- "All TIE bombers, commence bombardment. Set the skies on fire if you have to, but find those ships."
"Aye-aye, captain. I love my job."
- ―An Imperial captain and a TIE pilot
The TIE/sa bomber, formally known as the TIE Surface Assault Bomber and also known as the TIE/sa tactical bomber or simply the TIE bomber, was a bombing variant of the TIE line used by the Galactic Empire, and was their main source of anti-emplacement air-support. They were nicknamed "dupes" by the New Republic pilot Wyl Lark.
- "Two distinctive, elongated spaceframe pods— one houses the pilot, the other the payload. In addition to whatever detonite it's dropping, the TIE bomber has homing missiles and a pair of laser cannons."
- ―Antoc Merrick
The TIE/sa bomber was specifically designed by Sienar Fleet Systems for use in the military of the Galactic Empire. A model of light bomber, it was part of the TIE line of starfighters, distinguished by their twin ion engines and solar collector panels. The bomber measured 7.9 meters long, 10.6 meters wide, and 5.4 meters high. In keeping with the Empire's preference for muted colors, it was painted a bluish gray.
Like the TIE Advanced x1 prototype, the TIE/sa bomber had inclined wings, which maximized its speed and maneuverability while carrying mass of heavy ordnance. Unlike the other models in the TIE line, the bomber had not one but two central pods: a starboard cockpit for the pilot and a portside ordnance bay for the munitions. The cockpit featured two forward-mounted laser cannons, the standard transparisteel viewport, and an ejector seat in case a pilot on a distant bombing run needed to abandon ship.
The ordnance bay was divided into two sections. The forward ordnance bay carried either eight concussion missiles or four proton torpedoes. The main ordnance bay carried either four proton torpedoes and eight concussion missiles, or eight proton bombs and sixty-four thermal detonators, or six orbital mines, or even stormtroopers. Located underneath the ordnance pod was a bomb chute connected to the ship's targeting systems, a T-s7b targeting computer and a 398X bomb sight. The pod also featured a missile port that allowed for front-launching and torpedoes. The ordnance bay could also be swapped for a passenger cabin with room for six.
For pilot survival, the bomber was equipped with a cockpit ejector seat. Pilots also had life support, but still wore flight suits in case of emergency.
TIE bombers were a main source of anti-emplacement, anti-trap air support for the Empire. They often served in the first line of attack, and Star Destroyer captains liked to send them out to carpet bomb and weaken large targets like capital ships in space or buildings on the ground.
Galactic Civil War
Three years before the Battle of Yavin, TIE/sa bombers were being launched from a Quasar Fire-class cruiser-carrier above Ryloth to attack Cham Syndulla's rebel cell. When the Lothal rebel cell attacked, trying to capture the carrier, most of the TIE bombers were shot down by the rebels, who were manning gun stations on the carrier.
The Great Purge of Mandalore
A contingent of TIE/sa bombers, consisting of a multitude of squadrons, assisted in carrying out the Great Purge, during which, they annihilated the surface of Mandalore and destroyed cities during the Night of a Thousand Tears.
Collapse of the Empire
Over two decades after the establishment of the New Republic and the time of the Cold War, the TIE/sa bomber had been succeeded by the First Order's TIE/se Bomber. Many of them would also go on to participate in the First Order-Resistance conflict, being deployed to Aeos Prime, and assisting in the destruction of Tah'Nuhna.
Notes and references
- Ultimate Star Wars
- Star Wars: TIE Fighter Deluxe Book and Model Set
- TIE Fighter Owners' Workshop Manual
- Star Wars: Build the Millennium Falcon 51 (Starship Fact File: TIE/Sa Bomber)
- Star Wars: Ships of the Galaxy
- Star Wars Rebels – "Homecoming"
- Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
- Star Wars: Uprising
- Poe Dameron 10
- A New Hero
- Star Wars Complete Vehicles, New Edition
- Star Wars: Commander
- A New Dawn
- Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know, Updated and Expanded states that Leia Organa was 16 years old during her mission on Lothal. Since Star Wars: Galactic Atlas establishes that Organa was born in 19 BBY, Phoenix Squadron's mission to Ryloth must take place in 3 BBY. Dawn of Rebellion dates the attack on Phoenix Squadron to three years before the Battle of Yavin, or 3 BBY according to Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dating system. As this mission takes place between these two events, it must also take place in 3 BBY.
- The Adventures of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight
- The Book of Boba Fett – "Chapter 5: Return of the Mandalorian"
- Shattered Empire 2
- Allegiance 1
- Star Wars Resistance – "No Place Safe"