- "Get a shuttle ready. I shall assume full responsibility to losing them and apologize to Lord Vader."
- ―Captain Lorth Needa
The TIE/sh VIP shuttle (also TIE/sh shuttle, TIE/sh, or TIE shuttle) was a short-range personal priority shuttle manufactured by Sienar Fleet Systems as part of the TIE Series. Like the similar TIE/br boarding shuttle, the TIE/sh was one of the more successful variant models of Sienar's basic TIE/sa bomber design. The TIE/sh afforded room for up to four individuals as well as additional cargo in its well-appointed portside passenger pod. Measuring 7.8 meters long and not designed for combat, the TIE/sh was equipped with a single laser cannon and a shield generator but lacked other advances. The Galactic Empire typically used the TIE/sh to quickly ferry command-level officers between starships and other installations, though the shuttle was an unpopular mode of transportation for those using it, as they preferred the luxury of the larger Lambda-class shuttle.
The Imperial Navy made extensive use of the TIE/sh during the Hoth campaign of 3 ABY, employing the shuttle as a substitute for standard comm traffic between the Star Destroyers of Darth Vader's Imperial Death Squadron, which would have interfered with the mission's vital sensor scans and probe droid transmissions. Captain Lorth Needa of the Imperial Star Destroyer Avenger made his final space voyage aboard a TIE/sh before suffering execution at Vader's hands for failing to capture the Rebel starship Millennium Falcon in the Hoth asteroid field. Many years later, in 44 ABY, Snaplaunce, the Ithorian mayor of the capital city of the planet Nam Chorios, used a modified TIE/sh formerly of the Imperial Navy as his personal vehicle, which he painted a bright yellow and appropriately named Vote Snaplaunce.
The Sienar Fleet Systems TIE/sh VIP shuttle, otherwise known as the TIE/sh shuttle, TIE/sh, or TIE shuttle, was a variant model of the basic TIE/sa bomber. Similar to the TIE/br boarding shuttle, another common TIE bomber configuration, the TIE/sh replaced the bomber's portside ordnance launcher and the bomb delivery system with a small, well-appointed passenger pod that could hold up to four individuals as well as additional cargo. A pilot/gunner controlled the craft from the starboard command pod.
The TIE/sh measured 7.8 meters in length and, while not designed for combat, protected its passengers with a single, lower-powered laser cannon that could be set to autofire mode and which had an atmospheric firing range of 2.5 kilometers, though the shuttle required a starfighter escort if danger was nearby. Designed for short-range space travel and not very maneuverable, the TIE/sh generally lacked a hyperdrive and other advances but nonetheless mounted a defensive shield generator and was equipped with sensors.
Customary of the TIE Series, the TIE/sh sported twin ion engines, which were capable of achieving a maximum atmospheric speed of 650 km/h. The shuttle boasted a cargo capacity of up to one metric ton and two days' worth of consumables. Both the TIE/sh and the TIE/br were equipped with landing gear, which, for a time, made them the only TIE Series craft not dependent upon the docking racks found aboard larger Imperial ships and bases. A boarding ramp extended from the undersides of both the shuttle's cockpit and passenger pod. Available only to the Imperial Military, the TIE/sh was not available for public sale. The craft marketed at 120,000 credits new and 45,000 credits used.
The Galactic Empire utilized the TIE/sh as a specialized priority shuttle for quickly transporting command-level officers, troops, and other priority cargo between naval ships, such as Imperial Star Destroyers, as well as space stations and ground installations. Efficient but utilitarian, the TIE/sh was an unpopular mode of transportation for those who used the craft, as they coveted the more luxurious Lambda-class T-4a shuttle. Indeed, while flag officers typically used the larger Lambda-class shuttle, lower-ranking officers usually rode aboard the TIE/sh. Each Imperial ship in a line carrying TIE fighters typically also carried one TIE/sh.
