The starfighter that looks the least like the letter that gives it its name, is also the Rebellion’s most advanced bomber, the B-wing. Let’s take a look.
The A/SF-01 B-Wing Starfighter is one of the most heavily armed and armored starfighters in the Rebel Alliance. From this single pilot assault starfighter, a lone pilot could take on hardened targets, even larger capital ships. This assault starfighter was one of the most advanced designs the Rebellion employed.
Designed by Slayn & Korpil, the B-Wing was an unusual starfighter in that the B-Wing was primarily designed to take on capital ships and boasted more firepower than most patrol ships or corvettes. Its weaponry loadout belies its purpose, boasting 3 different ArMek SW-7a ion cannons, an array of laser cannons, most commonly 4 Gyrhil R-9X laser cannons, and a twin auto-blaster in addition to 4 different proton torpedo launchers and laser-guided bombs. These weapons, which could typically be found on much heavier ships, gave the B-Wing a powerful punch–but also gave it a unique, and easily trackable, infrared signature.
But what gives the B-Wing its unique look is the primary airfoil. At the top of the hull, the cylindrical command pod, with two S-foils just below the engine cluster, giving it repulsorlift and anti-gravity capabilities. The unique design of the B-Wing gave it a few advantages, the command pod, for instance, could separate from the rest of the starfighter’s body allowing a fighter to escape with more weaponry than most escape pods.
The B-Wing was also designed to have the command pod remain central while the rest of the ship’s body rotates around it, meaning that the B-Wing, despite being slower, has some surprising maneuverability to a pilot that wasn’t expecting it.
At the time it was introduced, the A/SF-01 was the most heavily-armed starfighter in the galaxy, and it quickly earned a name for itself in early battles. The first prototype, the B6 Blade Wing, was developed by the legendary Mon Calamari engineer Quarrie (who shares a name with a certain concept artist), as a part of the Mon Calamari efforts to develop a blockade breaking strike craft.
Once the Rebellion secured the services of the engineer, Bail Organa directed the development of the B-Wing line, and though the Rebel-era fleets had to shift their tactics when the later craft proved to be much less maneuverable than the Blade Wing prototype, the B-Wing still proved incredibly useful to the Rebellion, serving in the Battle of Endor as well as large scale battles at Malastare, Kuat, and Jakku.
May the Force be with you