The BTL-A4 Y-wing assault starfighter/bomber, also referred to simply as the BTL-A4 Y-wing starfighter or Y-wing light bomber, was a one or two seat assault starfighter and bomber manufactured by Koensayr Manufacturing. It was used by the Republic Navy during the Clone Wars and the Rebel Alliance Starfighter Corps during the Galactic Civil War. An effective marriage between speed and firepower, Y-wings served their respective causes extremely well.
- "Your Y-wing was shot down? Yes, they always were a bit buggy during atmospheric operations."
- ―AP-5, to C1-10P
Similar to the BTL-B Y-wing, early BTL-A4 Y-wing assault starfighter/bomber  models used during the Clone Wars were crewed by a single pilot, protected by a transparisteel canopy, and housed a gunner inside a domed turret positioned behind the cockpit. Located behind the turret was an astromech droid slot. The long attack starfighter measured in at 23.4 meters. The wedge-shaped cockpit was placed on the front of the craft, with the central spar extending behind it. Two Koensayr R200 ion jet engines were attached to either side of the spar. The engines had exhaust nacelles and support pylons, and had sensor array domes that contained Fabritech ANx-y sensor arrays on the front of the nacelles. The R300-H hyperdrive was at the rear of the spar. Squadron markings were placed on the cockpit and the forward tips of the engine nacelles.
For power, the ship had a Novaldex power generator behind the astromech droid slot, and Thiodyne 03-R cryogenic power cells inside the engine pylons. A Chempat deflector shield generator was located behind the power generator. The Y-wing's main sensor array contained a ANs-5d "lock track" full-spectrum transceiver, a long range PTSA #PA-9r unit, and a short range PTAG #PG-7u unit. In the event that the craft would have to make a make an emergency landing, the pilot could dump its fuel from the engines.
The starfighter was armed with two forward-mounted Taim & Bak IX4 laser cannons, along with two Arakyd Flex Tube proton torpedo launchers, and a gunner-controlled ArMek SW-4 ion cannon on a rotating turret. The Y-wing's targeting system was made from combining a Fabritech ANc 2.7 tracking computer and an SI 5g7 "Quickscan" imaging system.
By the Galactic Civil War, many Y-wings were stripped of their hull plating and engine nacelles, shortening their length to 16.24 meters, for ease of maintenance, as their older parts often broke down, and models that eliminated the gunner's turret had been introduced.
For decades, various Y-wing models saw combat in military conflicts throughout the Clone Wars and Galactic Civil War. The BTL-B Y-wing model was used by the Grand Army of the Republic during the Clone Wars. This model had a bubble-turret, which swiveled 360 degrees, providing a clear view of surrounding space for gunners. The ship was designed to operate mainly as a bomber and the Republic used them well in this capacity. A later BTL-A4 Y-wing variant served as a single-seat tactical strike spacecraft which lacked the gunner's position of previous designs. This variant was utilized by both the Alliance to Restore the Republic and New Republic during the Galactic Civil War. The Alliance modified their Y-wings by removing the hull and nacelle plating in order to increase ease of maintenance on the aging craft. These modified BTL-A4 variants saw action in the Battle of Scarif, the Battle of Yavin, the Battle of Hoth, the Battle of Endor, and the Battle of Jakku, as well as the numerous and various small-scale daily strike operations the Y-wing was so ideal for.[source?]
With the rise of the Galactic Empire, the Imperial Navy placed their emphasis on the doctrine that space superiority was won and held with capital warships. This meant that hyperdrive-equipped snub-fighters fell out of favor and Koensayr lost this important government contract. Because of this, it was forced to sell much of its stock to local planetary defense markets. The Empire intervened, and many unsold, repossessed and surplus Y-wings were allocated for reclamation, to be scrapped for parts.
