- "The Basilisk war droid is the epitome of weapon technology. State of the art weaponry, armor, and maneuverability."
When the Mandalorians conquered the Basiliskan homeworld, Basilisk, around 3,997 BBY and subjugated the intelligent Basiliskans into simple-minded Lagartoz War Dragons, they also seized the designs of the droids and continued to manufacture them. The droids gained infamy during the Mandalorian Wars, when Mandalorians using the droids as mounts terrorized a large swath of the Galactic Republic.
The original Basilisk was a large animal-like droid created by the Basiliskans in their own image, though outside commentators would remark that it resembled a combination of a Zalorian rock lion and a Karren beetle. When the Mandalorians began producing them, they included a dorsal control mechanism with which a mounted rider could control the Basilisk in battle. Despite this, the Basilisks retained a large amount of artificial intelligence. It was said that a Mandalorian and its Basilisk shared a common bond, almost like a friendship. If the Basilisk was destroyed in battle, its pilot would give it a warrior's funeral before sending it into a star. Mandalorian tinkering eventually spawned countless customized variants of the Basilisk, departing dramatically from the original droid design and becoming more of a vehicle or ship. Later versions included closed cockpits, larger wings that served as S-foils, and the virtual elimination of animal-like features, giving it an appearance closer to that of a starship. In a specially modified version of the Basilisk, a large bomb of any type could be strapped in, and driven at high speeds into the enemy ship.
- "The doors opened in front of me and the air was sucked out of the drop bay, scattering crystals of frozen vapor across my path. I can't describe what it feels like to look directly down at a world, falling continuously as you circle it, with barely fifteen centimeters of armor plate protecting you. When the magnetic locks disengaged on my droid I plunged out of the drop bay towards the battle that waited below."
- ―Canderous Ordo, to Revan
The Basilisk war droid could operate in both atmosphere and vacuum, and readily participated in fleet engagements. Space combat would require a Mandalorian rider to wear a pressurized suit into battle. If the tide turned and help was needed planetside, the droid could even plunge down from orbit to participate in ground battles.
It's armament was considered advanced for its time, and even in later eras the weapons were capable of making short work of newer ships. It was armed with Pulse-wave cannons, shatter-missile launchers, shockwave generating rods, which released a devastating plasma burst that could puncture starship hulls, and heavy brawling claws, though some variations omitted the heavier weaponry in favor of performance. The pilot could even secure his own weapons to the droid, such as Mandalorian flash pistols or axes in sealed compartments. When attacking large space installations or garrisons, two Basilisks often towed an atomic compression bomb between them and catapulted it into their target.
After the Jedi Civil War, Canderous Ordo's Mandalorians on Dxun used a modified Basilisk capable of holding three people. During the Second Battle of Onderon, such a vehicle was used to bring the Jedi Exile from Dxun to Iziz, the capital of [Onderon, much to the fear of the locals (and the armies of both the Royalist-Republicans and the Vakluist Separatists), having seen this droid in action many times during the recent war with Mandalorians.
Chop'aa Notimo used a Basilisk on Cloud City when confronted by Galen Marek in 2 BBY. During the Galactic Civil War, the Basilisk, especially later derivations, influenced MandalMotors' StarViper-class attack platform design, in 1 ABY an unknown spacer obtained a variant of the war droid, and in 40 ABY, a new Mandalorian starfighter was named the Bes'uliik-class Assault Starfighter in honor of the ancient war-droid mounts.