- "Hey, can you hear something?"
"It sounds like a starfighter."
"Hey—nobody gave you permission to fly through here!"
- ―Two B1 battle droids, just after clone trooper pilot Shooter crashes through one of them with his Z-95 starfighter
The clone Z-95 starfighter, known more commonly as the clone Z-95 Headhunter or the Headhunter starfighter after its predecessor model, was a single-seater starfighter developed by Incom and Subpro Corporations for the Galactic Republic's clone trooper pilots during the Clone Wars. A variant of the popular Z-95 Headhunter, the clone Z-95 starfighter boasted speed and maneuverability on account of its sleek design. It was equipped with recessed torpedo launchers and a pair of wingtip laser cannons, and its shielding allowed it to endure much damage, though it lacked a hyperdrive. The model was specifically customized for the clone trooper pilots of the Republic Navy, who often cross-trained in the Z-95 and another Incom/Subpro product, the heavy-duty ARC-170 starfighter, due to the similarity of both starships' flight controls.
The Republic Navy employed the Z-95 starfighter in several capacities, including escort and starfighter combat against enemy forces from the Navy of the Confederacy of Independent Systems, particularly at the lengthy Battle of Umbara. A number of clone trooper pilots such as Warthog and Hawk became adept in piloting the Z-95 in addition to other Republic combat craft. Squadrons of Z-95 starfighters saw widespread use as part of fleets commanded by such Jedi Generals as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker. Z-95 starfighters were also stationed at important Republic facilities like Coruscant's Republic military base and Kamino's clone military education complex. Though Incom went on to produce further Z-95 variants, the clone starfighter was phased out after the Republic became the Galactic Empire, which favored Sienar Fleet Systems' new TIE Series.
- "Argh! I'm catching too much heat!"
- ―Warthog, maneuvering to avoid enemy fire in his Z-95 starfighter
Developed from the Z-95 Headhunter product line by Incom/Subpro Corporation, the clone Z-95 starfighter was manufactured during the regime of the Galactic Republic, specifically tailored for use by the clone trooper pilots of the Republic Navy. At 16.74 meters in length, it slightly surpassed its predecessor model, which was 11.8 meters long. Its sleek design facilitated maneuverability and agility, with a long nose extending from its single-pilot cockpit. It had a similar piloting control system as another Incom/Subpro product, the ARC-170 starfighter. The cockpit's features included a targeting computer. The starfighter's two engine units, a reduction from the Headhunter's original four, were mounted on double wings and required regular maintenance. A laser cannon was positioned on each angular wingtip, leading to a wingspan of 18.13 meters.
Unlike the concussion missile weaponry of its forerunner model, the Z-95 starfighter was equipped with more powerful, recessed torpedo launchers to supplement its laser power. The torpedo launchers could be loaded with other types of ordnance as needed. Three feet extended from the underside of the craft as landing gear. The craft was equipped with shielding but lacked a hyperdrive, as it was intended to be ferried into battle aboard larger capital ships. Being integrated into the Republic Navy, Z-95 starfighters commonly sported white and crimson livery.
- "Hawk, we're gonna need air support once we're on the ground."
"You'll have it, General. Me and the boys are ready to fly."
- ―Anakin Skywalker and Hawk, the latter flying a clone Z-95 starfighter
The clone Z-95 starfighter was intended for starfighter combat, to be used by the clone trooper pilots of the Republic Navy. Due to its design, it amassed a reputation for speed and maneuverability, more so than its Incom/Subpro cousin, the ARC-170 starfighter. Often deployed from squadrons in flight groups of three, members of the Z-95 class saw action against equally versatile enemy units, from droid starfighters like the Hyena-class bomber, Vulture droid starfighter, and droid tri-fighter, to manually piloted Umbaran starfighters. Z-95 starfighters were also used to escort bulkier craft during a battle, such as the Republic's LAAT/i gunships and space gunships. When not in use, Z-95 starfighters could be stored aboard large capital ship transports like the Acclamator-class assault ship.
Introduction on the battlefieldEdit
- "Wolf Leader to Wolfpack, accelerate to attack speed."
- ―Plo Koon, ordering a squadron of clone Z-95 starfighters into battle
Due to the widespread success of the Z-95 Headhunter line, which was manufactured by Incom/Subro Corporation and saw an upgraded model every production year, the Galactic Republic commissioned a Headhunter variant specifically for its clone trooper pilots. The result was the clone Z-95 starfighter, which earned the name "clone Z-95 Headhunter," or more commonly the "Headhunter starfighter," after its base model. Although more maneuverable than the rugged ARC-170 starfighter—as well as another Republic model, the V-19 Torrent starfighter—the Z-95 starfighter had controls similar to those of its fellow Incom/Subro product, enabling many clone trooper pilots to be cross-trained in both craft before joining the Republic Navy. Alongside other models like the ARC-170 and the V-19, the Z-95 starfighter was pressed into Republic service against the Navy of the Confederacy of Independent Systems during the Clone Wars, being introduced toward the end of 21 BBY. It became a favorite of many clone troopers, earning a reputation for its performance and agility in combat. Some clone pilots such as Hawk and Warthog became versatile enough to fly other Republic fighter models in addition to the Z-95.
