Star Wars ABCs is a fun 26-part series that partners Star Wars with your ABCs to introduce you to characters, droids, places, and creatures from every era of the franchise, including the newest venture into a galaxy far, far away — The High Republic.
Y is for Y-wing Light Bomber
The Y-wing light bomber, also referred to by its official designation BLT-A4 Y-wing assault starfighter/bomber or simply Y-wing, was an iconic starfighter that saw heavy use by the Alliance to Restore the Republic during the Galactic Civil War. It was also used by the Galactic Republic and later the successor of the Alliance to Restore the Republic, the New Republic.
Manufactured by Koensayr Manufacturing — a company who was a major supplier to the Galactic Republic during the Clone Wars — the original Y-wing design, the BLT-B fighter-bomber, was developed as a long range bomber to replace the V-19 and Jedi Interceptors. Once the ship became a mainstay in the Republic Navy, a number of variants were produced, including the BLT-A4 and BTL-S3, along with many of the parts and components required for the various models manufacturing.
When the Galactic Republic was reorganized into the Galactic Empire, the Imperial Navy placed heavy emphasis on domination through space superiority and striking fear into the hearts of their opponents, which was implemented through a strong focus on a large fleet made up primarily of capital warships. With the majority of funding going towards capital ships such as the Star Destroyer, the Imperial Navy opted to allocate Starfighter funding into Sienar Fleet Systems’ TIE line. This is turn saw hyperdrive and shield equipped snub-fighters fall out of favor, which lead to Koensayr losing their contract.
While the Imperial Navy turned its nose up at the Y-wing, the Alliance to Restore the Republic made an effort to get their hands on as many Y-wings as possible. Next to the X-wing fighter, the Y-wing was the most popular ship throughout the Rebel fleet. Thanks to the Rebels’ implementation of the bomber, Koensayr opted to refine the line to the A4 series and strip the fighter down to accommodate one pilot and one astromech droid.
The Y-wing was originally developed for close-quarter combat and bombing runs, and while the Rebel Alliance made great use of that capability, it also heavily modified the ship throughout the Galactic Civil War and utilized it as a starfighter attack craft heavily prior to the introduction of the T-65B X-wing. Rebel engineers modified the ship to utilize torpedoes like its X-wing counterpart, except instead of a focus on raw firepower with proton torpedoes, the Y-wings used ion torpedoes which were designed to disable electronic subsystems. The Rebel Alliance had great success with this technique against the Empire in a number of battles, perhaps most notably at the Battle of Scarif.
You can watch the Y-wing in action in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, The Mandalorian, Star Wars: Rebels, Star Wars: Resistance, the original trilogy, and the sequel trilogy on Disney+, and you can hop into the pilots seat in various Star Wars video games.
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