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A TIE fighter is a fictional Imperial starfighter in the Star Wars universe.

TIE fighters appear as part of the Imperial fleet in all of the original Star Wars movies: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. TIE fighters and their variants also appear throughout the Star Wars expanded universe.

Origin and design

Colin Cantwell created the concept model that established the TIE fighter's distinctive ball-cockpit and hexagonal wing design.[1] Initially given a blue color scheme, the TIE fighter models for A New Hope were gray in order to better film against a bluescreen.[1] TIE fighters in the next two movies shifted back to being a muted blue.[1]

The TIE fighter sound effect was created by combining an elephant call with a car driving on wet pavement.[1]

According to Industrial Light and Magic modelmaker Lorne Peterson, the original technical term considered for the acronym TIE was "Thermal Ion Energy".[citation needed] This changed to "Twin Ion Engine", which appeared for the first time in the 1977 Star Wars Sketchbook.[citation needed]


TIE fighters are manufactured by Sienar Fleet Systems.[2] Their solar panels power a propulsion system that accelerates gases at a high speed along almost any vector, affording the ships tremendous speed and maneuverability.[2] However, the craft are fragile and are typically employed in large numbers to make up this shortcoming.[3] They are equipped with a pair of laser cannons.[3] Lacking a hyperdrive, TIE fighters are deployed from bases or larger ships.[3] A Star Destroyer's wing of starfighters often includes four squadrons of TIE fighters.[2]

TIE fighter pilots undergo intense physical and psychological testing.[4] They are trained to be intensely loyal to the Emperor and the Empire, willing to sacrifice themselves and their wingmates in order to accomplish their mission.[4]

Although expanded universe material often describes the TIE fighter as lacking an ejection seat, the player can eject from the TIE craft in LucasArts' Star Wars: TIE Fighter video game.[1]


A variety of other TIE craft appear throughout the A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and the Star Wars expanded universe.

TIE advanced x1 
Darth Vader's starfighter in A New Hope.[5] It was given a design different from the other TIE fighters to make it instantly recognizable.[5] The craft appears several Star Wars flight simulator games and in LEGO Star Wars II.
TIE avenger 
A production model based on Darth Vader's TIE Advanced x1.[6] The TIE Avenger is introduced as a playable craft in the Star Wars: TIE Fighter video game.
TIE bomber 
A bomber introduced in The Empire Strikes Back. Its design -- dubbed a "double chili dog" by ILM producers because of its double hull -- was originally labeled as a "TIE boarding craft" for A New Hope.[7] Craft based on this design appear in Marvel and daily Star Wars comics from before The Empire Strikes Back's release.[7] It is a playable vessel in the Star Wars: TIE Fighter flight simulator game.
TIE clutch 
Corran Horn's vehicle in I, Jedi.[8] The craft has three wings placed equidistantly around the cockpit, with one directly above the hatch and the other two acting as landing skids. The TIE's lasers are complemented by an ion cannon on the top wing, and it is often equipped with shields.
TIE crawler 
A land vehicle with a TIE cockpit that appears in the Dark Empire comic series.[9] It appears only as a piece of wreckage in the comic, but West End Games' roleplaying resources establish the vehicle's backstory and capabilities.[10]
TIE/D Automated Fighter 
Piloted by a "droid brain" instead of a living pilot, first appearing in the Dark Empire comic series.[11][12]
TIE defender 
A variant featuring deflector shields and hyperdrive, four laser cannons, two ion cannons, and two warhead launchers. It is introduced and is a playable craft in the TIE Fighter flight simulator.[13]
File:TIE Hunter.jpg
TIE hunter 
A TIE model equipped with S-foils used exclusively by the Imperial Storm Commandos and designed to counter the Rebel Alliance's X-wing starfighter. It appears in Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike.
TIE interceptor 
Introduced in Return of the Jedi and a playable craft in the TIE Fighter flight simulator.
TIE mauler 
A surface vehicle introduced in Star Wars: Empire at War.
TIE phantom 
A variation featuring cloaking technology that appears in the Star Wars: Rebel Assault II video game.
TIE predator 
A starfighter used 130 years after the events of A New Hope during the Star Wars: Legacy time frame. It is used by Emperor Roan Fel's starfleet to battle the Galactic Alliance and at the Massacre of Ossus. Sean Cooke designed the fighter to be reminiscent of, but to appear more advanced than, the original TIE fighter.[14]
TIE raptor 
A variation that appears in Aaron Allston's Solo Command, in which a squadron of TIE raptors engages and is destroyed by Rogue Squadron.[15]
TYE wing 
A hybrid that combines a TIE fighter cockpit with Y-wing engines introduced in I, Jedi and appearing in X-wing Rogue Squadron 30: Masquerade, Part 3.[8]

Other varieties include the fire-control TIE/fc support ship,[16] the ground-attack TIE/gt fighter,[17] the TIE/rc reconnaissance vessel,[18] the TIE scout,[19] and the TIE shuttle.[20] Several unnamed experimental models also appear in the X-Wing Alliance flight simulator.

The Force Awakens features TIE/FO starfighters that have deflector shields[13] and special operations TIE/SF fighters with heavier weapons, a hyperdrive, and shields.[19] "Flatter, fang-like" TIE Striker interceptors appear in Rogue One (2016).[20] Star Wars: The Last Jedi features the TIE Silencer, the personal starfighter of Kylo Ren.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Star Wars: Databank: TIE fighter (Behind the Scenes)". Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Star Wars: Databank: TIE fighter (Expanded Universe)". Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Star Wars: Databank: TIE fighter (The Movies)". Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Star Wars: Databank: TIE fighter pilots (Expanded Universe)". Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Star Wars: Databank: TIE Advanced X1 Starfighter (Behind the Scenes)". 
  6. "Star Wars: Databank: TIE avenger". Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Star Wars: Databank: TIE bomber (Behind the Scenes)". Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Stackpole, Michael A. (1998-05-04). I, Jedi. Bantam Spectra. ISBN 0553108204. 
  9. "Star Wars: Databank: TIE crawler". Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  10. "Star Wars: Databank: TIE crawler". Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  11. "Star Wars: Databank: TIE/D fighter (Expanded Universe)". Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  12. "Star Wars: Databank: TIE/D fighter (Behind the Scenes)". Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  13. "Star Wars: Databank: TIE defender (Behind the Scenes)". Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  14. Interview in Star Wars Insider #89
  15. Allston, Aaron (1999-02-01). Solo Command. X-wing. Bantam Spectra. ISBN 0-553-57900-2. 
  16. "Star Wars: Databank: TIE/fc fighter". Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  17. "Star Wars: Databank: TIE/gt fighter". Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  18. "Star Wars: Databank: TIE/rc vanguard". Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  19. "Star Wars: Databank: TIE scout". Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  20. "Star Wars: Databank: TIE shuttle". Retrieved 2007-07-20. 

External links

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