The Obsidian Order Project

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SW Sensor Systems
Range Resolution Capabilities
27.0 "Yag'Dhul and its moons appeared as colorful spheres hanging in space.  Silhouetted against Yag'Dhul's gray face, the space station appeared to be little more than a cross - insignificant and defenseless."   [ "X-Wing: The Bacta War", p. 287 ]

"     'Have you spotted the Alderaanian War Cruiser yet?'
      'Negative,' reported Drysso's aide.  We are clear for a hundred kilometers around us, and Virulence is reporting similar clearance.'
      'Push the sensor sphere out to wo hundred kilometers, Lieutenant Waroen, and keep scanning the fringes of the system for that War cruiser.  Time to engagement?'
      'Ten minutes to range.'
      'Bring our shields up to full.'
      'As ordered, sir.'
      Drysso stroked his goatee as he watched the station grow larger."   [ "X-Wing: The Bacta War", p. 287 ]

The SSD was out of range, despite the fact that the ship's captain could see the station with his own eyes.  Even if someone tries to argue that he saw it on a monitor, the SSD was still no more than 100 km away from the station - since that was the original sensor sphere.
27.1 "     Even with the best available instruments, the Imperial-class Star Destroyer was undetectable against the background of a first-magnitude star at a range of only six thousand kilometers.  A ship the size of Vanguard could creep within three hundred klicks without being spotted.  Any inattention, any errors of assessment, any deficiencies in the systems, and those margins would narrow still further.
      Active sensing - a laser pulse, a radar ping - could remove that vulnerability, separating a nearby ship from a distant star."   [ "Tyrant's Test" p. 194 ]

SW sensors suck!
27.2 "     Even with the best available instruments, the Imperial-class Star Destroyer was undetectable against the background of a first-magnitude star at a range of only six thousand kilometers.  A ship the size of Vanguard could creep within three hundred klicks without being spotted.  Any inattention, any errors of assessment, any deficiencies in the systems, and those margins would narrow still further.
      Active sensing - a laser pulse, a radar ping - could remove that vulnerability, separating a nearby ship from a distant star."   [ "Tyrant's Test" p. 194 ]

SW sensors suck!
27.3 "'It's all the mini-nebulae and gas offshoots, you see, coming off the Kathol Rift.  All of that reflected light and radiation scrambles sensors and communications - makes it terribly difficult to find anything at all.  Searching the whole region could take you decades.'"   [ "Vision of the Future" p.194 ]

SW sensors and not good enough to find a star in a cluster that is hidden in some nebula.
27.4 "'Small military craft of some sort.  It's hard for us to see them now, and if we didn't have the mil-spec sensors, we couldn't see them at all.'"   [ "Ambush at Corellia", p. 159 ]

"'They just performed a preprogrammed maneuver, heading straight for us.  Except we're a million kilometers back of where we out to be.'"   [ "Ambush at Corellia", p. 160 ]

SW standard sensors can't detect small ships at distances of 1,000,000 km - they have to be military grade for that.
27.5 "A cloaked warship's own sensor beams would be as useless as those of its enemies, leaving it to flail about totally blind.  Worse, if it were under power, the enemy could locate it by simply tracking its drive emissions."   [ "Dark Force Rising", p. 48 ]

SW engeneers have obviously not been able to solve this problem, unlike their ST counterparts.  Of course the ones in ST have been working on this for around 100 years.
27.6 "Three-thousandths of a light-year away, the Bpfassh system's sun was a mere pinprick, indistinguishable from the other stars blasing all around them."   [ "Heir to the Empire", p. 95 ]

Grand Admiral Thrawn thought it was just fine to position a 5-ship task force just 2.92 light hours from the target system, confident that he would not be spotted.  We also never hear any evidence of communications blackouts (quite the opposite in fact), sensor stealth, or any other attempts to hide from the enemy this close to them...
27.7 "     'That maneuver he used has an interesting side effect I suspect he didn't know about,' the grand admiral explained.  'Backfiring an acceleration compensator like that does severe damage to the adjoining hyperdrive.  A light-year away, no farther, and it will fail completely.  All we have to do is make a search along that vector, or persuade others to do our searching for us, and he'll be ours.  You follow?'
      'Yes, sir,' Pellaeon said.  'Shall I contact the rest of the fleet?'
      Thrawn shook his head.  'Preparing for the Sluis Van attack is the fleet's top priority at the moment.  No, I think we'll subcontract this one out.  I want you to send messages to all the major smuggling chiefs whose groups operate in this area - Brasck, Karrde, Par'tah, any others we have on file.  Use their private frequencies and encrypt codes - a little reminder of how much we know about each of them should help ensure their cooperation.  Give them Skywalker's hyperspace vector and offer a bounty of thirty thousand for his capture.'"   [ "Heir to the Empire", p. 186 ]

"Beyond the displays, through the canopy, he could see the X-wing's nose, lit faintly by the sheen of distant starlight.  Beyond that were the stars themselves, blazing all around him with cold brilliance.
      And that was all.  No sun, no planets, no asteroids, no cometary bodies.  No warships, transports, satellites, or probes.  Nothing."   [ "Heir to the Empire", p. 187 ]

