The T-65B X-wing starfighter, also known as the T-65 X-wing starfighter or T-65B space superiority fighter, was a single-seat craft manufactured by Incom Corporation and used most famously by the Alliance to Restore the Republic during the Galactic Civil War. Renowned for its speed and maneuverability in battle, it became the backbone of the Rebel Alliance Starfighter Corps, being both harder hitting and tougher under fire than its main adversary, the mass-produced TIE/ln space superiority starfighter.
- "My first time out, I didn't know an S-foil from a nose cone."
- ―"Red Three"
The T-65B X-wing starfighter was manufactured by Incom Corporation. It was designed to excel in all aspects of starfighter combat, being highly maneuverable and heavily shielded, with a small profile that made it harder to hit. Unlike other starfighters the X-wing could excel in atmospheric flight. This included outmaneuvering the TIE fighter, which was otherwise faster and more maneuverable than the X-wing in space.
It had two pairs of wing-like strike foils, or S-foils, mounted at the rear of the craft on opposite sides. Normally, the foils on each side locked in place flush against each other; during combat, however, the foils were folded out. This gave the craft its distinctive "X"-like appearance when viewed from the front or rear. The S-foils were controlled by an S-foil servo actuator located in the back of the starfighter. With the S-foils open in attack position, the craft had a greater spread of fire as opposed to whilst shut.
The craft was armed with four Taim & Bak KX9 laser cannons, placed at the tip of each wing. The laser cannons could be fired singly, in alternating pairs or all at once. By default the convergence or "zero" point where the lasers would intersect was set 500 meters in front of the X-wing. Two Krupx MG7 proton torpedo launchers were located in grooves near the middle of the underside of the fuselage on either side of the T-65B.
A deflector shield generator located in the rear of the X-wing created a protective field which could be adjusted around the craft with the help of a Chempat "Defender" deflector shield projector. This included shield projectors along the leading edges of the S-foils which, when in attack position, helped to expand the protective field. A Bertriak "Screamer" sensor jammer provided additional defense by scrambling the sensors of enemy starfighters and homing warheads. The X-wing could also use its laser cannons to shoot down enemy missiles.
Four 4L4 fusial thrust engines were attached to the wings of the T-65B, next to the fuselage. Some X-wings were fitted with 4j.4 fusial thrust engines, which were virtually identical to the 4L4 models. These provided the X-wing with incredible maneuverability thanks to three factors: the use of differential thrust between the four engines to adjust trajectory; a high-mass electromagnetic gryoscope fitted to each engine for swinging through tight curves; and the ability to fire retro-thrust forward through the turbine nozzles. Infrared suppressors were used to conceal the hot exhaust.
The X-wing itself was powered by a Novaldex 04-Z cryogenic power generator located in the center of the ship. Cryogenic capacitors located in the S-foils stored additional power for the engines. Power couplings allowed for energy to be distributed and balanced between the various systems. The starship weighed 180,000kg.
The single pilot sat in an armored cockpit in the center of the fuselage protected by a transparisteel canopy. The canopy allowed for a wider view compared to that provided by a TIE fighter's, and was also designed to automatically polarize to protect the pilot from harmful light. Explosive charges were set to blast the canopy clear in the event the Guidenhauser ejector seat had to be used. Adjustable for use by most species, the pressurized cockpit had enough life support for up to one week, and featured an inertial compensator to protect the pilot from high-g accelerations. The cockpit had flight controls similar to those of the T-16 skyhopper, an airspeeder also produced by Incom Corporation, along with a targeting computer with holographic imaging system.
The X-wing was equipped with a long-range hyperdrive system consisting of four GBk-585 hyperdrive motivators. An astromech droid served as the X-wing's navigation system, plugging into a socket near the engines above and behind the cockpit. The droid assisted with calculations and could hold up to 10 hyperspace coordinates, as well as make repairs to the craft. It could readjust power levels between different systems multiple times per second to assist the pilot in a fight. The droid was capable of assuming full control of the X-wing if necessary too, with or without a pilot. In an emergency a separator charge would launch the droid clear of the craft.
