Discussion in 'Literature' started by Barriss_Coffee, Oct 13, 2019.
Or at the very least, have reduced shielding.
Took me a while to find this, but you're right - "advanced ion engine propulsion rather than rocket engines", per Star Wars Poster Magazine #6, from way back in 1978!! The article is essentially real-wold journalism about ILM's design work and VFX techniques, though the sidebar describing the ships is presented from a more in-narrative perspective.
There's some supporting evidence as well - Kitbashed has identified George Lucas's original sketch for the "I-111", which already has the H-shaped wings, and Colin Cantwell is apparently on record saying that GL had already come up with the idea that the type had solar panels powering ion engines - I've not yet found a better source than Wookieepedia for this second statement (perhaps the video interview on YouTube, which I've not yet watched through?), but he's certainly echoed the conceptual distinction with remarks about a "different technology" with "no regular engines". The ion-engine/power-panel setup certainly fits perfectly with the GL-derived conceptual layout of the fighter, and contrasts radically with the thrusters of the X-wing and the Y-wing, both in appearance and technological conception.
The name of "TIE Fighters" appears to have been GL's response to the Cantwell design which converted his tech idea into the iconic ball-cockpit and hexagonal bat-wing panels - GL decided this was an acronym, then Joe Johnson then came up with the "twin ion engine" explanation, which would make even more sense if they already had twin ion engines.
1. So if these are ion engines, what are the other engines?
So, does this mean that other fighters simply use "rockets" - engines doing the simple real-world thing of mixing two chemicals that ignite, and generating thrust by doing this in a box with a hole at the back?
Well, while very few sources actually make this explicit, there's a good quantity of evidence to support the conjecture, ranging from the lines socketed to intakes on the X-wings in the Yavin hangar in ANH (which must be either fuel or coolant, and which I've just realised come off the "Vehicle Maintenance Energizer", best known as a Kenner mini-rig) through the "truck stop" fuelling for Imperial capital ships depicted in Rebellion #13, to the reboot canon's introduction of coaxium, a fuel additive which powers both the Falcon and those same Imperial capital ships (my headcanon is that this is basically a Force-imbued hydrocarbon that changes the rules of physics in the drive)...
Someone made up the term "fusial thrust" for the way that X-wing engines work, which can be used to avoid explaining what they actually are, but can certainly be read as a sci-fi euphemism for "rockets... IN SPACE"
However, according to the old pre-reboot material, the Y-wing has "ion jet" engines and each nacelle contains an "ion fission chamber", and the AF4 variant of the Z-95 is similarly given four "ion fission" engines in the original EGtVV - i.e. they use a small fission reactor in each nacelle to power an ion thruster, the "dirty" version of the TIE Fighter propulsion system. This is a heavy, mechanically complex system with glaringly obvious safety issues aboard a combat fighter, but has the funamental advantage of not rapidly burning through the chemical fuel of a rocket (nor using the limited supply of coaxium) and thus considerably improving the range performance of the type, which fits perfectly with the Y-wing's long-range profile...
So we appear to have three types of engine in the GFFA, all of which are directly based on real-world science:
* "fusial thrust" - a made-up name for "rockets", engines that combine two chemicals to produce thrust.
* "ion jet" - an ion engine powered by a small reactor, which is relatively cumbersome as far as power-to-weight ratio is concerned (hence why all types with this sort of engine are reasonably slow) and probably not the smartest option on a fighter, but has the advantage of not running through fuel in the same way as a "fusial thrust" design. Most obviously seen on the Y-wing. Perhaps an unusual system.
* "ion engine" - an ion thruster powered by a photovoltaic panel, which avoids both the fuel limitations of "fusial thrust" rockets and the weight penalties and innately unsafe nature of the "ion jet". Lightweight, simple-to-maintain, with low fuel consumption, and capable of high performance.
