Trench Run Defense (TRD) was an anti-capital ship tactic modeled after the success of Rebel Alliance starfighters against the Death Star known as the trench run. Pilots colloquially referred to targets vulnerable to the tactic as being susceptible to "Trench Run Disease".
Pilots facing large starships would fly close to the surface of a ship's outer hull, using trenches to avoid enemy fire. Starfighters could thus deliver their payload with impunity to sensitive ship segments, assuming a successful escort against enemy starfighters. X-wing pilots found particular success using TRD against Imperial-class Star Destroyers.
During the Fondor shipyard assault and the Battle of Endor, the Rebels utilized this tactic against an under-construction Executor-class variant possessing cloaking abilities and the Executor, respectively.
A variation of the tactic was pioneered by Wraith Squadron to avoid pursuit in a cityscape, natural trench or valley. By diving into the cover of a trench, the pilots could lose enemy starfighters by weaving an impossibly difficult pattern to follow or by moving deep enough to make overhead pursuit equally difficult.
The Lancer-class frigate was designed to counter this tactic.
Trench Run Defense was typically formed in a triangular, three-ship formation. The two starfighters in the back protected the forward fighter for as long as possible with their shields. The forward fighter would usually be carrying powerful weapons to take out a target.
- Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope (First appearance)
- X-Wing: Rogue Squadron (First mentioned)
- X-Wing: Wraith Squadron
- X-Wing: Iron Fist
- Star Wars: Rogue Squadron
- Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader
- Star Wars: Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike