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The Alpha-3 Nimbus-class V-wing starfighter, often simply known as the V-wing starfighter or Nimbus fighter, was a short-ranged starfighter deployed late in the Clone Wars by the Galactic Republic.
V-wings were some of the more recent spacecraft in the Republic Navy, and frequently filled the role as combat support ships. The small silhouette, high speed, and great agility of this fighter made it hard to target and a very effective ship despite its small size. They were later succeeded by the Imperial TIE Fighter and its variants, as well as the Rebel RZ-1 A-wing interceptor, all of which incorporated aspects of the V-wing into their designs.
The Alpha-3 Nimbus-class starfighter was a sturdy, wedge-shaped starfighter similar to the Delta-7 Aethersprite-class interceptors used by the Jedi Order. It was manufactured by Kuat Systems Engineering, the same company responsible for both the Delta-7 fighter and its successor, the Eta-2 Actis-class interceptor.
Both the Delta-7 and the Alpha-3 models were designed by the engineer Walex Blissex, who would later co-design the Rebel Alliance's A-wing fighter with Jan Dodonna. The V-wing had wing mounted laser cannons and had a wedge shape. The V-wings also featured folding wings similar to those fitted on the later Eta-2 interceptors. But when landing, the wings fold downward to form as landing gear. On each wing was a radiator panel which helped aid in heat disposal during combat. Nestled between each wing and the hull were two twin laser cannons, which could swivel on the vessel's wing hubs to provide a wide range of fire.
Aft of the starfighter's main hull were two deflector shield heat sinks, located above the two vertically stacked ion drive thrusters. These flaps also provided some protection for the V-wing's clone pilot.
In keeping with the design of the Delta-7, the Alpha-3 featured an astromech droid socket aft of the oval cockpit. V-wing pilots were often assisted by spherical Q7-series astromech droids which provided in-flight navigation and maintenance skills that would otherwise require a copilot—which the compact V-wing could not accommodate. However, later incarnations of the V-wing used by the Galactic Empire omitted the astromech, with the pilot as the only occupant. In addition, some later incarnations utilized a similar engine to the later TIE Series, resulting in it having a similar engine roar to its successors.
The V-wing starfighter was too small to feature an integrated hyperdrive, and like their jedi-owned counterparts, it required transportation into combat zones by carriers such as the Venator-class Star Destroyers. Additionally, V-wing fighters were also capable of using Syluire-45 hyperspace transport rings to go long distances like the Eta-2 and both Delta-7 models.
The clone troopers who flew the fighter had specially adapted helmets. These helmets, along with their flight suits, were fully sealed due to the lack of a life support system. These suits allowed them to survive in space after ejection.
V-wing fighters were often unleashed from warship hangars in large swarms, and were one of the most numerous starfighters in the Republic Navy late in the Clone Wars. They were most frequently deployed from Venator-class Star Destroyers and were typically the primary fighter aboard these vessels. While they lacked the power of the ARC-170 starfighter, they made up for it in raw speed and agility. There were produced in limited numbers until 19 BBY.
V-wings were speedy and evasive targets, even for the advanced droid tri-fighters used by the Confederacy of Independent Systems in the last days of the Clone Wars. Mass-produced for Loyalist forces, V-wings participated in large-scale fleet operations and assisted in the defense of Republic worlds during the Clone Wars.
V-wing starfighters flew into battle alongside ARC-170s and Eta-2 interceptors during the Battle of Coruscant, fighting off droid tri-fighters, Vulture droids, and deadly buzz droids, with some even getting as far as the Separatist flagship, Invisible Hand, although many were lost to enemy fire.
Following the end of the Clone Wars, V-wing squadrons flew under the banner of the Galactic Empire. Three V-wings, flown by elite pilots, escorted the self-appointed Emperor Palpatine's shuttle during his voyage from Coruscant to Mustafar and again on the return trip, culminating at the Emperor Palpatine Surgical Reconstruction Center. These elite V-wings were modified for hyperspace travel and equipped with upgraded shields.
In the early stages of the New Order, new V-wing models were commissioned. The new models of the V-wing star fighter were repainted with a black stripe. These craft featured Imperial livery and lacked an astromech droid. The pilots wore a completely black jump suit and a black helmet. These star fighters usually escorted the Emperor's shuttle and imperials of importance. 
At least two V-wings were obtained by members of the Bellassan resistance that sprang up months after Palpatine became Emperor. These V-wings harassed an Imperial ship which Darth Vader himself was on. However, the V-wings were eventually destroyed.
