The Eta-8R Xesh 1, typically referred to as simply the Xesh was a starfighter financed by the Intergalactic Banking Clan, designed by VMEW, and produced by Ikest Industries during the RLF/Imperial War. It was briefly used by the Republic Liberation Front during the war, before being replaced by the Xesh 2.
CharacteristicsEditThe Xesh 1 was a diminutive recon fighter designed for short-range patrols ahead of RLF fleet activity. Vaguely delta-shaped, it sported an advanced long-range sensor suite ahead of two folding wings which helped to mitigate the radiation of its relatively powerful ion engines, dispersing its heat signature. Barely armored and unshielded, and armed only with a pair of light blasters for self-defense, it was not intended for extended combat, but for evasion. Its small size, low visibility matte-black coating, and low power signature made it difficult to detect or properly scan, its only saving grace against enemy forces it performed surveillance against.
A custom dogfighter version of the craft known as the MkV eliminated most of the sensor suite and added an additional blaster cannon. The added firepower did little to offset the craft's low survivability, but presumed sufficient piloting skill to fully utilize the Xesh 1's maneuverability.
The Xesh 1 was a production model of the XF-38 commissioned by Acantha Heron just before the RLF/Imperial War. With the custom contract for Heron filled and investment in the Xesh 1's production assured, VMEW's X-1 design team set about refining the fighter's design and streamlining it for mass-production. Like the Vev, it made intensive use of custom parts, but its small, relatively simple design lead to the expectation that it would be relatively easy to manufacture.
The Xesh 1's design was found to be less forgiving than the Vev's, and the resulting problems of the first line of Xesh 1's severely miniaturized ion engines lead to a quick introduction of a higher-tolerance Xesh 1 MkII. A corresponding custom combat variant was simultaneously issued to Heron as the MkIII.
The problems persisted until X-1 resigned to adding a third engine to mitigate stress on the the two engines of the original design, which necessitated a downgrade of its original class 1 hyperdrive to a smaller but weaker class 3. This improvement was released as the final production MkIV, with a combat custom variant released as the MkV.
The Republic Liberation FrontEditThe RLF eagerly tested the early Xesh 1 models, but enthusiasm quickly waned. Malfunctions notwithstanding, the Xesh was found to be a competent recon craft in limited operations against the Consortium, but its constant maintenance problems proved to be more intensive than the fledgling rebellion was willing to indulge, and it all but abandoned use of the craft. Ensuing production improvements did little to alleviate concerns over the fighter's poor reliability, and the final and most stable model it adopted, the MkIV, was handicapped by its low-quality hyperdrive. Functionally the Xesh 1 became useless according to its original role, and was outperformed in dogfights by the more robust Vev fighter, though that also suffered from problems of its own.
Invasion of OnderonEdit
In an unfortunate synchronicity, intensive maintenance grounded the Onderon Palace's squadron of Xesh fighters, where the less reliable but more functional MkIIIs were preferred. Scapegoating of the Xesh's mechanical failure was avoided by survivor accounts of poorly-planned evacuation efforts interrupting the deployment of any fighters from the hangar, even if they had been ready for flight. Like most of the palace's vehicle assets, all of its Xesh fighters was destroyed by occupational Imperial forces soon after the invasion.
The Republic Liberation Forces only reluctantly used the Xesh 1, and pressured VMEW to redesign the fighter. Only Velmor deployed the Xesh 1 in any significant, official capacity, and its poor reputation lead to VMEW downplaying its publicity. It was never sold in significant quantities to any other entities, and the company allowed the fighter's existence to fade out of public memory as it was replaced with the far superior Xesh 2.