Galactic Civil War
The TIE/sh VIP shuttle, a variant of the basic TIE/sa bomber design, was one of several mission-specific TIE Series models that Sienar Fleet Systems developed for the Galactic Empire in the wake of the initial T.I.E. starfighter. Sienar's TIE bomber spawned numerous variants that used the same hull and wing configuration, with the TIE/sh and TIE/br boarding shuttle standing as two of the most successful offshoots. Admiral Conan Antonio Motti provided a brief mention of the TIE bomber's passenger variant in authoring the Imperial Navy chapter of the Imperial Handbook: A Commander's Guide tactical manual, distributed just prior to the Battle of Yavin.
Sometime after the planet Alderaan's destruction, while in pursuit of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia Organa of the Rebel Alliance, the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Vader piloted a TIE/sh over the sandy wastes of the ancient planet Jerne with Imperial Captain Ryko Vant aboard. Vader had lured the Rebels to the Imperial outpost Adony Station, where he planned to capture them while they searched for the purported Eternity Crystal, which they hoped would allow them to turn back time and save Alderaan from its fate. However, Skywalker and Organa eluded Vader's trap at Adony Station and escaped Jerne aboard the TIE/sh.
In 2 ABY, Lieutenant Commander Bakki Sourthol of the Rebel Alliance filed a report on the Empire's TIE Series starfighters for the Task Force on Alliance Security. The compiled report, which detailed the development of the TIE Series and its many variant models, contained detailed TIE/sh technical specifications, including a set of schematics.
Darth Vader's personal fleet of Star Destroyers, the Imperial Death Squadron, extensively utilized the TIE/sh while searching for the Rebel Alliance during the Hoth campaign in 3 ABY. Because standard comm traffic between the fleet's Star Destroyers would have interfered with vital sensor scans and communications from dispatched Viper probe droids, Death Squadron employed TIE shuttles rather than the high-profile Lambda-class shuttle to physically deliver non-vital messages back and forth when the fleet was not in hyperspace.
Captain Lorth Needa of the Imperial II-class Star Destroyer Avenger made his final space voyage in a TIE/sh. After the Avenger lost the Rebel agent Han Solo and his starship, the Millennium Falcon, while pursuing the fugitive freighter through the Hoth asteroid field in the wake of the Battle of Hoth, Needa rode a TIE/sh from the Avenger to Vader's flagship, the Super Star Destroyer Executor, to personally apologize to the Dark Lord for allowing the Rebel ship to escape. Vader summarily executed Needa for his failure.
Eight years after the Empire's defeat at the Battle of Endor, Supreme Warlord Blitzer Harrsk, formerly one of the most respected minds in the Imperial Military, met his demise at the controls of a TIE/sh. Harrsk had previously suffered a traumatic brain injury during the Endor battle, causing him to adopt an insane dual persona as Captain Bolla Thoath, his former second-in-command, who had died at Endor. Returning from a meeting with Admiral Natasi Daala and other Imperial warlords at the Tsoss Beacon asteroid—in which Daala murdered all present, with the exception of Harrsk, whose brain injury had saved him from Daala's poison gas—Harrsk's Thoath persona, determined to end Harrsk's madness, abruptly threw their shuttle into a tailspin. As the two personalities struggled for control of the craft, Harrsk came to the sudden, shattering realization of his own insanity and suicidally slammed the TIE/sh into the asteroid, killing them both.
- "You have a TIE shuttle."
"I'm not sure I can recall ever seeing one in private hands."
- ―Luke Skywalker and Snaplaunce
In the decades following the collapse of the Empire, a retired mechanic formerly of the Imperial Navy settled on the planet Nam Chorios around 29 ABY, where he carefully restored and sold Imperial vessels to private owners. Among the vehicles the mechanic sold was a disarmed TIE/sh to an Ithorian named Snaplaunce, who proceeded to paint the ship a bright yellow and adorn its external hull with his campaign slogan for the mayoral office of Hweg Shul, capital city of Nam Chorios: "Vote Snaplaunce," which was also registered as the shuttle's official name. The Ithorian modified Vote Snaplaunce for civilian use, so that the shuttle effectively served as both his personal transport and a traveling campaign advertisement.