Despite this, elements of the nascent rebellion against the Empire would take this chance to steal numerous Y-wings in several raids, including one mounted by members of the Phoenix Cell in 2 BBY, in which five Y-wings were stolen from Reklam Station, intended to be delivered to General Jan Dodonna's unit. Soon after, these raids would ensure that Y-wings became very common within other rebel cells, and led to them being used in simulated engagements at the Skystrike Academy; five of Gold Squadron's Y-wings notably escorted the fugitive Senator Mon Mothma to Dantooine, where the rebel fleet massed and the Alliance to Restore the Republic would be formed.
After its formation, the Rebel Alliance used extensively modified Y-wings throughout the Galactic Civil War against the Empire. Originally designed for close-quarter combat and bombing runs, the Y-wing served as the Alliance's original attack starfighter prior to the introduction of the T-65 X-wing. Despite its inability to maneuver as well as later Rebel starfighters, as well as the introduction of Slayn & Korpil's A/SF-01 B-wing starfighter as a potential replacement for the aging bomber, its rugged reliability ensured its presence in all major battles against the Empire.
The craft notably participated in the Battle of Scarif, where its use by Gold Squadron was instrumental in the destruction of the Shield Gate and the acquisition of the Death Star plans. Led by Captain Vander, the Y-wings inflicted damage on the Shield Gate and single-handedly disabled an Imperial Star Destroyer, turning the tide of the battle They also served during the Battle of Yavin, where the Alliance deployed the bombers in an attempt to destroy the approaching Death Star, which in turn was threatening to destroy the Alliance's hidden fortress on Yavin 4. Flying with two wingmen, Gold Leader attempted to skim the meridian trench and fire proton torpedoes into the thermal exhaust port to destroy the battlestation. During the battle, all but one of the eight Y-wings were destroyed, including three by Darth Vader in a TIE Advanced x1 starfighter. However, Luke Skywalker, a farmboy from Tatooine and the son of Darth Vader, was able to fire the shot that destroyed the Death Star.
Following the Rebel defeat at the Battle of Hoth, Y-wings were among the ships of the Alliance Fleet that met at the rendezvous point. Y-wings also joined the Rebel Fleet to attack the Death Star II at Endor. During the battle, Y-wings were deployed as Gray Squadron. Under General Lando Calrissian's orders, they joined in attacking Imperial Star Destroyers at point-blank range, and then followed him into the Death Star after its defenses were knocked out by Han Solo's ground team. Inside the Death Star, one Y-wing, flown by Norra Wexley, broke off and led TIE fighters away from Calrissian's strike group, which succeeded in destroying the battlestation. Y-wings were also used by the New Republic in the Battle of Jakku, along with X-wings, A-wings, and B-wings.
By 28 ABY, Y-wings had fallen out of common military use, and spaceworthy 2-seaters in otherwise poor conditions could usually be purchased for fewer credits than a typical rental starship. At least one, however, remained in military service with the Amaxine warriors at that time.
Behind the scenesEdit
The Y-wing is based on concept art made by Ralph McQuarrie. The starfighters seen in the first Star Wars film, A New Hope, were models produced by Industrial Light & Magic and filmed against blue screens. When Joe Johnston refined the Colin Cantwell and Ralph McQuarrie Y-wing designs for construction into a visual effects model for A New Hope, he posited that the starship was once a sleek vessel that was chopped and stripped like a hot rod by Rebel Alliance technicians.
Designer Russell Chong spearheaded the development of the earlier Y-wing models first seen in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series, based on that original concept. "The Y-wing was a really fun project, bringing it back fully faired," he said. According to Chong, "We back-engineered the Y-wing and turned it back into a bomber. I took images of the actual Y-wing model from the files at Lucasfilm and I designed our new version over it. We revitalized the bubble turret that Colin Cantwell and Ralph McQuarrie had developed. All the body panels are very much the same as the original Y-wing. I did my best to give it the same styling and the same look as the original Y-wing."
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Notes and referencesEdit
- Y-wing on Wikipedia