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"All you need to know is that the Admiral has a new fighter initiative here."
"A new fighter? Difficult to see how one small ship will change much."
"Agent, victory and defeat are often determined by the smallest detail."
Governor Arihnda Pryce, Agent Alexsandr Kallus, and Grand Admiral Thrawn[src]
Starfighters-SWE

Various starfighters

A starfighter, also referred to as a fighter, was a small and maneuverable spacecraft designed for combat in the atmosphere or space. Certain models of bombers, gunships, transports, light freighters, shuttles, trainers, and atmospheric fighters could be considered starfighters as well, and often fulfilled many of the same functions.

Although the term was most commonly applied to starships, it could also include certain low-altitude airspeeders.

ClassificationsEdit

BTL-B Y-wing BF2

Y-wings were considered both bombers and fighters.

Starfighters often had some degree of overlap with other ship classes, as well as a few distinct sub-classes. Bombers were starships designed to carry heavy ordnance payloads, often at the expense of maneuverability and straight-line speed. Interceptors represented a range of starfighters that usually emphasized speed and agility over versatility and firepower, sometimes at the expense of ordnance payloads, life support, or hyperdrive capabilities. Gunships were heavily-armed vehicles designed to deploy ground forces in landing zones created by their heavy weaponry. Their heavy armament often granted them considerable air-to-air or space-to-space combat capabilities, despite being optimized for air-to-ground combat.[1][2] Certain classes of starfighters could be modified to trainers while still retaining combat capability.[3] Certain classes of transports, shuttles,[2][4] and light freighters,[2][5] although more commonly used to move cargo and passengers around, could also pack considerable armament and maintain a degree of maneuverability.[source?]

CharacteristicsEdit

Starfighters could be armed with a variety of different weapons, such as laser cannons, proton torpedo launchers and more. Often these were effective against other starfighters and similar targets, but didn't have the firepower to punch through the defenses of a capital ship as during the Battle of Naboo.[6] However some starfighters like the A/SF-01 B-wing starfighter carried sufficient armaments that they could destroy capital ships on their own.[7] Starfighters could also cause tremendous devastation when working in groups: a squadron of Y-wing bombers were capable of carrying enough ordnance to glass an entire city, bathing the battlefield in blinding white detonations which scrambled enemy sensors.[8]

Many starfighters were equipped with deflector shields to protect them from enemy fire, radiation and micrometeor impacts. Typically they carried a single deflector shield generator, which could be adjusted to protect specific parts of the starfighter.[9] Some starfighters though, notably the Eta-2 Actis-class interceptor and TIE fighter series, were not equipped with shields, relying instead on their maneuverability and the pilot's skills to avoid these dangers.[10] Other common forms of protection included heavy armor plating and sensor jammers.[7] Starfighters were equipped with warning systems to let them know when an enemy missile was locked on to them, and could also use their laser cannons to shoot these down, even against missiles traveling at incomprehensible speeds, so long as their targeting computer was functional.[11]

Some starfighters were equipped with a hyperdrive, whether integral to the craft itself or by means of external attachment such as a hyperdrive ring. Because of their small size, most starfighter navigation computers or navicomputers could only carry one or two hyperspace routes which either had to be pre-programmed into the computer or installed via removable datachips (for emergency jumps, navicomputers could also receive coordinates transmitted from friendly ships). This made astromech droids a valuable addition to many starfighters in that they had the storage capacity to carry up to ten hyperspace coordinates.[7]

A starfighter's primary means of propulsion were sublight engines which allowed it to get clear of a planet's atmosphere and gravitation field in a matter of minutes and cross vast distances of realspace.[12] Though small, these sublight drives were capable of accelerating starfighters at thousands of times standard gravity.[10][7] To protect their pilots from being killed by the G-force generated by sublight drives, starfighters were equipped with acceleration compensators.[9][7]

During space combat, starfighters flew and fought at speeds which would be incomprehensible in an atmosphere, crossing thousands of kilometers in a matter of minutes. Only the vastness of space and the relative speeds of those involved made flying at such velocities fathomable for many pilots. Even then, computer assistance was necessary for accurate piloting, as having a starfighter's vectoring be wrong by one degree could easily result in it being kilometers off-target.[8] Some starfighters like the A-wing were so fast and maneuverable that, because they lacked an astromech droid to assist with flying, even a being with Jedi-like reflexes found them challenging to pilot.[7] Starfighters flying in tight formations relied on close communications between their navicomputers and astromech droids to maintain perfect distance.[8]

TIE Striker - Fathead - Rogue One

The TIE/sk x1 experimental air superiority fighter was an atmospheric fighter that was capable of starfighter operations.

