The Evolution of the TIE Fighter

Sienar Fleet Systems is one of the most successful starfighter engineering companies, rivaling Kuat Drive Yards (Slave 1, Jedi Starfighter, most star destroyers) and the Correllian Engineering Corps (Millennium Falcon, other freighters and civilian ships). But despite the company’s success, it was never well-known, largely thanks to Palps and his Empire. The company was Imperialized and ordered to build only one line of fighters: the TIEs. The result is a long line of models and variants used by the Empire and later the First Order. This is list every one of those in the official canon universe.

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Imperial TIE Fighter: The ship that started it all, the TIE/ln space superiority starfighter. It has powerful, agile twin ion engines, and it’s the standard fighter in the Imperial fleet. It has no one speciality, and it’s used for just about anything from recon and routine patrol to dogfights and skirmishes to all-out fleet battles.

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TIE Bomber: The TIE/sa bomber is a modified version of the galactic standard TIE fighter, specialized for areal bombardment and general destruction. It’s heavy armor and bulkiness cost speed and maneuverability, so it usually requires an escort squadron, but its firepower and bombing capabilities rival that of a republic Y-wing.

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TIE Advanced Prototype: The Grand Inquisitor’s personal fighter has speed and firepower beyond that of ordinary TIEs. It also has life support and air circulation for flying without a suit, and basic shields to replace heavy armoring. It was the first prototype in a line of improved TIEs that were not mass produced, and reserved exclusively for the Imperial elite.

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TIE Advanced X1: Other than the prototype, this is the first non-mass produced TIE fighter. A combination of heavy firepower, strong shields, powerful sublights, and a capable hyperdrive make it an ideal choice for high ranking Imperials–or even Sith lords. Darth Vader made it his chosen ride and jumped in to hunt some rebels during the Battle of Yavin.

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TIE Interceptor: The TIE/IN is a real force to be reckoned with. It is reserved for Imperial pilots who have survived twenty or more combat missions. While the fighter has no hyperdrive or shields, its outstanding speed and maneuverability compensate the disadvantages. This variant has one simple purpose: to engage and destroy rebel starfighters. It has four laser canons on its wingtips like that allow it to match an X-wing and two more on the sides, speed to rival an A-wing, and firepower capable of taking out a Y-wing with shields up.

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TIE Defender: This was the first mass-produced fighter in the TIE line that was engineered for quality. Its development was ordered by Grand Admiral Thrawn, who saw the error in the standard TIEs. The Defenders are equipped with shield generators, and have three wings instead of two to provide space for six laser canons and missile launchers. Had they replaced standard TIEs, the rebellion would have been stomped out before it could be created.

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TIE Striker: This new Imperial variant, the TIE/sk x1 experimental superiority fighter, is a sleek, fast ship designed for in-atmosphere missions. Needless to say it has no hyperdrive, though it is capable of operation in vacuum. Its large central pod is also useful for cargo transport, and its missile launchers are designed for bombardment.

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TIE Reaper: An upgrade to the Striker, the Reaper is a large in-atmosphere troop transport. Director Orson Krennic used one of these to take him and his death troopers to the surface of Scarif during the rebel invasion. This is one of the only known appearances of the ship.

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First Order TIE Fighter: After the Empire’s fall and the rise of the New Republic, Thrawn’s ideas began to resurface. The First Order manufactured a new line of TIEs, equipped with shields and improved laser canons. They are flown by two troopers: a pilot and a gunner. Being more expensive, stronger, and faster than previous fighters, this is the first truly formidable ship in the TIE line.

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First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter: The standard TIE/fo was the first step to making pilots into valuable assets instead of disposable resources, something not even the Republic considered. This is a level up even from that. The Special Forces version is outfitted with a strong hyperdrive, improved lasers and shields, and a warhead launcher. Like the Imperial TIE Interceptor, only the most experienced and successful pilots can fly one of these ships.

 

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TIE Silencer: This is Kylo Ren’s personal starfighter. While there is only one official picture of the ship, one picture says a lot. It looks like a cross between an upgraded Interceptor and an Advanced. It looks big enough for a hyperdrive and shields, and maybe missile launchers. It has four laser canons on its wings, which gives it the versatility to rival an X-wing. The tinted cockpit has no apparent function, but it looks cool. The question remains: will it live up to its looks? Is this the best personal starfighter in nine movies and nine seasons?

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