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Eta-2 Actis Interceptor

Craft: Kuat Systems Engineering's
Eta-2 Actis-class Light Interceptor
Type: Light Interceptor
Length: 5.47 Meters
2 Laser Cannons
2 Ion Cannons
Crew: 1 Pilot, 1 Astromech Droid
Top Speed: Unknown
Troop Capacity: None
Cargo Capacity: 60 Kilograms
Passengers: None

The Eta-2 Actis-class light interceptor, sometimes referred to as the Jedi interceptor due to its popularity with Jedi pilots, was a Clone Wars-era Republic starfighter that had design elements of the Delta-7 Aethersprite-class Jedi starfighter.

With the outbreak of the Clone Wars, the Jedi saw themselves pressed into the forefront of military activity, serving as Generals in the campaign against the Separatists. The demands of combat saw advancements in the Jedi starfighter arsenal, resulting in modifications and a new generation of fighter craft.

During the Clone Wars, ace Jedi pilots like Anakin Skywalker and Saesee Tiin pushed the Delta-7 to its limits. Skywalker constantly tinkered with his starfighter, modifying its systems to optimize performance. Based on his innovations, Kuat Systems Engineering revisited the starfighter design and developed a bold and radical follow-up to the Delta-7 with its Eta-2 Actis interceptor. Anakin Skywalker was the first to pilot this new model, though other Jedi soon followed in his path, including Tiin, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Mace Windu.

Though the wedge-shaped starfighter design was still in use by war's end, the newer Eta-2 model had earned the spotlight for its use by renowned Jedi heroes. 

The Eta-2 was much smaller and more practical than its predecessor, allowing far more ships to fit into hangars that could only hold a handful of Delta-7 craft. The standard fighter complement of a Venator-class Star Destroyer included 192 Eta-2 interceptors and it became one of the first starfighters in use by the Imperial Navy. The Eta-2 would be a predecessor to the TIE/ln starfighter of the later Galactic Empire. The most notable features of similarity included the vertical radiator panels, twin ion engines, and the spoked main viewing port.

At 5.47 meters in length, the Eta-2 was significantly shorter than the already diminutive Delta-7. The new fighter's mass was further reduced by removing much of the forward space-frame, leaving a forked front and bracketing a bulbous cockpit pod. Like its predecessor, it was also too small to hold an onboard hyperdrive. Because of this, the Eta-2 had to rely on carrier vessels or hyperspace transport rings for long-distance travel. However, the Actis did have room for a full astromech droid, instead of a truncated unit as was fitted into the Aethersprite

Like the simultaneously developed ARC-170 and Alpha-3 Nimbus-class V-wing starfighters, the Eta-2 incorporated S-foils to radiate excess engine heat in the thick of combat, reducing the likelihood of damage to the craft. Occasionally, though not always, the lifting panels were opened during normal flight to further reduce stress on the engines. This design element would be carried on through the radiator panels of later TIE fighters, which, though unlike the Eta-2's foils were locked in static positions, served the same purpose.

R2 units could interface directly with the Eta-2 through a dorsal socket. Thanks mostly to the fact that its development occurred in the midst of a galactic civil war, the Eta-2 had more firepower at its disposal than the Delta-7—two large laser cannons and two ion cannons. While the size of its guns provided it with respectable firepower, the fighter's limited power systems restricted its ability to fire continuously. Unlike the Delta-7, the Eta-2 was not equipped with shields. 

Eta-2s that were flown by the Jedi were stripped down for even faster performance. Heavy sensors and flight instruments were removed, since they were unnecessary for a pilot with precognitive Force abilities. While most Jedi pilots flew Eta-2s more in line with the factory standard, such as Obi-Wan Kenobi, whose fighters were red- or blue-hued against a white undercoat, some chose to customize theirs with unorthodox color schemes. 

Anakin Skywalker's first craft was painted a bright yellow color against a metallic undercoat. The ship was lost in the Second Battle of Coruscant when Invisible Hand broke in half. He temporarily flew a more standard green and white paint scheme, which he used in the Mission to Mustafar, where he presumably left it. Saesee Tiin's was green, and Mace Windu's was purple. 

When Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader, he would receive a new black Eta-2. Vader piloted this Eta-2 during some of his early missions for Emperor Palpatine as the Great Jedi Purge continued, sometimes flanked by V-wing starfighters. Vader was assisted in the new fighter by R4-K5. 

The greatest legacy of the Actis-class was the philosophy behind it—that smaller, unshielded, and relatively under-equipped fighters, when mass-produced using cheap materials and methods, could be ultimately more effective than a lesser quantity of more expensive, high-quality starfighters. This opinion not only ushered in the dominance of the TIE series but spurred the phasing out of higher-quality fighters like the ARC-170. This decision would come back to haunt the Imperial Navy, however, when the ARC's successor, the T-65 X-wing starfighter, proved far superior to the TIE/ln swarms of the Empire and was pivotal in the defeat of the Empire in the Galactic Civil War. 

During the Galactic Civil War, some Eta-2s still remained operational in the Imperial Navy and were reserved for skilled pilots. Others were captured and used by the Rebel Alliance and other various parties, with similar requirements.

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