Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Buckinghamshire, England
Spanner in the works!!
The genesis of the A-wing resides in General Jan Dodonna’s post-battle analysis of the Battle of Yavin. The value of Alliance starfighters were undeniable in the battle—but Dodonna was concerned that a simple trio of TIE starfighters had almost foiled the trench run. Knowing that the Imperial Starfleet was conducting similar analyses and would come to the same conclusions, Dodonna set about planning the creation of a dedicated Alliance interceptor. His work was not without foresight, as Sienar Fleet Systems engineers began work on the TIE Interceptor.
To design the starfighter, Dodonna turned to Walex Blissex, famed ex-Kuat Systems Engineering engineer. Blissex had valuable experience from his work on the Clone Wars-era Delta-7 and Alpha-3 interceptors, and the two set about drawing up designs. Basing their initial designs around the R-22 Spearhead, the pair drafted a proposal and presented it to Chief of State Mon Mothma.
Dodonna and Blissex’s timing was not well chosen: while the victory at Yavin had jolted thousands of worlds into rebellion, it had brought down the Emperor’s wrath and scattered the Alliance. As such, funding was tight, and the A-wing program presented a major investment for the credit-strapped Alliance. Nevertheless, Dodonna’s fame from his role in the Yavin victory made a denial difficult, and Mothma approved a reduced amount of funding.
To fit within their reduced budget, Dodonna and Blissex made substantial modifications to the original design. Blissex redrafted his component list to use components readily available within the Ministry of Supply and pushed each piece of the A-wing past original factory performance. The earliest A-wings were manufactured across Alliance facilities like Cardooine and Chardaan Shipyards. Each starfighter was hand assembled, resulting in a slow production rate and a number of interesting modifications.
The combination of quality control lacking hand assembly, use of second-hand components and the number of complex systems packed into the starfighter’s small frame made A-wings notorious for their high maintenance to flight ratio—the second worst in the Alliance fleet in 3 ABY.
As a result, the Alliance was able to field few full squadrons of A-wings; by 4 ABY, the fleet was able to summon only one full unit for the Battle of Endor. Only a handful of crack units, like Nomad Squadron or Pash Cracken’s wing, were maintained across Alliance forces.
Like its predecessor, the TIE fighter, the TIE Interceptor carried no shielding but had superb acceleration and maneuverability. Improved avionics were implemented and the radiator panels had a cut-out notch to improve lateral visibility. The original production variant had four laser cannons, one mounted on each wingtip, though some have hypothesized the existence of a version with ten cannons, including an additional cannon mounted at the end of each wingtip and two more in the empty command pod hardpoints, much like the original TIE fighter.
Emperor Palpatine, knowing the supreme abilities of the TIE interceptor, had planned to replace all standard TIE fighters with Interceptors. By the Battle of Endor, TIE Interceptors filled 20% of the total Imperial Starfighter Force.
Though unshielded, the Interceptor's speed and multiple cannons made it an effective craft against most Rebel fighters, provided there were superior numbers of Imperials to prevent concentration of fire.
During and after the period in which Grand Admiral Thrawn took control of the Imperial Remnant, many of his TIE Interceptors were shielded to minimize casualties due to limited pilot supplies and limited ship numbers compared to the endless TIE fighters of years past.
Due to their distinct shape (and their speed), TIE Interceptors came to be referred to occasionally as squints by enemy pilots.
The B-wing starfighter was one of the largest and most heavily armed starfighters in the Rebel Alliance. It was designed by the Verpine company Slayn & Korpil in cooperation with then-Commander Ackbar. It has a somewhat ungainly appearance resembling, when fully unfurled, a top-heavy cross. It carries an unusually high payload as part of its primary function as a fighter specifically designed to attack capital ships.
As originally designed, the B-wing carried three ion cannons, two proton torpedo launchers, one laser cannon, and two auto-blasters. Most B-wings had their two auto-blasters replaced with laser cannons to improve survivability and firepower. While its strong shields and great firepower allow it to be somewhat survivable in fighter engagements, it usually must have an escort on the way in. However, with the firepower of many naval corvettes, it is a dangerous foe against many light ships like enemy escort frigates.
Sometime after the Battle of Hoth, the hull of a wrecked B-wing was used as the design prototype for the AHS-1 heavy assault airspeeder, and later models followed the same general design.
The B-wing/E (or B-wing Expanded) was a modification to the original Slayn & Korpil B-wing design. First proposed by Admiral Ackbar and the Verpine after the Battle of Yavin, the B-wing Expanded had an elongated cockpit that allowed a gunner to assist the pilot on missions. This allowed the pilot to concentrate on piloting, and resulted in the B-wing accounting for an increased number of kills in battle. It was faster and tougher than the original B-wing, but was somewhat less maneuverable. There were two models of B-wing/E—the first was simply a military ship, while the second generation (known as the B-wing/E2) was designed as a personal military shuttle. Ackbar used one of these E2-designs as his own shuttle, which he was forced to crash on the planet Vortex after it had been tampered with by Terpfen.
