- "Wolf Leader to Wolfpack—accelerate to attack speed."
- ―Plo Koon, ordering a squadron of clone Z-95 starfighters into battle
The clone Z-95 starfighter, known more commonly as the clone Z-95 Headhunter or the Headhunter starfighter after its predecessor model, was a single-seater starfighter developed by the Galactic Republic for its clone trooper pilots during the Clone Wars. A variant of the popular Z-95 Headhunter, the clone Z-95 starfighter boasted speed and maneuverability on account of its sleek design. Jointly manufactured by Incom and Subpro Corporations, the Z-95 starfighter was equipped with recessed torpedo launchers and a pair of wingtip laser cannons. The model was specifically customized for the clone trooper pilots of the Republic Navy, who often cross-trained in the Z-95 and another Incom/Subpro product, the heavy-duty ARC-170 starfighter, due to the similarity of both starships' flight controls.
The Republic Navy employed the Z-95 starfighter in several capacities, including escort and starfighter combat against enemy forces from the Navy of the Confederacy of Independent Systems, particularly at the lengthy Battle of Umbara. A number of clone pilots such as Warthog, who flew a Z-95 during an assault on Kadavo, became adept in piloting the Z-95, in addition to other Republic combat craft. Squadrons of Z-95 starfighters saw widespread use as part of fleets commanded by such Jedi Generals as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker.
- "Argh! Catching too much heat!"
- ―Warthog, maneuvering to avoid enemy fire in his Z-95 starfighter
Developed from the Z-95 Headhunter product line by Incom/Subpro Corporation, the clone Z-95 starfighter was manufactured during the regime of the Galactic Republic, specifically tailored for use by the clone trooper pilots of the Republic Navy. At 16.74 meters in length, it slightly surpassed its predecessor model, which was 11.8 meters long. It had a sleek design that facilitated maneuverability and agility, with a long nose extending from its single-pilot cockpit. It had a similar piloting control system as another Incom/Subpro product, the ARC-170 starfighter. The starfighter's two engine units, a reduction from the Headhunter's original four, were mounted on double wings, with a laser cannon positioned on each angular wingtip, leading to a wingspan of 18.13 meters. Unlike the concussion missile weaponry of its forerunner model, the Z-95 starfighter was equipped with recessed torpedo launchers to supplement its laser power. Three feet extended from the underside of the craft as landing gear. Being integrated into the Republic Navy, Z-95 starfighters commonly sported white and crimson livery.
The clone Z-95 starfighter was intended for starfighter combat, to be used by the clone trooper pilots of the Republic Navy. Due to its design, it amassed a reputation for speed and maneuverability, more so than its Incom/Subpro cousin, the ARC-170 starfighter. Often deployed into battle in groups of three, members of the Z-95 class saw action against equally versatile enemy units, from droid starfighters like the Hyena-class bomber, Vulture droid starfighter, and droid tri-fighter, to manually piloted Umbaran starfighters. Z-95 starfighters were also used to escort bulkier craft during a battle, such as the Republic's LAAT/i gunships and space gunships. When not in use, Z-95 starfighters could be stored aboard large capital ship transports like the Acclamator I-class assault ship.
Due to the widespread success of the Z-95 Headhunter line, which was manufactured by Incom/Subro Corporation and saw an upgraded model every production year, the Galactic Republic commissioned a variant Headhunter model specifically for its clone trooper pilots. The result was the clone Z-95 starfighter, which earned the name "clone Z-95 Headhunter," or more commonly the "Headhunter starfighter," after its base model. Although more maneuverable than the rugged ARC-170 starfighter, the Z-95 starfighter had controls similar to those of its fellow Incom/Subro product, enabling many clone pilots to be cross-trained in both craft before joining the Republic Navy. Alongside other models like the ARC-170 starfighter and the V-19 Torrent starfighter, the Z-95 starfighter was pressed into Republic service against the Navy of the Confederacy of Independent Systems during the Clone Wars, becoming known for its agility on the battlefield. Some clone troopers such as Warthog, who piloted a Z-95 starfighter, became versatile enough to also fly other models in the Republic's hotbed of fighters.
Around 21 BBY, the second year of the war, Z-95 starfighters were among a Jedi-led task force dispatched to retake the planet Umbara, whose Umbaran inhabitants had recently seceded from the Republic and joined the Confederacy. Several Z-95 starfighters saw action alongside BTL-B Y-wing starfighters under the command of Jedi Commanders Ahsoka Tano and Barriss Offee, who led an offensive against one of the Munificent-class star frigates in the Separatist armada that was blockading Umbara. Once the Separatist frigate had fallen, the Republic's Star Destroyers smashed through the enemy blockade and moved in to deploy their ground troops. Z-95 starfighters accompanied the space gunships ferrying Jedi General Anakin Skywalker's 501st Legion from an Acclamator-class assault ship and other transports to the planetary surface, providing cover from Umbaran starfighters dispatched by the Umbaran militia. The Z-95 escorts allowed much of the Republic invasion force to reach the surface. Headhunter starfighters also served with Jedi General Pong Krell, escorting him when he traveled via gunship to deliver new orders from the Jedi High Council to Skywalker.
