- "I always wanted to fly one of these things."
- ―Poe Dameron
The TIE/sf space superiority fighter, also known as the Special Forces TIE fighter, was a starfighter model used by the First Order, a specialized version of the TIE/fo space superiority fighter. It was a two-seater unlike the previous TIE models and was outfitted with enhanced weapons and sensor systems as well as a hyperdrive and deflector shields. The TIE/sf was reserved for members of the First Order's elite Special Forces.
- "Use the toggle on the left to switch between missiles, cannons, and mag pulse—use the sight on the right to aim, triggers to fire!"
"This is very complicated."
- ―Poe Dameron and FN-2187 shortly before their escape from the Finalizer
A two-seat strike fighter used by the First Order's elite Special Forces pilots, the TIE/sf boasted weapons far more powerful than a standard TIE, combining laser cannons with a heavy weapons turret and a mag-pulse warhead launcher, giving the fighter a 360-degree field of fire[source?] and the ability to deliver special ordnance. Although the pilot had the ability to fire all weapons, the turret was ideally controlled by the rear-facing gunner.
Special Forces TIEs were equipped with hyperdrives to enable the fighter to go on long-range missions far from a base or carrier ship, enhanced deflector shields, and high-yield cells that provided additional power to onboard systems, which were necessary because of its more powerful weapons and stronger shields. These versatile attack ships were used for both reconnaissance and combat operations.
This variant of the TIE fighter could be visually distinguished from its regular counterpart by the laser turret below the cockpit and the red flashes on its left side; similarly, the Special Forces pilots who operated them also had red flashes on their helmets, in a callback to the flight barons of the Galactic Empire.
The captured Resistance ace pilot Poe Dameron alongside a then-recently-defected stormtrooper identified as FN-2187 hijacked a TIE/sf space superiority fighter to escape from the Resurgent-class Star Destroyer Finalizer. The two initially ran into a problem due to the TIE still being connected to the ship by a supply cable. They finally broke free, and escaped the Star Destroyer, only to be shot by missiles fired from the ship's ventral cannon. The fighter ended up crashing on Jakku, although both Poe and FN-2187 survived.
Numerous TIE/sf's later took part in the Battle of Takodana, assisting in leveling the Takodana Castle and killing many of its inhabitants, and engaged Resistance T-70 X-wing starfighters in combat above the ruins. Although the TIE fighters were successful in attacking the castle and supporting infantry, they proved to be no match to Resistance fighter forces, ending up losing many TIEs against the versatility of X-wings and Poe Dameron's superb skills, forcing the First Order to retreat.
Some Special Forces TIEs were part of the Starkiller aerial defense force during the Battle of Starkiller Base; however, they were unable to stop Poe Dameron from destroying the key thermal oscillator which led to a chain reaction, destroying the planet.
Zay and Shriv used a Special Forces TIE to escape the Retribution and head to D'Qar to deliver the Project Resurrection and Mandator IV-class Siege Dreadnought information to the Resistance and go to Outer Rim Territories to find allies for them.
During the Evacuation of D'Qar, some Special Forces TIEs chased and attempted to shoot down Poe Dameron's X-wing Black One while he was destroying the Fulminatrix's turrets, and some Special Forces TIEs tried destroying their entire fleet of MG-100 StarFortress SF-17 strategic bombers before they could destroy the dreadnought.
Later, during the First Order's Battle of Oetchi, Kylo Ren personally attacked the Resistance's flagship, Raddus, in his TIE Silencer with three Special Forces TIEs flanking him. When Ren, sensing the presence of his mother, Leia Organa Solo, hesitated to fire on the Raddus bridge, his wingmen destroyed it instead, using missiles, killing everyone on the bridge except for Organa, who was incapacitated in the attack. All three Special Forces TIEs were destroyed soon after, forcing Ren to retreat.
In 35 ABY, several squadrons of Special Forces TIE fighters and TIE whisper fighters arrived at the Sinta Glacier Colony, preparing to destroy the Falcon. TIEs pursued the Falcon through the Glacier and a number of star systems while lightspeed skipping.
Behind the scenes
During the early days of brainstorming for Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens, concept artist Doug Chiang suggested including TIE fighters with headlights, as he thought that it was very cool when the Millennium Falcon showed its headlights in Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back.
The scale model for what would eventually be revealed as Black Spire Outpost unveiled upon the announcement of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge showed a TIE/sf space superiority fighter parked near what is later revealed to be Docking Bay 9. However, in the actual real-life park, this was replaced with the TIE Echelon.
Notes and references
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Incredible Cross-Sections
- TIE Fighter Owners' Workshop Manual
- Star Wars Encyclopedia of Starfighters and Other Vehicles
- Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary
- Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens
- Star Wars Battlefront II
- Captain Phasma 2
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary dates the events of Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker to one year after the Starkiller Incident, which Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates to 34 ABY. Therefore, the events of Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker must take place in 35 ABY.
- Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker