Nov 28, 2013

All you need to know about X wings, A wings, B wings and Y wings

Star Wars is famous for many things and the ships piloted by the rebels are one of them. If you asked a casual fan to name a ship from Staw Wars you'd find many of them would offer the X-wing as their first offering. And why not? The X-wing was the star fighter that Luke Skywalker was flying when he launched a couple of torpedoes into the bowels of the Death Star!

Here's a brief description of some of the fighter ships that the rebels flew in the movies, starting with some of Ralph McQuarrie's early concept designs for the X-wing:

x wing trench run concept picture

Depicted as the primary interceptor and dogfighter of the Rebel Alliance and the New Republic, the craft is a fan favourite. It has has been merchandised as a variety of toys and models and licensed for use in games, novels and comics. The X-wing PC game was hugely popular in the early 1990s!

He came from behind!
While the trench run from A New Hope is a famous scene, the X-wing features in a key part of The Empire Strikes Back when it is stuck in the swamp. Yoda chooses to show Luke what the Force really is about and after uttering his famous "do or do not, there is no try" he lifts the ship out of the watery swamp and into the air and thus inspiring Luke.


The A-wing was one of two Rebel Alliance Starfighters created for the Return of the Jedi movie.

Ralph McQuarrie's A-wing concept art showed them to be to coloured blue but because of bluescreen technology limitations at the time red was eventually used:

The starfighter was intended to resemble the snowspeeders seen in The Empire Strikes Back during the Hoth Battle:

B - Wing

bwing -concept-art

Along with the A-Wing, the B first appeared in Jedi. The B-wing's gyrostabilized cockpit allows its pilot to maintain a consistent horizon while craft's body rotates around it. The ship's rotating cockpit stems from an initial design for the Millennium Falcon by McQuarrie.

The B-wing is the largest and most powerful fighter designed by the Rebel Alliance, and it is generally viewed as the successor to the older Y-wing fighter/bomber.

B-wings have powerful shields which are considerably stronger than the shields featured on most Imperial or Rebel fighter designs, and they are armed with a greater variety of weapons

Y Wing

Y-wings are durable but slow tactical strike spacecraft, although notes and diagrams by the special effects crew for Return of the Jedi (shown in The Art of Return of the Jedi) show the Y-wing as possessing the same speed and maneuverability as the X-wing and standard TIE fighter.

Trench run!
The destruction of Y-wings tasked with destroying the Death Star at the Battle of Yavin in A New Hope leads to Luke Skywalker firing the proton torpedoes that destroy the Empire's battle station. Only one Y-wing survives the Battle of Yavin.

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