- "Your generic TIE grunt is just plain suicidal. And the TIE Defender jockey is bloodthirsty. But the TIE Interceptor pilot, he's suicidal and bloodthirsty. When you see a squad of those maniacs flying your way, you'd better hope your hyperdrive is operational."
- — Kyle Katarn
The TIE/in Starfighter, better known simply as the TIE Interceptor, is a TIE Series starfighter used by the Galactic Empire. The TIE Interceptor is identifiable by its arrow-shaped solar collection panels, a distinct difference from the hexagonal solar arrays of its predecessor, the TIE Fighter. The Interceptor is one of the fastest starfighters in the galaxy, rivaling or surpassing the RZ-1 A-Wing Interceptor. Officers of the Imperial Navy are sometimes known to adopt TIE Interceptors as their personal craft, installing shield projectors and hyperdrives so the Interceptors can be utilized as escape vehicles.
Like most TIEs, the TIE Interceptor shares nearly identical cockpits, drive pods, and wing brace designs with the TIE Fighter. The solar collector panels are lengthened and angled, and the forward center section is removed. This solar array design gives the Interceptor its unmistakable dagger-like appearance, while providing the pilot with increased visibility and shrinking its profile, making targeting more frustrating for enemy gunners.
The original production model comes standard with four L-s9.3 laser cannons installed on each wingtip. New targeting software is among other advancements installed in the TIE Interceptor; the SFS T-s9a targeting computer offers greater accuracy during complex flight maneuvers. Twin laser cannon hardpoints still remain on the "chin" portion of the cockpit module. Provided technicians can find room for additional power generators, these cannons can also be utilized.
Later TIE Interceptor models are known to be modified to carry four blaster cannons, replacing the original wingtip laser cannons, along with twin chin mounted laser cannons. It is believed these models participated in the Battle of Endor. However, the older model remains a common sight in Imperial fleets across the galaxy.
The TIE Interceptor fields P-s5.6 twin ion engines. These engines include an advanced ion-stream projector, thus allowing pilots access to more sophisticated combat maneuvers. Twin-port deflectors support this feat by allowing the pilot individual manipulation of the deflectors, thus providing finer flight control. These advancements in engine technology make the TIE Interceptor a superior platform in space combat.
The TIE Interceptor's primary role is as its title suggests. Like its predecessors the Interceptor lacks heavier armor, deflector shields, a hyperdrive, and life-support systems. Interceptor pilots are forced to rely on speed, maneuverability, superior numbers, and advanced weapon systems to prevail in its primary role of space superiority. A shielded model was developed after the Battle of Endor, with the only loss in performance being the Interceptor's already incredible speed.
With no hyperdrive, the TIE Interceptor is reliant on a capital ship for an operations base. There is also a special variant, painted completely red with significant upgrades, that is available for use by the Emperor's Royal Guards. Aside from its paint job and upgrades, this model also features two small wings protruding from each solar panel.
TIE Interceptors were the new fighter force of the Empire after the Battle of Yavin, but it seems that test models were frequently seen in space battle prior and during that time.
Emperor Palpatine, knowing the superior abilities of the TIE Interceptor, as well as its relatively low cost, had planned to replace all standard TIE Fighters with Interceptors. By the Battle of Endor, TIE Interceptors filled 20% of the total Imperial Starfighter Corps, and overwhelmed many Rebel fighters.
After Emperor Damascus took power, he ordered that all of the Empire's TIE Interceptors to be outfitted with shields. This massive refit was largely finished before Damascus would meet his end at the Battle of Corellia. However, much like the continued existence of the TIE Fighter in the Empire's ranks, some unshielded TIE Interceptors can still be found in the outlying areas of the government.