Eventually, private organizations, such as the Hutt Cartel, used V-wings after salvaging them. They were also used by the Mandalorians around the Battle of Yavin during a skirmish with the Zann Consortium.
Behind the scenesEdit
Rob Coleman originally considered showing TIE Fighters at the end of Revenge of the Sith, but Lucas decided to show V-wing starfighters instead, pointing out that the Empire would have nineteen years to build TIEs. As a reference to TIE fighters, however, they have very similar engine sounds, as can be heard towards the end of the film when two V-wings escorting Palpatine's shuttle fly to his medical center, or when several pairs of V-wings are seen patrolling the area where construction of the Death Star is beginning.
In the games Star Wars: Battlefront II and Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron, the V-wing is depicted as a heavy bomber with shock cannons and proton bombs rather than the fast interceptor craft that it has been established as in other sources. Although this portrayal of the ship is likely considered non-canon, it was done regardless as the fighter and interceptor roles for the Republic faction were already filled, leaving the V-wing to take on the bomber ship class. Surprisingly, the ARC-170, which has a role of bomber in other sources, does not have that same role in Battlefront II—it is given the multi-purpose fighter role, likely for the purpose of creating continuity with its better-known descendant.
The V-wing was also a ship in which players of the now closed MMO Star Wars Galaxies could fly as their personal ship. However, it was a very rare ship as it was only available as a loot card in the Squadrons Over Corellia trading card game booster packs. Due to the rarity of this ship in Star Wars Galaxies it was highly sought after by pilots who actively took part in player versus player content in space.
The LEGO set "6205 V-Wing Fighter" was released in 2005 as part of the Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith line. It included a clone pilot and Q7-series astromech droid Minifigures. In the newer line of LEGO Star Wars products in January of 2011, a new set called the "7915 Imperial V-Wing Starfighter" was released. This set includes a black version of the V-wing fighter, and Imperial Pilot and R2-Q2 minifigures. Another LEGO release of the Republic V-wing came out in January 2014, with a clone pilot and an unnamed astromech droid as Minifigures included in the set.
- Millennium Falcon
- Labyrinth of Evil (First appearance)
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- Star Wars: Battlefront II
- Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron
- Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron
- Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader
- Dark Times 2: The Path to Nowhere, Part 2
- Dark Times 4: The Path to Nowhere, Part 4
- Dark Times 5: The Path to Nowhere, Part 5
- Dark Times 11: Vector, Part 5
- Dark Times 13: Blue Harvest, Part 1
- Evasive Action: End Game
- Darth Vader and the Lost Command 2
- Darth Vader and the Lost Command 4
- Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows 4
- The Last of the Jedi: Secret Weapon
- (Mentioned only)
- "The Guns of Kelrodo-Ai"—Star Wars Insider 132
- Star Wars Galaxies: Jump to Lightspeed
- Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption
- Crimson Empire III: Empire Lost 1
- Crimson Empire III: Empire Lost 4
- Crimson Empire III: Empire Lost 5
- LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game
- LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga
- LEGO Star Wars: Microfighters video game
- LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
- Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith Incredible Cross-Sections (First identified as Alpha-3 Nimbus "V-wing" starfighter)
- The Making of Star Wars Revenge of the Sith
- (First identified as Nimbus-class)
- Star Wars Battlefront II: Prima Official Game Guide
- Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (Set: 6205 V-wing Fighter)
- Star Wars: Complete Cross-Sections
- Star Wars PocketModel TCG – Base Set (Card: Squad Four V-wing)
- Star Wars PocketModel TCG – Base Set (Card: Squad Three V-wing)
- Star Wars PocketModel TCG – Base Set (Card: Squad Seven V-wing)
- Star Wars PocketModel TCG – Base Set (Card: Squad Six V-wing)
- Star Wars PocketModel TCG – Base Set (Card: Squad One V-wing)
- Star Wars PocketModel TCG – Base Set (Card: Squad Two V-wing)
- The Force Unleashed Campaign Guide
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars Galaxies Trading Card Game – Squadrons Over Corellia (Card: V-wing)
- Star Wars: The Official Starships & Vehicles Collection 32
- Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (Set: 7915 Imperial V-wing Starfighter)
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
- Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (Set: 75039 V-wing Starfighter)
- Star Wars: Complete Vehicles
- Stay on Target
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 Star Wars: Complete Cross-Sections
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5
- ↑ Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Star Wars Battlefront II: Prima Official Game Guide
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Crimson Empire III: Empire Lost 1
- ↑ Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith Incredible Cross-Sections
- ↑ Millennium Falcon
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Darth Vader and the Lost Command 2