Ever since George Lucas and the crew of A New Hope referenced World War II dogfights to create the iconic Battle of Yavin, Star Wars’ scientifically impossible starships have been a staple of the saga. The fantasy of being a dogfighter ace in space has launched spin-off books, comics, and video games, including the beloved TIE Fighter and Rogue Squadron space combat shooters.
In June, EA announced Star Wars: Squadrons, which pits players in 5v5 matches between the New Republic and the Empire. The game will launch with a single-player story mode as well as two multiplayer modes, Dogfights and multi-stage Fleet Battles. Available on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4, Star Wars: Squadrons will be available on Oct. 2. The game is also coming to the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 at a later date.
Each side of the galactic war will have four starfighters at launch, which are divided up into four classes. It’ll be up to players to decide which squad composition works best for each mission. Our initial impression is that Motive Studios has certainly compiled a list of some of the best space ships in Star Wars for this new game. Here’s what you need to know about the ships you can fly in Star Wars: Squadrons:
New Republic: X-wing
Fighters are versatile and deadly, not as specialized as other ships but the backbone of their respective fleets. The classic X-wing sports laser cannons and proton torpedoes, and its namesake S-foils can be opened or closed depending on the need for stability or power. (We presume “locking S-foils in attack position” will be an actual mechanic in this game.)
X-wings have been part of every major Rebel and New Republic engagement in the movies, piloted by heroes like Luke Skywalker and Poe Dameron. In both the Disney canon and in the non-canon Legends continuity, they’re designed and manufactured by the Incom Corporation, competitor to the Imperial-leaning Sienar Fleet Systems.
Empire: TIE Fighter
The solar panel wings and screaming engine sound of a TIE fighter are synonymous with the galaxy’s villains. The name stands for “Twin Ion Engine,” and if you really want to get technical you can call it the TIE/ln space superiority starfighter.
A major difference between flying an X-wing and flying a TIE Fighter is that the latter is more maneuverable but doesn’t have shields or comprehensive life support. That’s why TIE pilots have to wear those scary helmets. In terms of narrative, the lack of shields is a neat way to show that the Empire cares less about protecting its pilots and more about cutting down on any possible power draw. It’s unknown as of yet whether the lack of shields will be part of gameplay, but perhaps not: the “toughness” rating of both ships are about the same.
New Republic: A-wing
These ships are built for speed. They’re also maneuverable, good for one-on-one battles where surprise and agility are key. The A-wing, most famously seen diving directly into the bridge of a Super Star Destroyer in a suicide mission in Return of the Jedi, is fast and heavily shielded. Those big engines mean there’s no room for an astromech droid to assist the pilot, so you have to be especially proficient in piloting an A-wing in order to fly one with any degree of precision.
The A-wings used by the New Republic in the game are RZ-1 A-wing interceptors, the same kind used throughout the Galactic Civil War.
Empire: TIE Interceptor
This is about as fast as it gets. Stripped down to be light and sporting arrow-shaped wings, the TIE Interceptor fires from four laser canons on the end of the wings. Like the A-wing, everything about this design is intended to make this craft fast. The Interceptor also first appeared in Return of the Jedi, and has been featured in Star Wars Rebels and many other tie-in media since then. Technically it’s canonically 50 kph slower than the A-wing, so…best to really keep an eye out for the enemy interceptor if you’re trying to out-fly the New Republic.
New Republic: U-wing
It might come as a surprise to see a support class in starfighter battles, but the support vehicles in Star Wars: Squadrons “keep allies safe and stocked up.” Introduced in Rogue One, the U-wing can carry up to 10 people (two pilots and eight troops). It’s used to drop infantry into battle and to support them with heavy fire as needed.
For the purposes of space battles, it’s not the best dogfight vehicle: the U-Wing is relatively slow and clumsy. But it can carry heavy weapons or project jamming signals, the latter of which was demonstrated during the gameplay trailer. The U-wing might also allow players to repair damaged systems. Like the X-wing, the U-wing’s wings can fold away during atmospheric flight for increased stability.
Empire: TIE Reaper
The Empire’s answer to the U-wing troop carrier is the TIE Reaper, capable of deploying elite troopers into battle. At least one Imperial Inquisitor, the Force-sensitive killers responsible for hunting down Jedi, used a TIE Reaper in the game Jedi: Fallen Order. These TIEs also appeared briefly in Rogue One, both on patrol around the Empire-affiliated Ring of Kafrene and in the battle over Scarif’s shield gate. The TIE Reaper has the same solar panel wings as the rest of the line, but shifts them into a canopy over the top of the ship, making it less maneuverable.
New Republic: Y-wing
These slow and heavily-laden bombers are essential in warfare against capital ships and Imperial ground forces. Infamously wobbly and sluggish in the atmosphere, Y-wings are nevertheless decent fighters. They’ve been in use since the Clone Wars. Some of the vehicles flown by the Rebellion are so old they’ve been partially stripped for parts, leading to the open appearance of their nacelles. Heavy rotary cannons and a belly full of bombs means this ship can do a lot of damage if it gets close. They’ve been part of Rebellion fleets since the very beginning in A New Hope and the New Republic has continued to use them.
Empire: TIE Bomber
It’s exactly what it says on the tin. The TIE Bomber lumbers into battle carrying concussion missiles, thermal detonators, orbital mines, and whatever else the Empire needs to make the biggest possible explosion. The gameplay trailer notes that bombers are good against either capital ships or starfighters.
In the movies, the TIE Bomber first appeared in The Empire Strikes Back and was the center of attention during the Millennium Falcon’s chase through the asteroid belt.