"     It wasn't good.  Luke's reverse-triggering of the acceleration compensator had caused an unanticipated feedback surge into both hyperdrive motivators - not enough to fry them on the spot, but scorching them badly enough to cause sudden failure ten minutes into their escape.  At the Point Four the ship had been doing at the time, that translated into approximately half a light-year of distance."   [ "Heir to the Empire", p. 187-188 ]

From all of these descriptions it is very clear that an ISD cannot detect an X-wing just half a light year away.  That can be seen from the fact that captain Pellaeon was ready to call in a whole fleet to help with the search.  It is also clearly called a search by Thrawn - if it involved just doing a 10 second scan, jumping to the area, and picking Luke up it would not be a search.  And finally Thrawn ordered Pellaeon to call in no less than 4 separate smuggler groups, each with more than 3 or even 4 ships.  All of this clearly shows us that SW sensors are pathetic.
27.8 "     Thrawn turned away from his contemplation of the freighter to look at Pellaeon.  'You have a concern, Captain?'
      Pellaeon nodded at the shipo.  'I don't like sending them into enemy territory without any communications.'
      'We don't have much choice in the matter,' Thrawn reminded him dryly.  'That's how a cloaking shield works - nothing gets out, nothing gets in.'   He cocked an eyebrow.  'Assuming of course that it works at all,' he added pointedly."   [ "Heir to the Empire", p. 342 ]

"     'I disagree, Admiral.  Under normal circumstances, yes, careful timing would get them into position.  But there's no way to anticipate how long it'll take to get clearance from Sluis Control.'"   [ "Heir to the Empire", p. 342 ]

"     In the blackness of deep space, three-thousandths of a light-year out from the Sluis Van shipyards, the task force assembled for battle."   [ "Heir to the Empire", p. 375 ]

"It was an impressive task force, one worthy of the old days: five Imperial Star Destroyers, twelve Strike-class cruisers, and thirty full squadrons of TIE fighters standing ready in their hangar bays.
      And riding there in the middle of all that awsome firepower, like someone's twisted idea of a joke, sat the battered old A-class bulk freighter."   [ "Heir to the Empire", p. 376 ]

Yet again we see that just 2.92 light-hours is considered to be safe distance for a very large task force, which does not make any attempts at hiding itself.  Obviously because they consider it unnecessary.  Which means that even a very large and important shipyard together with hundreds of military ships are not capable of detecting several billion tonnes of active ships fully prepared to go into battle just 2.92 light hours away.  This is further confirmed by the Pellaeon-Thrawn dialogue.  All that was needed was for both groups of ships to know when the freighter got into position.  That was dependent on how long it would take for the Slus Van control to give the freighter clearance.  Pellaeon was very worried about lack of that information - however if the ISD had sensors good enough to see over the required 2.92 light hours, then it would have seen when the freighter was in position, and would not need to guess.
Targeting Systems
28.0 "Callista looked up and saw another blast come down.  With a single strike, the Super Star Destroyer obliterated an acre of ages-old growth.  One lucky shot could level the Great Temple."   [ "Darksaber", p. 350 ]

"     Then an indiscriminate river of fire seared through the atmosphere, ripping the air apart in a screaming ionization path.  A massive turbolaser bolt from orbit struck one of the TIE fighters and disintegrated it in a puff of released energy.  The shockwave fuffeted the Falcon, making Han and Chewbacca scramble to regain control of the ship."   [ "Darksaber", p. 356 ]

"     Another turbolaser bolt came down in the distance, igniting a portion of the jungle kilometers away."   [ "Darksaber", p. 356 ]

Hmm, are these the all-powerful turbolasers we all heard so much about?  All they do is burn forrest - not much of it, either.  They don't create very much shockwaves even when ships get really really really close to them (within a few hundred meters, apparently).  The SSD in orbit even appears to be incapable of targeting a huge temple in the middle of the forrest, pretty much cleared of growth, just begging to be destroyed.  Not very impressive, if you ask me.  :)
28.1 "     Wedge's range meter scrolled down below two kilometers, the maximum effective range for his targeting computer."   [ "X-Wing: Solo Command", p.29 ]

Pathetic effective range.  Utterly pathetic.
28.2 "     'So why were they jamming us?' Han asked.  'To keep us from calling for help?  From who?  They're not jamming us here, you notice.'"   [ "Heir to the Empire", p. 396 ]

It is clear that not everyone jammes everything all the time during battle.  In fact, in this quite important battle nobody was jamming anyone.
Miscellaneous Information
29.0 "     Most ships had blind spots in the stern, where the thrust from the sublight engines effectively jammed any and all detection frequencies."   [ "Ambush at Corellia", p. 160 ]

SW ships have blind spots!  Some of them huge!
29.1 "And it was cold, the launch door opened to space, only the magnetic-containment field keeping the atmosphere safely within ... and magcon fields did an inadequate job of retaining heat."   [ "X-Wing: Solo Command", p. 165 ]

SW magnetic containment fields suck at containing energy.

By 'Elim Garak'