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ianediger

The heritage of the X-Wing, and the Slightly Ugly Duckling

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This is just something new I'm trying out, might continue this on with different types of fighters if I have the time or interest. Anyways, here are my thoughts on the X-Wing's heritage.

 

According to canon, the heritage of the T-70 X-Wing is as follows:

 

Z-95 -> ARC-170 -> T-65 X-Wing -> T-70 X-Wing

 

However, there is an 'Oddball' (heh) in this list, and it is the ARC-170. Visually, it only slightly resembles an X-Wing in the fact that it has S-foils.

 

While I feel that the ARC-170 could conceivably have come from the Z-95, I feel that the T-65 X-Wing could have (and in my opinion, should have) been a separate model line, also coming directly from the Z-95. Adding to this, according to the Legends universe, the ARC-170 was used during the Rebellion by both sides, and was considered an 'elite' unit.

 

Due to this, I feel the correct heritage of the T-70 X-Wing most likely should have been represented in the following way:

 

Z-95 -> T-65 X-Wing -> T-70 X-Wing

  l

 V

ARC-170 -> whatever would be designed from the 170

 

Now, had George Lucas filmed the series in order, it would have been possible to see ARC-170s try to make the trench run, or to see them escorting the Emperor's shuttle, or even try to take out the Death Star II's reactor core. Heck, it would have even been possible to see whatever an upgraded version of the 170 would look like in episodes VII-IX.

 

But, since the movies weren't filmed chronologically, it seems that this fighter of the Clone Wars era is relegated to the scrapyard of hate for all things prequel.

 

Anyways, just some thoughts about the venerable X-Wing's heritage. I might post something about the E-Wing or the Z-95 next, as they are both fighters that pique my interest.

 

 

Edit: Honestly, after thinking about it, I probably should have posted this in the Off-Topic subforum, but oh well.

Edit 2: Also probably should have made it about capital ships, as it would have fit the Armada theme.

Edited by ianediger

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I had to look it up because Armada is was drawing me into the seedy Star Wars underworld. From what I read, and saw, it looks more like ARC-170 was a gunship designed at the same time and parallel with the Z-95. The T-65 would be a redesign for the Z-95, but using lessons learned from the armament on the ACR-170. Double the laser cannons of the Z-95 using the s foil tech from the ACR-170, and set to be fired by the pilot, not a weapons officer. The tail gun and gunner were removed to preserve the fighter flight characteristics.

 

So to me it looks like the X-65 and it's descendants come from the hybrid lovechild of the Z-95 and the ACR-170.

 

P.S. Can you tell I used to watch a lot of "wings"     

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Yeah the ARC-170 seems to be someone's idea of using the basics of the Z-95 as some heavy gunship attack platform that coincidentally shares similarities with the X-Wing/Z-95. Lucas and his team may have intended to represent that as the X-Wing predecessor, but the fandom had long accepted the Z-95 in that role long before, and it's hard to wash away that preconception (even if the Z-95 isn't the exact same depiction as it was when first descried!)

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My feel for it has been that the ARC170 was designed for the clone wars as a heavy armed recon fighter at a time of massive uncontrolled budgets.

 

Only in a non-resource constrained environment would a hyperdrive equipped, fully shielded, three crew fighter with decent performance be produced in large numbers for general use. 

 

Even then, my guess is the ARC170 would still have been slower and less manoeuvrable than a stock X wing.

 

Post Clone Wars, the Empire changed its fighter doctrine, and I can't see the resource poor rebels being attracted to the expense of maintaining it especially when it could be picked apart by far speedier and more numerous TIEs.

 

Wheras the T65 was a bit revolutionary because although derived at least partially from the ARC170, it took advantage of improved technology and design compromise to produce a ship that had all the best aspects of the ARC170 and improved on them, but was still cheaper, more maintainable, and only needed one crew.

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My feel for it has been that the ARC170 was designed for the clone wars as a heavy armed recon fighter at a time of massive uncontrolled budgets.

 

Only in a non-resource constrained environment would a hyperdrive equipped, fully shielded, three crew fighter with decent performance be produced in large numbers for general use.

