The design of the TIE Boarding Craft was similar in overall appearance to the earlier TIE/sa bomber: both consisted of a pair of elongated pods positioned side-by-side between a pair of "bent" wings. However, with a length of 7.6 meters, a width of 9.9, and a height of 5.9, it was slightly taller and wider than the TIE/sa bomber, but slightly shorter in length. More importantly, while the port-side pod of the bomber carried ordnance, that of the Boarding Craft was designed to carry passengers (six seated and four standing, using ceiling- and wall-mounted handgrips to keep their balance). In addition to a retractable boarding ramp, the front of the portside pod featured a large, also retractable docking claw with a military-grade laser cutter, which allowed the crew to breach and rush into a captured or disabled vessel. The starboard pod featured a transparisteel viewport and housed the cockpit, which was manned by a single pilot. Like the port-side pod, it could hold ten passengers.
Equipped with P-s4 twin ion engines, the TIE Boarding Craft had a maximum speed of 850 kilometers per hour in atmosphere, and of 90 megalights per hour in space. Its maximum acceleration amounted to 2,380 G.
The TIE Boarding Craft was well-armed. In addition to a pair of L-s1 laser cannons and a pair of H-s1 heavy laser cannons, it boasted missile and warhead launchers with various munitions. The pilot could count on a T-s8 targeting computer to help them target those weapons.
Although it did not feature a hyperdrive, the TIE Boarding Craft was equipped with an N-s4 Navcon navigation computer, an ejector seat, a life support system, and could hold consumables for two standard days.
The TIE Boarding Craft was primarily used to transport up to 20 stormtroopers (two squads) from an Imperial Star Destroyer to another starship or space station. With its laser-cutter and claw, it also allowed its crew and passengers to force their way aboard another ship.
After approving the TIE/sa bomber, the Navy of the Galactic Empire commissioned Sienar Fleet Systems to create an armored shuttle. Although Navy officials proposed that Sienar should simply repurpose bombers, the company explained that all the necessary changes would compromise the craft's structural integrity. Nevertheless, they designed a boarding craft that greatly resembled the TIE bomber, in an effort to appease the Navy.
After its introduction, the TIE Boarding Craft was readily adopted by the Commission for the Preservation of the New Order's Imperial Office of Customs. Sometime between 2 BBY and 0 BBY,[source?] three of these ships were located in the hangar bay of Fortress Vader. At the conclusion of the Battle of Scarif, two TIE boarding craft along with two TIE/ln space superiority starfighters escorted Darth Vader's shuttle to board the MC75 Star Cruiser Profundity to retrieve the stolen Death Star plans. Shortly thereafter, in the Tatoo system, Vader used a TIE Boarding Craft to blast through an airlock of the Tantive IV and board it.
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