- "To use the F-LER, I'd have to get out of my YT-1300. Who wants that?"
- ―A YT-1300 pilot
The freight-loading external rover, also known as the F-LER, was a small, extremely rare single-pilot starship that was manufactured by the Corellian Engineering Corporation for use in conjunction with the YT-1300 light freighter.
History[edit | edit source]
The vehicle was developed by the Corellian Engineering Corporation (CEC) designer Tem Riffle, who was inspired by a tug that he had observed towing a YT-1200 freighter. The F-LER was designed to fit between the forward mandibles of a YT-1300, and Riffle envisaged that the rover could be a cargo handler, to deliver freight to locations that the YT-1300 was too large to reach. CEC's executives favored Riffle's idea, and many other designers concluded that the addition of a F-LER to a YT-1300 gave the freighter a sleeker look, while CEC's marketing department believed that YT-1300 owners would want to fill in the gap between the forward mandibles. A prototype F-LER was developed and successfully tested, and CEC began a limited production run of the design. CEC's marketing department also carried out a survey of 500 commercial YT-1300 pilots, to assess the F-LER's market potential.
However, just over a week into the F-LER's production run, the survey results were collated and revealed that most of the surveyed pilots were not interested in the F-LER, because they thought that it would get in the way when loading cargo. As a result, CEC ceased production of the vessel and the F-LER was never sold commercially. One hundred were saved to be used as tugs at CEC orbital assembly facilities, while the rest were scrapped. Eventually, a small number of F-LERs made it onto the open market and a few were modified and fitted with Ap/11 double laser cannons. The F-LER's rarity was such that by 4 ABY, a refurbished F-LER was worth more than a vintage "stock" YT-1300.
Despite the F-LER's commercial failure, the research and development that went into the F-LER later resulted in the production of the YT-XC "mini-fighter," a small exploration ship that was designed to be carried aboard the YT-1300.
Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]
The F-LER was originally a toy planned for the Kenner toys storyline The Epic Continues, as a supplement for the Kenner Millennium Falcon toy. However, because of that line's cancellation, the toy was never released. Pre-production photos were implemented into a special binder containing toys from the toyline, which were eventually shown to the public with the article Tales of Phantom Toys in Issue 2 of Star Wars Galaxy Magazine.