The B-52 Heavy Torpedo Bomber, also known as the StarHammer and often simply designated Hammer, was a starfighter/bomber designed to carry and launch capital ship rated ordnance, such as the the MGM-31 Assault Proton Torpedo or the AGM-86 Concussion Cruise Missile. It was developed and manufactured by Rendili Aerospace during the Thrawn campaign, as part of the New Republic Navy's New Class Modernization Program. While the B-52 lost to Koensayr's BTL-S8 K-wing Assault Starfighter as the New Republic Navy's main bomber, the admiralty still saw value in the StarHammer, and ordered 2500 units. This contract saved Rendili Aerospace from bankruptcy.
The StarHammer, much like its larger predecessors such as the BT-7 Thunderclap Assault Ship and the Defender-class Light Corvette, had an distinct hammerhead shape. This, combined with heavy armour and a slim forward profile, allowed it to engage much larger capital ships long enough to deliver its payload at optimal range. Thanks to its wide wingspan, the StarHammer carried twelve Krupx Type-93 Launchers, enough ordnance to destroy a Heavy Cruiser by itself.
Unfortunately, its impressive resilience and firepower came at a cost. Due its size and the sheer mass of its armour and payload, the StarHammer had infamously poor thrust-to-mass ratio and maneuverability. Because of these two weaknesses, and due to the severe threat it posed to Capital Ships, the Hammer often found itself swarmed by enemy Starfighters. While its impressive defensive armaments could deter small groups of light strike craft from engaging it, the StarHammer was still very dependent on X-wing support to weather attacks by a large number of Multi-Role or Heavy Fighters.
In order to remedy the acceleration issue, New Republic Navy mechanics had come up with all kinds of aftermarket modifications to the B-52 to improve fuel efficiency and thruster output. Daredevil pilots, however, have come up with a radical acceleration maneuver involving locking the Type-93 launcher's clamps before launching the payload, adding the back blast to the engine's thrust, effectively making every launcher a booster rocket. This was, of course, considered an insane, suicidal move for two reasons: one, the securing clamps could jam, leaving live warheads inside the ship. Two: said warhead's guidance systems could get confused and attempt to course correct, turning the StarHammer into a wild horse.
Uh, no. No it would not.
You see we had this conflict from 1939 - 1945 in which formations of hundreds, if not THOUSANDS, of bombers operated in even tighter formations, and in some cases one of those bombers exploded (including all of the fuel and ordinance aboard).
You know what didn't happen? AN ENTIRE FUCKING FORMATION EXPLODING because of ONE bomber like a bunch of flammable dominoes.
And before you dismiss that with "Well they weren't using missiles" fast forward to the 1960s with that intervention called Vietnam. Replace B-17s and B-24s with B-52s, and Fw-190s with SAMs. Same thing.
So it's an absolutely fair criticism. If ANY real-world bomber design would react to enemy fire the way the Resistance Bombers did, that bomber WOULD NEVER ENTER PRODUCTION.
(And I'm not even getting to the part where having a space bomber that can only vertically drop its ordinance, thus maximizing its time over target and exposure to enemy point defenses, is INCREDIBLY STUPID. There's a REASON saturation level bombing of defended targets is being phased out in favor of longer-ranged cruise missiles and GPS-guided munitions. It's doubly stupid because LEVEL BOMBING IS THE WORST WAY EVER TO HIT A SHIP. It took them like 100 tries to sink Tirpitz during WWII, AND SHE WAS FUCKING ANCHORED IN THE FUCKING HARBOR).
Good argument but that last part is not so good. Tirpitz was moored for most of the war in
Fættenfjord, a fjord that has high cliffs on either side which were given numerous AA mounts. Tirpitz wasn't sunk until she was move and moored near Tromsø. A much less defended and easier place to reach than the former.
The RAF made multiple attempts to bomb Tirpitz at Fættenfjord. It had little to do with the amount of AAA and the height of the cliffs. They were attempting to attack her with high-altitude level bombers. You do NOT use level bombers to attack shipping. Even shipping that's parked is too hard to precisely attack with dumb munitions.
