Puddle jumpers (also known as gateships) are small vessels used by Ancients. These ships are small enough to actually pass through a Stargate, and as such are used for reconnaissance and
as a cargo and personnel carriers by the Ancients. They have two engine pods which retract to allow passage through a gate, and are equipped with Ancient drone weapons
, as well cloaking and shields.
Puddle jumpers are the smallest known cargo ships in the Stargate universe, being only 8 meters in length and about 4 meters in height. They of course have to be that small in order to pass through a Stargate.
Propulsion is provided by two engines situated in the nacelles which extend from either side of the craft. The engines will retract to lower the craft's cross section when passing through a gate. The craft will then travel through the gate by inertia. If the nacelles are damaged and fail to retract, the ship is in danger of getting stuck in the gate. Such outcome can be disastrous.
The drone weapons launcher is also found on the nacelles. A single puddle jumper carries six drone weapons, which is in theory enough to destroy three fully powered Goa'uld motherships
The craft is divided into two sections. the front is the cockpit, which contains all the control functions and seats for four people. The aft section is the cargo hold, with additional room for passengers, and the hatch in the back of the craft for access. The hatch is normally lowered down, but can be jettisoned in emergency situations. The two compartments are separated by a bulkhead which is quite resilient, capable of holding back the weight of deep ocean water.
All the control of the craft is in the cockpit. the controls require someone with an ATA gene to activate the craft, after which anyone can control it. puddle jumpers are equipped with a mental interface which is used to fly the ship, but there are also other ways of controlling the ship. Members of the Atlantis expedition have been seen controlling a jumper with a sort of "joystick" rather than a mental interface. the drones still require a mental interface to deploy. So far there have been three different control console versions observed in various puddle jumpers. It is not clear what is the cause of this change, but it could indicate an improvement in design, or simply a change in aesthetics.
The jumpers also contain an on board dial home device, which is used to remotely dial the stargate ship wants to pass through. this DHD bears no resemblance to a normal DHD, and, instead, resembles the Atlantis DHD.
These ships are equipped with Ancient drone weapons. A single puddle jumper carries at least six drone weapons, which is in theory enough to destroy three fully powered Goa'uld motherships
. The weapons are fired from two weapon holders near the nacelles. It has been theorized that precise mental control of these weapons could, in fact, fly the ship.
A jumper has no true shields, only a cloaking device. This cloaking device is quite sophisticated, and will cover the ship even if the hatch is open, and people are
freely passing through. It is undetectable by Wraith, Tau'ri, Asgard
or Goa'uld sensors. The cloak can be extended to encompass other objects as well, and can be linked to the systems of the Atlantis
in order to cloak the entire city ship. Through system modification, the cloak can be turned into an actual shield, but this shield would still be weak and would drain rather quickly.
The Puddle jumper utilizes a subspace communications
system to facilitate real-time communications between locations, although it is not as powerful as the ones on the rest of the Ancient fleet
or the Tau'ri
Deep space carriers.
Jumpers are also capable of going under water.
the Name puddle Jumper was coined by Major John Sheppard, referrencing its ability to pass through a Stargate event horizont, coloquially known as a puddle. Rodney McKay and lieutenant Aiden Ford objected to this name, instead preffering the term "gateship". Ironically, the Asurans call the Jumpers gateships as well, indicating that the Ancients themselves also used this term.