The T-65B's sensor systems were located inside the X-wing's nose cone. The sensor system, a Carbanti transceiver package, was made up of a Fabritech ANs-5d "lock track" full-spectrum transceiver, a Melihat "Multi Imager" dedicated energy receptor, and a Tana Ire Electro-photo receptor. These fed information directly to the targeting computer, which could track up to 1,000 sublight objects and acquire 20 targets. Additionally, a Fabritech K-blakan mini sensor scanned directly behind the X-wing to detect sensor sweeps and craft approaching from the rear.
Under the X-wing was a cargo compartment, a repulsorlift, and three reinforced landing legs to protect the craft from rough landings and take-offs. Painted stripes on the rear of the S-foils identified each craft.
S-foils in attack position provided the X-wing with additional stabilizer surfaces during air travel. While listed with a maximum atmospheric speed of 1,050 kph, the X-wing could otherwise fly at supersonic speeds. Indeed, with the engines at maximum thrust an X-wing could travel so fast it would glow hot from atmospheric friction. Doing so put tremendous strain on the starfighter and the pilot themselves however: after just several minutes of maneuvering at these velocities, gradual system failures began and even the cannons themselves were at risk of melting from the heat. When traveling high in a planet's upper atmosphere, an X-wing could achieve speeds fast enough to cause the pilot's head to swim and their vision to glitter.
The T-65B X-wing starfighter was envisioned by its designers as a fighter with both the speed and power to take on Imperial Star Destroyers, ultimately delivering on both promises. It managed not only to become the backbone of the Rebel Alliance Starfighter Corps, but incorporated lessons learned in assessing the performance of Clone Wars–era winged starfighters, such as the popular Z-95 Headhunter and the powerful ARC-170 starfighter.
Ironically, the Incom Corporation had first designed the X-wing for use by the Imperial Navy. The Galactic Empire had asked for a new rugged, single-pilot starfighter to help fill out its ever-expanding fleet, to which Incom was obliged to fulfill. Taking inspiration from the Z-95 and ARC-170, Incom engineers created a prototype that combined aspects of the two earlier designs. After receiving Imperial approval, production began on the new X-wing line, only to be halted. Ostensibly the Empire had found new concerns with the starfighter which caused the stoppage. In truth Incom had been sidelined in favor of Sienar Fleet Systems and their (much cheaper) TIE Series starfighter. Faced with a glut of expensive starfighters going unsold, Incom was more than pleased when agents of the Rebel Alliance contacted them about making use of the X-wing.
Galactic Civil War
The Rebel Alliance used the X-wing extensively during the Galactic Civil War against the Galactic Empire. While X-wing starfighters were initially in general use, they eventually became solely affiliated with (and a symbol of) the Rebellion. Constantly hiding from Imperial detection, the Rebellion cleverly resorted to building its T-65B's in hidden drydocks and hangars, far from the prying eyes of Imperial spies.
A squadron was kept at their hidden fortress on Yavin 4. X-wings were used alongside Y-wings in the Battle of Scarif, aiding the rebel fleet above the planet to help Rogue One steal the Death star plans. During the Battle of Yavin, Luke Skywalker was assigned to an X-wing for the battle, the goal of which was to destroy the Empire's approaching Death Star. Although many of the X-wing pilots were killed, Skywalker was able to launch his proton torpedoes into the battlestation's exhaust port, causing a chain reaction and destroying it. Wedge Antilles was the only other X-wing pilot who survived.
Aside from the Rebel Alliance, the Partisans, a loosely-affiliated group led by Saw Gerrera, utilized the X-wings as well, although they were given extensive paint jobs matching their organization, with several of them being used by the Cavern Angels, as well as Edrio.
Shortly after the Battle of Yavin, the mercenary Saponza and his partner were involved in training X-wing pilots. They used a specially-modified astromech droid in order to draw out womp rats, and a team of 20 X-wings were deployed to test their skills.