You can also possibly get "ion engines" that are powered by other means. I'm not sure how the "ion drives" aboard an ISD can use coaxium (but maybe "ion drive" has become a generic term here in the same way that many languages use a word for "rifle" that literally means "flintlock"). But there are others that do seem to be ion drives as we understand them. Jedi starfighters in Ep.II and Ep.III definitely have ion thrusters run off an unspecified power "reactor", and I'm not sure what propells the ion drive on the Jade Shadow. I'm not clear if the stealthy Sith Infiltrator actually has a conventional generator, because the cross-section just shows huge arrays of power cells in the wings - possibly a hint at how the early Advance Projects version of the TIE from Rogue Planet was propelled - and I'm guessing that ion-powered repulsorcraft use something simple resembling a bike engine or a Tesla's batteries.
At which point, I'd imagine any real-world astrophysicists reading this are rolling their eyes fast enough to generate deck gravity, but hold with me...?
2. But that's not how physics works...?
Exactly how this would work is hard to say for certain - as I'm sure those of you with a background in science will know, we're talking here about a variety of real-world technology that simply doesn't give sci-fi perfomance - but... if we take the view that ubiquitous repulsor/inertial tech can "change the rules of physics" without needing a lot of energy, you can get sci-fi performance levels out of either type of engine.
In general, this interpretation is only really "plausible" if we add in the idea the performance and manoeuvrability which ships display in Star Wars is not anything to do with the way they generate thrust, but rather the result of the separate change-the-rules-of-physics effect of the ubiquitous sci-fi technology seen in antigrav/repulsorlift, deck gravity, inertial compensators, hyperdrive, and probably also reflected by the remarkable physical properties of coaxium. As this tech has literally replaced the wheel, this is not a huge thing. IMHO. YMMV?
3. Jets... IN SPACE?!
Another puzzle here is that a lot of the "space engines" in Star Wars have big intakes on the front, which is hard to explain in hard vacuum. But tese are absent on the TIE, and are particularly characteristic of fighters designed specifically for surface landing or ground-attack (Z-95, X-wing, U-wing, B-wing, K-wing) which suggest they're designed to do something in during dirt flying.
The simple answer would be to have them somehow able to work as jets, mixing atmosphere and a single propellant and only switching to twin-chemical propulsion in vacuum - a trick that will save on their fuel usage...
... but this is more complicated than you might think!
* The lower "jets" on the X-wing actually encloses the undercarriage farings, which implies that the "stabilizer" - the bit Artoo's trying to fix in the trench run, located in the corresponding part of the upper engines - is only present in the upper engines, and is not part of the propulsion system! I have no idea what a "stabilizer" is, but that's a nice reminder that WEG paid attention to this stuff.
* As to propulsion... well, that intake needs a place to intake stuff to, so at best you'd be able to trunk air from the forward intake through a very narrow central compressor to power a "jet" in the rear part of the engine, and/or use a rotor in the "jet" part at the back to pull additional turbofan thrust through outer vents in the access hatches for the undercarriage/stabiliser bays. That works, but is enjoyably complicated.
* Even more confusingly, the engines on the Z-95 AF4 are "ion jets" that ought to contain small fusion reactors and would be pretty hopeless outside of vacuum, but some sort of (ionizing?) air-thruster driven off the system would be useful to provide dirt-flying propulsion.
* This would work for the Y-wing as well, explaining why there's a "turbo impellor" and "turbo generator" indicated towards the back of each nacelle on the WEG schematic - this would make sense for an "air-thruster" built around the ion thruster, presumably with a physical turbine drawing air through intakes somewhere further forward (perhaps the forward-facing openings in the four "clamps" that seem to anchor the dome that covers the sensor array at the front of each nacelle).
All of which is perhaps far too much obscure continuity and made-up engineering for anyone except me, but... explains everything in a way that's remarkably canon-compliant... and can serve as a basis for other people to disagree?
