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The R-22 Spearhead starfighter, also known as the Tammuz-an R-22 Spearhead fighter and nicknamed the "A-wing", was a state-of-the-art starfighter prototype developed by the Tammuz-an species as an escort fighter for their space navy. Inspired by the Aurek-class tactical strikefighter, its design was copied by Alliance Underground Engineering and Incom Corporation when they were developing the RZ-1 A-wing interceptor, an evolution of the R-22 Spearhead and Delta-7 Aethersprite-class light interceptor.


The R-22 Spearhead starfighter[2] was an agile, state-of-the-art vessel[7] inspired by the Aurek-class tactical strikefighter,[8] a model of starfighter manufactured by Republic Fleet Systems[9] that remained the Galactic Republic's standard "hyperspace snub" for nearly four thousand years.[8] Like the Aurek, the R-22's spaceframe supposedly resembled the letter A of the High Galactic alphabet, leading it to be informally nicknamed the "A-wing".[10] It was favoured by pilots that enjoyed tinkering, who upgraded the R-22's flight systems and stripped it of any and all components that could be jettisoned to further increase the fighter's speed and maneuverability.[8]


The R-22 Spearhead was developed by the Tammuz-an,[1] a species of tall humanoids native to the planet of the same name,[11] and was used by their space navy to escort the Tammuz-an shipping fleet.[5]

The R-22 Spearhead became an experimental testbed for the Rebel Alliance, nicknamed the "A-wing," shortly before the Battle of Yavin.[12] During one early operational test, the Rebels sent a lone R-22 to attack an unguarded Imperial repair dock. The fighter performed admirably, destroying the facility before the Nebulon-B frigate Virulence could respond. The mission was later recreated as a simulation used in training new pilots.[13]

The Alliance Fleet started deploying a number of R-22s at that time. Captain Juno Eclipse and PROXY used a two-seater R-22 to travel to Dac to help Admiral Gial Ackbar and Senator Bail Organa liberate the Mon Calamari and recruit them to the Alliance cause.[6] The fleet used them in the Assault on Kamino against the Imperial TIE/sa bombers.[14] Keyan Farlander flew Spearheads in several missions during Operation Skyhook,[13] and at least two R-22s participated in the Battle of Yavin, one piloted by Jake Farrell.[15]

Two R-22 Spearheads in the Massassi Temple hangar, between two disassembled H-60 Tempest bombers

The Spearhead was nicknamed "A-wing" among Rebel pilots. The name "A-wing" persisted when the model was modified by General Jan Dodonna and Walex Blissex after the Battle of Yavin into the Rebel Alliance's fast RZ-1 A-wing interceptor.

Dodonna's decision to create the RZ-1 was largely driven by the Alliance's lack of a starfighter that could match the TIE/LN starfighter's raw speed. Additionally, the RZ-1 was noted for its improved maneuverability over the Spearhead, so the engine design was the most likely difference between the craft.

The weapons complement might have undergone a similar change, as early Spearheads used green laser ammunition rather than the red/orange seen with most Alliance fighters.

Behind the scenes[]

A two-seat version of the R-22 Spearhead

Though most sources established that the A-wing was introduced by the Rebel Alliance after the Battle of Yavin, some Expanded Universe sources deviate from this and show A-wings in use before Yavin, notably Star Wars: Droids, Star Wars: X-Wing, Star Wars: Rebel Assault, Star Wars: Force Commander, and Star Wars: Empire at War. This inconsistency was eventually reconciled in The New Essential Guide to Characters, which explained that the pre-Yavin appearances of A-wings were R-22 Spearheads instead.[16]



Notes and references[]