Ion cannon
Production information

Energy weapon

Technical specifications

Elongated barrel

Beam color

Red, blue, yellow

Reload time

7 seconds

Effective range

4 kilometers


Heavy armor penetration

Affiliated with

The Ion Cannon is one of the more powerful weapons to be seen in Homeworld. Through the use of an accelerated particle beam, the ion cannon is capable of penetrating even the toughest of Capital Ship armor. Its firepower is matched only by the Heavy Missile, an anti-capital ship weapon developed by the Vaygr, and exceeded by the Phased Cannon Array.

The ion cannon itself is believed to have been first used by the Bentusi, and then traded to the Kushan people in the Great Wastelands. The Taiidan received no such Bentusi assistance and acquired the weapon through their own research.

While the ion cannon does tremendous damage, it comes with the price of bulkiness and high energy consumption. in fact, the weapon is so big that only Frigate vessels may mount it, even then by wrapping the hull around the length of the entire cannon. This is the case in Homeworld, where the Ion Cannon Frigates make use of this design philosophy. Because of these problems, the ion cannon is used primarily in the role of an anti capital ship weapon, though technological innovations during Homeworld: Cataclysm allowed an anti-strike craft variant of the weapon.

Ion cannons in HomeworldEdit

In the original game of Homeworld, ion cannons were used by the Kushan, the Taiidan, the Turanic Raiders, the Kadeshi, and the Bentusi.

Both the Kushan and the Taiidan races applied ion cannon technology to their capital ships. Ion cannons were used on Kushan capital ships such as the Ion Cannon Frigate, the Destroyer and the Heavy Cruiser. As for the Taiidan, warships equipped with ion cannons include the Ion Cannon Frigate, the Destroyer and the Heavy Cruiser.

While the Turanic Raiders relied heavily on the use of strike craft, they also had 2 types of capital ships using the ion cannon as the primary weapon. The Ion Array Frigate and the Attack Carrier both used ion cannons to deal damage to the enemy.

The Kadeshi showed considerable mastery over their use of ion cannon technology and may be considered to be second only to the Bentusi. Kadeshi capital ships using the ion cannon include the Kadeshi Mothership and the Multi-Beam Frigate. The latter is one of the most dangerous ship designs in Homeworld, featuring 4 full power ion cannons fitted onto a compact frigate design. In effect, the Multi-Beam Frigate's firepower is roughly equivalent to that of 4 Firelances or Sajuuk Cors.

In Homeworld, the Bentusi Exchange is equipped with 3 rapid-fire ion cannons. These ion cannons differ from those used by the other races in that they can fire constantly without recharging, and are capable of tracking even fast-moving strike craft.

Ion cannons in Homeworld: CataclysmEdit

During the Beast War, ion cannons were used by the Kushan, the Taiidan, the Turanic Raiders, Kiith Somtaaw and the Bentusi. Since the Homeworld War, ion cannon technology had gone through various improvements and advancements.

The Somtaaw implemented ion cannon weaponry on three of their capital ships - the Multi-Beam Frigate, the Destroyer, and the Dreadnought. Of the three vessels, the Dervish is probably the best example of innovation for an already awe-inspiring weapon. By accelerating the particles within a helix bundle in the ship, the Dervish is capable of firing an ion beam from each of its 5 turrets. While the ion beams fired in this manner are considerably weaker than a standard beam, they have fast-tracking capabilities and are used primarily to deal with strike craft.

During the war the Bentusi were forced to reveal their ultimate weapon - the Super Acolyte. Through the applied use of crystalline conduits in strike craft, the Bentusi were able to design a fighter equipped with two high-powered ion cannons. These ion cannons had short firing and recharge times, allowing the fighter to rapidly retarget enemy vessels. These ships were granted to the Somtaaw immediately after the destruction of the Nomad Moon, which itself used rapid-fire ion cannons developed by the Taiidan Republic.

Ion cannons in Homeworld 2Edit

Battle ion

Battlecruiser fires its Heavy Ion Cannons

In Homeworld 2, ion cannons are used exclusively by the Hiigaran race. For some reason, the advanced ion cannon technology developed during the Beast War is absent in this era, in spite of the fact that Homeworld 2 takes place nearly a century after the Hiigaran Landfall. (The Beast War was about 15 years after the Landfall.)

The ion cannon is present in three of the Hiigaran fleet's units - the Hiigaran Ion Platform, the Ion Cannon Frigate and the Battlecruiser.

It is believed that ion cannons in Homeworld 2 are available in three classes - light, medium, and heavy. This hypothesis came about because those three units possessed differing firepower regardless of the number of ion cannons they were equipped with. The light ion cannon used in the Ion Platform deals so little damage that a platform must mount 4 of the cannons in order for it to be a viable anti-frigate unit. The Ion Cannon Frigate probably uses the medium variant of the weapon as its one beam is capable of equaling and even exceeding the damage potential of the Ion Platform. On the top of the line is the heavy ion cannon which is mounted on the dual cannon turrets of the Battlecruiser. The heavy ion cannon is so powerful that a single salvo involving 4 beams can easily destroy an un-upgraded carrier.

It is interesting to note that while the Hiigarans are able to squeeze 4 ion cannons onto a single Ion Platform in Homeworld 2, they can only mount a single cannon onto a frigate hull as seen from the Ion Cannon Frigate, successor to the original Firelance-class. Of course, this can probably be attributed to the varying damage potentials allowed by each ion cannon variant.

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