Pablo Sanchez wrote:
Saying that EU stuff is useless for estimating production rates is an understatement. We're talking about the sources that claimed the Empire used Wookie slaves for most of the construction!
To be fair, Death Star
seems to indicate slave and convict labor was primarily in the form of forced technical services and expertise. Those Wookiee slaves weren't antebellum
South-style slave laborers, but more like the enslaved Greeks of Classical Rome. They were enslaved Wookiee engineers and what have you.
Pablo Sanchez wrote:
It's obvious that mass is pretty much no issue at all to SW construction methods, so the fabrication of basic elements like the hull, superstructure, and the housings for reactor, engines, and guns are probably completed very rapidly. Most man-hours are probably spent on installing more complex components and machinery--the engine, electronics, life support, and so on and so forth. We know that the Empire was able to assemble 60% of the gross superstructure of the DSII and bring it to an operational state, but on the other hand we don't have solid figures as to how close it was to entirely complete. Just as an example, the DSII had no integral shielding, minimal maneuvering capacity, and no surface defenses.
This is a very good point. Although, the shield apparatus on the sanctuary moon arguably was of a similar level of capability or sophistication as the final integral shielding. The surface defenses (at least low altitude point-defense) were partially operational. The fact that the novelizations shows the Death Star was rotating to fire on Endor as a last act of retribution after the death of Palpatine and the impending destruction of the craft suggests they had enough maneuvering capability to rotate in relatively quick order, and such feats of angular momentum on something like the Death Star II are nothing to sneeze at.
Pablo Sanchez wrote:
It's possible that this accounts for some of the difference in construction time between getting the DSI (something like 19 years) to 100% and getting the DSII to 60% (six months). Star Wars technology might be capable of building really immense structures in a very short amount of time, but their fabrication could be unable to produce complex systems like electronics and this takes the bulk of the man-hours that goes into commissioning a ship or battlestation. Just as speculation, though.
A few months would appear to be reasonable for an ISD.
The effective time of the Death Star I construction was around two years, despite it being 180 times less voluminous (and presumably just as less massive and construction-intensive). However, the Death Star I was plagued with repeated construction mishaps, labor difficulties, and redesigns (possibly there were also considerable issues with adapting the initial Great Weapon design built to Confederate specifications and with their proprietary techniques to the strategic aims and means of the Empire); it was also constructed without the consent of the Imperial Senate (which still dominated law making and the power of the purse at this stage of the Empire's despotate, making funding and supporting the endeavor much more difficult). The reason why the Death Star was placed on hiatus for nearly 17 (effective net) years is unknown, but presumably the nascent Empire had its hands full with the Great Purge and various restructuring and institutionalizing of its new regime, to say nothing of the considerable effort in postwar subjugation and reconstruction, and of course, the aforementioned concerns around adapting the Confederate project to Imperial concerns and to reverse engineering and redesigning much of it.
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