The later war
The Rebels also brought X-wings to their new headquarters, Echo Base on Hoth. They were launched during the Empire's invasion of the base to protect the escaping transports. Then-rookie pilot Adon Fox was the sole X-wing pilot assigned to protect his wife's transport, but it did not make it past the Imperial blockade. After escaping, Skywalker avoided the rendezvous point to visit with Jedi Master Yoda on Dagobah. He then took his X-wing to Cloud City on Bespin to rescue his comrades.
For the climactic Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance assembled their entire fleet for the assault on the DS-2 Death Star II Mobile Battle Station. X-wings were assigned to Red Squadron for the battle under the command of Wedge Antilles. Although several X-wings were destroyed, Antilles used his fighter to destroy the battle station's power regulator, contributing to its destruction.
X-wing fighters were also present at the Battle of Jakku, and at least one fighter was shot down during the battle and its wreckage was preserved at the desert surface for nearly thirty years.
In the years following the destruction of the Galactic Empire, newer X-wing models such as the T-70 X-wing starfighter would eventually fall into the hands of the Resistance, and the T-85 X-wing would see use in the New Republic Defense Fleet.
At some point after Snoke drew Ben Solo to the dark side of the Force, renaming him Kylo Ren, he and the Knights of Ren killed all of Skywalker's students and burned the Jedi temple. Skywalker went into exile, and went in search of the First Jedi Temple. After traveling to Ahch-To, he purposely ditched his X-wing in a shallow inlet, leaving himself stranded on the island, and cut himself from the Force, until Rey came to be his final apprentice before dying and becoming one with the Force.
Rey later purposely crash-landed Kylo Ren's TIE whisper on Ahch-To, wanting to do the same thing Luke did, but Luke's spirit lifted his old X-wing out of the water for her to travel to Exegol and then return to the Resistance Base on Ajan Kloss after the war ended.
Behind the scenes
The X-wing appears in the original trilogy. The sound for it was generated by a passing artillery shell. The concept art designed by Ralph McQuarrie for the X-Wing shows the two engines split into four smaller engines on each wing when S-foils are open. This design was later used for the Z-95 Headhunter.
Originally, Red Squadron was going to be named Blue Squadron. However, the limits of bluescreen technology in the late 1970s caused problems for the blue markings, so the squadron name and color was changed. The original designation was retained for the A New Hope novelization. The first X-wing model was built in 1975 by Lorne Peterson, Grant McCune, and Steve Gawley as Blue One before the squadron name was changed. This model was later repainted as Red Two.
Several models, including both "hero" and "pyro" models (simpler casts taken from the "hero" X-wings and rigged to be blown up for effects shots) were built by ILM for the original film. Between the two types, at least eight of Red Squadron's X-wings were represented: Red One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, and Twelve have all been confirmed, with the eighth unidentified. Red Four and Six were pyro models destroyed during filming, while only the wings of Red Five have survived. The only model known to remain intact today is the hero model for Red Three, and the fates of the others are unknown.
Despite the number of models built, they were ultimately used in effects shots with little regards to continuity (such as Red One appearing in the trench with Red Five). When the effects teams on the Special Editions later created new footage for the Battle of Yavin using CGI, only two different sets of markings were recreated—those of Red Two and Five—and applied to all X-wings in the revised battle scenes.
For the Star Wars Anthology Series film Rogue One , the X-wings at the Rebel base were realized by a combination of full-size props and cutouts, similar to the fighters in the original Star Wars film.
A new version of the X-wing, known as the T-70 X-wing starfighter, appears in Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens. With its wings closed, the craft looks much closer to Ralph McQuarrie's original concept sketches than the effects models from the final films. However, the wings on this version scissor open along the span rather than split across the chord as in the original design, resulting in distinct forward and aft wings, with the forward lower wings being somewhat narrower in chord than the aft upper wings.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Visual Dictionary stated that Luke Skywalker had salvaged an S-foil from the X-wing which he used as a door for his hut. This is apparently contradicted by Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker, which depicts his X-wing with its S-foils intact.
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