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The Nemesis-class gunship was an experimental military vessel that was produced by the Galactic Empire during the early phase of the Galactic Civil War. The gunship boasted an array of heavy weapons, including missile launchers and a heavy repeating cannon. But due to the complexities and firepower incorporated in its design, the gunship came with a very heavy price tag, thus making it affordable only to wealthiest regional governors of the Empire.
Barely a year after the onset of the Galactic Civil War, a renegade clone of Darth Vader's late secret apprentice, Galen Marek, traveled to Cato Neimoidia to rescue the Jedi General Rahm Kota of the Rebel Alliance. As the rogue clone unleashed a relentless rampage of devastation on Tarko-se and its Imperial garrison, he soon discovered that two Nemesis-class gunships were included in the city's defense by the planetary administrator, Baron Merillion Tarko. Yet despite their considerable and deadly arsenal, both gunships proved to be no match against the clone's extremely powerful command of the Force. Shortly after destroying the gunships, the clone successfully rescued Kota from captivity, resulting in Tarko's death and the complete destruction of his city.
The Nemesis-class gunship was designed to provide close-air support for Imperial forces and to pacify rebellious citizens. Consequently, the gunships of the Nemesis design were built as heavy-weapons platforms. Their arsenal incorporated an array of highly advanced weapons, as well as better quality in firepower and greater quantity in ammunition than previous gunships. The Nemesis' primary weapons were the anti-personnel Hellcaster cannon and the anti-armor concussion missile launchers.
Another unique feature in the design of the Nemesis-class was its engine system. Unlike previous gunships that utilized the usual repulsorlift engines, the Nemesis was equipped with a jet-drive system, which produced a turbulent backwash of superheated air that created an extremely high-pitched sound. Due to the vessel's angled jet-drives, only specially trained pilots were capable of controlling the Nemesis-class gunships.
The Galactic Empire ruled through the fear of its citizens, particularly their fear of the relentless Imperial war machine and its unrivaled technology. Therefore, Imperial starships and vehicles were designed to strike terror deep into the Empire's enemies, both in appearance and firepower. The Nemesis-class gunship was a direct result of the Imperial hardline stance on galactic domination and total war. Like many other vessels in the Empire's seemingly unlimited arsenal, the Nemesis was built for the purpose of breaking the resolve of enemy units, either through fear of the threat of force, or though the exercising of said force.
The Nemesis-class gunship was suitable for both military operations against insurgent elements and planetary occupation to suppress discontent civilians. In either capacity, the Nemesis was meant to project the might of Imperial power and the futility of rebellion. The Nemesis' performance on Polomie and its role on Cato Neimoidia are testaments to its primary function as a symbol of terror, as well as its effectiveness against enemy units and vehicles.
By and large, the Nemesis' greatest strengths were its highly destructive—and incredibly expensive—arsenal and firepower. With its Hellcaster cannon and concussion missile launchers, combined with a large quantity of ammunition, the gunship was one of the most lethal vessels in the Imperial Navy by the year 1 BBY. Although the metal that composed its hull offered strong protection against conventional weapons and attacks, the gunship was extremely vulnerable to its own weapons. During the destruction of Tarko-se on Cato Neimoidia, a wayward clone of Galen Marek destroyed two Nemesis-class gunships by redirecting concussion missiles back to their original source.