R-22 SPEARHEAD (A-WING PROTOTYPE)
(* has notes below for further reading and explanation)
Craft: R-22 Spearhead (A-Wing prototype)
Model: Kuat Systems Engineering R-22 prototype starfighter
Type: Prototype starfighter/Delta-7 Aethersprite replacement
-Length: 9.6m (approximation)
Skill: Starfighter piloting: R-22
Crew Skill: Starfighter piloting, starship gunnery, starship shields
Cargo Capacity*: 100 kilograms
Consumables: 1 week
Cost*: 180,000 (new); 150,000 (used)
Hyperdrive Multiplier: x2
Nav Computer: Yes (Limited to 2 jumps)
-Atmosphere: 365; 1,050kmh
2 Laser Cannons* (fire-linked)
Fire Arc: Front
Skill: Starship gunnery
Fire Control: 2D
Rate Of Fire: 1
2 Concussion Missile Launchers (fire-link optional)
Fire Arc: Front
Skill: Starship gunnery
Fire Control: 1D
Damage: 8D (fire-linked); 7D (not fire-linked)
Ammo: 6 concussion missiles each (12 total)
Rate Of Fire: 1
The R-22 Spearhead was a fast starfighter design that served as the basis for the RZ-1 A-wing interceptor. The prototype R-22 Spearhead was broadly similar in design and function to the earlier Republic Delta-7 Aethersprite-class starfighter and Eta-2 Actis-class interceptor. A two-seat version* was also produced, following the lineage of the Delta-12 Skysprite-class two-seater; some of this variant were used by the forces of Tammuz-an.
The Spearhead was in use by private owners and several defense forces all around the galaxy, like the Tammuz-an defense forces, where they escorted ships in the shipping fleet, and on Abridon at the Abridon Shipyard in Sayan.
The R-22 Spearhead became an experimental testbed for the Rebel Alliance, nicknamed the "A-wing," shortly before the Battle of Yavin. During one early operational test, the Rebels sent a lone R-22 to attack an unguarded Imperial repair dock. The fighter performed admirably, destroying the facility before the Nebulon-B frigate Virulence could respond. The mission was later recreated as a simulation used in training new pilots.
The Alliance Fleet started deploying a number of R-22s at that time. Captain Juno Eclipse and PROXY used a two-seater R-22 to travel to Dac to help Admiral Gial Ackbar and Senator Bail Organa liberate the Mon Calamari and recruit them to the Alliance cause. The fleet used them in the Assault on Kamino against the Imperial TIE/sa bombers. Keyan Farlander flew Spearheads in several missions during Operation Skyhook, and at least two R-22s participated in the Battle of Yavin, one piloted by Jake Farrell.
The Spearhead was nicknamed "A-wing" among Rebel pilots. The name "A-wing" persisted when the model was modified by General Jan Dodonna and Walex Blissex after the Battle of Yavin into the Rebel Alliance's fast RZ-1 A-wing interceptor.
What those modifications entailed and how they differed from the Spearhead is unknown, though it is known that Dodonna's decision to create the RZ-1 was largely driven by the Alliance's lack of a starfighter that could match the TIE/LN starfighter's raw speed. Additionally, the RZ-1 was also noted for its improved maneuverability, therefore the difference lies most likely in the engine design.
In addition to better engines, the weapons complement might have undergone a similar change, as early Spearhead-models were noted as using green laser ammunition rather than the red/orange seen with most Alliance fighters.
Behind the Scenes
Though most sources established that the A-wing was introduced by the Rebel Alliance after the Battle of Yavin, some EU sources deviate from this and show A-wings in use before Yavin, notably Star Wars Droids, Star Wars: X-Wing, Star Wars: Rebel Assault, Star Wars: Force Commander, and Star Wars: Empire at War. This inconsistency was eventually reconciled in The New Essential Guide to Characters, where the pre-Yavin appearances of A-wings were retconned and explained as being R-22 Spearheads instead. The name is similar to that of the R-41 Starchaser and R-60 "T-wing" Interceptor, and the Spearhead may, like the Starchaser and T-wing, be a design of Hoersch-Kessel Drive, Inc.
*Passengers, Cargo Capacity, and Two-Seat Variant
The R-22 was lnown to have a two-seater variant of the design. If the two seater version is used, increase the cose by 10,000 credits, and decrease the Cargo Capacity by 40 kilograms.