For atmospheric flight and during landings and takeoffs, starfighters carried repulsorlift engines as a secondary means of propulsion. Because sublight engines' exhaust was hot and mildly radioactive, using them while inside an inhabited world's atmosphere was generally illegal.[9] When the need was dire though a starfighter could use their sublight engines for extra speed during atmospheric flight, even flying at maximum acceleration as during the attack on Pandem Nai. While starfighters could function in an atmosphere at such speeds, it put tremendous strain on the ships and the pilots themselves. Systems would start to fail after just several minutes of such velocities, and laser cannons were at risk of melting from the heat generated by these maneuvers.[8] Starfighters equipped with deflector shields could use them help smooth their passage through and allow for greater control when operating in an atmosphere.[10] In general, most starfighters were not built to excel at atmospheric flight, with exceptions such as the X-wing[7] and TIE/sk x1 experimental air superiority fighter,[10] the latter of which was classified as an atmospheric fighter,[13] yet it also functioned as a starfighter.[14]

HistoryEdit

Early yearsEdit

Starfighters had been an integral part of space-based combat for millennia, seeing action as early as the days of the Old Republic.[15] However, with the formation of the Galactic Republic and the millennium of relative peace that followed,[16] large-scale battles between opposing space-based combatants were completely unheard of.[15]

Invasion of Naboo and Separatist CrisisEdit

N-1 vs Vulture droid

An N-1 starfighter firing on a Vulture droid.

In 32 BBY, the Jedi Order operated the Delta-7 Aethersprite-class light interceptor, but primarily used them for personal transport instead of space combat.[17]

That year, N-1 starfighters of the Naboo Royal Space Fighter Corps engaged and defeated the Trade Federation's Vulture-class starfighters during the latter's invasion of Naboo.[18] A number of N-1s remained combat capable all the way through the end of the cold war.[19] The Vulture droids also had a long lifespan, with some remaining operational in the Age of the Empire.[20]

Also around that time, Darth Maul operated the Scimitar, a customized Star Courier that was also a formidable starfighter.[18][19] It remained in service of the Sith Order well into the Imperial era.

Towards the end of the Separatist Crisis, Jango Fett owned and operated Slave I, a customized Firespray-31-class patrol and attack craft. After his death at the First Battle of Geonosis, his son Boba took possession of the ship and continued using it until at least 3 ABY.[21]

Clone WarsEdit

Vultures Teth

Vulture droids were major starfighters operated by the Confederacy.

During the Clone Wars, the Jedi continued utilizing the old Delta-7s,[16] but also developed the Delta-7B Aethersprite-class light interceptor[22] and Eta-2 Actis-class light interceptor.[23] The clone trooper pilots under their command flew Low Altitude Assault Transport/infantry gunships,[16] V-19 Torrent starfighters,[22] BTL Y-wing starfighters,[24] Aggressive ReConnaissance-170 starfighters,[23] Clone Z-95 Headhunters,[25] and Alpha-3 Nimbus-class V-wing starfighters.[23] Grand Master Yoda operated his own customized Actis-class fighter.[26] Skull Squadron, a Mandalorian unit serving the Republic, flew Fang fighters.[27] At the conclusion of the Clone War, some of the Republic starfighter classes would be inherited by the Galactic Empire, while others would be decommissioned and fall into the hands of the rebellion. Others would be discarded entirely, seeing almost no military service after the conclusion of the war.

