In Star Wars the bigger part of rebel fighters are named after a letter, e.g. A-, B-, X- and Y-Wings. This pattern does not carry over to fighters of other factions. (E.g. a TIE fighter could have easily be named H-Wing, but is not).

Is there any in-universe or out-of-universe explanation for these names?

I am not looking for the answer that they are called that because they look like a letter, but rather the answer to why this type of naming exists and exists only for rebels.

  • 7
    Because it looks cool and being a rebel is about being cool.
    – Valorum
    Apr 26, 2018 at 22:32
  • 3
    Same reason USAF call their planes by type (F for fighter, B for bomber etc) while USSR/Russia calls them by production factory (MiG, SU, YAK) - different countries, different rules.
    – Yasskier
    Apr 26, 2018 at 22:59
  • 1
    Yeah, it so totally could be named the H-Wing, but TIE stands for Twin Ion Engine. Apr 26, 2018 at 23:01
  • @DataTNGlover: I know, but the X-Wings's official name is Incom Corporation T-65 (or T-70 for the new version). Still they are never called that in the movies.
    – Dakkaron
    Apr 27, 2018 at 3:34
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    @Valorum, that sounds about right^^ Would be just cool to have in interview or something that confirms that (out-of-universe explanation)
    – Dakkaron
    Apr 27, 2018 at 9:46

3 Answers 3


  Apparently, there is Latin alphabet in SW universe and it is called High Galactic

Therefore X-wing (officially T-65) got his name because it resembled High Galactic letter X with S-foils opened, Y-wing (BTL-.. ) resembled Y e.t.c.

Of course, out-of-universe, at the time "New Hope" was released people could only watch movie once (or few times if they really like it) and occasionally buy comics. Therefore, it would be counterproductive to bombard them with information they could not process. So Rebels had X-wings and Y-wings (easy to remember because of shape) , Empire had Tie-fighters and that was about it. Later when SW became a success and personal computers came about it was all gradually expanded.


I believe that they started with one fighter, and then it was quite simple to just continue to name spacecraft after fighters. People (and aliens presumably) are creatures of habit, and they do not change established systems when it is unnecessary.


This is probably because of both the shape resemblance to the letter (like the y wing or t wing), and also because it is is probably a type of organisational thing for the designers, and thus easier to organise in a archive system.

  • Do you have any evidence of the above from in universe sources?
    – Edlothiad
    Apr 30, 2018 at 19:00
  • That doesn't make much sense. If we're talking English, yes. But the language of Star Wars is Arebesh, which has no symbols like that
    – Machavity
    Apr 30, 2018 at 19:50
  • This explains why they're named the way they are, to some degree, but it doesn't explain the in-universe association between the Rebels and this specific category of ship.
    – Rogue Jedi
    May 1, 2018 at 14:50

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