The BTS-A2 Long-Range
Strike Fighter/Bomber (the Alliance designation is H-Wing) is a
recent addition to rebel flight bays. Now manufactured by Koensayr
and made famous for its rugged Y-Wing starfighter, it could only
have been a matter of time before the Alliance military leaders
chose to include the H-Wing in the rebel starfighter arsenal. Even
so, the number in Alliance service is likely to remain low, as almost
any two single-seat fighters can be purchased at a cost equal to
that of one H-Wing.
The H-Wing is a stable
weapons platform capable of delivering a hard-hitting punch. Indeed,
only the B-Wing is more heavily armed.
The fighter's primary
long-range weapon is a heavy laser cannon mounted in a fully rotating
dorsal turret. This laser can only be fired from the turret's gunnery
chair; no fire control for the top mount is included in the piloting
As in the Y-Wing,
the H-Wing carries two Arakyd proton torpedo launchers. However,
the H-Wing boasts a complete magazine of eight torpedos for each
launcher - twice the payload carried by the earlier Y-Wing. The
magazines are identical to those used in Y-Wings, making heavy ordnance
standard for the two craft. This ordnance is benefited by an elaborately
complex, improved fire control system, quite necessary for the craft
to efficiently serve in its primary role as a strike fighter/bomber.
The H-Wing's primary
weapons systems are complemented by two light ion cannons (fire
linked for greater effect), which are mounted in the starboard nose
of the fighter's twin-nose hull. This weaponry has a maximum rotation
and vertical pivot span of 40 degrees, which allows the gunner to
engage forward targets independent of the craft's flight path.
The H-Wing can survive
intended combat engagements and multiple hits by using a heavily
reinforced armoured hull, with added protection provided by strong,
high-energy shields. But, weapons capability and hull integrity
do not come without cost. Both maneuverability and sublight speed
have been sacrificed for increased battle worthiness, thus creating
a distinct disadvantage in that the H-Wing has very little chance
of outrunning a numerically superior enemy or of disengaging prior
Though the H-Wing
has obvious speed and maneuverability disadvantages, Alliance military
planners believe it has a decided advantage in combat due to its
full combat crew of three. Rebel pilots of advanced, single-seat
fighters have often complained that they cannot make full use of
their craft's various systems; with evasive maneuvering, operating
several weapons systems, and angling shields, they are simply overtaxed.
The H-Wing's three-man
crew provides extremely efficient use of the ship's systems. The
forward cockpit contains two crew stations: primary and secondary.
Piloting controls are installed only at the primary station, but
shield control, ion cannon, and torpedo fire control are installed
at both stations. A common practice is to have shield control provided
by the pilot, leaving torpedo and ion cannon control to the weapons
officer at the secondary station.
Many of the components
used in the Y-Wing were adapted for use in the H-Wing, such as an
improved Fabritech ANx-y sensor package and Koensayr Ion Jet engines
- complete with thrust vectrals, though larger engines are employed
on the H-Wing.
Many components were
not used. For instance, instead of using an R2 unit to provide nav
data, a limited man computer similiar to that used in the B-Wing
is employed, although the H-Wing has a higher data storage capacity.
Also, the H-Wing does not employ ballistic ejection seats. That
option simply isn't feasible in the tight space remaining after
all systems are installed. The fighter does, however, contain a
cramped, spartan cabin, which includes a single bunk with a soundproof
divider that can be used on a rotational basis to provide increased
comfort for the crew during long hyperspace jumps.
are currently reviewing reports of the H-Wing's performance in its
first encounters with Imperial fighter craft, encounters that went
favorably for the oversized starfighter. However, its limited use
has proven that its greatest capabilities are as a strike and anti-shipping
craft, and as a screening fighter protecting slower transports and
rebel leaders have suggested that the H-Wing should be designated
to replace the B-Wing as the Alliance's primary heavy assult fighter.
These H-Wing proponents cite the B-Wing's high required maintenance
and poor performance after suffering damage.
isn't likely to happen for several reasons. The craft also lacks
speed; even the comparatively slow B-Wing is quicker than the H-Wing.
The final reasoning is simple economics: Not only is the H-Wing
a high-cost space vehicle, but it also requires a greater number
of trained flight personnel.
While the large
flight crew does provide an advantage in combat, such trained, combat
personnel are always in short supply. What is most likely is that
the H-Wing will serve as a special engagement craft, used where
its advantages will provide its greatest combat effectiveness.