 

That is true for quite a lot of Clone Wars technology, particularly on the Republic's side.  The Class 0.75 hyperdrives on Acclamators, the nearly nonexistent spacing between successive generations of warship and vehicle designs, even the expected service life of the combatants themselves!

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I gotta say that it sadly wouldn't make enough sense to have three people and an astromech dedicated to a singular craft if the Rebels could avoid it, especially early war with their somewhat fledgeling numbers to begin with. As stated above the more able ships with less logistics issues to account for would be ideal, especially given the X-Wing as a fairly high performance craft that could be suited for numerous roles. The ARC has the advantages of being a bigger hitter, but at a cost of two extra bodies and a shortage of funding for ordnance already being a huge deficit of firepower, it couldn't realistically have filled enough of a combat role that was more plausible than just making use of the numerous Y-Wings they had access to while being rugged enough to handle the job as best they could. When going into the post-Yavin period it makes perfect sense for the fleet to have expanded on the roles of the A and B wings to further specialize and define the roles for specific missions and jobs.

 

So that being said, given the circumstances of pre-Yavin Rebellion fleet mentality I can totally get why they'd make use of the craft they had on hand: if they could fly more ships with the same amount of people and droids when their combat bodies were already an issue than it absolutely would make logical sense to move away from an outdated, resource dependant craft in favor of newer, easier to fly craft that possess just as valid a threat level as its predecessor.

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Having not looked this up myself, what I'm about to add might be drastically out of date (and also no longer canon). The first exposure I had to the Z-95 was one of the old Han Solo books. He joined a pirate group he knew in a defensive operation against Corporate Sector IRD's. I don't remember the Z-95 description overly well, but I do remember that they were described as having six laser cannons set up in two linked clusters of 3 per wing.

I'd take this now to infer that there are a myriad number of designs for the Z-95 in the stars depending on its role, and the depth of pockets of its owners.

LeoHowler is, imho, spot on in his resource assessment. It's been a long time since I read it, but if memory serves me the novelization of Star Wars described the Y-wings as stripped down of anything "unnecessary," and modifications had eliminated the need for a gunner, the twin cannon behind the cockpit having been fixed forward and linked to the pilot yoke. This was largely due to a shortage of bodies to put in the planes. Even if ARC (Advanced Recon Clone, so yes, heavy recon) fighters were around, they couldn't risk losing 3 men for one plane.

 

I enjoy trying to string the design evolution along, but there is (again, just my opinion) a huge fly in the ointment in doing this. From what I have seen, a rather large number of designs from the prequels are nothing more than rejected art designs from the original trilogy, dusted off and polished. It's hard to find an "evolution" of craft where one doesn't exist. Even harder when designs may have come from the same artwork (meaning they may all have "evolved" from a design that we never even saw).  :(

 

I would agree the ARC and Z-95 had little to nothing to do with each other, and the X-Wing was a redesigned, next-gen Z-95 that used elements from other ships that had proven themselves valuable in combat situations.

But, in the end, it's what Disney says, not me. :)

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I think I remember some of the really old X Wing game background material, where an Imperial source is describing how the traitorous scientists from the Incom company defected to the alliance (maybe due to losing a contract?) but in doing so made the rebellion far more of a threat than it had a right to be.

Edited by Ophion

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This is mostly supposition on my part, but I do remember that the T-65 was supposed to also be relatively similar in characteristics and controls as the T-16 skyhopper. Rebel pilots could therefor be trained in civilian craft right under the noses of Imperial garrisons on many worlds, gaining experience in various conditions or under various instructors. There was that line in a New Hope (Special edition mind you), but it's when Red Leader/Garvin interrupted Biggs and Luke saying “Are you sure you can handle this thing?” to which Biggs just said Luke was a great bush pilot. A military craft that's relatively easy to cross train is a pretty big advantage for a faction in short supply of qualified military pilots.

 

I don't recall anything about the ARC-170 being easy to pilot, but the requirement of multiple crew seem to make achieving satisfactory performance all but impossible for one individual, unless they stripped down the components of the craft to get something like the current Y-wings (which of course brings up the matter of logistics of replacing parts on old specialist fighters compared to more ubiquitous craft like Y-wings and Z-95 which were/are in common use).