Z-95 starfighters were among a Jedi-led task force dispatched to retake the planet Umbara, whose Umbaran inhabitants had recently seceded from the Republic and joined the Confederacy. Several Z-95 starfighters saw action alongside BTL-B Y-wing starfighters under the command of Jedi Commanders Ahsoka Tano and Barriss Offee, who led an offensive against one of the Munificent-class star frigates in the Separatist armada that was blockading Umbara. Once the Separatist frigate had fallen, the Republic's Star Destroyers smashed through the enemy blockade and moved in to deploy their ground troops. Z-95 starfighters accompanied the space gunships ferrying Jedi General Anakin Skywalker's 501st Legion from an Acclamator-class assault ship and other transports to the planetary surface, providing cover from Umbaran starfighters dispatched by the Umbaran militia. The Z-95 escorts allowed much of the Republic invasion force to reach the surface. Headhunter starfighters also served with Jedi General Pong Krell, escorting him when he traveled via gunship to deliver new orders from the Jedi High Council to Skywalker.
As the Republic targeted an orbital Separatist supply ship that was supplying the enemy defenses of Umbara's capital city, squadrons of Z-95 starfighters and BTL-B Y-wing starfighters were deployed against the much larger Separatist fleet. Engaging in dogfights with Umbaran and droid starfighters, the Z-95 and Y-wing squadrons took heavy losses until the intervention of Advanced Recon Commando Fives and 501st troopers Jesse and Hardcase, who commandeered Umbaran starfighters from a captured Umbaran airbase and used them to eliminate the heavily guarded supply ship. The destruction of the supply ship led to an eventual Republic victory on Umbara, with the Umbaran militia forced to surrender control of their world.
Later in the war, a three-member squadron from the 104th Battalion's Wolfpack flew Z-95 starfighters under Jedi General Plo Koon, who led a starfighter assault on a slave processing facility on the planet Kadavo. Koon's assault was executed in tandem with an attack by Anakin Skywalker and his Padawan, Ahsoka Tano, who worked to liberate a number of Togruta slaves who were being held at the facility by the Separatist-backed Zygerrian Slave Empire. Flying their Z-95 starfighters alongside Koon's Delta-7B interceptor, Warthog and two fellow pilots challenged the Zygerrian defenses, which consisted of tower-mounted turbolaser turrets. The starfighters' cannons were unable to eliminate the turrets due to their ray shielding. Zygerrian-manned HH-87 Starhoppers were soon launched against the Z-95 starfighters, sparking a chaotic air battle between the opposing squadrons. The Zygerrians were eventually defeated, with Admiral Barton Coburn rescuing the Togruta slaves from the facility aboard an Arquitens-class light cruiser.
- "Blue Group, keep those fighters busy. Red Group, form up behind me. We're commencing our attack on the main reactor."
- ―Anakin Skywalker, leading two squadrons of Z-95 starfighters into battle in the Enoth system
In 20 BBY, several squadrons of Z-95 starfighters were stationed aboard High Jedi General Obi-Wan Kenobi's three-cruiser fleet of Venator-class Star Destroyers when it was attacked by Confederate General Grievous. Clone trooper pilot Killer was among the Z-95 pilots; his starfighter was shot down during the course of the battle. Following the destruction of his fleet, Kenobi received another complement of Z-95 starfighters when he transferred his surviving crew to his new flagship in place of his fallen one, the Negotiator.
Z-95 starfighters also served with Anakin Skywalker aboard his Venator-class Star Destroyer. Following Republic Intelligence's discovery of a Separatist Subjugator-class heavy cruiser that was undergoing construction in the Enoth system, Skywalker brought along two units of Z-95 starfighters—Red Group and Blue Group—to eliminate the Separatist battleship. Once forces under the command of Clone Captain CT-7567 had destroyed the heavy cruiser's shield generator on the planet below, Skywalker had Blue Group engage the enemy warship's external Vulture droid defenses while he led Red Group into the nearly completed battleship. Errant clone Z-95 pilot Shooter sacrificed himself to breach the warship's main reactor, imploding the heavy cruiser and completing their objective.
When Skywalker later responded to a Confederate invasion of the planet Cato Neimoidia, clone trooper–manned Z-95 starfighters launched from Skywalker's flagship, providing protection for a landing force of LAAT/i gunships. After bypassing the Separatist fleet, they joined Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano in mounting an offensive on the enemy forces entrenched within the Neimoidian bridge cities. Following the two Jedi's Eta-2 Actis-class interceptors through the bridge cities, several clone trooper pilots and their Z-95 starfighters were shot down by droid tri-fighters deployed from a Providence-class carrier/destroyer. Skywalker and Tano were later recalled to the Republic capital of Coruscant to investigate a bombing at the Jedi Temple.
