Fast as lightning and twice as deadly. Like lightsabers with wings.
—Common Royal Starfighter Corps boast
The Royal Starfighter Corps of the Golden Empire was the branch of the Starfleet concerned with maintenance, use, and command of the Empire's starfighters. Though working closely with the Royal Navy, the Starfighter Corps (usually abbreviated "RSC") followed a separate command and promotion structure, as well as wearing different uniforms and boasting an entirely different culture.
The RSC was primarily responsible for conducting starfighter operations during space battles, engaging and destroying enemy fighters. Bomber units sometimes conducted attacks on smaller capital ships which had already been weakened by turbolaser or ion cannon assault. RSC fighters also contributed to orbital bombardments against worlds whose shield generators had been disabled, and could be called for fire support by the Royal Army during heavy ground battles.
The RSC also maintained garrisons in sectors and on strategically important planets in the event of enemy attack. These garrisons would be responsible for combating invasion, while Royal Army garrisons would deal with any enemies who made it to the surface. As such, the two garrisons were in communication and would coordinate if battle arose, but neither had command over the other.
Operating forces and establishments
The Royal Navy carried tens of thousands of starfighters, along with thousands more attached to sector garrisons. However, the RSC was the smallest of the three military branches. Its forces were the most enlisted-heavy of the three branches, with only 15% of the force being officers, and most of these pilots.
The RSC maintained sector garrison bases, as well as garrisons on systems possessing resources considered strategically important to the Golden Empire.
Relationships with other branches of service
The Royal Starfighter Corps obviously had very close ties to the Royal Navy; indeed, it was the only known starfighter branch in the galaxy which was not part of its affiliated Navy. The commanding officer of a capital ship had command over all fighters aboard his vessel, but apart from that, the senior officer of the RSC aboard the ship acted as "Department head", overseeing his subordinate personnel and all their actions. He usually also acted as starfighter advisor to the captain.
Relations between the RSC and the Royal Army were more infrequent. The Army could call in fighter support in heavy ground battles, but given the time needed to get from space to surface, this was uncommon. The Army and RSC sometimes garrisoned high-priority systems together, but neither was under the command of the other.
Subdivisions of forces
Starfighters were organized in a style entirely different than the force groups of the Army and Navy, keeping several of the standard arrangements of the known galaxy. In increasing order of size, they were:
- Flight: 3 starfighters
- Section: 2 flights (6 starfighters)
- Squadron: 2 sections (12 starfighters)
- Wing: 6 squadrons (72 fighters)
- Cluster: 5 wings (360 fighters)
All RSC personnel in a single location (whether part of a capital ship's or space station's complement or part of a system garrison) were organized in Royal Navy fashion as a "Department", with both pilots and service personnel assigned to different subdivisions.
The Royal Starfighter Corps featured an organizational system unique in the Armada. Due to the RSC's comparatively small size and the fact that all junior officers were pilots, NCOs carried much greater authority over their subordinates than those of other services, often being in command of units which would be led by officers in the Army or Navy.
All officers below the rank of Lieutenant Commander were pilots. Though named "Flight Lieutenant" and "Squadron Lieutenant", officers in the OF-2 and OF-3 grades did not necessarily command these elements; they could command larger or smaller units, or not be in command at all, based on the needs of the service.
Senior officers could continue to be pilots as well, but also had opportunities for directing operations as well as actually flying. The commanding officer of a garrison or the fighter contingent of a capital ship was usually a Commander or Colonel. Senior colonels might be appointed as the fighter commanders for entire naval groups, or serve as advisors to the group commander.
RSC Commodores were usually the senior fighter commanders in battle groups and fleets, commanding elements of a fleet's fighter assault or serving as advisors to Navy Commodores and Legates. Following the 65 Reforms and the creation of sector-level military divisions, a Sector Magister usually had a Lieutenant Marshal or even a Vice Marshal as his senior fighter advisor. Officers in the three Marshal ranks also served in the Royal Starfleet High Command.
|Commodore||Lieutenant Marshal||Vice Marshal||Marshal|
|Cadet Pilot||Pilot Officer|| Flight |
| Squadron |
| Lieutenant |
The Royal Starfighter Corps was the only military branch in the Golden Empire to feature different ranks in the same pay grade. All junior enlisted personnel were service and support, performing maintenance on fighters or providing other necessary services, such as food supply and overseeing pay, as were Section Chief Crewmen.
NCOs who were eligible for EN-5, however, were allowed to volunteer for training as pilots. Applicants had to pass the same strict flight assessment battery as officer candidates, which incorporated both practical exercises in a simulator and written exams. Those qualified and selected entered the pilot training program upon being promoted to E-5. Even with the vast size of the Armada, there were always more qualified applicants for enlisted pilot slots than there were slots, which meant the RSC took only the best.
Enlisted pilots had a variety of "Sergeant" ranks, while the remaining enlisted continued to follow the Royal Navy rank nomenclature. Those electing to remain in support positions usually did so for the command opportunities afforded RSC enlisted, which neither the Army nor the Navy could match. NCOs who applied for pilot training and failed were allowed to separate when their present enlisted contract was complete, or continue in support positions.
Both pilots and support NCOs promoted to the EN-10 paygrade united in the single rank of Service Chief Petty Officer.
| Cluster |
| Master Chief |
| Service Chief |
| Staff |
| Department |
| Squadron |
| Petty |
| Wing |
| Chief Petty |
|No insignia||No insignia|
|Recruit||Crewman|| Senior |
| Crewman |
| Section |
|Sergeant|| Division |
The Royal Starfighter Corps had the most variations in uniforms of the three services due to the distinction between pilots and other personnel.
The enlisted service uniform consisted of a blue-green and black tunic and blue-green pants with black boots. The officer uniform reversed the colors on the tunic and had black pants. For both, pilots wore gray fourrageres on their right sides.
The enlisted dress uniform featured a dark red, knee-length coat with black buttons, as well as black pants and black boots with dark red accents. Officers wore the same uniform, but with gold trim and buttons instead of black. Pilots wore gold aiguilettes on the right side; enlisted pilots also wore gold buckles on their belts instead of black.
Starfighter Corps symbols and culture
The song of the Royal Starfighter Corps was "Fly to Glory", and its motto was "Who Dares, Wins".
It was commonly believed by members of other branches of service that the RSC had the most relaxed attitude of the three military branches. Some saw this as pilots simply being "laid back", while others found their casual demeanor bordering on inappropriate overfamiliarity. In particular, many officers from the Army and Navy felt that the ability of enlisted pilots to serve side-by-side as equals with officers in squadrons eroded important professional barriers between officers and their subordinates.
The correct noun for a member of the Royal Starfighter Corps was "Corpsman", regardless of sex; the plural was "Corpsmen".
Behind the scenes
"Who Dares, Wins", the motto of the Royal Starfighter Corps, is borrowed from the Special Air Service.