- "I see them. Y-wings, heavy shields and turret guns."
- ―Wedge Antilles
The BTL Y-wing starfighter, also referred to simply as the BTL-series, Y-wing fighter or Y-wing, was a series of multi-role starfighter-bombers manufactured by Koensayr Manufacturing. Commissioned by the Galactic Republic during the Clone Wars, many surviving Y-wings would go on to serve with the Alliance to Restore the Republic during the Galactic Civil War. Notable models included the original two-seat BTL-B Y-wing fighter-bomber; its successor, the BTL-S3 Y-wing Starfighter, and the single-seat BTL-A4 Y-wing assault starfighter/bomber.
In the Clone War, Y-wings proved their worth to the Republic, taking part in several key battles against the Separatists. Despite their size, the two-seat starfighters were quite maneuverable, with clone trooper pilots routinely performing quick rolls while staying in formation. Their turrets and fixed guns allowed them to engage and destroy multiple targets simultaneously, making them effective in combat missions against enemy starfighters. Their heavy weapons payload allowed them to carry large amounts of ordnance, whether they be solid projectiles like proton torpedoes or gravity weapons like the electro-proton bomb. This versatility made them suitable for a number of mission profiles, whether it involved attacking enemy capital ships or bombing ground targets. They were, however, considered "buggy" in atmospheric operations.
By 2 BBY, most Y-wings had had their engine nacelles and body panels stripped down to the bare minimum, giving them a skeletal appearance. They were considered old by many within the rebellion, but could still be effective against newer Imperial starships in the hands of a capable crew. The speed and maneuverability of certain models, in particular the two-seat BTL-S3, was considered subpar, but they were still regarded as reliable and well-armed.
For decades after the Clone Wars, various Y-wing models saw combat in military conflicts, through the Galactic Civil War and up to the First Order-Resistance conflict. The Alliance modified their Y-wings by removing the hull and nacelle plating in order to increase ease of maintenance on the aging craft, which would enter the popular memory. Except for the cockpit variations, all ships in the BTL series were similar in design.
The BTL-B Y-wing was the original model commissioned by the Republic Navy in the early stages of the Clone Wars, designed as a combination starfighter and long-range bomber that could replace the V-19 Torrent and Jedi interceptors. The model's distinguishing feature was its bubble-turret, which swiveled 360 degrees, providing a clear view of surrounding space for gunners. A mainstay of the Republic Navy, it was present at many of the major battles of the war, though most BTL-Bs were scrapped by the Empire after the conflict.
Designed after the success of the BTL-B, the BTL-A4 Y-wing variant served as a single-seat tactical strike spacecraft which lacked the gunner's position of other variants. This variant was extensively utilized by the Alliance to Restore the Republic and New Republic during the Galactic Civil War, seeing action at major battles such as Scarif, Yavin, Endor, and Jakku.
The BTL-S3 retained the tailgunner position from the BTL-B, though it eliminated the elevated bubble turret by seating the pilot and gunner back-to-back in the cockpit. Like the BTL-A4, it would go on to serve with the Rebel Alliance, and by the time of the cold war three decades later, it was still valued for its toughness despite being considered an antique.
The BTA-NR2 restarted the Y-wing line after the Galactic Civil War repopularized the design as "the starfighter that broke the Empire's back". It was largely based on the BTL-A4 single-seat variant, and emulated the customizability and lack of armor plating that customers associated with the "rebel Y-wing". Despite this, it featured optional plating and improved sensors, deflector shields, controls, and engines. This variant saw service as a planetary defense craft with the New Republic Defense Fleet, as well as with the Resistance in their fight against the First Order.
The Clone WarsEdit
BTL Y-wing starfighters saw service as the model BTL-B Y-wing in the Republic Navy as early as 22 BBY. This model had a transparent bubble turret for the onboard gunner, and mainly served as a bomber.
Shadow Squadron, a unit of clone trooper pilots, flew Y-wing bombers in the Battle of the Kaliida Nebula under the command of Jedi General Anakin Skywalker. Jedi Commander Ahsoka Tano flew as the gunner in Skywalker's Y-wing, and Jedi General Plo Koon served as a fighter escort. The Y-wings successfully destroyed Malevolence's ion cannon in the engagement. Out of an initial force of 12 Y-wing bombers, six were lost in the assault.
Y-wings participated in the Battle of Ryloth, in which they broke the planetary blockade imposed by the Confederacy of Independent Systems. They also participated in atmospheric operations, and at least one crashed outside the Syndulla residence. Hera Syndulla rescued "Chopper" from the wrecked Y-wing, and Cham Syndulla decided to preserve the crash site as a memorial. Several of Skywalker's Y-wings destroyed Separatist Hyena-class bombers that were tasked with destroying Lessu after the Separatist withdrawal from the capital.
