Today, we're talking about the Rebel's squadron.
The generic HWK-290 is not an impressive squadron - 12 points gets you a fighter with 3 Speed and 4 hull, 2 Blue dice for anti-squadron shooting, and 1 Blue without Bomber for anti-ship fire. While it does come with Counter 2, so does the A-Wing, and that has more speed and anti-squadron dice at a lower cost. What it does have that the A-Wing doesn't, is Intel - the new keyword that gives every enemy squadron in Distance 1 the Heavy keyword.
A few things to note about what Intel does and doesn't do: First, there is no limitations for Intel's effectiveness besides the enemy squadron being in Range 1. You don't have to actually be engaged with the enemy squadron - it works through all obstructions. The second big thing to note, while Intel does make the enemy squadrons Heavy, that does not mean that they are not engaged with you. Swarm and other "engaged" card text are still in effect. The biggest one to remember is Escort - you can't shoot at non-Escort squadrons just because an Intel ship is nearby, though you CAN shoot at enemy ships or move away from the Escort squadron.
With all of this in mind, the HWK-290 is the sort of squadron you don't want to bring that many of. Two of them would likely be overkill even in a squadron heavy list. They go exceptionally well with any sort of Bomber that needs to be freed up to engage the enemy - B-Wings, Scurrgs, Y-Wings, and even Rogue fighters can benefit from the ability to move and shoot without worry about enemy engagements tying them down. They also, in spite of their Counter attack, do not actually want to be shot at - they have a valuable ability in addition to being worth quite a few points per hull. Consider running them with an Escort of some sort - X-Wings are an option, as are the new YT-1300 if B-Wings are you squadron of choice.
Just a straight upgrade over the generic HWK-290, Jan costs 7 more points at 19 total, but gives you an upgraded attack at 3 Blue anti-squadron and 1 Black anti-ship, and also comes with 2 Brace tokens for defense. What makes her shine however, is that she can lend out her brace tokens to any friendly squadron at Distance 1-2.
Remember when I said the HWK-290 really works well with Escorts? Well, Jan kicks that up a bit, making each of your generic X-Wings into the defensive equivalent of Luke Skywalker or Wedge Antilles. Or makes a YT-1300 very difficult to bring down. She even helps your Bombers survive concentrated Anti-squadron fire from enemy ships, while letting them take pot-shots back with Intel.
Unless you really need those 7 points, it is hard to not suggest Jan on your list for a way of getting those Braces on specifically the squadrons that need it. She doesn't synergize well with named squadrons though - they should have tokens of their own - but she does make your generics strictly better.
That's it for the HWK-290. We'll be talking about the Jumpmaster 5000 next!