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Advanced Recon Commandos—also known as Advanced Recon Clone troopers or simply ARC troopers—were an elite variant of clone trooper in the Grand Army of the Republic during the Clone Wars. Although much rarer than other clones on the galactic scale, they were also among the most skilled soldiers in the galaxy.
During the early stages of the clone army's planning and development, Jango Fett and his Mandalorian military advisors advocated the creation of clones capable of handling covert missions too delicate for the standard units. To achieve the desired results, the Kaminoans did not apply the standard behavior correction and enhanced the prime clone's genetic sample to increase physical prowess.
The first attempt at genetic alterations failed, resulting in the Null-class ARC troopers. The Nulls were the first clones of Fett made by the Kaminoans, and served as prototypes for the Grand Army. Only 6 of the 12 Null prototypes survived the embryonic stage of development. Once they were deemed a failed project by the cloners, they were adopted and trained by Kal Skirata, who saved them from termination. The Nulls' botched genes made them unstable and more violent and unruly than the Kaminoans had hoped for. Having learned their lesson, the Kaminoans succeeded in their second attempt at creating stable clone soldiers, generating 100 ARC troopers, designated the Alpha-class. After completing standard flash training and accelerated growth, these clones were placed under the direct tutelage of Jango Fett. Under Fett's strict discipline they learned to use their fierce independence, innate creativity, and physical superiority in combination with their training in advanced weapons and vehicles to become virtual one-man armies. After completing their training, the ARC troopers were locked in stasis on Kamino until they were required.
After the Clone Wars, all remaining Alpha-class ARCs in the Grand Army were offered either retirement or the option to train their successors, the Stormtrooper, passing on their combat experience. Due largely to their individualism and also to imperial hostility to the free-spirited nature of the ARCs, most deserted during the final days of the Clone Wars, though those who remained were able to help in the training of stormtroopers. Many went rogue, following in Jango Fett's footsteps by becoming bounty hunters and assassins.