In 21 BBY, Y-wings participated in the Battle of Malastare, notably dropping an Electro-proton bomb on the Separatist Droid Army and inadvertently awakening the last surviving Zillo Beast. The battle ended with a joint Republic/Dug victory, with the Separatists driven off the planet and the Dugs signing a treaty granting the Republic access to its fuel reserves.
In 21 BBY, Republic Y-wings bombed Separatist anti-aircraft cannons at the Second Battle of Geonosis, allowing Jedi Generals Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and Ki-Adi-Mundi to land at Point Rain. Y-wings also defended Admiral Wullf Yularen's command ship from attack by Geonosian Nantex-class territorial defense starfighters and assisted the defense of Kenobi's position.
Republic Y-wings joined Aggressive ReConnaissance-170 starfighters and V-19 Torrent starfighters in the Battle of Kamino, making bombing runs on Separatist transports in space. These transports, unknown to the clone pilots, carried Trident-class assault ships, which landed in the ocean below and deployed aqua droids to Tipoca City. Separatist forces were eventually forced to withdraw after the clone troopers—including the 501st Legion—on Kamino mounted a counteroffensive against the battle droids.
Republic Y-wings saw action at the Battle of Sullust, engaging Separatist starfighters and conducting bombing runs on their capital ships. Darth Sidious ordered Count Dooku to kill Asajj Ventress in the battle, leading to a Separatist withdrawal and a Republic victory.
In 20 BBY, Republic Y-wings mounted a failed defense of Jedi General Adi Gallia's flagship at the Battle of Patitite Pattuna. Astromech droid R2-D2 and protocol droid C-3PO escaped the doomed Star Destroyer aboard a Y-wing, and crashed on Patitite Pattuna's surface. After repairing their ship, the duo made a quick side-trip to Balnab in search of power, but were forced to abandon the ship. Not long after the Battle of Patitite Pattuna, the Republic mounted a rescue of Adi Gallia and recovered the droids, who had been picked up by Weequay pirates and taken prisoner by the Separatists.
Y-wings participated in the Battle of Umbara, destroying Separatist frigates guarding the planet and dropping ordnance on Umbaran Militia personnel who had ambushed the 501st Legion. They also took part in atmospheric combat operations, engaging Vulture-class starfighters and droid tri-fighters in air-to-air combat. The Battle of Umbara ended with a Republic victory and the execution of the traitorous Jedi General Pong Krell.
Republic Y-wings mounted a failed defense of Kenobi's flagship, the Negotiator, after it fell under attack by Separatist warships. The Separatist victory prevented the Republic's involvement in the rescue of Tano, who had been taken abducted by Weequay pirates in of the Florrum system. Her rescue fell instead to a group of six younglings.
In 19 BBY, Gold Squadron used Y-wing bombers to attack Separatist anti-aircraft cannons stationed at the Anaxes assembly complex during the battle for Anaxes. The campaign ended with a Republic victory, the death of Admiral Trench, and the defeat of all Separatist forces deployed on Anaxes.
Age of the EmpireEdit
Soon after the formation of the Galactic Empire in 19 BBY, an early rebellion against Imperial rule began to take shape. Secretly supported by influential Senators like Bail Organa and Mon Mothma, the various rebel cells operated whatever kinds of vehicles they could acquire. Y-wings, having been relegated to planetary defense duties, were popular craft for the rebels because of its built-in hyperdrive and durability. Most Y-wings of this era either had the bubble turret replaced with one remotely-controlled from within the cockpit, or removed altogether in favor of a pair of fixed ion cannons in the case of the single-seat BTL-A4 Y-wing assault starfighter/bomber.
In 4 BBY, at least five Y-wings engaged Imperial TIE fighters while Jyn Erso mounted an escape attempt from Imperial Military forces on Skuhl. Crossfire from the dogfight destroyed the SC3000 freighter Ponta One, killing both civilians on board.
In 2 BBY,[source?] Phoenix Cell launched a mission to recover decomissioned Republic Y-wings from Reklam Station, an aerial scrapyard floating in the atmosphere of the planet Yarma. The mission ended in a rebel victory, with five Y-wings successfully stolen and Reklam station destroyed. Two of the initial force of seven were lost to Imperial fire, both piloted by Chopper under remote control. Although Commander Jun Sato originally intended for the Y-wings to enter service with Phoenix Squadron, the ships were instead to transferred to Jan Dodonna's unit on Yavin 4.
Backbone of the RebellionEdit
Imperial cadets were trained to destroy Y-wing starfighters at Skystrike Academy on Montross. Sabine Wren and Wedge Antilles participated in one such training prior to their first attempt to escape from Skystrike Academy alongside Derek Klivian and Rake Gahree.
