The TIE Oppressor, officially known as the Sienar Fleet Systems TIE Oppressor Strike Fighter, was a variant of the TIE Series of starfighters that was deployed in limited numbers among selected units of the Imperial Navy's starfighter cadre. The craft was introduced into combat shortly after the Battle of Yavin.
The TIE Oppressor was designed to serve as a light bomber that could also be utilized as a fairly maneuverable fighter, similar to the Alliance to Restore the Republic's BTL Y-wing starfighter. The design was an attempt to build a variant of the standard TIE hull that could carry heavy weapon payloads with sufficient armor and shielding to allow the ship to operate in the vanguard of an Imperial assault force. It also had enough solar array surface to assist in generation of the energy needed to power it all. All of the offensive and defensive equipment packed into the Oppressor came at the cost of space for engine installations.
Although most Imperial fighters were designed to have superior maneuverability, many TIE Oppressor pilots rated its capabilities as merely average. Its lack of dizzying maneuverability was a result of the fact that it mounted the same basic engine system found in earlier TIE starfighter models even though it had a much heavier and more bulky spaceframe. In return for the deficits in combat maneuvering capability, the Oppressor carried one of the most potent offensive and defensive packages fielded in any Imperial starfighter spaceframe. That being said, it was still fairly maneuverable compared to other equivalent bomber craft, and its relatively small size made it a more difficult target to hit.
While the TIE Oppressor was designed to primarily engage against capital ships, it also was more than capable of engaging enemy starfighters due to its size and very large missile capacity. When equipped with anti-starfighter ordnance, the Oppressor proved extremely deadly against even the most maneuverable starfighters. When performing in this role, many were equipped with powerful engines and boosters, allowing impressive speed.
Only the most veteran Imperial TIE pilots were allowed to participate in the Oppressor flight test program as only those personnel were deemed to have the tactical know-how to properly employ the ship as well as the loyalty to be trusted with such an expensive flight article.
During the Galactic Civil War, the Oppressor served in the fleet as part of a "Limited Fielding Test Initiative" and was considered a minor trial program by the Imperial Navy. Following the Galactic Civil War and the gradual decline of Imperial funds, it is believed that these extremely powerful ships gradually faded out of existence.
Rebel pilots found that when they encountered some of these ships in their bomber configuration, they were slow and easy to destroy, but not as easy as the slower TIE/sa bombers.
However, when used by a skilled pilot and equipped for anti-starfighter duty, the TIE Oppressor was deadly and could easily take out far more maneuverable craft. Pilots would use its reputation for slower speed as an advantage to trick the enemy into thinking the vessel was an easy target, then used snap speed changes to turn allowing sudden and unpredictable attacks against another fighter.
Behind the scenes
The TIE Oppressor was created as an Imperial Master-level ship in comparison to the B-wing starfighter as the Rebel master ship for the Jump to Lightspeed expansion for Star Wars Galaxies. It was only flyable by ace Imperial pilots. It was known for being the only bomber in the game with three missile launchers (all others had two), and was exceptionally small, maneuverable, and fast compared to other bombers. This combination of strengths made them highly dangerous in PvP combat, even against smaller and far more agile craft like the RZ-1 A-wing interceptor.