And an aside I noticed on a recent ANH binge - as well as homaging the Stuka with the dramatic engine-music they play over opponents' cockpit comm, Vader and his wingmen fly in a slightly nose-down configuration during the trench run - the horizontal edges of their the wings are visibly tipped-forward in contrast to the motion blur of the horizontal features on the trench walls - you can see this clearly in the film, but this is about the clearest screencap I've found on-line...
Possibly a deliberate reference to the Focke Wulf 190, which did exactly the same thing at high speeds...?
And switching to some specific replies.
@ColeFardreamer - I think barrel-length on the cannons is something to do with range. The X-wing can hit at longer distances? Or possibly cooling, which would also be useful for a weapon of relatively modest calibre, allowing rapid-fire to compensate and increase the likelihood of hitting something?
@blackmyron - good catch on the NEGtWT. That sounds like a slight retcon of Dark Empire Sourcebook, placing Lianna's secession explicitly after The Last Command. I'm guessing that the President of Sienar in CotJ would be Philip Santhe (the social-climbing pro-Imperial one).
@Barriss_Coffee - Sienar-Jaemus is obviously to a reference Jaemus, the main shipyard of the Pentastar Alignment warlord faction in the pre-reboot canon - which combined one of the Galaxy's largest shipyards with one of Sienar Fleet Systems' most important bases outside the Lianna system. The shipyard and the Sienar base were officially separate facilities - the shipyard was owned by a local megacorp called Galentro Heavy Works, whereas the original description in SWAJ #3 suggests that the Sienar base was actually run by the pro-New Republic version of the conglomerate (at this point, think of DJ's little powerpoint presentation); but notwithstanding that, they collaborated very closely - the Alignment's standard Star Destroyer was designed by Sienar and built by Galentro-Jaemus - and in the reboot continuity, Sienar-Jaemus presumably has a separate/merged corporate identity under the First Order...
And switching back to some general points on topics under discussion...
TIE Fighter performance
* TIEs without shields seem to be too well-established to retcon - and a very obvious callback to the Japanese' carrier fighters' lack of self-sealing fuel-tanks in the Pacific which I'm sure originated right back in ANH. TIEs also don't generally seem to have the sort of power core that can provide the spare energy to power deflectors - that tends to be much more associated with hyperdrive-equipped fighters, for obvious reasons (the energy that would power the hyperdrive is switched into the deflectors). That said, in the pre-reboot canon the NR version of the TIE had deflectors (and by implication an associated power-core) from at least Isard's Revenge, and the Empire got them on their Interceptors even earlier in the Thrawn Trilogy (I've got a vague idea they're mentioned in the novels, but certainly in the contemporaneous WEG sourcebook).
* Hyperdrive-equipped TIEs, which must have a power-core, have certainly appeared occasionally (Screams in the Void, Marvel Star Wars #61, from way back in 1982, is the classic reference) and there's a fanon idea - possibly made official somewhere - that the projecting unit added on the back of the old Kenner toy TIE contains the necessary power core and other systems.
* I don't think the standard TIE is as bad a fighter as people perceive. If anything, the type is too good, requiring skilled and confident pilots to exploit the performance advantage that negates the lack of shields and the short range of the guns. We see what top-line pilots can do with those machines in ANH.
* The A-wing's an interesting fighter - basically a pilot on a pair of engines, very much the Rebel version of a TIE - the fact they both derive from the tradition represented by the Jedi starfighters makes that connection even more explicit. In contrast to the TIEs, whose manoeuvrability is always a key part of their performance, the A-wing's party trick is generally characterised as utterly insane straight-line speed (150 MGLT in the Return of the Jedi speed chart, 120 MGLT in WEG statblocks - both being by a definite margin the fastest fighter out there). Manoeuvrability is statted as superlative by WEG as well (you would take a bad roll to underperform a TIE Interceptor in gameplay), though this is less apparent in other material. As characterised in their original lore entry in the Star Wars sourcebook, they also have a more limited set of sensors than the X-wing and the Y-wing, though better than the TIE.
