Pilot (1 or 2)
The prototype R-22 Spearhead was broadly similar in design and function to the earlier Republic Delta-7 Aethersprite-class starfighter and Eta-2 Actis-class interceptor. A two-seat version was also produced, following the lineage of the Delta-12 Skysprite-class two-seater; some of this variant were used by the forces of Tammuz-an.
The Spearhead was in use by private owners and several defense forces all around the galaxy, like the Tammuz-an defense forces, where they escorted ships in the shipping fleet, and on Abridon at the Abridon Shipyard in Sayan.
The R-22 Spearhead became an experimental testbed for the Rebel Alliance, nicknamed the "A-wing," shortly before the Battle of Yavin. During one early operational test, the Rebels sent a lone R-22 to attack an unguarded Imperial repair dock. The fighter performed admirably, destroying the facility before the Nebulon-B frigate Virulence could respond. The mission was later recreated as a simulation used in training new pilots.
The Alliance Fleet started deploying a number of R-22s at that time. Captain Juno Eclipse and PROXY used a two-seater R-22 to travel to Dac to help Admiral Gial Ackbar and Senator Bail Organa liberate the Mon Calamari and recruit them to the Alliance cause. The fleet used them in the Battle of Kamino against the Imperial TIE/sa bombers. Keyan Farlander flew Spearheads in several missions during Operation: Skyhook, and at least two R-22s participated in the Battle of Yavin, one piloted by Jake Farrell. 
The Spearhead was nicknamed "A-wing" among Rebel pilots, possibly to keep it consistent with the names of other prominent -wing Rebel fighters at the time such as the T-65 X-wing starfighter and the BTL Y-wing starfighter. The name "A-wing" persisted when the model was modified by General Jan Dodonna and Walex Blissex after the Battle of Yavin into the Rebel Alliance's fast RZ-1 A-wing interceptor.
What those modifications entailed and how they differed from the Spearhead is unknown, though it is known that Dodonna's decision to create the RZ-1 was largely driven by the Alliance's lack of a starfighter that could match the TIE/LN starfighter's raw speed. Additionally, the RZ-1 was also noted for its improved maneuverability, therefore the difference lies most likely in the engine design.
In addition to better engines, the weapons complement might have undergone a similar change, as early Spearhead-models were noted as using green laser ammunition rather than the red/orange seen with most Alliance fighters.
Behind the scenesEdit
Although the A-wing was created after the Battle of Yavin, EU sources that take place before that time, such as Star Wars: Droids, Star Wars: X-wing, Star Wars: Rebel Assault, and Star Wars: Force Commander, feature ships similar to A-wings.
Daniel Wallace, who wrote The New Essential Guide to Characters, invented the Spearhead in order to explain their presence in earlier times. The name is similar to that of the R-41 Starchaser, and the Spearhead may, like the Starchaser, be a design of Hoersch-Kessel Drive, Inc.
Proper A-wings later appeared in Star Wars: X-wing Alliance, which takes place after the Battle of Hoth. Although canonically the A-wings are now an improved version of the Spearhead, the A-wing's stats in both games are identical (that means, the XWA A-wing has no difference compared to the "Spearhead A-wing" appearing in the first game). The canonical difference between the two versions is therefore not resolved.
Even after the discrepancy was resolved with the retcon, sources such as Star Wars: Empire at War, still use the name "A-wing" when "Spearhead" would have been more appropriate for the era. A possible in-universe explanation could be that the name "Spearhead" was disfavored in the Rebel Alliance and that "A-wing" was used as a nickname, until the production of the RZ-1 interceptor.
- Star Wars: Droids—"The White Witch" (First appearance)
- Star Wars: Droids—"The New King"
- Star Wars: Droids—"The Pirates of Tarnoonga"
- Star Wars: Droids—"The Revenge of Kybo Ren"
- Star Wars: Droids—"Coby and the Starhunters"
- Prey (Ambiguously canonical source)
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II
- The Force Unleashed II novel
- Star Wars: Empire at War (As A-wing)
- Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption (As A-wing)
- Star Wars: X-wing (As A-wing)
- Star Wars: Rebel Assault (As A-wing)
- Star Wars: Force Commander (As A-wing)
- Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron (Possible appearance) (As A-wing)
- C-3PO: Tales of the Golden Droid
- The New Essential Guide to Characters
- Inside the Worlds of Star Wars Trilogy
- A Call to Reason (Part of The Farlander Papers, actually describing an A-wing)
- Rebel Alliance Sourcebook
- Star Wars: Complete Cross-Sections
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- ↑ Inside the Worlds of Star Wars Trilogy
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Star Wars: X-wing
- ↑ The Force Unleashed II novel
- ↑ Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II
- ↑ Star Wars: Rebel Assault
- ↑ Welcome some BCaT VIPs on the Star Wars.com Message Boards (Posted 13 October 2004 10:46 AM by Leland Chee)