Being a prototype, the R-22's laser cannons cannot swivel and rotate like those of the RZ-1, and Fire Control is reduced to reflect this. Also, while the R-22's laser cannons seem bulkier than the RZ-1's cannons, this does not mean they would be more powerful. Instead, the bulky casing would have been stripped away to modify the laser cannons to have the rotating ability they are known for in the RZ-1. This also could explain some of the A-Wing's notorious reputation for needing high maintenance and constantly breaking down, as these laser cannon mods could have been a jury-rigged field mod with a repair skill instead of an advanced engineering skill, then widely spread due to ease of use to perform the mod, and its use and high demand in a starfighter dogfight.
GAME DESIGN NOTES:
I had originally wanted to write-up the Resistance A-Wing (Kuat Engineering Systems RZ-2 A-Wing), however, finding references to the R-22 here, I decided to do it up first, technically creating a reference for the RZ-2. Kuat Engineering System's R-22 prototype here led to the development of the Rebel Alliance's RZ-1 A-Wing, which led to the Kuat Engineering Systems RZ-2 A-Wing that fell into Resistance hands later on.
Key Differences between the R-22 and the RZ-1 A-Wing:
-Greater Cargo Capacity, later used for modifications leading to what became the RZ-1, as this space is taken up by modifications and upgrades.
-The engines are modified and enhanced (+4 Speed).
-The maneuvering thrusters are modified and enhanced (+1D Maneuverability).
-Installed a better hyperdrive (x1).
-The hull plating was stripped to minimal necessity to reduce mass and increase speed (Hull -1 pip, trade-off for +1 Speed).
-Installed better Sensors package in the RZ-1 to better perform its many roles as a high-speed starfighter, such as interceptor, reconnassaince, and stealth.
-Installed the Enemy Targeting Jammer.
-(If using the original WEG D6 A-Wing stats) The concussion missile launcher was removed, reducing mass to help increase speed.
The RZ-1 A-Wing has 40 kilograms of cargo space. Here, I gave the R-22 prototype more because it is eventually modified into the RZ-1 we all know and love. As an unmodified prototype, the R-22 will be lacking many things the RZ-1 is known for, such as speed, changing certain stat dice codes (RZ-1 had less Hull and Shields for increased speed, etc), weapons strengths, and specifically it would not have the jamming device. When the R-22 is eventually modified into the RZ-1, much of this 100 kilogram Cargo Capacity will be taken up by these modifications, though some of these mods may also be external or enhancing what is already there, which usually does not take up Cargo Capacity.
The "new" price listed is higher than the RZ-1 A-Wing because the R-22 fighters were originally prototypes. In line with the idea of concept cars and other such "unique" creations, prototypes would probably cost much more than the mass production run of the same or similar starfighter, and in all likelyhood this cost should probably be higher, maybe even twice that of the RZ-1 A-Wing or even more.
The "used" cost is because due to the Empire rejecting the R-22 design, Kuat Systems Engineering then would have found itself with a batch of prototype starfighters with no buyer, and they probably would have wanted to recoup these losses somehow. Hence, KSE sold the R-22 prptotypes to the world of Tammuz-an. After that, these fighters may have very likely been reproduced to create more, explaining why so many have appeared (and been destroyed) over the course of many years, if not decades, before we finally see the RZ-1 A-Wing in action.
The used cost may also be off, perhaps should be less, but the key factor here is that whatever the R-22 sold for when Kuat sold them off, the difference between this price and the final cost of the RZ-1 A-Wing may in fact be the cost of the equipment and upgrades possessed by the RZ-1 and not the R-22, such as the jamming device the RZ-1 is reknowned for. These upgrades and costs should also take into account the R-22 being stripped down in many other ways to increase other abilities, namely speed.
While the speed listed for the R-22 is 8, some GMs/players may think this is too slow. Since the A-Wing series of starfighters are intended as replacements for the Delta-7 Aethersprite and related variants, the R-22 should come off as something in the middle. If GMa/players feel the Delta-7 or Delta-7B would have a faster Speed than 8, then the R-22 should have a higher speed too. Just keep in mind that the R-22, as well as the Delta-7 series, should have Speed less than the RZ-1 A-Wing, as that fighter gained its speed due to stripping down and modification by the Rebel Alliance. All in all, if GMs/players feel the need to increase the R-22's Speed, a 9 would do it, maybe a 10 but that might be pushing it.