That's the entire reason you sent large masses of bombers to attack in the first place. The only way to hit what you're aiming at is to completely saturate the target.
So? This isn't Star Trek. The next generation of Starfighters did not outperform the last generation by a significant margin, so it doesn't excuse the MG-100 for being so much slower than a much older Disney Canon ship — the VCX-100 — which can outfly the more modern MG-100 in spite of being larger and heavier.
2. Given the weapons in SW, most ship of that size have weak hulls.
3. All SW starships have shields.
4. The guns are automatic, they just don't fire very rapidly.
5. Most SW munitions are unguided, except for missiles/torpedos. Proton bombs are noted as being more powerful than their torpedo counterparts. And torpdeos are more expensive.
Given who the Resistance are, the StarFortresses are likely old craft. It's similar to how the Rebels typically used old Y-Wings etc.
The Youtuber EC Henry actually gives a very good explanation for why the Resistance used these bombers:
The basic overview is that to destroy the target ship, you would've required about 50+ Y-Wings, and every single one would have to have every single one of its bombs hit in order to destroy the target. In contrast to this, only 1 Starfortress needed to get through to destroy the ship, and it did.
The StarFortress is a very economical and practical ship for the job. Each StarFortress has a crew of 5. There were nine bombers in total, so that's 45 total crew. For the required 50+ Y-Wings, you have crews of 2, making about 100+ total crew. So the Resistance reduced the required crew numbers by more than 50% by using the StarFortress. When you're a small group, the option that uses the least number of people is the most practical.
And again, un-escorted bombers are always vulnerable. Look at the Y-Wings in A New Hope. When their escort wasn't able to help, they were sitting ducks.
You also don't send LEVEL BOMBERS to attack ships. ESPECIALLY ships in motion.
The RAF sent about 100 separate airstrikes to try sinking Tirpitz. They missed just about every single time. AND THAT'S WITH THE BOMBER TIED UP IN HARBOR AND NOT. FUCKING. MOVING.
And that's where it gets even worse, because the resistance was using level bombers for a PRECISION BOMBING RUN against what Poe described as a "sweet spot" (you remember, that very clearly-indicated, exposed, round thing on the surface of the Dreadnaught's dorsal hull that doesn't connect to anything vital but has to be a weak point anyway because plot).
I'm going to reiterate this for the kids in the back of the class:
LEVEL BOMBING WITH "DUMB" MUNITIONS IS NOT PRECISE. The reason you use masses of bombers carrying a fuckton of bombs is because the only way you're hitting shit is by SATURATING THE TARGET WITH KABLOOIE.
A squadron of X-wings making a torpedo run and able to concentrate their fire on that one point would have been FAR more effective than trying to saturation-bomb (case in point: at Midway a SINGLE SBD DIVE-BOMBER obliterated the carrier Akagi with one bomb in the exact right spot).
Stop trying to apologize for Last Jedi. The entire opening battle scene was horribly plotted and misconceived. Johnson only did it because he wanted to subvert every last thing about Star Wars, and he insisted on having a massed formation of bombers IN COMPLETE AND TOTAL DEFIANCE OF ANY MILITARY LOGIC.
Well when you think about it, the Starfortress was really the only ship they had which could do the job of taking out the Mandator IV, and probably the only bombers they had in the first place. The MG-100's payload is a rediculous 1000 bombs, and judging by the Fulminatrix being from the Mandator line, it probably wouldn't go down with a few Y-Wings, especially Resistance Y-Wings, which the resistance probably had in the single digits (also same with X-Wings). But I do agree that the formation used was incredibly bad. Though TLJ was entertaining, imo. Not very good for the plot and story, but entertaining.
There are ships with no shields. Just look at most of CIS Droid Fighters or bombers, or better yet The TIE Fighter, TIE Interceptor, and TIE Bomber. None of these ships had shields in canon or legends (I've checked). Prototypes or one-off variants like Vaders TIE Advance X1 did, but the basic mass-produced TIE didn't have shields.