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"I say let the Imperials keep coming, because every time a new admiral crawls out of the Outer Rim or some Imperial goon finds a lost superweapon, Rogue Squadron gets a new starfighter. Seems like a good deal to me."
General Wedge Antilles[7]

The E-7 E-wing multi-role starfighter,[1] also called E-wing escort starfighter, was a single-pilot starfighter developed by FreiTek Inc. It was notable for being the first fighter designed entirely under the support of the New Republic. E-wings deployed with updated laser cannons were known as the Type B.

As designed, the E-wing was intended to match or exceed the performance of the preceding X-wing series in every respect, and was meant to replace the older design in New Republic service. However, the craft suffered from several significant problems when first deployed among front-line squadrons. The most serious of these problems included malfunction issues with the wing-mounted laser cannons and the new R7 astromech units, which had been designed specifically for the E-wing. As a result, many pilots continued to fly the older but more reliable X-wing series.

Despite the initial problems, improved models of the E-wing would eventually see widespread use by the New Republic, particularly by the Fifth Fleet, and later by the Galactic Alliance. E-wings would go on to play a significant role in every engagement from the Black Fleet Crisis, through the Yuuzhan Vong War, and beyond.

By the time of the Second Galactic Civil War, the E-wing had matured into an excellent starfighter design and equipped several elite squadrons of the Galactic Alliance. However, despite being a more advanced design, the E-wing never achieved the same popularity as the famous X-wing series.


E-wing schematics.

The E-wing was considered an excellent combination of firepower, maneuverability, speed, and armor, but initial models required the use of the R7-series astromech droid, which was exclusively built for the E-wing.

The spaceframe of the E-wing was surrounded by two aerodynamic foils which provided stability and increased weapons ability. The nosecone contained the starfighter's powerful sensors, while a concealed astromech droid could easily be positioned midway through the craft. Directly in front of the astromech slot was the cockpit.

The fighter was heavily armed with three laser cannons and one proton torpedo launcher with a magazine of sixteen torpedoes. Like most Rebel designs, the lasers were spread out and could be set to converge at varying distances.

A single E-wing cost 185,000 credits.

Much of the great cost of the E-wing came from the use of the R7 droid, a much more sophisticated and expensive astromech than the classic R2 and R5 astromechs. Later models of the E-wing starfighters were however able to interface with earlier astromech models, such as an R2 or R5 unit.


An E-wing cockpit.

The Republic introduced the E-wing during Grand Admiral Thrawn's campaign to rebuild the fallen Empire. The fighter later served in the fight against the resurrected Palpatine. Built with cutting-edge weapons, shielding, and propulsion systems, the fighter was extremely powerful and well-rounded. It was intended as an escort fighter and could also serve as a medium-range assault craft. It had enough speed to counter TIE/IN interceptors and had better armor than other New Republic starfighters, including the X-wing. They were used by the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances during the Second Galactic Civil War, during early skirmishes with Corellia.


Portside perspective of an E-wing.

The E-wing had some initial teething problems relating to the placement of the wing lasers near the outboard engines. The synthetic Tibanna used for the lasers tended to degrade at accelerated rates, which swiftly rendered those guns near-useless (and cutting gun firepower to a third). Rebel engineers came up with a temporary solution during the World Devastator assault on Mon Calamari.[8] Those problems were eventually resolved and the fighter entered fleet service. Models with re-designed laser cannons were known as the Type B E-wing.[2]

It is known to have served at least with the New Republic's Fifth Fleet as the primary fleet space superiority fighter. When the Fifth Fleet was moved to the Koornacht Cluster during the Black Fleet Crisis, many E-wings saw action against the Yevetha in the conflict that ensued.

Four major models appeared to have been designed; the last (Series IV) was introduced around the time of the capture of Coruscant by the Yuuzhan Vong. By that point in the war, the XJ X-wing was rapidly equipping most squadrons in the massive military expansion; the more sophisticated E-wing may have been limited to some elite squadrons. The Series IV E-wing remained in service through the transition from New Republic to Galactic Alliance, and was still in operation as of the Second Galactic Civil War.

Behind the scenes[]

E-wings in action on Dac in 10 ABY as depicted in Star Wars: Dark Empire. Note smooth transition between hull and nose cone, oversized dorsal cannon, and oblong depressions similar to the X-wing's torpedo launch tubes.

The E-wing's first appeared in the comic series Star Wars: Dark Empire. The ship was later included in the original "Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels" after being adapted by West End Games for the RPG. However there are a number of visual discrepancies between the EGVV schematics and the original Dark Empire Artwork:

  • Fuselage The Dark Empire artwork shows the E-wing's nose has a smooth transition into the hull. The EGVV altered this to give it a cone much more akin to the X-wing's. Additionally, the EGVV schematics present a much narrower craft. Using the established scale of 11.2m long reveals that the EGVV schematics are at MOST no wider than a meter at the widest part of the cockpit. The Dark Empire artwork shows a craft roughly twice as wide for its length. Although the two under-wing pods present in the EGVV representation are also seen in the Dark Empire artwork, the EGVV's center pod is not present in any depiction of the E-wing in the original comic. The EGVV also shows the E-wing with a rounded upper surface, however in the original source, the top deck is flattened.
  • Wings The EGVV E-wing's wings are symmetrical fore and aft, with small winglets at the tip at a significant downward angle. Dorsal views of the E-wing in Dark Empire show the wings have a much more pronounced sweep aftward at their leading edges, and a straight or nearly-so trailing edge. The winglets at the tip also have a broader span, and are at a less extreme downward angle.
  • Weaponry The dorsal cannon in Dark Empire is significantly larger--in length and diameter--than the wing cannon, with a pronounced cup-shaped structure near the firing tip. The EGVV schematics make all three cannon the same size. Additionally, the centerline pod under the fuselage where the EGVV places the ship's proton torpedo launcher is absent entirely from the Dark Empire artwork. However oblong ports are present in the E-wing's nose cone similar to the torpedo launch tubes visible on the X-wing's fuselage. At least one E-wing in Dark Empire was shown firing weaponry from a position at the wing roots. The E-wing's armament was never conclusively stated in the comic, however one pilot can be seen giving the order "Arm all turbos and ion cannons!"
  • Propulsion Some images in Dark Empire depict exhaust trails from the lower part of the E-wing aft fuselage bulkhead. Later comics, such as Star Wars: Crimson Empire directly positioned engines or thrusters on the aft bulkhead, which are missing in the EGVV schematics.

E-wing escort starfighters

Stay on Target introduces some contradicting information: While the Databank, Starships of the Galaxy, Saga Edition and The Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels claim that the E-wing was first used during the Thrawn campaign in 9 ABY, the new source says it was used by the Rebel Alliance. The Databank and Starships of the Galaxy identify the laser cannons as heavy ones, the game system of Stay on Target calls them medium. Boths Starships books and the Databank give the E-wing a class 2 hyperdrive, Stay on Target says class 1. Starships of the Galaxy and The Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels suggest a single torpedo launcher, Stay on Target gives two.

The Saga Edition of Starships of the Galaxy calls the main weapons blasters.



Notes and references[]