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The RZ-1 A-wing interceptor was a starfighter designed by the Rebel Alliance during the Galactic Civil War. One of the fastest mass-produced interceptors in the known galaxy, the A-wing was even faster than the Imperials' TIE Interceptor, despite also having shielding and a hyperdrive, unlike the cheaper TIE model.
The RZ-1 A-wing interceptor was a cockpit attached to twin engines. Like its Clone Wars predecessor, the Eta-2, the A-wing required pilots of exceptional skill to take full advantage of the vessel's speed, agility, and special featuresâ€”and the Rebel Alliance lacked the Galactic Republic's Jedi pilots.
The A-wing's Novaldex J-77 Event Horizon engines remained some of the most powerful sublight thrusters two decades past the A-wing's creation and were linked to highly sensitive controls. The vessels presented a number of challenges to pilots. Pilots had to adjust two dorsal and two ventral stabilizer wings with great care, as even a minor turn could send the speedy A-wing into a massive spinout.
The slight A-wing's wing-mounted laser cannons could rotate up and down sixty degrees for greater fire control. Some of those designs even had their guns modified to swivel in a complete 360-degree arc, thus providing a nasty surprise to any chasing fighter. While a tactical boon, the A-wing had no astromech droid to manage its weapons systems, requiring further attention from the pilot. In addition, they also had a high rate of mechanical failure, and contributed to the fighter's extremely costly maintenance-to-flight ratio. This, among other reasons, contributed to the difficulty of keeping a squadron of A-wings operational for any length of time.
The combination of sensitive controls, unmatched sublight thrust, maneuverable weapon systems, advanced sensory and stealth packages, fragility, and heavily exposed cockpit strained even the best pilot. A-wings earned the nickname "slims" for their small frame made of carbo-plas, but also for the "slim" chance of a pilot surviving a direct hit on the ship after the shields were down, and the cramped cockpit that prevented larger pilots from flying the A-wing.