On Coruscant, a number of clone Z-95 starfighters were held in reserve at the Republic military base, along with other starfighters and various matériel. Z-95 starfighters were also employed for aerial security at Kamino's cloning facilities, particularly at the clone military education complex. When Skywalker led a campaign to capture the planet Ringo Vinda from the Confederacy, squadrons of Z-95 starfighters engaged the enemy starfighter squadrons around the massive space station orbiting the planet. The battle lasted for several days, with Skywalker's 501st troops not making headway until the arrival of forces led by twin sister Jedi Generals Tiplee and Tiplar.
During Skywalker's invasion of the Confederate-occupied planet Scipio, the headquarters of the InterGalactic Banking Clan, Clone Lieutenant Hawk and other clone trooper pilots flew Z-95 starfighters as escort for the 501st Legion's LAAT/i gunships. The Z-95 starfighters chased down the Separatist fleet's Vulture droids, creating a path for the LAAT/i gunships to reach the surface. Shortly thereafter, the Separatist naval forces retreated from Scipio, abandoning the ground forces that were already on the planet. Hawk and his comrades worked to obliterate the remaining droid starfighters that had been stationed outside Scipio's Main Vault, helping to win the battle for the Republic.
End of widespread useEdit
Although Incom Corporation developed further Z-95 Headhunter variants, including the AF-series, use of the clone Z-95 starfighter ultimately petered out. After the Republic transitioned into the first Galactic Empire in 19 BBY, the Empire phased out the clone starfighter in favor of the new TIE Series, a product of Sienar Fleet Systems.
Behind the scenesEdit
- "A multi-purpose starfighter, the Z-95 has spawned countless variants, with the Republic making its own mark on the Headhunter's large production run with a clone trooper-specific model."
- ―StarWars.com Encyclopedia entry for the clone Z-95 starfighter
The clone Z-95 starfighter was developed for the Star Wars: The Clone Wars television series and was first featured in the episodes "Darkness on Umbara" and "Plan of Dissent," which aired with the series' fourth season in October and November 2011, respectively. Since then, they have been featured in the fourth season episode "Escape from Kadavo," as well as in episodes of the series' fifth season and the sixth and final season. The episode guide for "Darkness on Umbara" on StarWars.com initially designated the craft as the "Z-85 Headhunter," implying that it was a variant of the Z-95 Headhunter, but this was later changed to "Headhunter starfighter." The starfighter's entry in the StarWars.com Encyclopedia attributed its current designation and clarified that it was a variant of the mainstream Headhunter line.
The starfighter was designed by the television series' crew with the intention of avoiding similarity to the T-65 X-wing starfighter from the original trilogy of Star Wars films. Instead, it more resembled artist Colin Cantwell's original model for the X-wing starfighter.
The Z-95 starfighter was introduced in LEGO form in the 2013 video game LEGO Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles. The game, which uses scenes from episodes of LEGO Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles, features both a Light Side and Dark Side campaign. The Light Side campaign includes the Z-95 as a playable unit at the build hubs in certain missions. The starfighter is also one of the enemy units in the Dark Side bonus missions. A LEGO version also appears in the 2014 mobile game LEGO Star Wars: Microfighters during the Dark Side campaign as an enemy unit. It serves a role similar to that of the TIE/sa bomber.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Darkness on Umbara" (First appearance)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Plan of Dissent"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Escape from Kadavo"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Bound for Rescue"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "A Necessary Bond"
- "Hotshot"—Star Wars: The Clone Wars Comic UK 6.54
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Sabotage"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Jedi Who Knew Too Much"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Unknown"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Conspiracy"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Crisis at the Heart"
- (First pictured)
- (First identified as Headhunter starfighter)
- "Launch Pad"—Star Wars Insider 130 (Picture only)
- (First identified as clone Z-95 Headhunter)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars Comic UK 6.29
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars Comic UK 6.36
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Set: 75004 Z-95 Headhunter)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Episode Guide
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars Magazine 20 (Picture only)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars Comic UK 6.54
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars Magazine 22
- The Official Star Wars Fact File Part 7 (HEA1–2, Z-95 Headhunter)
- (Picture only)
- (First identified as clone Z-95 starfighter)
- (Picture only)
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 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 The Official Star Wars Fact File Part 7 (HEA1–2, Z-95 Headhunter)
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Darkness on Umbara"
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 The New Essential Chronology
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 The Official Star Wars Fact File 136 (HEA1, Z-95 Headhunter)
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Crisis at the Heart"
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Plan of Dissent"
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars Magazine 22
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Carnage of Krell"
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Escape from Kadavo"
- ↑ The Official Star Wars Fact File Part 10 (HMP1, HMP Droid Gunship)
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Bound for Rescue"
- ↑ 17.0 17.1
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "A Necessary Bond"
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Sabotage"
- ↑ "Hotshot"—Star Wars: The Clone Wars Comic UK 6.54
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Jedi Who Knew Too Much"
- ↑ 22.0 22.1 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Conspiracy"
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Unknown"
- ↑ The New Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels
- ↑ LEGO Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles video game
- ↑ LEGO Star Wars: Microfighters