As the Republic targeted an orbital Separatist supply ship that was supplying the enemy defenses of Umbara's capital city, squadrons of Z-95 starfighters and BTL-B Y-wing starfighters were deployed against the much larger Separatist fleet. Engaging in dogfights with Umbaran and droid starfighters, the Z-95 and Y-wing squadrons took heavy losses until the intervention of Advanced Recon Commando Fives and 501st troopers Jesse and Hardcase, who commandeered Umbaran starfighters from a captured Umbaran airbase and used them to eliminate the heavily guarded supply ship. The destruction of the supply ship led to an eventual Republic victory on Umbara, with the Umbaran militia forced to surrender control of their world.
Later in the war, a three-member squadron from the 104th Battalion's Wolfpack flew Z-95 starfighters under Jedi General Plo Koon, who led a starfighter assault on a slave processing facility on the planet Kadavo. Koon's assault was executed in tandem with an attack by Anakin Skywalker and his Padawan, Ahsoka Tano, who worked to liberate a number of Togruta slaves who were being held at the facility by the Separatist-backed Zygerrian Slave Empire. Flying their Z-95 starfighters alongside Koon's Delta-7B interceptor, Warthog and two fellow pilots challenged the Zygerrian defenses, which consisted of tower-mounted turbolaser turrets. The starfighters' cannons were unable to eliminate the turrets due to their ray shielding. Zygerrian-manned HH-87 Starhoppers were soon launched against the Z-95 starfighters, sparking a chaotic air battle between the opposing squadrons. The Zygerrians were eventually defeated, with Admiral Coburn rescuing the Togruta slaves from the facility aboard an Arquitens-class light cruiser.
Around 20 BBY, several squadrons of Z-95 starfighters were stationed aboard High Jedi General Obi-Wan Kenobi's three-cruiser fleet of Venator-class Star Destroyers when it was attacked by Confederate General Grievous. Clone pilot Killer was among the Z-95 pilots; his starfighter was shot down during the course of the battle. Following the destruction of his fleet, Kenobi received another complement of Z-95 starfighters when he transferred his surviving crew to his new flagship in place of his fallen one, the Negotiator.
Z-95 starfighters also served with Anakin Skywalker aboard his Venator-class Star Destroyer. When Skywalker responded to a Confederate invasion of the planet Cato Neimoidia, clone trooper–manned Z-95 starfighters launched from Skywalker's flagship, providing protection for a landing force of LAAT/i gunships. After bypassing the Separatist fleet, they joined Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano in mounting an offensive on the enemy forces entrenched within the Neimoidian bridge cities. Following the two Jedi's Eta-2 Actis-class light interceptors through the bridge cities, several clone pilots and their Z-95 starfighters were shot down by droid tri-fighters deployed from a Providence-class carrier/destroyer. Skywalker and Tano were later recalled to the Republic capital of Coruscant to investigate a bombing at the Jedi Temple.
Behind the scenes
- "A multi-purpose starfighter, the Z-95 has spawned countless variants, with the Republic making its own mark on the Headhunter's large production run with a clone trooper-specific model."
- ―StarWars.com Encyclopedia entry for the clone Z-95 starfighter
The clone Z-95 starfighter was developed for the Star Wars: The Clone Wars television series and was first featured in the episodes "Darkness on Umbara" and "Plan of Dissent," which aired with the series' fourth season in October and November 2011, respectively. Since then, they have been featured in the fourth season episode "Escape from Kadavo" and in the series' fifth season. The episode guide for "Darkness on Umbara" on StarWars.com initially designated the craft as the "Z-85 Headhunter," implying that it was a variant of the Z-95 Headhunter, but this was later changed to "Headhunter starfighter." The starfighter's entry in the StarWars.com Encyclopedia attributed its current designation and clarified that it was a variant of the mainstream Headhunter line.
The starfighter was designed by the television series' crew with the intention of avoiding similarity to the T-65 X-wing starfighter from the original trilogy of Star Wars films. Instead, it more resembled artist Colin Cantwell's original model for the X-wing starfighter.
The Z-95 starfighter was introduced in LEGO form in the 2013 video game LEGO Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles. The game, which uses scenes from episodes of LEGO Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles, features both a Light Side and Dark Side campaign. The Light Side campaign includes the Z-95 as a playable unit at the build hubs in certain missions. The starfighter is also one of the enemy units in the Dark Side bonus missions.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Darkness on Umbara" (First appearance)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Plan of Dissent"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Escape from Kadavo"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Bound for Rescue"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "A Necessary Bond"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Sabotage"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Jedi Who Knew Too Much"
- Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter
- LEGO Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles video game (Non-canonical appearance)
- (First pictured)
- (First identified as Headhunter starfighter)
- "Launch Pad"—Star Wars Insider 130 (Picture only)
- (First identified as clone Z-95 Headhunter)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars Comic UK 6.29
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars Comic UK 6.36
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Episode Guide
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars Magazine 20 (Picture only)
- (First identified as clone Z-95 starfighter)
- (Picture only)
Notes and references
- ↑ 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
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Darkness on Umbara"
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Star Wars Annual 2011
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 The Official Star Wars Fact File 136 (HEA1, Z-95 Headhunter)
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Plan of Dissent"
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Carnage of Krell"
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Escape from Kadavo"
- ↑ Star Wars: Darth Maul—Death Sentence 1
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Bound for Rescue"
- ↑ 14.0 14.1
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "A Necessary Bond"
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Sabotage"
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Jedi Who Knew Too Much"
- ↑ LEGO Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles video game