The TIE/sk x1 experimental air superiority fighter, also known as the TIE/sk atmospheric fighter or simply the TIE striker, was a streamlined variant of the TIE line starfighters used by the Galactic Empire, most notably during the Battle of Scarif. Specialized for in-atmosphere missions, the atmospheric fighter was identifiable by its horizontal high-speed wings and large central pod. Largely because of its specialization for such missions, it was one of the few TIE models to be used by the Imperial Army as well as the Imperial Navy.
The TIE/sk x1 experimental air superiority fighter featured flat, pointed wings specially designed for in-atmosphere combat. Thus, it was faster than the standard TIE/ln space superiority starfighter.
However, the striker's wings were unusually shaped; straying from the typical TIE fighter's wing shapes, the TIE/sk's wings helped increase the ship's VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) capacity. The craft was able to gain additional speed by curling down its wings, engaging from flight mode to attack mode.
The fighter was heavily armed, sporting four pairs of laser barrels and proton bombs that were particularly effective against vehicle units, dealing heavy damage over a large area. The TIE variant was equipped with ArmaTek's VL-61/79 proton bombs, which were deployed from a proton bomb chute fitted upon the armored hull of the craft's underside.
Although its intended role was as an atmospheric fighter, it could also be used as a starfighter to some extent, and accompany standard TIE fighters. However, the attributes that made the striker a useful atmospheric fighter made it less than ideal in space.
The TIE striker could be further modified with lightweight frames, thus allowing for an increased speed. The craft was also useful for shifting supplies and personnel from orbit to the planet surface, thanks to a larger central pod.
A New Order
The TIE/sk x1 experimental air superiority fighter served the Galactic Empire during its reign. They were new as of the second Empire Day in 18 BBY and flew during the parade. The HoloNet News reporter Calliope Drouth hoped to do a segment on them.
In large part due to the decommissioning of many clone troopers from the ranks of the Imperial Military, fresh cadets were often utilized for piloting the TIE striker, of which at least one squadron did a fly-by near the then-under construction Death Star.
Galactic Civil War
Spark of rebellion
- "I've got one on my tail!"
- ―An X-wing pilot at the Battle of Scarif
By the time of the Galactic Civil War, a galaxy-wide conflict in which the Alliance to Restore the Republic waged a rebellion against the Empire to restore democratic rule to the galaxy, the starfighter was utilized for in-atmosphere engagements and the defense of important Imperial bases. In particular, because of the secrecy behind the Imperial security complex on the jungle planet Scarif requiring a vigilant and swift defense force, the TIE pilots stationed there utilized the fighters.
The TIE strikers notably defended Scarif during a Rebel attack that was part of the Rebel mission to steal the plans to the Death Star. During the battle, the TIE strikers entered dogfights with various Rebel aligned craft, with some also escorting a TIE/rp Reaper attack lander to deliver a squad of death troopers to deal with Rogue One.
The human Imperial pilots "Countdown" and "Duchess" were amongst those who serviced the Empire aboard TIE strikers. The foremost pilot targeted a T-65B X-wing starfighter during the battle of Scarif.
Imperial Governor Hastemoor had several TIE strikers in his planet's defense force on Troithe. After the Battle of Endor, they engaged the New Republic attackers during the Campaign in the Cerberon system, but were unable to keep the advancing forces from cutting off the capital.
Dusk of the Empire
The TIE striker was still in the service of the Galactic Empire in 5 ABY, with several TIE strikers being present at the Rothana Imperial Shipyards around the time of the Battle of Jakku. During the battle itself, TIE strikers were utilized on Jakku's surface to combat the New Republic. The Empire was ultimately defeated in the battle, and thus ended the Galactic Civil War.
Behind the scenes
The TIE striker was created and developed for the 2016 film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The TIE striker was first revealed on May 17, 2016, in a preview for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story: The Official Visual Story Guide, a cancelled reference book for the film that was rewritten as Star Wars: Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide.