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How large could a weapon based on lightsaber technology be? Could one be designed for ship based attacks i.e. a lightsaber ram.

Would there be power issues with this or would the crystal size be the biggest problem? I assume that while there would be difficulties getting a big enough natural crystals, as favoured by the Jedi, there would be no problem creating a large enough synthetic crystal.

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    The question really isn't 'could they', but 'why would they?' -- I like lightsabers, too, but they aren't that impressive as weapons go, especially for space battles -- they are an effective and efficient tool for reasonably close quarters combat, but that's it; there are far better ship-to-ship weapons available. You COULD make a lightsaber based one, but it would basically be a gimmick, not a significant weapon. In a sense, a lightsaber is simply a Space Age Sword; there is a reason combat vehicles don't tend to be based around swords -- there are far better designs to use.
    – K-H-W
    Feb 5, 2013 at 14:17
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    @dvk - Not at all; Blasters and Lasers CAN do that, but normally aren't powered to that level -- like most weapons they are given JUST enough power to accomplish what they are expected to be used for. One of the reasons Light-sabers are so impressive is that they are overpowered for what they are used for; a hand to hand weapon that can cut thru a bulkhead is.. bizarre. By comparison, a blaster that was that overpowered would be a menace; it would tend to go thru your enemy, the wall of the ship.. the window of the ship a few miles off in space...
    – K-H-W
    Feb 5, 2013 at 14:44
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    Actually, I'd love to see double ended lightsabers with small thrusters shot out to fly thru space like Shuriken :) Hmm. Maybe with proximity sensors, so they only activate when close to a ship.
    – K-H-W
    Feb 5, 2013 at 14:48
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    @DVK no waterline sure, but there is the vacuum of space to consider.
    – AidanO
    Feb 5, 2013 at 15:55
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    I always thought that lightsaber technology was already employed on starships, in the form of turbolasers. A lightsaber is essentially a blade of magnetically-contained plasma. Plasma-based projectile technology similarly involved firing a projectile of magnetically-contained plasma, which is why a lightsaber could repel small blaster bolts.
    – Steam
    Feb 5, 2013 at 21:48

4 Answers 4

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Yes and no

Yes, in that that’s precisely what the Death Star is: a weapon based on kyber crystals, the primary component of lightsabers, that is capable of firing from one ship (the Death Star) at other vessels, as well as planets.

No, most likely, in the sense that the question supposes, i.e. as a lightsaber ram.

  1. Ships have extremely powerful weapons, and, especially with the larger ships, correspondingly powerful shields. These shields presumably require a great deal of energy to power (thus making them relatively unsuitable for personal protection). However, it’s quite possible (probably even likely) that they repel lightsabers.
  2. A lightsaber would need to be large to be an effective weapon (to be able to impale a ship without literally crashing into it, for example). The larger the lightsaber, the more energy would be needed to power it. It’s possible that the energy demands would prove too cumbersome, or that it might be more efficient just to create a Death-Star-style turbolaser.

  3. It’s not clear that the properties of lightsabers can be replicated. The Force may be involved:

    The energy potential was a given; his team had proven as much in their earliest piezoelectric experiments. But an ignition facility or a power plant would have to be more than an enormous lightsaber, which, in addition to housing a crystal, was believed to incorporate an emitter matrix, modulator circuitry, plasma, and a superconductor that channeled energy back to the negative pole of the lightsaber’s hilt. By rights lightsabers shouldn’t have been able to cut through meter-thick durasteel and yet they could, which lent credence to the notion of their being augmented by the Force itself.

    Acting through the kybers?

    Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel

    Since the response of the kyber crystals depends on the person interacting with them (e.g. Sith bleeding their crystals to make them red, crystals calling to their chosen wielders), it can’t be certain that a kyber crystal weapon would work for just anyone. Galen Erso was successful, but how much of that was personal?

