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The BTL-B Y-wing starfighter was an assault starfighter/bomber that flew combat missions for the Galactic Republic during the Clone Wars.


Close-up of the cockpit and gun turret

Unlike the BTL-S3 Y-wing and its successor designs, the BTL-B model had a full covering of both the primary fuselage and engines. A bubble-turret provided clear view for the gunner.[2]

The BTL-B was designed as a bomber, using such weapons as proton bombs. The bubble-turret utilized two light ion cannons for defense against enemy starfighters. It also was equipped with two medium laser cannons mounted on the front of the starfighter.

They possessed a hyperdrive system allowing them to jump into hyperspace without the reliance on a carrier or hyperspace ring. To aid them in their operations, they also made use of an astromech droid.


Early in the Clone Wars, the BTL-B Y-wing was acquired from a Koensayr testing facility in orbit around Bormus where they were undergoing prototyping. Anakin Skywalker led an unsanctioned mission to retrieve them.[8]

View of the engines of three BTL-Bs

After receiving the fighters, Skywalker formed Shadow Squadron of the Republic's most skilled Clone trooper pilots, and began using the ships immediately to hunt General Grievous's flagship Malevolence, the secret weapon of the Confederacy of Independent Systems.[8][9]

Koensayr testing facilities could barely keep up for the demand on the fighter, and in addition to the ships that were acquired by Skywalker, two squadrons of BTL-B's were issued to Hunter Squadron, who participated in the Battle of Gwori, led by Jedi Generals Plo Koon and Saesee Tiin.[10]

One Y-wing, painted light green, was used by both R2-D2 and C-3PO to escape Adi Gallia's doomed flagship when General Grievous ambushed her fleet.

BTL-Bs were subsequently issued to Blue and Red, and were repainted with their respective squadron's colors. Gold Squadron were also issued Y-wings.[3]

Around 21 BBY, the Y-wings were used as a decoy in the battle of Ereesus.[11] Y-wings also served in the Battle of Umbara[12] and the attack on Obi-Wan Kenobi's fleet.[13]

Behind the scenes[]

Designer Russell G. Chong spearheaded the ship's development. "The Y-wing was a really fun project, bringing it back fully faired," he says.

When Joe Johnston refined the Colin Cantwell and Ralph McQuarrie Rebel Alliance Y-wing designs for construction into a visual effects model for Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, he posited that the starship was once a sleek vessel that was chopped and stripped like a hot rod by Rebel Alliance technicians. The BTL-B is apparently the stock version of the "stripped-down" Rebel ships.

A version of the BTL-A4 Y-wing starfighter seen in the original trilogy reference book Star Wars: Incredible Cross-Sections depicts the "original" version of the starfighter encased in armor plating. While the concept jibes with the intent behind the BTL-B, the illustration provided in the book shows the craft with the traditional Y-wing shape and no bubble turret, unlike the "arrowhead" shape of the craft seen in the TV series.[14]

Multiple views of a BTL-B

According to Chong, "We back-engineered the Y-wing and turned it back into a bomber. I took images of the actual Y-wing model from the files at Lucasfilm and I designed our new version over it. We revitalized the bubble turret that Colin Cantwell and Ralph McQuarrie had developed. All the body panels are very much the same as the original Y-wing. I did my best to give it the same styling and the same look as the original Y-wing."

The early Cantwell concept models built of the Rebel Y-wing featured an immense bubble turret dome for a gunner to sit in. The limitations of bluescreen technology at the time made such a dome impractical. Concerning the original turret design, Chong states, "I didn't want to use the actual bubble turret with the single laser cannon in the original Ralph McQuarrie illustration because it was too bulky and interrupted the sleek lines of the ship so I opted for a more aerodynamic design similar to the WWII B-17 and B-25 top turret."

The role-playing supplement, The Clone Wars Campaign Guide, identifies a starfighter of the same design as the BTL-S1 Y-wing starfighter.[5] This is likely an error on the part of the writers of the book, being that the iteration that the Rebel Alliance had access to was the BTL-S3. The writers likely made the assumption that the first of the line of Y-wings developed by Koensayr was an S1 model. It is possible, however, that the very next series of Y-wings after the BTL-B was the BTL-S1.



Notes and references[]

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