Vote Snaplaunce remained in the mayor's personal service by 44 ABY, when exiled Grand Master Luke Skywalker of the New Jedi Order, accompanied by his son, Jedi Knight Ben Skywalker, and Lost Tribe of Sith member Vestara Khai, arrived on Nam Chorios in pursuit of the dark side entity known as Abeloth. Snaplaunce, a previous acquaintance of Skywalker's, agreed to loan his shuttle to the motley group to aid in their quest.
However, with the elder Skywalker at the controls, Vote Snaplaunce soon fell under attack by Ship, a Sith Meditation Sphere in the service of Abeloth, and was forced to ground following complications brought about by sabotage. Although the resultant damage rendered repairs on the TIE/sh impractical under the circumstances, the group resorted to extensive configurations that essentially turned Vote Snaplaunce into a wind-propelled landspeeder, allowing them to continue their pursuit of Abeloth. Skywalker's team eventually abandoned the TIE/sh outside Hweg Shul, though media interests reported that Vote Snaplaunce was later recovered.
Behind the scenes
Concept to creation
The TIE/sh first appeared in the 1980 film Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, carrying Captain Needa to his death aboard Darth Vader's flagship, the Executor. The TIE shuttle's design, which is basically a TIE bomber without the bomb chute, dates back to the original concept stages of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, in which a twin-pod boarding vehicle was to be seen among the Imperial forces. The idea was dropped from Episode IV before being resurrected for The Empire Strikes Back.
The craft that appears in The Empire Strikes Back was first provided a formal classification in the article "Alliance Intelligence Report: TIE Fighters," written by Timothy S. O'Brien for the May 1996 Star Wars Adventure Journal 10, a supplement to the West End Games Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game. The article also provided a list of TIE/sh technical specifications and was written from an in-universe perspective by Rebel Alliance starfighter pilot Bakki Sourthol.
With the advent of Fantasy Flight Games' Star Wars: Age of Rebellion roleplaying game, the TIE/sh received a new set of technical specifications that differs from its original West End Games stats, as well as a new designation, the TIE/sh VIP shuttle. The July 2014 Star Wars: Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook changed the TIE/sh's atmospheric speed from 1,050 km/h to 650 km/h, upgraded its maximum number of passengers from two to four, and specified that it was equipped with a shield generator.
Dark Knight's Devilry
The comic story Dark Knight's Devilry, written by Steve Moore and originally published in Marvel UK's early 1980s Star Wars series, features Darth Vader piloting a "scout ship" in pursuit of the Rebels on the planet Jerne. The scout ship appears identical in design to the TIE/sh; however, as both the TIE/sh and the TIE/br boarding shuttle are virtually indistinguishable, certain ambiguity arises as to the scout ship's classification. Yet given that the scout ship's port-side passenger pod displays an ovular inset, different from the more circular inset of the TIE/br, as illustrated in the 1998 reference book Star Wars: Incredible Cross-Sections, this article treats the Dark Knight's Devilry craft as a TIE/sh.
- Dark Knight's Devilry (as scout ship)
- Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back novelization (First mentioned)
- Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back junior novelization (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back (First appearance)
- "Endgame"—Endgame (as TIE/shuttle)
- Fate of the Jedi: Conviction
- Fate of the Jedi: Conviction audiobook
- The Empire Strikes Back Notebook (Indirect mention only)
- "Alliance Intelligence Report: TIE Fighters"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 10 (First identified as TIE/sh and TIE shuttle)
- Galaxy Guide 3: The Empire Strikes Back, Second Edition
- Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars Trilogy Sourcebook, Special Edition
- Star Wars: Behind the Magic (as Transport Shuttle)
- Starships of the Galaxy (Indirect mention only)
- The New Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels
- Rebellion Era Campaign Guide
- Star Wars: The Official Starships & Vehicles Collection 70 (Starship & Vehicle Directory – TIE Boarding Craft and TIE Shuttle: Bomber variants)
- (Video clip only)
- Star Wars: Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook (First identified as TIE/sh VIP shuttle)
- Star Wars: Imperial Handbook: A Commander's Guide (Indirect mention only)