I was thinking on the effectiveness of star fighter attacks in Star Wars and I have a doubt: do shields stop a star fighter that wants to fly in the area it protects?

During the Battle of Scarif, a few X-wings attack an imperial star destroyer and destroy its shield domes. During the attack the X-wings fly very close to the hull of the star destroyer, as seen here, and the shield is not visible during that attack run. This lead me to believe that either the star destroyer had its shields down for some strange reasons or the X-wing could pass through the shield and attack with impunity from inside its protecting bubble.

A similar thing happens in the Battle of Endor, when starfighters fly up close capital ships, then get some distance, then they close in again. The Executor is actually a good example: a pair of A-wings make an attack run on the bridge shield dome before a third crashes into it. Nothing like this could happen if the shield of the capital ships could stop a star fighter from entering the space protected: the star fighter would simply splat on the shield like a bug on a window.

Did the Empire forget to put particle shields on their capital ships, or there is another explanation?

  • 1
    I do believe planetary level shields - like the one on Hoth and Scariff would do that. I wonder if its a result of power needs or something along those lines Mar 3, 2023 at 5:29
  • Do we have info anywhere on how far out from the hull of the ship a deflector shield is projected? That would be worth noting.
    – Myykro
    Mar 3, 2023 at 16:01
  • It occurred to me in the Phantom Menace Anakin somehow got through the droid-ship's shields to blow it up from the inside.
    – Nu'Daq
    Mar 4, 2023 at 3:21
  • Going by the damage done to the Star Destroyers in the Hoth asteroid field, those shields can't even stop relatively slow floating rocks.
    – Kris
    Mar 7, 2023 at 2:40

2 Answers 2


The Imperial Star Destroyer used ISD-72x generators which produced both particle and ray shields.

Particle shields were effective for deflecting projectiles and debris, but they worked both ways. Meaning that to launch fighters or to fire their own weapons, the shields had to be dropped.

Ray shields were better against energy attacks but could be depleted and had to be recharged.

Therefore there would be many times in combat when a Star Destroyer would have no active shields. This would allow starfighters to fly within close proximity of capital ships without having to worry about crashing into the shields.


In Return of the Jedi, the imperial officers' dialogue very strongly implies that there are normally shields that would protect the bridge from something like the A-wing crashing through the observation windows; however, the explosion of the dome above the bridge has knocked out those shields.

Star Destroyer Controller #1: Sir! We've lost our bridge deflector shield!
Admiral Piett: Intensify the forward batteries, I don't want anything to get through.
[The A-wing is shown careening toward the Executor's bridge.]
Admiral Piett: Intensify forward fire power!
A-Wing Pilot: Aaaah!
Star Destroyer Captain #1: Too late!

To make up for the lost shield protection, Piett orders intensified forward laser fire, to blow up any approaching ships before they get too close. However, as Executor's captain immediately observes, the out of control A-wing is already too close to be stopped.

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