Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The TIE Defender is a fictional starfighter that appears in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, including several games in the X-Wing computer game series and some Star Wars novels. It does not appear in any of the original trilogy of movies.
The TIE Defender initially appeared in an expansion pack for the computer game "TIE Fighter", the expansion pack being set in a time period somewhere between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. The Defender model also appeared in the Star Wars: X-Wing novel 'Isard's Revenge', which was the eighth of the series.
According to canon, the high success rate of Rebel starfighters versus standard Imperial TIE Fighters caused the Imperial Navy to rethink its doctrine of swarms of cheap craft vs. fewer high-quality ones. This interpretation may be Rebel propaganda; several shielded Imperial starfighters existed before the introduction of the TIE Defender. Notable examples include the TIE Advanced, the TIE Avenger and the Skipray Blastboat.
Unlike standard TIE craft, the TIE Defender has shields and a hyperdrive. It carries a formidable array of weaponry, with four laser cannons, two ion cannons and two warhead launchers each capable of holding 4 missiles. According to the novel (Isard's Revenge), the Defender also sported a small tractor beam. Its triple wing design and powerful engines make the craft faster and more agile than any other starfighter in Imperial service. It was also very expensive, at five times the cost of a standard TIE Fighter. Even an organization so wealthy as the Imperial Starfleet could not hope to mass-deploy such a fighter (or even the inferior TIE Avenger) so only elite pilots flew them.
In the games, the TIE Defender was far superior to any other starfighter, and the plot of the series rarely had the TIE Defender fighting Rebel craft. The TIE Defender has the advantage against the X-Wing and perhaps all other Rebel craft (save perhaps the A-Wing and its speed) in every respect, upping the X-Wing with its two ion cannons, and two missile launchers with an increased capacity.
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