The 10-meter-long Xg-1 was based on a tri-wing design similar to the Lambda-class shuttle, another craft that Cygnus Spaceworks designed. Like the Lambda shuttle, the Star Wing had a fixed dorsal wing flanked by a pair of lateral folding wings. When landing, the lower wings folded upwards. However, the Xg-1 had a sleeker cockpit and warhead/engine pods along the side of the hull. It had two additional folding wings that protruded diagonally from the side pods, at an angle reflexive to the lateral wings. These secondary wings afforded the Xg-1 significantly increased maneuverability over its shuttle counter-part. When in flight position, the wing configuration resembled an inverted five-point star, thus the name "Star Wing".
Its armament consisted of two chin mounted laser cannons, two ion cannons above the cockpit, and a pair of general purpose warhead launchers. The Gunboat could also carry the tractor beam weapon developed for the TIE Avenger and newer Imperial starfighters; the only known use of this was during Maarek Stele's campaign in the Eva-T system to snare enemy craft.
The standard payload was sixteen concussion missiles, eight per launcher, though depending upon the mission the Gunboat could alternatively carry twelve proton torpedoes, eight heavy rockets, or four heavy space bombs. Some gunboats also carried Ion torpedoes.
The Xg-1 was a relatively large craft, which enabled it to accommodate a hyperdrive and deflector shields. However, it was not particularly fast and had an average level maneuverability, making it mediocre in space superiority. The starfighter also borrowed the standard reactor design from the TIE series, which, like those fighters, was mounted directly on the tail of the craft.
The Star Wing was equipped with a hyperdrive, which meant that it did not need the support of a Star Destroyer or other starfighter carrier. It proved very useful in conducting hyperspace raids against convoys and space stations, and also served in a reconnaissance capacity.
The fact that it was armed with ion cannons made the Assault Gunboat an ideal choice for capture operations or planetary customs duties. Its high magazine capacity made it a deadly bomber, as a squadron of Star Wings could penetrate most medium-sized capital ships' shields with a single warhead salvo from each fighter.
The Xg-1 was famed for its resilience. Its powerful shields allowed it to engage foes at point blank range, enabling it more opportunity to inflict damage, whereas an unshielded craft would be forced to break off the attack. The Star Wing's reinforced hull could survive a direct hit from an advanced concussion missile, and several times these craft were able to return home safely despite being badly damaged. Pilots such as Maarek Stele, having previously flown TIEs whose best defense was speed and maneuverability, often took advantage of the Star Wing's defenses to press bold assaults. If the Star Wing was deployed into a combat zone directly by a Star Destroyer or carrier, its deflector shields enabled it to spearheaded the attack and drew fire away from unshielded TIEs. One such rare deployment when Maarek Stele led other Imperial Navy starfighters at the final battle of the Conflict at Mylok IV.
The Assault Gunboat was designed and deployed to perform specific missions that standard TIE fighters were unable to complete. It was not planned for widespread production like TIEs, so it did not alter the Imperial doctrine of quantity over quality. (The TIE Avenger and TIE Defender, however, were designed as high-quality alternatives to using swarms of cheap craft.)