- "A-9 Vigilance interceptors. Speedy little things."
"Weak hulls. I used to crack 'em with my teeth and suck out the meat inside."
- — Leia Organa Solo and Han Solo
Designed by Kuat Drive Yards, famous for its Imperial-class Star Destroyers, the A-9 was an attempt to enter the very profitable Imperial starfighter market. Though KDY was a major manufacturer of fighters for the Galactic Republic during the Clone Wars, the Imperial market was largely dominated by Sienar Fleet Systems, makers of the TIE series. The A-9 was intended to fulfill the Imperial Starfighter Corps' desperate need for a faster, more maneuverable fighter to deal with the New Republic A-Wing interceptor.
Released almost six years after the Battle of Endor, the vessel the Empire received did not meet these requirements.
In true Imperial fashion, the craft has no shields or hyperdrive, requiring the craft to operate from a fixed base or starship. Like TIE series craft, A-9s are generally deployed in large numbers to compensate for their shortcomings and replaced as required.
Simple cockpit controls made the A-9 an easy fighter to learn. While faster than the TIE/in starfighter, it has a weaker hull due to deliberate design choices made to reduce mass. Thanks to independent power generators, however, the weapons systems are quite powerful for a ship of its size. The A-9 is armed with two laser cannons, mounted in a structure on the ventral side of the fuselage. They are fire-linked and aimed forward in their standard configuration, but several modifications exist which allows the gun to pivot 90 degrees down to perform strafing runs, as well as allowing the cannons to be independently targeted. These cannons are more powerful than those of a T-65 X-wing starfighter.