The Separatists, which opposed the Republic in the Clone War, mainly used Vulture-class droid starfighters built for the Trade Federation.[22] Later, to counter increasingly capable and diverse clone fighters, the Confederacy manufactured and deployed droid tri-fighters,[23] Hyena-class bombers,[28] and HMP droid gunships.[23] The Separatists also built manned fighters for their organic commanders, such as Rogue-class Porax-38 starfighters,[22] Belbullab-22 starfighters,[23] and Ginivex-class fanblade starfighter.[29] Geonosian forces, which allied themselves with the Confederacy, flew Nantex-class territorial defense starfighters,[16] while the Umbaran Militia flew their indigenous Zenuas 33 Umbaran starfighters.[25] The Zygerrian Slave Empire, which allied itself with the Confederacy, had a small force of Huttese HH-87 Starhoppers, which saw action against Republic forces on Kadavo.[30] Death Watch, a Mandalorian splinter group allied to the Confederacy, operated Kom'rk-class fighters, which doubled as transports and bombers.[31] After falling out of Count Dooku's favor, Death Watch would pledge their loyalty to Darth Maul's Shadow Collective, but would continue to use the ships in battle.[32] After the conclusion of the war, many of the starfighters used by the Confederacy's regular forces survived the Clone War and were used by rebels fighting against the Empire.[33][20]

Age of the Empire and RebellionEdit

Yavin dogfight

TIEs and X-wings became symbols of the Empire and Rebellion.

At the conclusion of the Clone War, the Imperial Military inherited some of the starfighter classes of the Republic Navy. By the time of the Galactic Civil War, however, it was reliant on the TIE line. This new generation of vehicles, powered by twin ion engines, were developed from technology used in the older Republic starfighter and transport classes. These craft included the famous TIE/ln space superiority starfighter,[34] TIE/rb heavy starfighter,[35] TIE Advanced v1,[36] TIE/sa bomber,[21] TIE Advanced x1,[34] TIE/IN interceptor,[37] TIE/d "Defender" Multi-Role Starfighter,[38] TIE/sk x1 experimental air superiority fighter, and TIE/rp Reaper attack lander.[4] The Empire also deployed VT-49 Decimators and Y-45 armored transport haulers.[2] In addition to Imperial use, numerous TIE/LNs were given to the Mining Guild and converted to TIE/mg Mining Guild starfighters.[39] Imperial TIEs would occasionally fall into rebel hands, and the rebellion made good use of these opportunities.[40][41]

Out of desperation for any equipment they could obtain, the rebellion operated numerous starfighter classes from a variety of sources. Bail Organa's rebel network operated RZ-1 A-wing interceptors as early as 18 BBY.[42] The Free Ryloth movement used old Separatist droid starfighters in 14 BBY.[20] Berch Teller's rebel cell also used Separatist fighters, in addition to Z-95 Headhunters.[33] Beginning around 5 BBY,the Spectres made use of the Phantom, a customized Corellian VCX-series auxiliary starfighter that doubled as a shuttle and scout craft. The Spectres eventually joined Phoenix Cell, which utilized A-wings and a small number of RZ-1T trainers, which were A-wings converted into two-seat trainers. Jan Dodonna's unit made use of decommissioned Republic Y-wings, which served as multi-role fighter-bombers. Later, the loose-knit network of rebel cells morphed into the better-organized Alliance to Restore the Republic, which continued to operate a fairly ragtag collection of whatever equipment they could acquire.[43] The Rebel Alliance Starfighter Corps made use of A/SF-01 B-wing starfighters,[37] E-50 Landseers, converted HWK-290 freighters,[2] T-47 airspeeders,[19] T-65B X-wing starfighters,[34] T-65C-A2 X-wing starfighters,[44] UT-60D U-wing starfighter/support craft,[4] V-4X-D ski speeders,[2][19] and at least one YT-1300 light freighter,[34] in addition to some of the older classes.[2] Additionally, the rebellion made use of stolen Imperial vessels.[40][41] Many starfighter types used by the various rebel groups continued to see action with the New Republic.[45]

A number of starfighter classes were used by private security forces, such as the Storm IV Twin-Pod cloud cars used by the Bespin Wing Guard.[19]

Post-EndorEdit

"I have my own way of fighting. Not everything is about armadas and starfighters, you know."
Maz Kanata, to Resistance Commander Poe Dameron[src]
TIE Silencer

The TIE silencer was considered the ultimate evolution of the TIE design.

