PROS & CONS: Snowspeeders (Legends)
Snowspeeders are some of the most iconic crafts in the entire Star Wars saga. Sure, they're not quite on the same level as an X-wing or the Millennium Falcon, but their iconic appearance in The Empire Strikes Back makes them something of a household name. And to think they managed to topple the mighty AT-AT walker despite their humble beginnings is truly remarkable. Unfortunately, every vehicle in the galaxy far, far away has its faults, and this agile fighter is certainly no exception... Here are all the pros and cons of snowspeeders!
It wasn't long after establishing their new secret base on the Ice planet Hoth that the Rebel Alliance acquired a small squadron of Incom T-47 airspeeders. Originally intended for civilian use, each vehicle had to be retrofitted with military-grade laser cannons and reinforced armour plating – not to mention a large bank of radiator fins for essential cooling. Such a system initially proved too effective for the surrounding climate, and would often cause snowspeeder power generators to seize up. Rebels mechanics, as a means of dampening their heat-exchange effect and keeping the engine systems warm enough for optimal functioning, were thus forced into adding side panels to each of the radiator fins. Many of these very changes were only completed mere minutes before the Imperial attack upon Echo Base, and this is where many of the problems associated with snowspeeders derive from.
Rushed into battle, the T-47 was more or less a makeshift defensive unit. Sure, it was spruced up both offensively and defensively, but no amount of upgrades could quite mask over its civilian origins. This is why snowspeeders suffered from exceptionally poor shields, which is our first con, and also ineffective cannons, which is our second con. Against heavily armoured tanks and walkers, for example, their laser fire was harmlessly absorbed and dissipated. Finally, the flight controls slightly jutted upward across the base of the front view screen, meaning that pilots had to rely upon their peripheral vision to quickly glean data from the scopes. So overall, the snowspeeder suffered from three major drawbacks...
As for the craft's pros – well, let's kick off by turning a negative into a positive. While a flight sealing of 175km may seem rather pitiful, having been designed to fly in middle and upper atmospheres, skilled pilots could effortlessly skim planetary surfaces at high speeds. This, combined with its aerodynamic design, agile nature, and ability to turn without reducing speed, made it nearly impossible to track with flight-predictor sensors and extremely difficult to target with laser fire. If that wasn't impressive enough, however, the T-47 was as easy to modify as it was versatile. For example, its tow cable could double up as a cargo sled hauler and a tool for downing AT-AT walkers. So, as long as the rear gunner wasn't prematurely killed, snowspeeders came equipped with a weapon capable of destroying even the most imposing vehicles, at all times.
All in all, the Incom T-47 airspeeder had more cons than it did pros. But that's not to say it was poorly designed or completely ineffective. In fact, these vehicles were extremely useful, considering both their small nature and humble beginnings. Let me know in the comments below your overall opinion of snowspeeders, as well as any pros and cons I may have missed.