The B-wing was the Rebel Alliance's most powerful heavy-assault starfighter and developed shortly after the Battle of Yavin. It was designed to replace the aging BTL Y-wing starfighter and to take on much larger Imperial capital ships, thus providing the Alliance fighters with the punch of capital ships at a fraction of the cost. Although only about four meters longer than the famed X-wing, the B-wing had more firepower than many Imperial patrol ships.
The B-wing starfighter was designed by then Commander Ackbar with the help of engineers from the Verpine Slayn and Korpil colonies. Later, the Verpine colonies and Ackbar worked to develop a two-man B-wing, adding a dedicated gunner. While the two-man B-wing, dubbed the B-wing/E (for B-wing/Expanded), was in many ways a superior ship, it was not widely accepted.
The original B-wing is essentially a long, flat wing with a cockpit on one end. Two folding airfoils near the midpoint of the primary wing extend out for combat. The fighter has an unusual cockpit gyro-stabilization system that allows the cockpit to remain stable while the rest of the ship rotates around it, significantly reducing stresses that result from sudden maneuvers. Unfortunately, this complex gyro-stabilizing system frequently breaks down. This locks the wing assembly in position, making it almost impossible to turn the ship without severely straining the spaceframe. Like its predecessor, the Y-wing, the cockpit could be detached from the rest of the ship, but unlike the Y-wing, the B-wing's cockpit could be ejected into space and support atmospheric re-entry.
Because the B-wing is so difficult to handle, only a few of the Alliance's pilots were qualified to fly it. B-wing pilots tended to become very attached to their ships and liked to personally supervise every repair and modification.
The B-wing's advanced targeting computer links the performance of the ion cannons and proton-torpedo launchers, giving the ship maximum firepower against a single target, although the pilot also can split fire between different targets. The pilot can choose to fire a low-power targeting laser to "tag" enemy ships. While this gives the pilot nearly perfect range and vector information, it also gives away the B-wing's position.
In standard configuration, each secondary wing has one ion cannon, with a third ion cannon located at the base of the main wing. A laser cannon and an emission-type proton-torpedo launcher are also mounted on the end of the main wing. The engines sit just above the extending wings, with another proton-torpedo launcher immediately above the engines. A pair of auto-blasters are in the nose of the cockpit module; technicians can opt to mount up to four auto-blasters in the nose section.
B-wing designers deliberately made the weapon-mounting points modular. Technicians can reconfigure auto-blaster, laser-cannon, and ion-cannon mounts within a few hours. A popular alternative B-wing weapon configuration is achieved by removing the auto-blasters and mounting the three ion cannons in the command pod, with a laser cannon placed on the end of the main wing and each airfoil.
Each fighter is powered by a single immense Quadex Kyromaster engine with four individually adjusted thrust nozzles. The engine is fed by a single Vinop 02 K ionization reactor and four Slayn & Korpil JZ-5g7 power convertors. The ship has four cooling plates to dissipate exhaust heat.
The B-wing has moderate sublight speed capability, and its hyperdrive, a Class Two unit, is only half as fast as comparable X-wing and A-wing hyperdrives. Unlike other Rebel starfighters, the B-wing does have a navigation computer, but it stores only two sets of jump coordinates.
Despite its limited numbers at the time, it was a key Rebel craft in the Battle of Endor, where a squad of these fighters took down an
Imperial II-class Star Destroyer. After the battle, the B-wing's modular design allowed it to be retrofitted with sprayers for firefighting duty on Endor, to extinguish the fires caused by the falling
B-wings were present in the Battle of Bakura. The B-wing fighter also featured significantly in the campaign against Warlord Zsinj, where the B-wings of Nova Squadron were instrumental in defeating
Razor's Kiss and Iron Fist. General Salm's Defender Wing was partially retrofitted with B-wings during the campaign against
Zsinj. A wing of B-wings would also serve against Delak Krennel and his Ciutric