In its early days, the New Republic continued to operate the rebellion's old starfighter classes, and even continued stealing TIEs when the need arose.[45] Beginning in 5 ABY, the New Republic operated the T-70 X-wing starfighter,[46] which was an upgraded version of the T-65. They also operated RZ-2 A-wing interceptors. By the time of the cold war, the New Republic Defense Fleet had retired all of the older starfighter classes (as well as some of the newer ones, such as the B-wing Mark II) in favor of the T-85 X-wing.[47]

The Resistance's Starfighter Corps continued using T-70s donated by sympathetic senators.[48] They also made use of a small number of single-seat A-wings[49][50] and a few Z-95 Headhunters[47] for covert operations. On occasion, Resistance personnel would steal First Order TIEs, just like their Rebel predecessors had 30 years before.[48]

The First Order Navy continued the TIE line that the Empire had begun, with the new models upgraded to modern combat standards. This new generation of TIEs included the TIE/fo space superiority fighter, the two-seat TIE/sf space superiority fighter used by the First Order Special Forces,[48] and the TIE/vn space superiority fighter used by Kylo Ren.[51]

AppearancesEdit

Non-canon appearancesEdit

SourcesEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. Encyclopedia-Logo Droid gunship in the Encyclopedia (content now obsolete; backup link)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Star Wars: Commander All starships that could be deployed from the Starship Command were identified as starfighters in-game. Among these were the Low Altitude Assault Transport/infantry, HWK-290 freighter, E-50 Landseer, and Y-45 armored transport hauler.
  3. Rebels-mini-logo Star Wars Rebels – "Visions and Voices"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. LMTR-20 was identified as a "shuttle" during the film, and was designated as a UT-60D U-wing starfighter/support craft.
  5. Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi During the Battle of Endor briefing scene, Gial Ackbar stated that the fighters would fly into the DS-2 Death Star to destroy the reactor core. Since the Millennium Falcon flew into the Death Star, it is indirectly identified as a starfighter.
  6. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 Rebel Starfighters Owners' Workshop Manual
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Alphabet Squadron
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 YT-1300 Corellian Freighter Owner's Workshop Manual
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 TIE Fighter Owners' Workshop Manual
  11. Shadow Fall
  12. Star Wars: The Visual Encyclopedia
  13. Star Wars: Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide
  14. FFGXWMG Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures GameTIE Striker Expansion Pack (Card: Imperial Trainee—TIE Striker)
  15. 15.0 15.1 TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Citadel Rescue"
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
  17. Star Wars 26
  18. 18.0 18.1 Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 Star Wars Battlefront II
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Lords of the Sith
  21. 21.0 21.1 Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 Star Wars: The Clone Wars (film)
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 23.4 23.5 Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
  24. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Shadow of Malevolence"
  25. 25.0 25.1 TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Darkness on Umbara"
  26. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Voices"
  27. Kanan 10
  28. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Cat and Mouse"
  29. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Nightsisters"
  30. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Escape from Kadavo"
  31. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Mandalore Plot"
  32. Darth Maul—Son of Dathomir 1
  33. 33.0 33.1 Tarkin
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 34.3 Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
  35. Solo: A Star Wars Story
  36. Rebels-mini-logo Star Wars Rebels – "Empire Day"
  37. 37.0 37.1 Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
  38. Rebels-mini-logo Star Wars Rebels – "Secret Cargo"
  39. Star Wars Rebels: Steps Into Shadow
  40. 40.0 40.1 Rebels-mini-logo Star Wars Rebels – "Fighter Flight"
  41. 41.0 41.1 Rebels-mini-logo Star Wars Rebels – "Fire Across the Galaxy"
  42. Ahsoka
  43. Star Wars Rebels
  44. Star Wars: Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide
  45. 45.0 45.1 Aftermath
  46. Aftermath: Empire's End
  47. 47.0 47.1 Before the Awakening
  48. 48.0 48.1 48.2 Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens
  49. Star Wars: Poe Dameron
  50. Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi
  51. SWCustom-2011 Kylo Ren's New Ship, The Last Jedi Cast at D23, & Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge! on StarWars.com (backup link)

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