which Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) pilot a pair of Imperial speeders to chase down Imperial scout troopers that might reveal the Rebel Alliance's presence on the Forest moon of Endor. Darth Maul uses his speeder to chase down Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) in The Phantom Menace. A pair of speeder-mounted clone troopers shoot down speeder-riding Jedi when Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) initiates Order 66 in Revenge of the Sith. Film and Expanded Universe depictions of speeder bikes and swoops consistently portray the vehicles and fast and maneuverable: Expanded Universe material describes the speeder bikes in Return of the Jedi as being able to travel 500 kilometers per hour.[6][7] Speeders and swoops achieve high speed and maneuverability, however, at the expense of size and protection for their riders.[6] "Swoop racing" is described in the Expanded Universe texts and portrayed in LucasArts games as a dangerous, fast-paced competition between skilled pilots.[8]

74-Z Speeder Bike

The 74-Z Speeder Bike army speeder bikes were used by the Old Republic, Galactic Empire and the Rebel Alliance, for reconnaissance and rapid transportation in combat zones. They were equipped with com-link jamming devices and armed with a single blaster-cannon. In the Star Wars movies, the 74-Z is most prominent in Return of the Jedi, being used by the scout troopers on the forest moon of Endor. Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia engage in a speeder bike chase with the scout troopers. The 74-Z speederbike also makes a brief appearance in Revenge of the Sith during the "Order 66" sequence, on an ice planet. Two Clone Troopers on BARC speederbikes were escorting a female Jedi Master on a 74-Z. They immediately swung back and fired on the speeder when Palpatine gave the order. Amazingly, after several blaster strikes and two collisions, the speeder itself was largely intact after being shot down. These speeder bikes were also meant to be shown during the Battle of Geonosis in Attack of the Clones, but their scenes were cut at the animatics stage. These Speeder Bikes did appear in the video game Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

BARC Speeder

The BARC Speeder (Biker Advanced Recon Commando Speeder) was a fast and armed Speeder Bike used by the Clone Troopers and their Jedi Generals during the Clone Wars. Powered by a repulsorlift engine to keep it hovering, the BARC was piloted by special elite pilots called Biker Advanced Recon Commandos (BARC Troopers). Since the BARC moved at such a high speed, the BARC Trooper's helmet had a focus visor portruding from the front. This helped the trooper from getting distracted and accidentally crashing or colliding.

The front of the BARC speeder is not well armoured. In the event of an anticipated crash, the BARC Speeder has an eject option. The BARC was the scourge of the skirmishes among the Separatist Droid Forces. it was armed with two powerful proton torpedo launchers and plasma blasters mounted on the back engines behind the pilot. BARCs were common for anti-personnel missions, and, along with their more heavily armored cousins, the Swamp Speeders or ISPs, accompanied troopers during battles as support.

Many Jedi generals chose to ride into battle on a BARC speeder with their mounted platoon behind them. However, after the climactic end of the Clone War, BARC Speeders, along with Clone Troopers and the entire Old Republic was quickly forgotten when Darth Sidious created the new Galactic Empire.

Lancer Swoop Bike

The Lancer Swoop Bike, also known as Lancer Speeders, were used by the Galactic Republic, for covert raids and other special missions. They resembled standard 74-Z speederbikes, except they were white and had an armoured front vaguely resembling a horse's head. They could attain speeds of several hundred kilometres per hour and climb steep cliffs when in great speed. They were piloted by special squads of clone troopers armed with lances, which took advantage of the vehicle's speed to deliver direct damage upon impact. Lancer speeders were specifically armoured for close quarters combat, whereas regular speeder bikes would not be effective if used in such a manner.

The Lancer speeders were used at the Battle of Muunilist, where they were engaged in battle against a contingent of IG Lancer droids led by the bounty hunter Durge. Under the command of Obi-Wan Kenobi, the lancer speeders performed on par with the enemy. However, the two lancer contingents largely destroyed each other, with few survivors save the leaders. Later during the battle, Obi-Wan used his Lancer Swoop Bike to gain speed and propel himself to the top of the Intergalactic Banking Clan Command Centre.

