The A-Wing is the fastest ship in the Rebel Fleet. Descended from Jedi Starfighters, designed for speed and agility, the A-Wing has shaped the galaxy.
The RZ-1 A-wing starfighter is one of the most important starfighters in galactic history. While one wasn’t piloted down the meridian trench of the Death Star, sinking a critical destructive shot as it converged on Yavin IV, but the impact this starfighter has had on the course of galactic history is no less significant.
To begin with the RZ-1 A-wing interceptor is the pinnacle of Kuat Systems Engineering’s work. Taking inspiration from the old wedge-shaped designs of the Republic starfighters of the Clone Wars, the RZ-1 is an evolution of the RZ-22, sometimes called the Spearhead, which was originally rejected by the Galactic Empire for being too expensive to mass-produce (they would later adopt the TIE Fighter).
If not for the monarch of Tammuz-an, a planet on the distant Outer Rim territories near Gamorr, the R-22 prototypes might still be gathering dust in a Kuat warehouse. But, as the Imperial takeover of the galaxy rose, the Rebel Alliance managed to recover the R-22 prototypes. The prototypes, which were an even more advanced version of the Delta-7 Aethersprite-class light interceptor (better known as the Jedi Starfighter), were highly customizable, and cells of Rebel engineers worked in secret to boost the fighter’s speed and acceleration, which left them with a fast, hard-hitting starfighter capable of competing with the TIE/IN interceptor newly developed.
A-wings sport powerful Event Horizon engines, and an on-board hyperdrive, giving them enhanced ability to strike at targets or intercept enemy craft without relying on a larger carrier. It also meant that if an escort was lost, the A-wing could still escape. However, in modifying the RZ-22 to the RZ-1 A-wing, engineers traded out Astromech ports for more engine power, which meant that flying the RZ-1 required precision from its pilot. It also meant that the pilot had to control dorsal and ventral stabilizers, as well as thrust-vector controls built into the engines, and thruster-control jets located between the engines, all without any droid assistance.
This meant that only the best pilots could fly an A-wing without losing control. It also meant that the A-wing was more prone to systems failures and decalibrations–another challenge for even the most experienced pilots to deal with.
An A-wing’s typical armament is two Borstel RG-9 laser cannons, retrofitted on a custom swivel mount so they can elevate or depress 60 degrees during flight, and accompanying those are a pair of low-powered targeting lasers as well as two Dymek HM-5 Concussion Missile Launchers that could be loaded with twelve concussion missiles.
For defense, the A-wing relies on its maneuverability first, but on its Sirplex Z-9 deflector shield projector second, meaning that the Rebellion wasn’t losing its most talented pilots every time someone caught a stray laser blast. And the A-wing’s wedge design also helped protect the pilot–the layering of durasteel armor over a titanium frame meant that the cockpit could be designed to keep pilots safe.
In one notable instance, an Imperial mine detonated less than twelve meters from an A-wing with enough power to destroy an entire city block, and though the A-wing was wrecked, the pilot was recovered with no injuries.
And despite the interceptor’s cramped quarters, Rebel protectiveness of its people meant that it could carry special equipment like sensor jammers, and enough supplies to last adrift in space for a week (provided the on-board life support system was still functional).
During the Galactic Civil War, A-wings played a pivotal role in many battles, quickly proving themselves to be a counter to the strike-craft of the Empire. During the Battle of Endor, Green Squadron flew against the second Death Star, relying on their maneuverability to draw off interceptors from a heroic strike by the Millennium Falcon at the station’s core–and as the Empire’s heavy capital ships poured devastating amounts of fire into the amassed Rebel Fleet, Green Leader, Arvel Crynyd, with his craft on fire, crashed into the Super Star Destroyer Executor, taking out the most dangerous ship in the Imperial Fleet single-handedly.
Yes, the A-wing has cut through galactic history like the tip of a spear. Later versions would add even more improvement, but the original will not soon be forgotten.
May the Force be with you