A mothership is a standard battleship employed by the Goa'uld,and one of the greatest symbols of a Goa'uld's power. Every system lord controls several of such great ships, and the greatest system lords easily control dozens of ships. In Goa'uld, the ship is called a Ha'tak vessel.
Ha'taks are the most powerful vessels employed by the system lords, and faction which arose after their fall, but it still pales in comparison to the ships of the Asgard, the Ori, Ancients, and as of recently the Tau'ri.
The Mothership has been around for thousands of years with very little change in the design.though several unique variations were built, the standard Ha'tak continued to be the work horse of the Goa'uld fleets. The greatest of the System lords controlled possibly hundreds of motherships in their time, but their massive fleets have recently been dealt crippling blows by the unconventional tactics of the Tau'ri.
Since the demise of the System lords at Dakara, the motherships have primarily been used by the free Jaffa nation. They have also been used by the Lucian alliance and other factions which rose after the fall of the Goa'uld. Tau'ri and the Tok'ra have acquired these vessels on several occasions. Many Ha'taks were in control of the Replicators during their invasion of the Milky way. These have been commandeered from the System lords when the replicators destroyed them.
A Ha'tak warship consists of a protective superstructure based around a pyramid shaped core of the ship. All the command stations, ring teleporter, and glider bays are housed within the pyramid core, while the weapons are placed upon the superstructure. A mothership is a quite large vessel, and with the length of 700 meters it dwarfs all other Goa'uld, and Tau'ri vessels.
Some ships, like Ra's mothership, do not have the superstructure, instead looking completely like a pyramid. It is unknown if this is an older model or just a another ship class.
Some Ha'taks are known to house stargates
as well. The Stargate can only be dialed while a ship is landed or in orbit of a planet. Once it moves into deep space, the point of origin is no longer valid, and the stargate is inoperable.
A landing pad for a Ha'tak is in the shape of a pyramid, and in fact, the pyramids of Giza were built as landing pads for Goa'uld ships. However, they are able to land on a flat terrain, and were seen several times using the peak of a mountain as a landing site. This means that Ha'taks are quite versatile when it comes to landing, and the massive pyramid landing pads are made to prove the superiority of the Goa'uld, rather than to support the actual needs of the ship.
Unlike all other warships in the Stargate Universe
, a Ha'tak has no visible thrusters. Movement is most likely achieved through gravity and inertia manipulation, via engines hidden within the ship itself. Despite their size, Goa'uld motherships are quite fast, capable of going beyond 5% the speed of light. Sublight engines are also used to slow the ship down when exiting hyperspace.
A standard Ha'tak is capable of traveling 32,000 times the speed of light in hyperspace. While this serves the needs of the Goa'uld, their hyderdrive is quite ineffective compared to other species'. A mothership would need 125 years to cross the space from the Ida galaxy, and return to Milky Way. This journey would, by comparison, take several minutes for an Asgard ship.
A Goa'uld mothership is armed with at least 60 staff cannons. These weapons apparently employ the same mechanism and energy type as the handheld staff weapons
, albeit on a far larger scale. These weapons range in size, with some used as point-defense guns, for engaging small maneuverable crafts like fighters, while the mor massive ones are used for ship-to-ship confrontations and orbital bombardment.
The staff cannons are extremely destructive. A single energy bolt was measured to have the explosive force of 200 megatons of TNT. This is likely not their limit, based on the confrontations between Ha'taks and their estimated shield capabilities.
The cannons are spread mostly throughout the superstructure of the ship, with smaller guns mounted on the pyramid core itself. The cannons are layed out in way that allows the ship to fire at any target, no matter its relative position. This means that the ship effectively has no blind spots. The guns can still be outmaneuvered by small vessels, such as a Death glider.
Each Ha'tak possesses 12 wings of Death gliders and 3 wings of Al-kesh bombers, which are used for ship-to-ship battles, as well are for orbital bombardment and terrorism.
The glider bays of Ha'taks are located on the same side of the pyramid as the bridge. The gliders are then "shot" out of launchers that send them out at high speeds. Death Gliders
come out from an aperture at the base of the pyramid core, underneath the scaffolding of the superstructure. When docked, gliders are held in racks which allow easy departure.
For defense these ships employ shields of grea power. The shields are powerful enough to sustain upwards of one gigaton blast power, without any visible loss of integrity. They can also protect the ship for 10 hours inside the corona of a blue star.
Powerful as they are, they are ineffective against the weapons of more advanced ships ships. Asgard and Tollan energy weapons can overwhelm a shield with ease, and the main weapon of an Ori cruiser, as well as the Asgard plasma beams are able to destroy a Ha'tak in one shot. Similarly, the Ancient drone weapons
pass through the shield with no resistance whatsoever, and was stated that just two drones are enough to destroy a Ha'tak.
Since they were upgraded with Asgard technology, the vessels of the Tau'ri are also easily more than a match of these ships.
Ha'tak is able to facilitate long range FTL communication.
Motherships also have of sensors, which are FTL, and are able to pick up ships in hyperspace a considerable distance away. They are generally bypassed by cloaking devices. They are also ineffective in penetrating some types of radiation, like ionized atmosphere, or a corona of a blue star.
The sensors in general obey the line-of-sight principles, as moons, planets and suns will block any all sensors from seeing what's on the other side.
Motherships also have extesive star maps used for navigation. These maps are comprehensive enough to pinpoint the location of the ship even in another galaxy.
Several unique motherships have been built over the years:
Unlike a normal Ha'tak, Ra's ship has no protective s
tructure, instead having the appearance of a normal pyramid. it maintains the ventral cavity for landing on pyramids. It was destroyed by a nuke exploding on board, sent by Jack O'Neill
. It is unknown if this is an older type of ship, or Ra's personal ship. Both Ra and his son, Heru'ur have shown to possess such vessels.
First seen after Apophis took over Sokar's realm, and therefore could have been Sokar's mothership in the first place. It has several upgrades over a standard Ha'tak, possessing more powerful hyperdrive, shields and cannons which can destroy a normal Ha'tak in just 8 shots (though the Ha'tak in question apparently had its shields down). it was destroyed when it was infested by the Replicators.
A ship designed with both Goa'uld and ancient technology, and is therefore far superior to normal motherhip. It houses a superweapon in its top, allowing him to destroy several ships in one attack. Two of these ships were created. The first was ambushed by the combined Goa'uld fleet and destroyed when its shields were inoperable. The second was destroyed over Earth by Drone weapons fired from the ancient outpost.