- This page is about the fictional TIE fighter starcraft. For information on the LucasArts computer game TIE Fighter, see X-wing computer game series.
The TIE fighter, a fictional starfighter in the Star Wars universe, is the standard Imperial starfighter. They are seen in massive numbers throughout the main trilogy.
Little technical detail about the craft features in the movies, but extensive details about the craft have been created for the Star Wars Expanded Universe. All of what follows has been taken from that universe:
According to canon, therefore, the TIE fighter was manufactured by Sienar Fleet Systems. While highly maneuverable, they have no shields and thus are easily destroyed. They do not carry missile tubes in standard configurations, but these can be added on if necessary. Life-support systems are not included but each pilot has a fully-sealed flight suit superior to his Rebel counterpart's. Contrary to popular belief, the ships do possess ejection seats; the nature of space warfare results in pilots often riding their craft down to a swift end rather than eject and risk slow death by heat loss and oxygen starvation. The fighters, along with the pilots, are viewed as expendable by high ranking Imperial officers; even the pilots consider themselves expendable. Like stormtroopers, TIE pilots are addressed by a number, such as DS-61-2 (the first two letters indicate the posting, the next two or three digits indicate the squadron number, and the last number indicates the pilot's ranking in the squadron). The weapons of TIEs are weak on their own, although a direct hit on a starfighter or medium transport can damage or destroy it. TIEs are designed to attack in large numbers.
The original TIE fighter had performance parity with much more heavily built X-wings but generally enjoyed numerical advantage. A newer variant, the TIE/ln "Line" Fighter boasted improved engines, surpassing contemporary Rebel fighters of the time. It had been intended that the TIE/ln would be replaced by the TIE Interceptor, but the collapse of the Imperial government into sectionalism precluded this. As the Galactic Empire retreated, more and more factories found themselves behind New Republic lines and ceased production. By the time the peace treaty was signed (in Vision of the Future), the Empire was using export starfighters manufactured by other races (such as the Sullustan SoroSuub Preybird) because of a lack of manufacturing facilities to build new TIE fighters.
In the X-Wing/TIE Fighter computer game series, the TIE fighter is not equipped with rechargeable shields possessed by Rebel craft and other Imperial fighters. While dangerous in large numbers, one on one they are easy pickings for other craft to the point where few scenarios in the games call for a player-controlled TIE Fighter to go up against modern Rebel craft. However, player-controlled TIE fighters are far more dangerous than the somewhat-predictable computer-controlled fighters.
TIE is a backronym standing for "Twin Ion Engine". The ship's appearance was inspired by bow ties.
Other designs based on the TIE fighter include the TIE Advanced, TIE Bomber and TIE Defender.
- Star Wars Databank | TIE fighter (http://www.starwars.com/databank/starship/tiefighter/index.html)