The TIE Defender was a starfighter used by the Galactic Empire. A cutting edge, elite unit, the TIE Defender diverged from the swarm tactics traditionally embraced by the Empire to instead focus on a quality over quantity approach. It was the first TIE model to possess shield generators and hyperdrives. The TIE Defender matched most Rebel starfighters for speed, firepower, and shielding.
Development of the TIE Defender was kept top secret by Imperial command, with production taking place at the Lothal Imperial Factory. Phoenix Squadron was able to learn of the project, if not the nature of it, and sent Ezra Bridger and Kanan Jarrus in to obtain blueprints for the fighter. Upon learning the nature of the Defender, the Rebels realized that their impending assault on the factory was even more urgent, as the Defender's advances would make it a considerable threat to their fighters.
The prototype of the TIE Defender eventually saw action during a mission to apprehend renegade Senator Mon Mothma as she was traveling aboard the Ghost. Piloted by Vult Skerris, the ship and two TIE Interceptors succeeded in destroying several of the Y-Wing Starfighters escorting the craft as they pursued it into a nebula. The ship was forced to pull back when the Rebels flew near a forming star that destroyed its Interceptor wingmen, and then engaged the two surviving Y-Wings of Gold Squadron. They then succeeded in striking the Defender with an Ion cannon blast, though Gold Leader was confident that the ship would recover.
- The TIE Defender originated from the Star Wars: X-Wing video game.
- The TIE Defender also has a hyperdrive along with shield generators.