- "Now this was the RZ-1 model, which is way different than the early R-22's. I mean those were basically just stunt flyers, y'know?"
- ―Poe Dameron
The R-22 A-wing, later dubbed the Spearhead, was a state-of-the-art starfighter model designed by Kuat Systems Engineering at the end of the Clone Wars. Although the newly established Galactic Empire rejected mass production of the craft, the prototypes ended up serving in the planetary defense forces of Tammuz-an. Eventually, the Alliance to Restore the Republic procured several Tammuz-an R-22s and modified them into what they dubbed the RZ-1 A-wing interceptor.
The Kuat Systems Engineering R-22 starfighter was noted for its durable, yet remarkably lightweight, wedge-shaped frame. Its capabilities were superior to those of the Delta-7 Aethersprite-class light interceptor, of which it was the direct successor.
- "Kuat began developing a starfighter prototype, the wedge shaped R-22 A-wing, which they presented to the nascent Imperial Navy for consideration."
- ―Official History of the Rebel Movements, Volume One
Shortly after the end of the Clone Wars, a three-year long conflict that pitted the Galactic Republic against the Confederacy of Independent Systems, Kuat Systems Engineering improved upon its Delta-7 Aethersprite-class light interceptor design to create the next generation of starfighters. Although the resulting R-22 did test the limits of maneuverability and speed, the newly established Galactic Empire, successor state to the Republic, did not approve its mass production. Nevertheless, the monarch of Tammuz-an purchased the batch of R-22 prototypes for use in their planetary defense fleet. Because of their resemblance to a Tammuz-an ceremonial spear, the fighters were soon nicknamed "Spearheads."
More than a decade later, several of the anti-Empire rebel cells that would ultimately crystallize into the Alliance to Restore the Republic managed to acquire a number of Tammuz-an Spearheads. The highly customizable starfighters were left in the hands of the Underground Engineers, a network of rebel mechanics. The Engineers kept the remarkable frame of the R-22, but updated the weapons, installed new technology, and swapped the original engines with a pair of Novaldex J-77 "Event Horizon" sublight engines. The resulting craft was dubbed the RZ-1 A-wing interceptor. In time, the RZ-1 spawned its own variant, the two-seated RZ-1T trainer.
After the fall of the Galactic Empire and the transition of the Alliance to Restore the Republic into the New Republic, Kuat Systems Engineering brought back the R-22 design as the base for the RZ-2 A-wing interceptor, a more streamlined model that incorporated years of Rebel Alliance field modifications and customizations.
Behind the scenes
- Star Wars: A-wing Deluxe Book and 3D Wood Model (First mentioned)
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Incredible Cross-Sections (First identified as R-22 prototype)
- Star Wars: Complete Vehicles
- Rebel Starfighters Owners' Workshop Manual
- Starships and Speeders
- Star Wars Complete Vehicles, New Edition