I think you’ll all agree with me when I say that the TIE Fighter is the worst fighter in the Star Wars universe.

TIE Fighter is a joke to everyone.
Am I a joke to you?

Let’s get down to the basics: this is officially called the TIE/ln Space Superiority Fighter. In practice, it’s often just commonly called the TIE Fighter. Rebel pilots often nickname it “Evil-Eyes” or “Eye-Ball”.

This Bothan spy didn't even die.
TIE Fighter blueprints that a Bothan spy just found on a desk somewhere.

Sienar Fleet Systems mass produced this fighter. In fact, Raith Sienar himself designed it. This only makes the TIE Fighter’s design all the more questionable.

A mugshot of the designer of the TIE Fighter.
Raith Sienar: idiot inventor, or exasperated engineer forced to follow the whims of Moffs?

The TIE Fighter measures 7.24 m/23.7 feet long, 8.8 m/28.9 ft wide, and is 8.82 m/28.9 ft tall. It’s propelled by twin ion engines that are capable of accelerating the TIE Fighter up to 1200 kph in atmosphere: equivalent to 746 mph or Mach 0.98. The engines also produce a distinctive screeching/howling noise when in operation. The psychological effect this noise has on an enemy is similar to that of the Jericho trumpets originally mounted on the Ju 87 “Stuka” dive bombers, only mounted on a much less effective platform.

I can’t believe that the Stuka is still better than the TIE Fighter in their respective roles.

And now we have come to the end of the TIE Fighter’s good features. That’s it. The rest of this article will now be about how absolutely sucky it is. Now, let’s begin:

1. No Shields

Deflector shields are everywhere in the Star Wars universe. Whether it’s ray shields to counter directed energy weapons, particle shields to counter high-velocity projectiles and proton torpedoes, or concussion shields to counter large, slow-moving objects and debris; nearly every ship has them. In fact, it’s easier to list ships that don’t have shields than it is to do the opposite. Unfortunately, the TIE Fighter is one of them.

Fragile Speedster indeed.
A graph of the TIE Fighter’s stats.

Out of the all the fighters of the Rebel Alliance and Imperial Navy alike, the TIE Fighter is the only one without shields. The fact that the A-Wing has shields and yet is faster than the TIE fighter is solid proof that shields could absolutely be mounted on it.

The A-wing eats TIEs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
If this thing has shields, why can’t the TIE Fighter?

So why doesn’t it have shields? The canon answer is that the lack of shield generators decreased the cost and mass of the TIE Fighter. Yeah, not good enough. Those are definitely not good enough to offset the lack of shields.

2. Very Poor Armor

What’s amazing is that the TIE Fighter even has armor to begin with. Not that the armor actually does anything useful, but it’s the thought that counts.

One hint: it's not metal bits.
Guess which parts have armor. Go on, guess.

The only part of the TIE Fighter that has armor is its windshield. Yes, really. Those panes that look like glass are actually made out of transparisteel. The windows are apparently blaster-proof, but only for handheld models.

Even then, the rest of the hull isn’t handheld blaster-proof. The bits that are supposedly metal can be cracked and punctured by micro-meteor impacts, let alone blasters. In particular, the stabilizers connecting the wings to the cockpit were especially weak, and could be set on fire by a single blaster hit.

Han Solo shooting down a TIE Fighter isn't even an achievement.
This can one-shot a TIE Fighter. Think about it.

So yeah, Han Solo can’t shoot through the windows, but he can shoot it literally anywhere else with his DL-44 heavy blaster pistol and punch right through that “metal” hull. Good job, Sienar Fleet Systems.

3. Poor Weapons

The TIE Fighter isn’t just poorly armored, but its weapons are just as bad.

2 pews ain't enough for this TIE.
When all you’ve got are guns that go “Pew! Pew!”.

The TIE Fighter’s sole weapon is a pair of fixed, forward-firing L-s1 laser cannons. Yes, really. There’s nothing else. You can stop looking for them now. There ain’t nothing else here.

Y-y-y, that's all, folks!
Porky Pig here to tell you that yes, that’s all the TIE Fighter is armed with.

The laser cannons don’t even have the decency to be actual lasers, which would’ve been much more useful. They’re the same “laser” cannons that the Star Wars universe uses. I can’t even begin to tell you how having only 2 laser cannons limits the TIE Fighter’s firepower and effectiveness. This is especially true given that every fighter in use by the Rebel Alliance can fire guided missiles. Sending TIE Fighters against the likes of the X-Wing, A-Wing, and the B-Wing is like sending WWII-era propeller fighters against modern jet fighters.

TIE Fighter vs. F-14 Tomcat: the next crossover battle?
Now imagine the TIE Fighter in the Mustang’s place. Guess which one wins?

4. No Hyperdrive

The TIE Fighter may be fast, but it’s definitely not faster than a fighter jumping to light-speed.

X-wing: "Eat my stellar dust, TIE!"
X-wing: Sorry, were you trying to chase me?

Without any hyperdrive system, the TIE Fighter is severely limited in its options. Any hyper-capable ship it chases can just jump to light-speed, and be gone in a flash. The TIE Fighter would have no way to pursue. Even worse, it’d have to return to its mothership so that she can continue the chase, slowing down the pursuit even further. What kind of a system is this?

TIE pilot: "Uh, sir, did you just leave us?"
TIE Fighter pilot: “Uh, sir? They jumped into hyperspace. Now what?”

According to canon lore, the lack of a hyperdrive is part of an anti-theft system. Yes, really. Having no hyperdrive would prevent any would-be thieves from just jumping into a TIE Fighter and running off with it. But really, who would want to steal such a useless thing?

I don't even have words.

Okay, yeah, you could always get one of those thieves. But really, making a fighter useless so that almost all thieves wouldn’t even bother steal it creates more problems than it solves.

5. No Life Support

At this point, having no life support systems is just adding insult to injury.

Nothing can help this TIE pilot if he crashes.
Neither is your suit, bro.

Apparently, in their infinite wisdom, the Imperial Navy decided that having no life support systems on their TIE Fighters was a wonderful idea. That’s right, aside from rudimentary oxygen scrubbers and pressurized seals on the hatches, the TIE Fighter has no means of keeping its pilot alive. You know, the one responsible for flying the fighter and making it work as a weapon?

Morgan Freeman explains the Empire's stupidity in a calming voice.
The Empire never does things by halves!

This is actually why the TIE Fighter pilots all wear pressurized spacesuits. Since their fighters won’t help them live, they need a suit to do it all on their own. Surprisingly, this is a smart move on the part of the TIE pilots. Fighters in general are fragile, and will easily take damage that either causes air to leak out or even outright takes out the life support system entirely. Having a space suit would mean that the pilot won’t instantly choke to death if the fighter takes even the slightest puncture.

Why did you do that?
In fairness, this wouldn’t change the TIE pilot’s situation at all.

It’s such a shame that such a smart decision happens only because the fighter is so lousy.


The TIE Fighter pilots should really just go on strike. Failing that, the Imperial Navy needs new admirals. Ones that have brains.

If only the Empire had a brain.
Scarecrow protesting against Imperial stupidity.

If the Imperial Navy had brains, it might’ve ended up more like this instead:

TIE Fighter: the Awesome Edition