Explain how a teeny A-wing can bring down a Super Star Destroyer

When I first saw this scene in Return of the Jedi, I thought it was the coolest thing. But thinking about it now, it seems a bit silly. So the Bridge shields were down, and a damaged A-Wing operated by Annonymous Asian Pilot careens right through the glass.

Apparently this is severe enough for the Super Star Destroyer to swerve out of control and hit the Death Star like some gargantuan lawn dart, EXPLODING on impact.

What the hell happened to redundancy? Sure having an A-wing crashing into the Bridge is a Very Bad Thing, likely killing many senior staff. But I’m sure they have some back up way to control the ship, right? In real life naval battles, ships received hits to the bridge but this by no means instantly put the ship out of action.

Also, it kind of bugs me that the whole thing would light up like a Ford Pinto when it hit the Death Star. Wouldn’t it just kind of ‘pierce’ the Death Star a bit? Or bounce off/skid? :confused:

That aside, is there any reason Star Destroyer bridges had to be so exposed? Why aren’t they buried in the deepest bowels of the ship, where it’s safe? After all, it’s not as if spaceship crews navigate by looking out the window.

Well, there was this new guy, Jimmy, at the helm. When he saw the a-wing coming he tried to get out of the way, and when the ship hit it locked the steering wheel into position and a heavy piece of debris landed on the gas pedal. As for the explosion, everybody knows that super star destroyer gas tanks are kept right on the hull to maximize interior cargo space.

They probably build Star Destroyers out of the same material as that oh-so-protective Storm Trooper armor.

It exploded for the exact same reason that cars in the movies explode when they are shot.

Mythbusters actually did this myth recently. They got a junk car, filled the gas tank, and shot it about five times right through the gas tank. NOTHING happened.

The whole “put the bridge on the ‘top’ of the ship” thing is indeed an idiocy, based on an incorrect analogy with seagoing ships. Just as one-man spacecraft should not behave like aircraft. But whole threads have been done about this already.

Ok, let’s say that the crash of the A-wing, perhaps along with other damage to the SSD’s systems, led to a navigation failure that caused the SSD to collide with the Death Star. I’ll buy that.

As for the explosion, remember the scale we’re talking about: the SSD is tens of kilometers long, the Death Star hundreds of kilometers across. The “slow” crash we see is probably at speeds around a kilometer a second. Also, even if it was made of the strongest structural materials available, relative to it’s size the SSD is probably as fragile as porcelain. Aside from the main engines it probably has any number of “smaller” (terawatt?) generators for various subsystems like the laser cannon. So I can see it blowing up as it hits.

Finally, when all else fails, there’s “because it looks cool”.

Okay, so nobody remembers the squid-boy Admiral saying “Concentrate all fire on that Super Star Destroyer”?

It wasn’t just one teeny starfighter; it was the combined fire of the entire Rebel Alliance fleet of capital ships.

Plus that A-Wing pilot gets mad martyr props on taking that bird out.

“Lets raise a glass to whatsisface! He aint here but there’s very few more spectacular/useful ways to die than dropping a fuck off Star Destroyer into the Death Star.”


Oh, I thought you were going to say that the Mythbusters built a Super Star Destroyer and crashed an A-wing into it to see what would have happened. 'Cuz that would make them really cool. :smiley:

As for the OP, Imperial Hubris and all that. I bet the SSD’s designers never thought in a million years that a single fighter could get close enough to the ship, especially after its shields has been taken out, AND crash into the bridge. The ships were meant to inspire fear and dread, and overwhelm any opponent, not necessarily be perfect weapons.

This is not as unlikely possibility as it at first seems. In Army-Talk this is called a ‘Golden BB.’ History is full of them.

Consider HMS Hood, she took (what seems to have been) a single shot into a weak point in her armor. The explosion was communicated down to the (ammunition) magazine and the whole thing went up like a Super Star Destroyer.

In much the same way, history records miraculous shots by (fill in the blank) that managed to kill a (fill in the blank). Enough shots and a certain number of the get lucky. Some get very lucky indeed.

Well, a tiny handful of guys with boxcutters from some pissant 3rd-world religious-nut brigade hijacked a couple commercial passenger aircraft within the territory of the most powerful military nation in history and managed to avoid being intercepted & shot down long enough to take out a highly visible and symbolic (and huge) business tower and came rather close to getting the military and political headquarters buildings of the same nation.

Seems comparable.

And just to complete the comparison and drag the thread off-topic a bit more:
George Bush isn’t as cool as Darth Vader though :wink:

I understand the comparison with the HMS Hood, which was sunk with nearly all hands (I think 3 people survived) from a magazine explosion.

I guess for the whole thing to work, a number of factors have to be in place-

-The Super Star Destroyer was taking Heavy Turbolaser/torpedo fire. I know Ackbar ordered the ships to engage at point-blank range, the only thing is they don’t really show the larger Rebel ships poinding the SSD. This makes it seem like the whole thing was done by fighters, but I’m sure a SSD is bristling with turbolasers.

-The Super Star Destroyer was very close to the Death Star, close enough that the Death Star’s gravitational field was able to yank in the SSD when it went out of control.

-The Death Star has a super dense outer shell which was able to absorb the force of a 10-kilometer long ship, weighing god knows how many trillion tons with some immense amount of inertia. Personally I think it would have been more spectacular if the SSD bored straight through into the Death Star’s Core, destroying it that way :smiley:

Aren’t there any A-wing pilots here who can weigh in with a definitive answer?

Well, IANARAAWP*, but it seems to me that things happened pretty fast once the A-Wing plowed into the bridge - perhaps too fast for any auxiliary control room to regain control of the ship and steer clear of the Death Star’s gravity well?

Just my WAG…

*I Am Not A Rebel Alliance A-Wing Pilot :smiley:

You people are all FOOLS!

There was a second A-Wing that came from the grassy knoll.

As it was put in a different fictional universe:

“This [staff weapon] is a weapon of terror. It’s made to intimidate the enemy. This [P90 SMG] is a weapon of war; it’s made to kill your enemy.” --Col. Jack O’Neill

Yeah, but the pilot was actually the captain of the SSD, who realized he had to go back in time so he could perform a suicide run against himself to restore the timeline.

A nice thowaway line to explain why every time SG-1 comes under attack by Death Gliders, the pilots can’t seem to manage to hit anyone except for maybe some extras.

As for the A-Wing, probably when it hit, it took out all the commanding officers. The Empire really doesn’t encourage initiative among its lower ranks – it’s too likely that some dude in a helmet will do that strangle-you-with-the-Force trick if you do anything to attract notice.

Well, the entire bridge crew was shown doing what I call “The Toonses Response” to danger, which is to scream and gesticulate wildy while careening your vehicle into oblivion. A level-headed bridge crew would have just rerouted power to auxilliary workstations when they saw the A-wing coming in, saluted their fate and quoted a line or two from Shakespeare, and left the SSD’s crew to valiantly continue the fight.