- "The Republic commissioned the Y-wing for clone pilots to take on the Confederacy's droid starfighters, and last I checked, the droids didn't win."
- ―Jon Vander
The BTL-B Y-wing starfighter/bomber, also known as the BTL-B Y-wing starfighter and BTL-B Y-wing fighter-bomber was a model of starfighter-bomber produced by Koensayr Manufacturing, the first of the BTL-series Y-wing line. A mainstay of the Republic Navy during the Clone Wars, BTL-Bs were adopted by clones and Jedi officers alike and were instrumental in the fight against the Confederacy of Independent Systems. Though most were scrapped by the Galactic Empire after the conflict, the BTL-Bs were largely remembered positively and their successors, the BTL-A4 Y-wing assault starfighter/bomber, would see service with the Alliance to Restore the Republic decades later in the Galactic Civil War.
Designed by Koensayr Manufacturing, the BTL-B Y-wing was intended to serve as a combination starfighter and long-range bomber. The two large Koensayr ion jet engines, along with their characteristic nacelles, were carried by a cross wing, which connected to the cockpit module by a central spar. BTL-Bs were equipped with hyperdrives, unlike many other starfighters. This, along with the fuel recycling system present in all BTLs, made Y-wings durable long-range craft, though their tendency to run hot necessitated a complex cooling system extending throughout the ship.
The wedge-shape cockpit module carried one pilot and one tailgunner in a rotating bubble turret. These positions were built with clone pilots in mind, though they could be adjusted by mechanics for other operators, including Jedi pilots. The module also featured an astromech socket located directly behind the turret.
Clone Wars service
The BTL-B Y-wing was commissioned by the Republic Navy in the early stages of the Clone Wars to supplant the V-19 Torrent and Jedi starfighters that were currently in use. They quickly demonstrated their success, notably as part of the attack on the Separatist heavy cruiser Malevolence. Koensayr Manufacturing were still in the process of testing their new BTL-B Y-wings when Jedi General Anakin Skywalker asked for a squadron of them to be used against the Separatist's new Subjugator-class heavy cruiser. The Galactic Republic considered the Y-wing project, led by Senator Ask Aak, to be essential in winning the war. However, Ask Aak still held resent for the Jedi who couldn't do anything to save his predecessor from being assassinated, and refused to give Skywalker the ships he needed. Instead of reporting this decision to his superiors, Anakin Skywalker headed directly to the Koensayr workshops in orbit of Bormus and took the bombers he needed for himself. Under the command of Skywalker, Shadow Squadron successfully destroyed the Malevolence's ion cannon despite losing six out of their initial force of twelve bombers. Their early success prompted Koensayr to develop other variant Y-wings in the BTL-series for the Republic war effort, including the BTL-S3 and BTL-A4 models.
Y-wings saw extensive service over the course of the war. Used effectively against enemy capital ships, Y-wing bombing runs contributed to Republic victories such as breaking the blockade over Ryloth, destroying Separatist transports at Kamino, and engaging Asajj Ventress's fleet at Sullust.
Despite their bugginess in atmospheric operations, they were often employed as air support for the Grand Army of the Republic during ground assaults. They prevented the destruction of the capital of Ryloth, Lessu, by Separatist Hyena-class Droid Bombers, and were selected to drop an experimental electro-proton bomb on Separatist forces near the end of the Battle of Malastare, completely annihilating the droid army. BTL-Bs dropped ordnance on Confederate ground emplacements at the Second Battle of Geonosis, insurgent formations on Umbara, and, near the end of the war, on Separatist anti-aircraft cannons around the assembly complex during the Battle of Anaxes.
Republic Y-wings were also engaged in more standard starfighter tactics as the war went on. Though Y-wings sometimes failed in defensive applications, such as the losses of Jedi General Adi Gallia's flagship at Patitite Pattuna and of Obi-Wan Kenobi's flagship, the Negotiator, they displayed dogfighting capabilities at Geonosis, engaging Geonosian Nantex-class starfighters, and at Umbara, engaging vulture droids and droid tri-fighters.
After the issuing of Order 66, former Padawan Ahsoka Tano and Clone Commander Rex, who had had his control chip removed, escaped a skirmish against mind-controlled clone troopers aboard the crashing Venator-class Star Destroyer Tribunal in a Y-wing they located in the repair bay. Rex kept the starfighter in the aftermath, using it while working against the newly-formed Galactic Empire.
Y-wings earned a reputation for durability and firepower, and veterans such as Captain Rex would remember them as solid in combat even years later. However, the end of the war saw the new Imperial Navy shift away from hyperdrive-equipped snub-fighters in favor of a space superiority doctrine based on capital ships, causing Koensayr to lose its government contract. Though some Y-wings were sold to local planetary defense market, Imperial intervention caused many unsold, repossessed and surplus Y-wings to be allocated for reclamation. By 2 BBY, the Empire had scrapped most BTL-Bs, though several decommissioned BTL-A4s remained awaiting reclamation.