* As to the missiles... as filmed and scripted in RotJ, the A-wings were certainly tasked to attack the Executor or the communications ship using ANH-style targeting computers, but this could just involve pinpoint accuracy with those aimable blaster cannon (a technique which would even justify the assertion that the A-wing carries better sensors than the TIE - they've hotrodded that system to their blasters); missiles don't appear in the earliest statblock, where the A-wing carries powerful ECM instead, and I suspect they were added as game-mechanics for Rebel Assault or X-wing. But they'd certainly shown up by '94 in the Technical Journal, and they're there in the cross-sections of both the Return of the Jedi and The Last Jedi versions.
* My headcanon, however, is that rather than genuine missiles/torpedoes, these are basically the equivalent of strafing rockets, perhaps with the option to add some limited guidance tech but basically not much more sophisticated than the grenades of an AT-ST, and they can be removed completely to swap in reconnaissance packages or countermeasures pods, or simply to improve the power-to-weight ratio and max the A-wing's performance.
* And as to the shields... well, you can get more performance if you switch them off and use the power for something else? Possibly an A-wing generally flies too fast to spare power for the shields anyway, and discarding the shield generator is seen as a rational option.
* However... as I've pointed out several times, there are three different types of E-wing, with essentially different fuselage designs:
1 REBELS version - the design is based on the original concept design by Ralph McQuarrie before Return of the Jedi rather than the physical-model version seen in the actual movie, the most obvious differences (apart from the blue-and-white markings) being the additional side windows at the back of the cockpit and the bulky cylindrical guns (other distinctive details include the way the tips of the vertical fins extend forward from the engine cylinders onto the "wing", the lack of a "tow-hook notch" in the bow, and the steering vanes behind the engines taking the form of upright rudders rather than circular baffles). This appears to be scaled to the 9.6m length introduced in the WEG sourcebooks, and followed in other pre-reboot material like the SWTJ and the EGtVV, a length consistently associated with the "RZ-1" designation. The cockpit opens by sliding forward.
2. "Endor" version - the version of the A-wing seen in Return of the Jedi is tiny, probably only around ~5m and certainly far smaller than the length given by WEG. The cockpit opens sideways, there are no side windows at the back of the cockpit (in fact, the cockpit doesn't extend far back beyond the canopy at all), and the guns are of a distinctive slender type. The "R-22" seen in the old DROIDS cartoon is very similar (though the two-seater R-22T trainer variant, at least, has an upward-hinged cockpit).
3. "New Republic" version which appears in The Last Jedi, which is scaled to 7.68m, and is clearly intended as a more refined new variant, given the "RZ-2" designation. This shares many distinctive features with the REBELS version, however, such as a cockpit that extends back beyond the canopy with small side windows, the distinctive "bulky" gun design, and even small details like the tailfins that extend forward onto the "wing" section rather than stopping short at the end of the engines (this is ultimately because both the REBELS and TLJ versions are based on the concept design for Jedi rather than the movie VFX version - they may have actually modified the existing REBELS CGI, though they also built a full-scale physical model, and there's at least one detail taken directly from the original illustration that's not on the REBELS version, a pair of slender farings ahead of the cockpit, identified as shield generators). A few details are shared with the "Endor" version, however, such as the cylindrical baffles round the engines, and the "tow-hook notch" in the bow. This appears to be essentially the reboot equivalent of the "X-wing Mk. II" from Isard's Revenge and I headcanon that type as sharing the same design.
My own headcanon is that the diminutive "Endor" version is actually a hot-rod version of the older R-22, because the R-22 in DROIDS is shown as sharing all of the distinctive features of the "Endor" version (small size, distinctive guns, cylindrical engine baffles), which would make the REBELS version the RZ-1, a Rebel type with an enlarged chassis for simple construction and easy maintenance (and missiles?); but this could work in the opposite direction as well, with the REBELS type being the R-22, the "Endor" version being an Alliance redesign that radically scaled down the chassis size and discarded unnecessary systems, and the RZ-2 reverting to the use of some original "factory features".