    One might imagine that synthetic crystals would work, but in current Disney canon synthetic crystals are bad news (i.e. highly unstable), and would probably be more likely to blow up both ships.

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In The Phantom Menace we see Qui-Gon attempt to cut through a blast door with his lightsaber. It isn't a particularly speedy process and he doesn't attempt to cut through any of the hull material around the door either.

Furthermore in The Empire Strikes Back Luke uses his lightasber to destroy a control panel to open a door rather than simply cut through the hull of the AT-AT which appears to be a heavily armoured vehicle.

However lightsabers seem to have no trouble cutting through smaller lighter materials - guardrails, speeder control vanes, and so on.

From that I think that we can safely deduce that a lightsaber is not a very effective weapon against starships compared to a blaster even assuming that they could be mass produced or sized up as starship weapons.

Secondly, the only lightsabers we see in film canon are in the hands of Jedi and each lightsaber appears to be unique and individually crafted. All of which implies that they are rare and probably difficult to manufacture, possibly only by someone with Force abilities.

Thus the answer to can a starship sized lightsaber be manufactured is almost certainly no, it cannot. However this theory is only supported by the absence of such weapons and the points above.

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  • I thought they were rare as in the hands of the unskilled they're just going to get you killed! deflecting blaster bolts is something only a Jedi/Sith could do, normal people would be better off with blasters!
    – AidanO
    Feb 5, 2013 at 16:29
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    In ESB, Luke hits a control panel/lock box with his sabre, and a door on the belly of the AT-AT opens. He does not cut a hole.
    – Jim Green
    Feb 5, 2013 at 18:49
  • Ah thanks for that seems my recollection is faulty. Edited.
    – user11295
    Feb 6, 2013 at 8:15
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Most Jedi (every one I've seen depicted or read about) are bipedal, can turn on a dime, and are capable of movement on complex axis. Ships in space can go forward, sometimes backwards, and can tilt on a few axis, in a manner similar to aircraft. They behave slightly different without gravity and air resistance though. For capital ships, the dynamics are closer to a hybrid of naval vessels and planes.

Since a light Sabre is similar to a sword, and a space ship is similar to either a fighter jet or a naval ship, the answer can partially be attributed to the fact that there is no real life example of a sword being attached to real fighter jets or navy ships. Scifi battles tend to use tactics adapted from real life militaries,

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  • A ram (as alludded to in OP's question) makes your assumption invalid. Feb 5, 2013 at 14:32
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    No one would ever mount a ram on a spaceship. Do you enjoy watching all your atmo fly out? Even when rams were the rule of the day, you were just as likely to sink your own ship as the one you hit. That's why they mounted rams on fast moving lighters and disposable subs. Feb 5, 2013 at 19:45
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    Sure they could; don't forget -- in RL a ram requires the massive inertia of the ship to make it work; it's actually not terribly sharp.. but you can think of a Lightsaber as an infinitely sharp & hot blade, actually CUTTING / vaporizing. And, there's always the possibility of mounting it on basically an 'outrigger' or something; side swipe instead of ramming. I don't think it's PRACTICAL.. but you could do it reasonably, if for some reason you really wanted to.
    – K-H-W
    Feb 5, 2013 at 22:23
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    All this talk of rams is pretty silly. This style of naval warfare became outdated pretty much as soon as guns/cannons and torpedoes were invented. Why in the world would you even bring that up in reference to space battles? About the only semi-logical comparison would be perhaps modern icebreakers (which don't ram so much as ride on the ice, breaking it with their weight). So, yea, if you had a smaller ship that needed to get through a dense kuiper-belt-style ice field, it might be useful. But you don't generally want to intentionally fly starships into solid objects. Jun 18, 2013 at 4:34
  • Is it not possible to create a specific type of ship to serve the purposes of a ram? I think it would be pretty effective too.
    – illage4
    Dec 21, 2016 at 7:59
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Blasters are simpler and your able to fire at long-range and not get too close to a target.

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