The Y-wings of Gold Squadron escorted the Chandrila Mistress, with former Imperial Senator Mon Mothma aboard, to a secret rendezvous at the with the Spectres aboard the Ghost. From there, the Ghost would transport Mothma to Dantooine for a meeting of high-level leaders of the rebellion.
The Chandrila Mistress had been tracked by Imperial forces, and shortly after arrival it was attacked by an Arquitens-class command cruiser, a Gozanti-class cruiser, and several TIE/ln space superiority starfighters. Although Gold Squadron was able to destroy the TIEs and cruisers, Mothma and her crew were forced to evacuate the Chandrila Mistress and transfer to the Ghost. The Rebels escaped into hyperspace and traveled to the Archeon Nebula, which the Spectres had hoped would help conceal their movements from the Empire. Grand Admiral Thrawn predicted that they would do this, and dispatched a force of Imperial-class Star Destroyers and TIEs to destroy them, including a TIE/D Defender prototype piloted by Vult Skerris. The resulting Operation Handoff resulted in a decisive rebel victory, but cost Gold Squadron three of its Y-wings.
At the Battle of Atollon, the Y-wings of Green Squadron attacked an Imperial-class Star Destroyer while Phoenix Squadron's RZ-1 A-wing interceptors engaged Imperial TIEs. Despite fierce Alliance resistance, the Rebels were forced to return to Chopper Base on the surface, and it was only the intervention of Clan Wren and the Bendu that allowed the Alliance forces to escape from Atollon to Yavin. All but two Y-wings were destroyed in the assault.
In 1 BBY,[source?] a group of Y-wings and X-wings were jointly led under the command of the newly-promoted General Hera Syndulla to help liberate the planet Lothal from the Galactic Empire. The Y-wings and X-wings would fight against Grand Admiral Thrawn and the Seventh Fleet, and would attack the fuel depot and Imperial Armory Complex in Capital City after breaking through the blockade and beating Skerris once and for all. However, after breaching the outer perimeter defenses in orbit of Lothal, the Y-wings and X-wings of the entire rebel attack force were shot down by Thrawn's second wave of TIE fighters. None of the Y-wing pilots or their astromechs survived the crash landings in Capital City.
Not long afterwards the Y-wings of Gold Squadron and Blue Squadron were deployed to participate in the Battle of Scarif, the opening engagement of the Galactic Civil War. Blue Squadron, which had been split into two groups by the closure of the field aperature, assisted the other squadrons in defending the Alliance Fleet and attacking the Shield Gate. Gold Squadron led the attack run on the Shield Gate, and disabled a Star Destroyer with ion torpedos. The battle ended with the Alliance's successful acquisition of the Death Star plans at the cost of a significant portion of its forces.
Shortly after the action at Scarif, a force of 30 starfighters (including 8 Y-wings of Gold Squadron) were deployed in a desperate attempt to destroy the Death Star at the Battle of Yavin. Captain Jon Vander led Dex Tiree and Davish Krail down the battle station's meridian trench on the first attack run, but all three were shot down by Darth Vader. The X-wing starfighters of Red Squadron made two additional attack runs, the second of which was successful. Luke Skywalker, a Force-sensitive Rebel pilot, used the Force to launch a pair of proton torpedoes into the station's thermal exhaust port, starting a chain reaction in the reactor core that destroyed the entire station. Only a single Y-wing, piloted by Evaan Verlaine, survived the Battle of Yavin.
Mission to Recover Imperial communication logsEdit
Shortly after the Battle of Yavin, Luke Skywalker would fly the BTL-S3 Y-wing Starfighter, Y 4, during his mission to recover Imperial communication logs. During in the mission the rebel pilot used the starfighter against the Razor-class frigate named Kreuge's Revenge in the Tertiary Usaita system.
In 0 ABY, Darth Vader and Inspector Thanoth embarked on a Mission to the Anthan system to identify the perpetrators of the Son-tuul Pride robbery and recover its cargo of credits. As part of an attempt to bargain with the Imperials, an information broker known as the Ante disclosed the location of the Plasma Devils base of operations on Anthan 1. With this knowledge and the death of the Ante, Vader and Thanoth abandoned the chase and struck the Plasma Devils' base. During the Plasma Devils' attempts to evacuate, Vader singlehandedly brought down one of their Y-wings by throwing his lightsaber at the portside engine.
Gray Squadron's Y-wings saw action at the Battle of Vrogas Vas, attempting to kill Darth Vader. Using the Force to hurl debris from his crashed TIE at the bombers, the Sith Lord destroyed several and proved to be more than a match for the squadron. Later in the battle, Leia Organa ordered the Y-wings of Amber Wing to bomb her position with the aim of killing Vader, but the wing was decimated by Commander Karbin's forces.
