Kylo Ren has a new ship for Star Wars The Last Jedi. Revealed by Starwars.com his TIE (Twin Ion Engine) fighter has design features of both the TIE Interceptor and Darth Vader’s TIE Advanced. Looking at the preview of the ship, it is a squished TIE with the classic Interceptor wings and a protruding front cockpit window. The cockpit window is new in the realm of the TIE fighter, as previous models have the rounded cockpit.
What is interesting is how the First Order has kept essentially the same design of the TIE model with their own advancements. This makes it an even more deadly vehicle then the Empire’s models. There is also a deeper appreciation for the pilots in the First Order, and because of their importance TIE’s are equipped with deflector shields. Back in the days of the Empire, pilots were very expendable and the fighter lacked deflector shields, and therefore were easily destroyed. One of the reasons the Empire mass produced these relatively cheap ships and had large squadrons put into fights was their expendability. At least the First Order spent more to keep their trained pilots alive and in the fight longer even though they are a very ruthless bunch.
If you really want to know the true nature of the First Order, read Marvel’s Poe Dameron comic. If you like Star Wars ships, this comic has some good examples of ships including what the writers term “uglies”. Uglies are ships built from parts of other ships. In Issue #13 on the first page is a space-worthy craft that has the look of a Snow Speeder. The comic also has some good ship-to-ship combat. Within issue #14 we also see how the First Order treats those that disobey and it is not pleasant. I hope Poe Dameron finds it within himself to save the former Imperial and his arch nemesis Agent Terex from the First Order’s grip. No one deserves that fate.
The Empire’s TIE fighters
Moving on from comics, we get back to the TIE fighter and what made this the fighter of choice for the Empire. The first time we saw the TIE fighter was in the hands of the Empire in Star Wars: A New Hope. This was when we also got to see the TIE Advanced, with the Interceptor coming later. During the Empire, Sienar Fleet Systems manufactured the TIE fighters. With two P-s4 ion engines providing thrus, it had a max speed of 1200 km/h, making it quick and maneuverable in dog fights. The large wings were equipped with solar cells that fueled the ion engines. In combat, it used two L-s1 laser cannons and could have a proton torpedo launcher.
Another aspect that helped the fighter was being lightweight. To make it a light and formidable foe against the Rebellion’s X-wings, the TIE was built as just a fighter ship. It did not have the added weight of a hyperdrive or deflector shields. As a space and atmospheric fighter, there was no need for a hyperdrive, as they docked in Star Destroyers or on ground and space bases, like Earth fighters that are built for a single purpose and use bases and aircraft carriers. However, this left little room for any comfort or much protection. At least they did have ejection seats, though as we have seen in the movies, TIE fighters blow up very easily.
On the other side, X-wings have the bonus of four laser cannons and two torpedo launchers, four fusial thrust engines, deflector shields, and a hyperdrive. The pilot also gets a handy astromech droid. Top speed of the T65 model X-wing was 1050 km/h.
Looking at the basic TIE fighter, it has its benefits with maneuverability in combat, lightweight construction, large solar cells, and cannons, but they also were vulnerable. In the movies, we see that the Empire use a tremendous amount of fighters in one fight while the other side has a smaller fleet of vessels. Yet the Rebellion did have better-equipped fighters and less expendable pilots, making them the winning team. The TIEs couldn’t even stop Rebel ships from blowing up the Death Star twice, though they almost made it the first time. I would not say it was pilot error, but a cheaply manufactured ship made to be expendable. If they had shields and better-equipped pilots like the First Order, it may have been a different scenario. Now, the Empire did have other TIEs that were better designed, like the Interceptor and Darth Vader’s prototype TIE Advanced. Though the Advanced didn’t stand up well to the TIE wingman that hit Vader during the Battle of Yavin, thanks to Han Solo’s last minute choice to join the fight.
A regular TIE fighter with the flat wings and round cockpit is very maneuverable but was vulnerable. However, the TIE Advanced as a prototype had a hyperdrive and shield generator. It was larger at 9.2 meters in length, compared to the TIE at 7.24 meters, and looked more stable in a fight. The ship also had two blaster cannons. For the Empire’s non-VIP pilots there was the chance to pilot the TIE Interceptor. It’s easy to see why Kylo Ren would choose to add this ship to his ship’s design. This TIE fighter had six laser cannons, two ion engines, and a max speed of 1250 km/h. Though, like it’s counterparts, it lacked a hyperdrive and shields, just as the X-wing that had laser cannons on the wing tips, which opened up using an S-foil, the iconic X shape in attack mode, the Interceptor had four wing tips with two laser cannons each. It was the Empire’s response to the Rebellion’s faster ships.
The TIE fighters of the First Order and Kylo Ren’s ship
Now we get to the current movies and the First Order. The design is basically the same but with improvements. First, the two ion engines have been upgraded to the P-s6 version. The ship is also equipped with deflector shields and laser cannons. A First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter is also equipped with heavy turrets, warhead launcher, and a hyperdrive. On the wings of both fighters are improved solar cells and have a length of 6.69 meters.
Now we get to the new ship piloted by Kylo Ren. This ship is 17.43 meters in length and boosts laser cannons and missile launchers. As for how it will do in an actual fight, we will have to wait until December 15th to find out. The upcoming Battlefront II will also feature TIE fighters and even ships for our heroes. One hero will be Kylo Ren. I wouldn’t speculate on anything until it’s officially announced but it would be pretty cool if we get to pilot the new ship in the game’s multiplayer. There is a First Order ship upgrade for pre-orders, according to the EA site. I would like to take Kylo Ren’s ship out for a spin and test its full capabilities. The TIE and X-wings were well-developed in the first Battlefront and maneuvered quite well in combat. Battlefront II will feature a single player campaign, all time periods in the Star Wars Universe, classes, and customizations.
The TIE Silencer looks and sounds like it has all other TIE models beat in advancements. Whether or not it has the maneuverability as the smaller regular TIEs, it does looks like it can hold its own in a dogfight.
Look for the new ship and combat between First Order and Resistance ships on December 15th when Star Wars: The Last Jedi is released in theaters. If that is too long to wait for some good old fashion Star Wars dogfighting, Battlefront II releases on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on November 17th.