One of the starfighters built by an Imperial research project led by Director Lenzer under the command of Grand Admiral Demetrius Zaarin, the M3 was essentially a standard TIE/IN interceptor but with the original laser cannons removed and a pair of warhead launchers mounted on the outer wing hubs.
Being based on the TIE Interceptor, the M3 had nearly the same performance, with only slightly reduced maneuverability and speed. Like the other TIE Experimentals, the M3 was remotely controlled by a modified Beta-class ETR-3 escort transport. Most TIE M3's also had shield generators added with no discernible loss of performance.
At some point, TIE Experimental M3s crippled an X-wing group, but the first major Alliance engagement with the M3 occurred when Admiral Yamarus ordered a decoy convoy of MB-C1 medium transports and Z-95 Headhunters to draw out the Experimentals and their control craft. The lure was successful, and the Z-95's, armed with experimental ion pulse warheads, managed to disable or destroy the entire Imperial attack force. The TIEs were found to be unmanned, and the life-support systems on the control craft were rigged to malfunction as soon as the transports were disabled. Renegade Squadron also made an attempt to steal a vessel of this class.
Later, when the Alliance ordered an intelligence-gathering strike on a TIE Experimental production facility, several waves of M3 fighters were found in the station's defense screen. The Empire launched a retaliatory strike on the cruiser Liberty, which included TIE M3's as the primary assault bomber. They were also present at the main research facility, defending the hangar ship Sardis and space station Obsidian.
After the destruction of space platform Obsidian, no TIE Experimental fighters were seen again.
- Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance (First appearance)