 

If we really wanted to look at it, the ARC-170 might represent something of a evolutionary dead end diverging from the more modular Z-95.  That would make the ARC-170 run parallel rather than in series with the creation of the T-65, while still leaving certain similar features in both (as ianediger indicated).  That is, given that they're both made by Incom.  According to wookipedia, Subpro also had a hand in making the ARC-170 while the T-65 was a solo endeavour (Aye, I sort of remember the same thing as Ophion regarding the design team being renegade scientists).

 

From how it appears, the Z-95 has a pretty modular layout, with 4 primary versions that I'm aware of (normal, heavy, 'clone', and that almost unrecognizable 8 winged reduced fuselage 'anime'-esque fighter that I like way more than I should) in addition to its original description. So it could be that the Arc-170 was a step up from the heavier Z-95's which simply ballooned from there.

Edited by Vykes

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You guys also have to remember the design of the Y-wing...needing a a crew of 2 + droid. The Alliance simply removed the second man on most models and put in a computer.

 

The ARC does seem excessive, but I imagine you could basically strip it down and remove the other two crew and add in a computer...

 

However it's fair to say V-wings would be much more effective for them to use.

 

I think the best way to look at it is two parallel lines converging onto the T-65...the best of the Z-95 and the best of the ARC-170.

 

Great example in real life, the A-10. 

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I think I remember some of the really old X Wing game background material, where an Imperial source is describing how the traitorous scientists from the Incom company defected to the alliance (maybe due to losing a contract?) but in doing so made the rebellion far more of a threat than it had a right to be.

If I recall correctly (and even if I do, they may have changed the backstory now) Incom was up against Sienar in a design bid to replace the aging TIE design. Incom went with an all around superiority design incorporating shields, hyperdrive flexibility, S-Foils to give the design the maneuverability of the TIE and an expanded kill-box, and a slot for Astromechs.  While this created a definitely superior craft, it also brought the price tag in at a tidy 135,000 credits per ship (this is from WEG rpg, so not canon).

The new TIE design kept the craft dependent on a carrier by skipping hyperdrives (the cockpits were even open to space, requiring the pilot to wear a suit that limited his oxygen to 3 days of flight time (if I recall correctly)). While this did vastly limit the ability to deploy fighters across Imperial space, it also made desertion practically impossible. Combined with leaving out shields (pilots were considered replaceable), Sienar was able to produce a design that was fast, hit hard, and came in at a neat sum of 60,000 credits. The Interceptor bumped it up to 120,000, but still had the built in assurance that no one was defecting in it.

 

Incom lost the bid (and was even about to be absorbed by Sienar, if I recall correctly? Or that was done in retaliation for the theft) and sympathetic members of the design team stole the plans (and several prototypes, I think?) and gave them to the rebellion; giving them their first genuine threat to the Empire.

 

Though, to my knowledge, none of this is canon anymore. In fact, with the A-Wing now canon in Rebels, I'm not entirely sure how they'll explain its stats versus the "much newer" X-Wing if they decide to keep this explanation.

Edited by Arowmund

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a fan once asked jms during a babylon 5 panel how fast a whitestar could go on full burn:

answer: "it moves at the speed of plot."

More importantly: t-70's are uglier than t-65's and therefore must fly worse ;).

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Thanks! It's wouldn't be the first time wookieepedia steered me wrong!

 

How did it steer you wrong?

It is more in response to Vogons post.

 

I did read the Wookapedia post and yes the it Says the ARC-170 is a follow on to the Z-95. It also says it has two forward and two rearward firing laser canons next to a picture that shows it with six. It refers to both as "clonefighters" which makes them sound like contemporaries to me. When I look at the pictures they have the feel like a MIG next to a Sukhoi. Different designs using the same technology from two schools of thought. I've never watched any of the star wars cartoons and admit I still haven't seen the most recent movie. I'm a military hardware nerd, so when there was a thread about fighter development I read through wookapedia and put down my thoughts.  

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