Mako-Ta Space DocksEdit
At some point between 0 ABY and 3 ABY, a squadron of X-wings and Y-wings on patrol of the Arkanis sector located an Imperial listening station and requested that Saponza's Gang give them targets. The raid completely destroyed the base.
In 4 ABY, Y-wings participated in the Battle of Endor with numerous units including Gold Squadron, Gray Squadron, and Red Squadron. At least one, operated by Norra Wexley under the Gold Nine callsign, entered the superstructure of the Death Star II and led Imperial TIEs away from the Millennium Falcon. The surprise Rebel victory at Endor resulted in the death of Galactic Emperor Sheev Palpatine; the redemption of Anakin Skywalker; and the destruction of the Sith, second Death Star, and Super Star Destroyer Executor.
Seventeen standard days after the Battle of Endor, the Y-wings of Feral Group participated in the Battle of Cawa City on the planet Sterdic IV, dropping bombs on Imperial All Terrain Armored Transport walkers. The battle ended with a decisive victory for the Alliance.
At least three Y-wings participated in the Battle of Theed at Naboo during Operation: Cinder under the command of General Lando Calrissian. The fighters engaged Imperial TIEs that had swarmed Leia Organa, Shara Bey, and Queen Sosha Soruna who had made an attempt to knock out Imperial weather-control satellites. With the help of Shriv Suurgav's Danger Squadron-- now joined by former Imperial Special Forces Commandos Iden Versio and Del Meeko-- the Y-wings successfully bombed the Star Destroyer Torment's shield array. The battle concluded with a rebel victory and the failure of Operation: Cinder in the area.
Several standard months after the Battle of Endor, the New Republic deployed Y-wings to help the rebellion on Akiva overthrow its local Imperial government. The operation resulted in the capture of at least two high-ranking Imperial officials, the rescue of Captain Wedge Antilles, and the liberation of Akiva from Imperial rule.
In 5 ABY, New Republic Y-wings participated in an attack on the Hyborean Moon with the objective of destroying an Imperial Security Bureau prison located there. The strike leveled the prison, but also destroyed adjacent buildings and killed an unknown number of civilians.
New Republic Y-wings saw action with Shepherd Squadron at the Battle of Fondor Shipyards, one of the final large-scale battles before the Empire's last stand at Jakku. The battle ended with a New Republic victory.
New Republic EraEdit
Y-wings had largely fallen out of military service by 28 ABY due to the age of their design. Despite this, the Amaxine warriors operated at least one Y-wing around this time, which attempted to thwart Organa's Mission to Sibensko. The Resistance also operated at least a single two-seat BTL-S3 in 34 ABY and deployed it on a Mission to Spalex, but it was noted that the fighter was very old and was dangerous because of this.
Behind the scenesEdit
The Y-wing starfighter first appeared in the now Legends promotional novel Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker, the very first Star Wars product ever released. It was a novelization of the later canon film known at the time of its release as Star Wars.
In the novelization, the Y-wings that flew in the Battle of Yavin operated as part of Red Squadron, with the X-wings being part of Blue Squadron. Because of the limits of blue screen technology at the time, the Y-wing squadron was changed to Gold Squadron and the X-wings to Red Squadron.
In the original release of Star Wars, the Y-wing starfighters were plastic models shot against blue screens with computer-controlled cameras. In later versions of the film released to theaters and home media, some shots have been removed and replaced with computer-animated ones.
A transparent turret was originally included in the design, but was removed when it was realized that blue screen technology was not yet advanced enough to composite correctly with the turret. The turrets, along with a lot of body paneling and the gunner's position, were added back in to the Y-wing's design on Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
On April 25, 2014, Lucasfilm Ltd. announced that the former Expanded Universe would be discontinued and rebranded as "Legends", and that it would be replaced with a new single-level canonicity system in which new releases were declared either canon or non-canon from the outset. Since the rebranding, Y-wings have appeared in numerous narrative, promotional, and reference Star Wars products.
- (First identified as Y-wing starfighter)
- Star Wars: X-Wing Deluxe Book and Model Set
- Star Wars: On the Front Lines (First identified as BTL Y-wing starfighter)
- Star Wars: The Rebel Files
- Star Wars Encyclopedia of Starfighters and Other Vehicles
- Star Wars: Geektionary: The Galaxy from A - Z (as Y-wing Starfighter)
- TIE Fighter Owners' Workshop Manual
- Ultimate Star Wars, New Edition
- Rebel Starfighters Owners' Workshop Manual (as BTL-series Y-wing) (as BTL series)
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Galactic Guide