The Death Glider is the primary fighter spacecraft used by the Goa'uld. They are capable of both atmospheric and space flight and combat. They are primarily armed with two staff cannons and piloted by two Jaffa. We first see them in Stargate the Movie.
Death Gliders have been known to be used by the Goa'uld for a very long time, perhaps centuries or millennium. When the SGC went back to 2995 B.C., there were no death gliders seen, but Ra's personal ship was there, which did house death gliders on Abydos, so it can be conjectured they were in existence at least six thousand years ago. A death glider is shaped to resemble an scarab beetle, linking them to Egyptian mythology. It is a central body shaped like a flattened ellipsoid, with two curved wings that droop downwards significantly. On the underside, a diamond shaped platform is lowered which contains the cockpit. There are sensors, specifically mentioned by Death Gliders of Anubis, but it is unknown of the exact devices. Communication among and between death gliders is through a small electronic device placed on the pilot or co-pilot's cheek. It acts as a radio between crafts. (Stargate the Movie, 1.02 "Children of the Gods Part 2", 2.01 "The Serpent's Lair Part 2", 5.22 "Revelations"' 8.19 "Moebius Part 1")
It is unknown what powers a Death Glider, however, considering it is Goa'uld technology, naquadah would be very likely. A Death Glider's propulsion is achieved not through direct thrust, but, as Samantha Carter explained, "takes inertia out of the equation." This is perhaps a device that redirects inertia as the craft flies, allowing it to make the maneuvers that it can. In the X-301, a human built craft built from parts salvaged from two damaged Death Gliders, slight damage to the wings resulted in power and systems failures, so there is perhaps the power generators or the inertial drive in the wings. There is also an antigravity system for hovering. There is no capability for faster than light travel. (4.12 "Tangent")
Since Teal'c's rebellion against the System Lords, a recall device was installed in Death Gliders. This recall device would bring a ship on a course at maximum sublight thrust to the home planet of the System Lord in question. Given a certain distance and that Death Gliders are dependant on a base of operations for support, this journey may take many centuries. This recall device activated onboard the X-301, and is now taking it beyond Earth's solar system. A Death Glider is piloted by two Jaffa normally, one as a pilot, and the other as gunner. It has been shown to operate with only one, but presumably it's combat effectiveness is impaired. The controls of the Death Glider, for the pilot, is a large red sphere, similar to the central device on a DHD. Direct thoughts and spoken words seem to control the craft as long as the pilot touches this device. The gunner probably has similar controls. (3.01 "Into the Fire Part Two")
The weaponry of a death glider is a pair of staff cannons, a more powerful version of a staff weapon, but using the same basic technology. They can be removed and used as infantry weaponry, however they are particularly bulky. The cannons are situated perhaps four meters apart on the craft, and only fire in a straight line. Because of this, Death Gliders are ill-suited for anything other than strafing runs on targets. (5.04 "The Fifth Man")
The Goa'uld death glider, in comparison to modern attack aircraft, such as the F-22A, or to the human built craft, the F-302, are not nearly as effective for ship-to-ship combat or ground attack. The ship lacks a HUD or any kind of targeting other than a dead reckoning. And lastly, the two staff cannons have no vectoring or adjustments for firing, so they shoot in two points on the edges of the craft, which is ill-suited for firing upon a specific target without very careful maneuvering and aiming.
Death gliders were used by Ra and his guard. The death gliders were only piloted by one men apiece, which could be an effort to save on manpower, given that Ra was the Supreme System Lord, and his pleasure craft did not need a particularly effective glider force. (Stargate the Movie)
Death gliders were used to escape from the Ha'taks of Apophis and Klorel during their attack on Earth. The two death gliders were retrieved by the space shuttle and presumably were the two death gliders that were used to create the X-301 prototype. (2.01 "The Serpent's Lair, Part 2" and 4.12 "Tangent")
Death gliders, with either one or two Jaffa as crew, are often used by the Goa'uld when fighting a battle and expecting medium or heavy resistence on planets, such as where Tau'ri have been spotted. They are also launched from ha'taks when rival ships do battle with each other in space. (Among other examples: 2.02 "In the Line of Duty", 3.20 "Maternal Instinct", 7.01 "Fallen", 7.18 "Heroes, Part 2", 7.21 "Lost City, Part 1", 7.22 "Lost City, Part 2")
Ring Transportation Death Glider
|This variant was seen in Apophis's forces. It was more massive than the standard Death Glider, and it's only known design feature was that it possessed its own set of Ring Transporters. It is also shown to be capable of carrying several people (Klorel and several other Goa'uld). (1.02 "Children of the Gods Part 2")|
Stargate-Capable Death Glider
|This variant is only seen once, and was not given a name. It is specifically designed to fit through a Stargate, or in a Jaffa colloquial phrase, "threading the needle." It carries two people as pilot and gunner, but this is where the similarities to conventional death gliders end. While the normal death glider has two wings, this craft only has one, curved into a cylinder around the central hull.
It is unknown if the craft has any shielding systems, but the weaponry is known. It has two energy weapons similar to staff cannons. The weapon salvos from this vessel fly at a much slower speed than staff weapons, but they are larger and also have a measure of altering flight, suggesting a homing energy weapon similar to the al'kesh bomber.
This ship was used when SG-1 was being held by Hathor's forces. It was hidden away by Bra'tac around one hundred years previously. It was used to attack the gate on P3X-254, and ultimately led to the SGC gaining control of the gate. Since this time, it is unknown what has happened to the death glider. (3.01 "Into the Fire Part 2")
- Stargate: The Movie
- 1.02 "Children Of The Gods Part 2"
- 2.01 "The Serpent's Lair Part 2"
- 3.01 "Into The Fire Part 2"
- 3.20 "Maternal Instinct"
- 4.12 "Tangent"
- 5.04 "The Fifth Man"
- 5.22 "Revelations"
- 7.18 "Heroes Part 2"
- 7.21 "Lost City Part 1"
- 7.22 "Lost City Part 2"
- 8.19 "Moebius Part 1"
--Written for Solutions by Jordan Kreiger.
--Aurora 09:09, 21 April 2006 (PDT)