- "Nothing's equal about it—Skystrike's far better with pilots than we are."
- ―Deenlark, commandant of Coruscant's Royal Imperial Academy
The Skystrike Academy, also known as the Skystrike Flight Academy, was an elite flight academy—located in the atmosphere of Montross—that was part of the Galactic Empire's military training program. Some time before the Battle of Yavin, Imperial cadets Wedge Antilles and Hobbie defected from the Academy, with help from Sabine Wren, to join the early rebellion against the Empire.
- "There are Imperial cadets at the Skystrike Academy who wish to defect to the rebels."
- ―ISB Agent Kallus, disguised as Fulcrum
The Skystrike Academy was an elite starfighter academy during the Age of the Empire. It was located on the planet Montross. Under the administration of Instructor Goran and Captain Vult Skerris, the Academy had a reputation for producing some of the best TIE fighter pilots in the Imperial Navy. Goran was determined that only the best Imperial cadets would graduate as pilots at his Academy.
Early in the reign of the Empire, the-then Lieutenant Thrawn convinced Commandant Deenlark of the Royal Imperial Academy on Coruscant to transfer three troublesome cadets, including Gimm, to the Skystrike Academy. Deenlark was unwilling to discipline the cadets due to their connections to powerful Coruscanti families. Instead, Thrawn managed to convince Deenlark that transferring the troublesome cadets would convince their co-conspirators Spenc Orbar and Rosita Turuy to behave themselves. Thrawn also believed that the assailants had the aptitude and coordination that would make them excellent starfighter pilots. This ploy worked and Thrawn and his friend Eli Vanto encountered no further problems with Orbay and Turuy. Gimm later became a skilled TIE fighter pilot and mistakenly believed that he had outwitted Thrawn.
Two years before the Battle of Yavin, three cadets Wedge Antilles, Derek Klivian, and Rake Gahree became disillusioned with the Galactic Empire's policies and conduct including the shooting of unarmed enemy transports that had surrendered. Antilles sent a transmission to the rebellion through the auspices of Fulcrum, who was secretly Agent Kallus of the Imperial Security Bureau. The Phoenix rebel cell intercepted Fulcrum's message and assigned the former Imperial cadet and Mandalorian weapons expert Sabine Wren the task of infiltrating the Academy and extracting the defectors.
After infiltrating the Academy, Wren managed to make contact with Antilles. She told him and his friends, Klivian and Gahree, to be ready to leave at a moment's notice. Wren's mission was complicated when Governor Arihnda Pryce and Agent Kallus arrived at the Skystrike Academy to investigate rumors that some cadets were planning to defect to the rebellion. Kallus' investigation disrupted the Academy's operations but yielded no results. In response, Pryce and Goran set a trap which involved sending all the cadets out on a mock combat exercise in order to draw the defectors out of hiding.
Pryce's plan worked when Wren took the chance to escape and arranged for her rebel comrades Ezra Bridger and Kanan Jarrus to rendezvous their CR90 corvette near Montross. Wren and the three defectors tried to fly their TIE fighters to the rebel corvette. However, Pryce disabled their solar collector panels; leaving them stranded in space. Captain Skerris then destroyed Gahree's fighter before driving the rebel ship into hyperspace. Antilles and Klivian were detained while Wren was interrogated by Pryce. However, Wren fought back and rendered Pryce unconscious.
Wren freed the two remaining defectors and escaped in a TIE bomber with the help of Kallus, who respected the Mandalorian's Lasat friend Garazeb Orrelios. Skerris pursued the trio in his TIE interceptor and although he inflicted damage on their bomber, the rebels managed to escape when Bridger returned in his rebel corvette. As a result of Wren's successful mission, the rebellion gained two starfighter pilots.
Curriculum and organization
The Skystrike Academy was an elite starfighter academy with a grueling curriculum. Only a minority of candidates passed its rigorous program which was designed to produce the best TIE fighter pilots. All cadets wore black TIE fighter pilot uniforms and helmets. The Academy's curriculum consisted of simulator pods which were used to simulate combat exercises and mock starfighter battles. Two known instructors were Instructor Goran and Captain Vult Skerris. Goran supervised training exercises while Skerris was also known to participate in the simulated exercises as an enemy starship.
The Skystrike Academy was a space station that floated in the gassy upper atmosphere of the planet Montross. It was only accessible by starship. The Skystrike Academy also had holding cells for rebellious cadets and multiple hangar bays that could host TIE fighters, TIE bombers, and Imperial landing craft. Cadets slept on bunks in dormitories.
Faculty and staff
Cadets and alumni
- Wedge Antilles
- Rake Gahree
- Derek Klivian ("Hobbie")
- "Ria Talla" (alias Sabine Wren)
Behind the scenes
- Star Wars Battlefront II (Mentioned only)
- Thrawn (Mentioned only)
- Thrawn audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Thrawn 1 (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars Rebels – "The Antilles Extraction" (First appearance)
- "Sons of the Sky"—Star Wars Rebels Magazine 33
- Star Wars Rebels – "An Inside Man" (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars Rebels – "Double Agent Droid" (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars Rebels – "Flight of the Defender" (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars (2015) 45 (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back junior novelization (Mentioned only)
- "Rendezvous Point"—From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back (Mentioned only)
- Alphabet Squadron (Mentioned only)
- Alphabet Squadron audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Squadrons (Mentioned only)
- Resistance Reborn (Mentioned only)
- Resistance Reborn audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: On the Front Lines (First identified as Skystrike Flight Academy)
- Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know, Updated and Expanded
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 33 (Databank A-Z: Admiral Kilian–Kowakian)
- Dawn of Rebellion
- Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary, New Edition
- Star Wars: Build Your Own X-Wing 5 (Starfighter Aces: Wedge Antilles – Defection of an Imperial Cadet)
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 57 (Helmets: Wedge Antilles; Weapons & Uniforms: Chopper Base–Atollon; Highlights of the Saga: Leaving Skystrike)
- TIE Fighter Owners' Workshop Manual
- Ultimate Star Wars, New Edition
- "Imperial Troops" – Star Wars Encyclopedia
- "Unsung Heroes"—Star Wars Insider Special Edition 2021