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In Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, after chasing Count Dooku's speeder for several (miles?) in a Republic Gunship, Anakin asks the Clone Pilot to "shoot him down" and the Clone pilot responds that he cannot because they are "all out of rockets."

My question is: Why was the gunship limited to just using rockets?

From the The Star Wars Wiki:

The LAAT/i was a fully armed gun platform, with a complete arsenal of weaponry that consisted of three anti-personnel laser turrets, two forward-facing, one covering the stern hatch; two top-mounted mass-driver missile launchers fed by rear-mounted ordnance belts and commonly loaded with short-range homing missiles, HE (high explosive), HEAP (high explosive armor-piercing), and APF (anti-personnel fragmentation) rounds; four composite-beam, pin-point laser turrets, (on some models, the slot for these Balls were inter-changeable with floodlights) two of which were automated bubble-turrets located on either wing; and eight light air-to-air rockets stowed on the underside of each wing.

Clearly, the gunship was well equipped and, given that this specific ship had been deployed in a war zone, we can assume that it had most, if not all, of these capabilities.

It seems like this is a plot hole in the movie. Is this just an example of lazy script writing or is there a real reason the Clone Pilot couldn't shoot down Dooku's speeder?

  • You should note that the Gunship armament is Legends, i.e not canon. – user8719 Apr 19 '15 at 9:29
  • I will take any explanation, either from Canon or Legends... – Ghost Koi Apr 19 '15 at 19:52
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In the film's official novelisation (based on the shooting script), the line is slightly different:

“It’s Dooku!” Anakin cried. “Shoot him down!”

“We’re out of ordnance, sir,” the clone captain replied.

“Follow him!” Anakin ordered.

If I had to guess, I'd say that they changed it because the film's target audience might not know what the word "ordnance" means.

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    Out of lasers? I would describe that as "not canon" LOL!!! – Gaius Apr 19 '15 at 11:09
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    @gaius - It depends on how the blasters are powered. – Valorum Apr 19 '15 at 11:56
  • @Richard Wouldn't weaponry be a primary system on a "gunship" (i.e. wouldn't it be difficult to actually "run out" of laser cannon power?) --Is there a canon explanation? – Ghost Koi Apr 19 '15 at 19:49
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    @GhostKoi - Dunno. Possibly worthy of its own question (e.g. "Do blasters + lasers need recharging?") – Valorum Apr 19 '15 at 20:41
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    @GhostKoi Well, if you include Legends, we know that blasters have a finite supply of ammunition. It's not just energy either - they use "blaster gas" (made from e.g. the tibanna gas mined at Bespin). I don't think we see an example of this in Disney-canon, though - other than this scene. – Luaan Jan 18 '16 at 10:28
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It seems likely to me that none of the lasers are able to fire forwards and take out a ship. The anti-personnel lasers would not be strong enough to destroy a ship and the beam lasers fire more down and to the sides. A "gun platform" in real world military would have similar issues, think for example an AC-130. They are not interceptors meant to shoot down other aircraft, they are meant to provide support to ground troops by firing on ground based targets. The LAAT does have some anti-air missiles but none of the other weapons are suited for air to air combat.

  • In the film the laser blisters on the side of the gunship are clearly able to fire forwards as well as sideways and down – Valorum Apr 21 '15 at 7:26
  • So if they clearly can fire forwards I suppose you have a clip of them firing directly forwards? The angle they are at is not very good for firing directly forwards and I do not remember them doing so in the movie. In the old Star Wars Battlefront games they cannot fire forwards, I imagine it will be the same in the upcoming cannon SWBF3 so we will see. Yes you could argue that they could have angled to give them a better shot but that would hinder the chase and ultimately it is still true that a gun platform is not an interceptor and not meant for air to air combat. – Probst Apr 21 '15 at 16:02
  • In AotC, at 01:52:31 you can see the maximum rotation of the weapon pod. It can clearly point directly forward (or within a few degrees) – Valorum Apr 21 '15 at 19:27
  • Within a few degrees is not anywhere near good enough to target a fast moving starship. A few degrees is a lot of distance at a range. Even if it can target directly forwards it would be extremely difficult to get a hit considering the turrets are not controlled by the pilot and it would require coordination to have the pilot line up the turret which is not in line with himself and then the gunner to make the shot. – Probst Apr 21 '15 at 20:24
  • Also, I can not comment on other answers but although "ordnance" can mean basically any type of military equipment at all the more often used definition is basically artillery shells and missiles so I definitely disagree with your answer because it makes no sense based either on the word itself compared to what was said in the film nor based on the fact that they had energy based weapons available to them. – Probst Apr 21 '15 at 20:28
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I believe the clones had secret orders not to fire at Dooku, and therefore they pretended to be out of rockets. It is implied that Dooku was behind the conception of the clone army. In SW 3 we find out about a secret order to execute Jedi (order 66), there could easily have been other similar orders to protect Sith lords, in order for the clone war to last, which is Palpatine's initial goal.

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    Do you have any evidence for this? – Null Jan 13 '16 at 22:54

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