T-65B X-wing starfighter

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Incom Corporation's T-65B X-wing starfighter was a single-seat craft used by the Alliance to Restore the Republic during the Galactic Civil War.


Battle of Yavin

X-wing starfighters in the pivotal Battle of Yavin

T-65B X-wing starfighters were manufactured by Incom Corporation. They had two pairs of wing-like strike foils, or S-foils, mounted at the rear of the craft on opposite sides. Each of the four engines were attached to the wings next to the fuselage. Normaly the foils on each side locked in place flush against each other; during combat, however, the foils were folded out. This gave the craft its distinctive "X"-like appearance when viewed from the front or rear. The craft's four laser cannons were placed at the tip of the wings. The single pilot sat in the cockpit, which was in the center of the fuselage, and the astromech droid had a socket near the engines. The two proton torpedo launchers were located in grooves near the middle of the underside of the fuselage. In the cockpit, the pilot had access to the flight controls and a targeting computer.[3]

Those highly maneuverable fighters measured 12.5 meters in length,[2] with a mass of 10 metric tons.[4] They were equipped with a long-range[8] hyperdrive system[6] and shields which could be adjusted around the craft.[3] Painted stripes on the rear of the S-foils identified each craft.[9]

The X-wing's flight controls were similar to those of the T-16 skyhopper, an airspeeder also produced by Incom Corporation.[2]


The X-wing was designed to incorporate lessons learned in assessing the performance of Clone Wars–era winged starfighters, such as the popular Z-95 Headhunter and the powerful ARC-170 starfighter.[10][11]


X-wing starfighter receiving repairs in Echo Base

The Rebel Alliance used the X-wing during the Galactic Civil War against the Galactic Empire. While X-wing starfighters remained in public use, they eventually became solely affiliated with the Rebellion.[12] A squadron was kept at their hidden fortress on Yavin 4. During the Battle of Yavin, Luke Skywalker was assigned to an X-wing for the battle, the goal of which was to destroy the Empire's approaching Death Star. Although many of the X-wing pilots were killed, Skywalker was able to launch his proton torpedoes into the battlestation's exhaust port, causing a chain reaction and destroying it. Wedge Antilles was the only other X-wing pilot who survived.[3]

Shortly after the Battle of Yavin, the mercenary Saponza and his partner were involved in training X-wing pilots. They used a specially-modified astromech droid in order to draw out womp rats, and a team of 20 X-wings were deployed to test their skills.[13]

The Rebels also brought X-wings to their new headquarters, Echo Base on Hoth. They were launched during the Empire's invasion of the base to protect the escaping transports.[6] Then-rookie pilot Adon Fox was the sole X-wing pilot assigned to protect his wife's transport, but it did not make it past the Imperial blockade.[14] After escaping, Skywalker avoided the rendezvous point to visit with Jedi Master Yoda. He then took his X-wing to Cloud City to rescue his comrades.[6]

For the climactic Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance assembled their entire fleet for the assault on the Death Star II. X-wings were assigned to Red Squadron for the battle under the command of Wedge Antilles. Although several X-wings were destroyed, Antilles used his fighter to destroy the battlestation's power regulator, contributing to its destruction.[15]

X-wing fighters were also present at the Battle of Jakku,[7] and at least one fighter was shot down during the battle and its wreckage was preserved at the desert surface for nearly thirty years.[16]

In the years following the destruction of the Galactic Empire, newer X-wing models such as the T-70 X-wing fighter would eventually fall into the hands of the Resistance, while even newer models roughly thirty years after Endor; such as the T-85 X-wing, would see use in the New Republic Defense Fleet.[17]

Behind the scenesEdit

The X-wing appears in the original trilogy. The sound for it was generated by a passing artillery shell. The concept art designed by Ralph McQuarrie for the X-Wing shows the two engines split into four smaller engines on each wing when S-foils are open. This design was later used for the Z-95 Headhunter.

Originally, Red Squadron was going to be named Blue Squadron. However, the limits of blue-screen technology in the late 1970s caused problems for the blue markings, so the squadron name and color was changed. The original designation was retained for the A New Hope novelization. The first X-wing model was built in 1975 by Lorne Peterson, Grant McCune, and Steve Gawley as Blue One before the squadron name was changed. This model was later repainted as Red Two.[18]


X-wing effects models under construction by ILM

Several models, including both "hero" and "pyro" models (simpler casts taken from the "hero" X-wings and rigged to be blown up for effects shots) were built by ILM for the original film. Between the two types, at least eight of Red Squadron's X-wings were represented: Red One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, and Twelve have all been confirmed, with the eighth unidentified. Red Four and Six were pyro models destroyed during filming, while only the wings of Red Five have survived. The only model known to remain intact today is the hero model for Red Three, and the fates of the others are unknown.


Grant McCune painting the pyro model for Red Six

Despite the number of models built, they were ultimately used in effects shots with little regards to continuity (such as Red One appearing in the trench with Red Five). When the effects teams on the Special Editions later created new footage for the Battle of Yavin using CGI, only two different sets of markings were recreated—those of Red Two and Five—and applied to all X-wings in the revised battle scenes.

A new version of the X-wing, known as the T-70 X-wing fighter,[19] appears in Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens. With its wings closed, the craft looks much closer to Ralph McQuarrie's original concept sketches than the effects models from the final films. However, the wings on this version scissor open along the span rather than split across the chord as in the original design, resulting in distinct forward and aft wings, with the forward lower wings being somewhat narrower in chord than the aft upper wings.



Notes and referencesEdit

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