|First appearance||A New Hope|
The Y-wing assault starfighter/light bomber is a fictional starfighter in the Star Wars franchise. They are depicted as the primary fighter-bombers of the Galactic Republic, Rebel Alliance and New Republic; being ideally suited for ground attack missions and close air support. They appear in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, Rogue One, Clone Wars TV series, Star Wars Rebels TV series and the Star Wars expanded universe's books, comics, and games.
Origin and design
Industrial Light & Magic's Colin Cantwell, who also designed the saga's TIE fighters, initially designed the Y-wing with a large bubble turret for a gunner. However, the dome did not appear properly when filmed against bluescreen and subsequent designs omitted the turret.
Y-wings were used by the Republic Navy during the Clone Wars and the Rebel Alliance Starfighter Corps during the Galactic Civil War. Y-wings are described in the Expanded Universe as durable but slow tactical strike spacecraft, although notes and diagrams by the special effects crew for Return of the Jedi (shown in The Art of Return of the Jedi) show the Y-wing as possessing the same speed and maneuverability as the X-wing and standard TIE fighter. The Rebel Alliance adopted the military strategy of Doctrine of Space Denial, wherein the Rebellion would raid Imperial boneyards and shipping frigates, both to disrupt Imperial logistics and operations, and also to requisition desperately needed materials. Y-wing hyperdrive capabilities allowed for this kind of harassment and escape before the Empire reacted with any decisive counter-attack.
The destruction of Gold Squadron (a group of BTL-A4 Y-wings commanded by Jon Vander) tasked with destroying the Death Star at the Battle of Yavin in A New Hope leads to Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) firing the proton torpedoes that destroy the Empire's battle station. Only one Y-wing survives the battle.
Y-wings also participate at the Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi. The expanded universe describes several Y-wing varieties, such as the single-seat BTL-A4 model, the two-seat (one pilot, one gunner) BTL-S3 model, and the "Longprobe" reconnaissance ship.
Y-Wings were later seen in The Clone Wars TV series as a new, prototype fighter-bomber used by the Republic as a weapon against the Separatists. General Anakin Skywalker leads a squadron of Y-Wings on one of their first missions to take out a Separatist cruiser, and are noted for their powerful shields and secondary gunner.
Although described as a tactical strike spacecraft, more specifically a fighter-bomber, the Y-Wing actually never dropped any ordnance in any of the original trilogy films. This was not showcased in any Star Wars film until Rogue One during the attack on Scarif where a flight of Y-wings completely disabled an Imperial Star Destroyer on a single pass using ion torpedoes.
- "Y-wing Fighter". Star Wars Encyclopedia. Lucasfilm. Retrieved 2012-03-19.
- "Y-wing starfighter (Behind the Scenes)". Star Wars Databank. Lucasfilm. Retrieved 2007-08-29.
- "Y-wing starfighter (Expanded Universe)". Star Wars Databank. Lucasfilm. Retrieved 2007-08-29.
- Murphy, Paul; Peter Schweighofer (April 1994). Rebel Alliance Sourcebook. West End Games. ISBN 0-87431-209-4.