Swamp Speeder

The Swamp Speeder or Infantry Support Platform Speeder (ISP Speeder) is a vehicle from the fictional universe of Star Wars. A clone vehicle used on Kashyyyk and other planets, It is useful on marshy terrains. It is piloted by two clones and powered by dual repulsorlift engines to keep it floating above the murky surface of various planets. it travels at extreme speeds, and therefore requires specially trained pilots. The ISP Speeder provided additional support for the Clone Troopers battling with the Separatist Droid Army. ISPs were propelled by a high-power rotary fan. The pilots were more or less open to fire from snipers or even regular infantry, but because of its high speed, the ISP's pilots were relatively hard to hit. It also had a pair of front mounted dual-barrel blasters to clear out infantry or for anti-personnel hit-and-run missions. Larger and more protected than the Bike Aggressive Reconnaissance Speeder (BARC Speeder), it was a powerful force in the battlefield, often used against Tank Droids. After the Clone War, the Swamp Speeder ISP faded into legend, along with the Old Republic and the Jedi.

STAP

The Single Trooper Aerial Platform (STAP) is an agile flying machine designed for use by the Trade Federation's battle droids. The STAP is similar in design to personal repulsorlift airhooks use for both civilian and military use in the Star Wars galaxy.

The STAP is designed to travel fast, up to 400 kilometers an hour over open terrain. Its weapons consist of two twin heavy blasters. The STAP is used for scouting and anti-personnel hunting operations. High voltage energy cells power the machine. The STAP is piloted by a single battle droid which stands on a long foot panel while gripping a pair of handles that control its weapons and pilots the craft.

This machine first appeared in the Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace where two of the STAPs were seen pursuing the to be mentor of Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, through the swamps of Naboo. At the Battle of Naboo, STAPs were made short work by Nym and the Jedi.

Variants

The Mini-Sub is an aquatic version of the STAP saw action in underwater battles during the Clone Wars. This sub was bulkier than its land-version and had armor protection for the droid pilot, as well as a single, big cannon instead of twin-blasters. Many mini-subs were devoured by the riding beasts of the Mon Calamari Knights.

The Heavy STAP was developed by the Trade Federation after the Battle of Naboo. It sports larger laser cannons and a missile launcher. The Heavy STAP was used to scout dangerous enemy territory and to eliminate retreating enemy forces. Its disadvantages are that it is less agile than the standard STAP and has difficulty crossing certain types of terrain including rivers.

Swoop bike

File:Swoop.jpg

The Swoop bike is a fictional Star Wars vehicle. Swoop racing is a very popular sport in the Old Republic times (3,956 years before the Battle of Yavin), with simulcast hyperspace beacons instantly relaying results to countless worlds. Racers that consistently win can expect to gain a loyal following of fans, along with a sizeable amount of money, although sponsors often claim a large percentage of any earnings. Taris was the hub of the swoop racing circuit, despite a number of gangs and nefarious individuals that attempt to influence outcomes through intimidation. Other swoop bike circuits were found on Tatooine and Manaan.

Since swoop bikes lack all of the subsystems that weigh down more comfortable or practical vehicles, it is relatively inexpensive to build. Most are little more than a small cockpit mounted on as large a power source as can be found. The official circuit does have some size regulations to keep the field even, but they are mostly ignored. There is, however, a functional barrier on how powerful a repulsorlift engine can be before the energy output starts to do unpleasant things to the organic creature attempting to straddle it. As a result, most swoop bikes are similar in size, differing mainly in the application of shielding and the monitoring of energy flow.

Unlike podracing swoop bike racers did not race all together. The track was a straight line filled with obstacles. There would be three rounds. The racers who pass the finish line with the lowest time would go on to the next round. In the final round the racer with the lowest time would win the race and receive a prize.

Other Variants

In The Phantom Menace, Darth Maul uses a Sith Bloodfin Speeder ("sky scooter") to chase down Qui-Gon Jinn on Tatooine. In Attack of the Clones, Count Dooku flees to his secret hangar on a Geonosian Patrol Swoop Bike.

Merchandise

References

External links

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