Name: Kuat Drive Yards Baby Bird
Type: Kuat Drive Yards Baby Bird Parasite Starfighter
Crew Skill: Starfighter Piloting 4d, Starship gunnery 4d
Cargo capacity: 10kg
Consumables: 2 days
Cost: 35,000 (new), 15,000 (used)
Atmosphere: 400; 1,150kmh
4 * Blaster Cannons (fire-linked)
Fire Arc: Front
Skill: Starship gunnery
Fire Control: 1D
Space Range: 1-5/10/17
Atmosphere Range: 100-500/1/1.7 km
Kuat Drive Yards, makers of Star Destroyers amongst other things, originally also wanted to win the contract for fighters to launch from the Star Destroyers as well. The KDY Baby Bird was designed specifically to meet the need for an internally carried or parasite fighter, being a mere 4.5 meters long and with folding wings and no landing gear. Another interesting feature was that its cannons were recessed into the fuselage rather than sticking out. With these space saving features, a carrier could hold half again to two times as many Baby Birds as it could Ties, so KDY thought it had a winner, particularly as the Baby Bird was even slightly more manueverable than a Tie. Specifically designed cradles are mounted in the ship to carry the Baby Birds, and a tractor beam is used to retrieve them after use.
However, the Baby Bird was slightly weaker than the Tie, with weaker and less accurate and long ranged weapons, slower, and had less effective sensors. None of these were insurmountable problems, however the fighters name (there are many unpleasant rumors regarding the fate of the marketer who chose the name) and its less than threatening appearance meant the Baby Bird was ignored by Imperial evaluators.
Anticipating Imperial Demand, KDY had already constructed production facilities for the Baby Bird, and entered production anyway, hoping to eventually recoup there losses. Baby Birds sell reasonably well on the open market, as third parties such as planetary governments and corporations sometimes choose them as carrier based fighters, and they are sometimes found in the hands of pirates and other riffraff.
Baby Birds weigh 2tons, but the entire launch cradle setup and Baby Bird combined consume roughly 10 tons of cargo space per fighter, and the launch cradle costs around 3,000 credits. A tractor beam is also required, trying to return a Baby Bird to its cradle without assistance requires a Heroic piloting check. For ground use a simple wheeled cradle is available costing 1,000 credits, but a tractor beam is still required for landing.