A modest upgrade of the T.I.E. starfighter used by the Galactic Republic, the TIE starfighter had a centralized power generator running both the engine and the weapons, unlike the later TIE Line starfighter, which had separate generators. It was tougher than the final TIE/LN version, but also cost more. It featured weak shields, a small hyperdrive and two one-shot concussion missile launchers, which allowed it to serve as a light bomber, long-assault craft or snubfighter. Unfortunately some of these systems were incompatible with the Twin Ion Engine and required a secondary power supply to operate. The TIE model was slower than the TIE/LN, and its laser cannons were not as powerful.
The newly formed Galactic Empire required a cheap and efficient starfighter that could be mass-produced. Sienar Fleet Systems especially impressed Emperor Palpatine with TIE starfighters, which cost only a fraction compared to other proposals. The Empire decided to reduce the cost even further by removing secondary energy generators and respective systems, leading to the enormously mass-produced TIE/LN starfighter. The original model still saw some use during the first years of the New Order, but became less common later. By 0 ABY, the Line model had become the standard TIE fighter in the Imperial Navy, and most of the original TIE starfighters were replaced or scrapped.
Behind the scenes
The Force Unleashed Campaign Guide features an entry for a previously unmentioned TIE Series starfighter called TIE Prototype, which was said to be the predecessor of the standard TIE/LN starfighter. A closer inspection of the entry reveals that this starfighter's description is almost identical to that of the previously established TIE starfighter, and therefore it is simply another designation thereof.
- The Star Wars Sourcebook
- Star Wars Campaign Pack
- Star Wars Sourcebook, Second Edition
- Platt's Starport Guide
- "Alliance Intelligence Report: TIE Fighters"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 10
- The Force Unleashed Campaign Guide