They came in three versions: the Phase I dark trooper was a skeletal droid armed simply with a vibro-blade and physical shield; it was primarily a testbed for the later stages as well as the Phase II which featured also the external elements. The Phase III dark trooper was the main unit but it was never fully developed; the only prototype was used by the originator of the project, General Rom Mohc. It was a more powerful variant of the Stage II model and intended to be worn as a battle suit.
The Dark Trooper Project was the brainchild of General Mohc, who strongly advocated the martial virtues of close combat with one's enemy, and thus disagreed with the philosophy that created such weapons as the Death Star. He operated the dark trooper project from his customized starship, Arc Hammer.
The main goal for the dark trooper project was to create the next evolution of the stormtrooper. It comprised of the armor and the application of weaponry so it was intended for use with the basic stormtrooper (clone and the like) but looking forward to whatever internal system that might be developed. The dark troopers were first used against the Rebel Tak Base in the Battle of Talay, in retaliation for the destruction of the first Death Star. They slaughtered all the Rebels in the base. Concerned about the potential threat of the dark troopers, Mon Mothma tasked Kyle Katarn with the program’s destruction.
Squads of the dark troopers were characteristically deployed along side the standard Imperial stormtroopers and the Imperial Army regulars in battles to add their distinctive advantage. They used their advanced training techniques and jetpacks to drop behind enemy lines or outflank enemy positions, contributing to the overall effectiveness of battle maneuvers by creating havoc amongst their foes.
They were equipped with specialized assault cannons, which were modifications on the Imperial repeaters, rather than the the standard E-11 rifle; they were also issued additional fragmentation grenades, thermal detonators and concussion grenades. Dark troopers wore dark gray armor made of the nearly indestructible metal phrik, mined on the moon Gromas 16. In addition to providing superior defense against enemy fire, the armor was specially modified to allow a soldier inside to endure the extreme maneuvers the suit/droid was designed to perform.
Katarn succeeded in destroying Arc Hammer after killing Mohc. With the death of Mohc and the destruction of Arc Hammer, all research into the dark trooper project, and all research into other battle droid programs, ended.
Production of dark troopers began in Gromas 16 where phrikite was extracted. Phrik alloys were tested on a laboratory on Fest and they were refined in Ice Station Beta on Anteevy, where probably, also the Phase II was produced. The weapons of the dark troopers were manufactured and supplied by Moff Rebus.
Dark troopers stayed on Arc Hammer, whose location was always secret, and were deployed to their planetary targets in hyperspace pods.
There were three different phases of these droid troopers:
The Dark Trooper Phase I was the earliest dark trooper and was little more than a skeletal frame equipped with a vibro-sword attached to its right arm, and a blast shield on its left. Its actual military purpose is unknown (never participated in battle) but it is known that it was used as a guard in some Imperial installations.
The Dark Trooper Phase II was equipped with the external elements as the suit, a jetpack and an assault cannon fixed to its right hand capable of firing 400 plasma shells and 20 missiles without reloading. It was also capable of being loaded into hyperspace pods for transportation.
The last and most powerful dark trooper was the standard Dark Trooper Phase III, which dwarfed even the Dark Trooper Phase II, and was intended to be the armor of the next generation of Stormtroopers. Only one dark trooper Phase III prototype managed to be ever constructed; it was in the armor of General Mohc, who tried to use it as an exosuit against Kyle Katarn during a battle onboard the Arc Hammer, where he was defeated. Its weapons were an assault cannon and two shoulder seeker missile launchers hidden under the suit's shoulder plates when not in use.