- "I've played around with Aleph simulators. They've got plenty of speed, but they maneuver like big plugs of duracrete."
- ―Syal Antilles
The Aleph-class starfighter, originally nicknamed the Pondskipper, but more commonly known as the Aleph or Twee, was a heavy two-seater starfighter designed by Sienar Fleet Systems for use by the Galactic Alliance Navy.
As the nickname "Twee" suggested, an Aleph resembled the head of a Twi'lek with two long, tapering drive units thrust back behind a ball-shaped cockpit pod, similar to that of a TIE/LN starfighter but somewhat larger. To add to the fighter's ungainly appearance, the cockpit was flanked by a quad laser turret on either side, likened by some personnel to a pair of earmuffs. These turrets were usually problematic to operate, and would often either fail to immediately respond or jam altogether. The pilot and gunner sat side-by-side in a shared cockpit with two forward-facing circular viewports. The gunner sat on the right and the pilot on the left, with an R-series astromech droid set centrally in a socket behind their respective seats. The Aleph's large hull was very tough—an armored chassis housed mighty power generators to feed its strong deflector shields. Its main weapons were the aforementioned quad laser cannons, which boasted very wide fields of fire, plus forward-firing proton torpedo and concussion missile tubes. The fighter also had an impressive top speed, comparable to the Eta-5 interceptor, and was quick in atmospheres—although its acceleration paled in comparison to that of an X-wing—but its one major deficiency was a serious lack of maneuverability. To compensate for this, rows of thruster ports were placed along the dorsal and ventral surfaces and both sides of the hull, allowing the fighter to make lateral sidesteps or vertical jumps and drops in flight. However, many pilots regarded this system as no substitute for the inherent grace and maneuverability of a smaller snubfighter. Aleph-class starfighters also relied on a transport vessel such as a Mon Calamari heavy carrier to ferry them into and out of battle.
- "Sienar Aleph-class starfighters. Originally called Pondskippers because they were to be countermeasures to coralskippers."
- ―Wedge Antilles elaborating on the Aleph's design
In the last months of the Yuuzhan Vong War in 29 ABY, plans were proposed by Sienar Fleet Systems to create a specialized fightercraft for battling the Yuuzhan Vong Yorik-et, or "coralskipper", on a one-to-one basis. However, the war's end would not allow the design to be seen in action, and it would be more than a decade before the Aleph would be eventually produced in limited numbers, around 40 ABY. As of this time, six Alephs were combined in an experimental squadron and based on Blue Diver. Syal Antilles flew as the pilot in an Aleph-class starfighter, although she would have preferred to fly in the much faster Kuat Eta-5 interceptors. Zueb Zan was her gunner, and would complain with regularity about the turrets, which were often balky, and the general maneuverability of the vehicle, complaints which Antilles concurred with. Their vessel participated in the Battle of Tralus that took place in 40 ABY and opened the Second Galactic Civil War; during the fighting, the craft was damaged and narrowly evaded destruction, and Antilles managed to return to the Blue Diver despite the wounds dealt to the fighter. The two also served throughout the war and it was in battle with the Aleph-class design that Antilles would be elevated to the rank of captain after she and Zan defended Jacen Solo against Jedi StealthX starfighters piloted by Luke Skywalker and others.
At least one was assigned to the Starfighter Command contingent on Rimsaw Station, orbiting Kuratooine. The starfighter was deployed to the planet to support Colonel Kadana Sorrel in her investigation of General Stavin Thaal.
Behind the scenesEdit
The Aleph-class starfighter was introduced in Legacy of the Force: Betrayal by Aaron Allston, the first novel in the Legacy of the Force series. Since then, the fighter has also made appearances in three more of Allston's novels: Legacy of the Force: Fury and the Fate of the Jedi novel Fate of the Jedi: Backlash, as well as X-Wing: Mercy Kill.
In The Written Word Hyperspace article, Hebrew letters are associated with the Sith language. It is stated that the Aleph fighter looks similar to the Myke language letter Aleph. Aleph is also an old Semitic word for ox. This is a fitting description of the slow-maneuvering, but heavy-hulled, snubfighter.
- Legacy of the Force: Betrayal (First appearance)
- Legacy of the Force: Fury
- Fate of the Jedi: Backlash
- X-Wing: Mercy Kill
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 1.27 Legacy of the Force: Betrayal
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Fate of the Jedi: Backlash
- ↑ Legacy of the Force: Fury
- ↑ X-Wing: Mercy Kill
- ↑ The Written Word
- ↑ Aaron Allston: Examining Exile