The most advanced starfighter in the Imperial arsenal. Faster, more maneuverable, and better armed than both the original TIE fighter and Darth Vaders experimental prototype, the interceptor utilizes breakthrough ion engines and is equipped with four blaster cannons, one on the tip of each solar panel wing. In dogfights, the interceptor out-performs all other craft, save for perhaps the A-wing starfighter. But the interceptor makes many sacrifices for its increased performance: it lacks armor, deflector shields, hyperdrive systems, and life-support systems.
Like all TIE starfighters, the TIE interceptor is based upon the earlier TIE/In fighter. The interceptor has a standard TIE cockpit, solar-array wings, and twin ion engines. However, the interceptors wings have a distinctive "dagger" shape, and the drive system has been greatly improved to drastically increase the vehicles top speed. In addition, the TIE interceptor utilizes a breakthrough ion stream projector that allows pilots to execute tight turns and rolls not possible in most other starfighters. Finally, steering port deflectors can be manipulated individually for fine control and counterbalancing during especially trying maneuvers.
Unlike virtually all other TIEs, the interceptor wields four laser cannons. Placed at the end points of each wing, these weapons provide the pilot with a wide field of fire. The pilot is further aided by advanced targeting software. Unfortunately, these advances are small consolation when the interceptor receives a direct hit from an enemy vessel, as the fragile starfighter lacks armor plating and shields. For this reason, interceptor pilots must rely on their maneuverability and superior numbers during most engagements. Interceptor pilots must also wear sealed flight suits and remain within range of large capital ships or space stations.
During the latter half of the Galactic Civil War, the Empire intended the TIE interceptor to eventually replace the standard TIE fighter. Yet, by the death of the Emperor at the Battle of Endor, only about 20% of Imperial fighters were interceptors. As Imperial funds dwindled and all fighters became scarce, Grand Admiral Thrawn realized that the Empire could no longer consider the interceptors disposable and thus began equipping the exceptional ships with deflector shields.