While the B-wing was designed to replace the aging Y-wing, the fact that it was very difficult to fly meant that it never fully succeeded in this respect. The fact that its entire hull could rotate separately from its cockpit made the B-wing a challenge to master, as well as making the ship abnormally delicate; too many sharp turns could cause extreme strain to the spaceframe. Only a few pilots were qualified to fly the ship before the Battle of Endor, resulting in a smaller number of B-wings present than expected. These difficulties forced the Rebel Alliance to invest in an upgraded Y-wing, rather than an entirely new ship, to fulfill their needs.
Despite its limited numbers, it was a key Rebel craft in the Battle of Endor
Imperial Executor Class Star Dreadnaught (SSD)
The Executor-class was the brainchild of Lira Wessex, the brilliant and ambitious engineer who already had the designs of the Venator-class and Imperator-class (later renamed Imperial-class) Star Destroyers to her credit. Following her work on the already-impressive Imperial-class, Wessex sought to improve on the design. Adhering to Kuat Drive Yards' philosophy of psychological effect in starship design, or "terror styling," she believed that the immense size of an Imperial-class Star Destroyer was largely responsible for its ability to intimidate opponents. Working on that theory, she began designing a starship that would dwarf all her previous designs. Though KDY had designed and built extremely large warships in the past, such as the Mandator-class Star Dreadnought, the result obtained by Wessex was utterly gargantuan.
Wessex submitted the Executor-class design for approval in an period when Imperial tactical philosophy was rapidly becoming organized around the concept of superweapons—the Death Star was nearing completion at the time, and its very existence surely must have influenced those making the decision to go, or not go, with Wessex's project. For instance, the Imperial Starfleet felt its position of dominance threatened by the battle station, and its approval of the design may have been meant to keep the fleet in play as Palpatine's first terror weapon of choice. Should the Death Star perform as expected, the navy may have wanted to be able to keep up with it, with a superweapon of their own. Should the station fail to perform as expected (as it eventually did), the navy would have an alternative ready for the Emperor to turn to.
Emperor Palpatine authorized the construction of the first four Executor-class ships even before the Battle of Yavin, but the sudden and unanticipated destruction of the Death Star in that engagement (0 BBY) changed Wessex's production schedule completely. At the urging of Darth Vader, the Emperor ordered her to rush the new ships into production as quickly as possible, to compensate for the loss of the battle station. As certain segments of naval command may have anticipated, a new symbol of intimdation was needed, and as Wessex had believed, the Executor-class fit the need well.
Initially deemed militarily inefficient, the ships served to further the Imperial policy of fear set forth in the Tarkin Doctrine. While the ships of the Executor-class proved effective in driving fear into the hearts of the Rebel Alliance, they were disliked by much of the Admiralty, who preferred to field large numbers of smaller vessels over one larger one.
Though the ship was initially manufactured by KDY, the first vessel of its class, the Executor, was built in secret at Fondor rather than the company's home shipyards at Kuat. The Executor went on to become the most feared and famous of its class by virtue of its status as Darth Vader's command ship.
In the later years, production on Executor-class Star Dreadnoughts and other so called "Super Star Destroyers" or "Super-class Star Destroyers" accelerated in a display of the Emperor's wealth and power. After the death of the Emperor and the fragmentation of the Galactic Empire into feuding fiefs, Executor-class Star Dreadnoughts were popular acquisitions amongst warlords hoping to improve their military power and prestige.
Imperial Mark II Class Destroyers
The Imperial II-class Star Destroyer was built with a heavily reinforced hull, stronger shields than the Mk.I model, and greater firepower. The first ships of this class began to appear in service several months after the Battle of Yavin.
Several differences existed between the Imperial Mk.I and II, including the replacement of the tractor beam targeting array between the command tower's sensor globes, with a communications tower. Other new features were two parallel "claws" for grappling smaller starships placed in the ventral secondary docking bay, an option for gunners to eject from their station if it was about to be destroyed, and the transparisteel viewports on the main bridge being able to resist an impact of a concussion missile (even the missiles launched from a Victory I-class Star Destroyer).
These warships were robust enough to stay operational after being hit by all the ion cannons of an Executor-class Star Dreadnought during a broadside exchange.
Although the Mk.II Imperials required less crew than the Mk.I, due to the need for weapons gunnery crew, the total crew-number aboard both sub-classes remained the same.
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