Regardless, no version of the A-wing seems to have an astromech, though they do generally have a hyperdrive - they seem to need to have the coordinates programmed in across the comm. The ones in Jedi are pretty hard to catch clearly during the jump, though, so they could be limited to thrusters...?
- The Imperial Ewok
I think in general, yeah, there does seem to have been a gradual re-imperialization of the New Republic/GA over the course of the old canon.
Something I noted when I first read Mercy Kill, but didn't actually grasp the significance of until the second read, was that Stavin Thaal, the head of the GA's army, was an ex-Imperial and a Carida Academy graduate, no less. Once you remember that, everything about his character makes sense. He's the archetypical Imperial officer as we've seen them a million times in the Bantam era - shallow, xenophobic, ruthless, ambitious, not exceptionally bright, and ready to backstab the system he's sworn loyalty to at a moment's notice if he sees anything in it for him. If he were a generation older, he'd have been a warlord. His whole scheme of taking the troops and resources he's amassed as an officer, disappearing, and reinventing himself as a CEO/crime-boss with his own pirate fleet, is essentially the post-NJO era equivalent of that.
Thing is, Thaal isn't exceptional in this regard: all the senior members of the GA military, including the heads of Starfighter Command (Jaxton), Fleet Operations (Parova), and Security (Maddeus), are in the same boat as him. It's not hard to draw the conclusion that when they accepted and assimilated more and more Imperials into the New Republic machinery, those Imperials brought over their own institutional culture and ended up turning the GA military into something with a similar ethos to the old Imperial one.
I dunno, why not just handwave the intakes away as being something else? Yeah, obviously the modelers were trying to do jet engines in space without thinking too much about it, but that can always be retconned or headcanoned away.
Well the skinny frame of the TIE doesn't stop the TIE Defender or the First Order TIEs from having shields, hyperdrives or missile launchers. I guess if we want to bring up the question of physical dimensions, then we ought to be looking at the Missile Boat as well...
Do you want a serious answer?
I'm not sure what your question about the Missile Boat is, but with the TIEs, the answer is that all the high-powered versions add external power modules of considerable size and complexity.
The TIE Defender and Vader's TIE Advanced both add a big module on the back of the cockpit that presumably contains the power core for the hyperdrive and deflectors (though REBELS places the Defender's actual hyperdrive in the base of the cockpit, a neat callback to the ventral dome of the ISD).
Ren's TIE Silencer is similarly attributed a huge power system in the bulky rear fuselage, with twin "reactors" driving the shields and hyperdrive, and the blocky wings serving as little more than massive housings for the power cell arrays for the lasers (while the basic chassis can be interpreted as that of a TIE Avenger, the power systems seem to be an insane combination of the Falcon and the Sith Infiltrator). The TIE Superiority that Finn and Poe steal is similarly over-powered, with a pair of "ion reactors" in engine nacelles bolted to the rear of the cockpit to power the drives, and bulky arrays of power cells strapped around the wing pylons, which normally run the weapons and deflectors, but can also be connected to the propulsion systems.
Aboard both variants, the classic wing panels seem to be reduced to a recharge system for the power cells, while doubling up as Prequel-style cooling vanes for the overloaded power system... but the standard TIE variant used by the First Order seems to be much more old-fashioned - the improvements seem to be achieved by refining the standard systems, and the only fundamental modifications are very limited deflector shields.
There's a reference to a "reactor" on this standard TIE, too, but simply a derivative of the small one that the Haynes book attributes to the original TIE Fighter, and the question of exactly what the "reactor" aboard a TIE normally does is a tricky one - is this perhaps the "separate power generator" whose most important role is to power the guns, mentioned way back in the Star Wars Sourcebook, which might also propel the (rules-of-physics-manipulating) inertial systems? Also, the "I-a2b" designation which the Haynes manual uses for this power source on the original TIE Fighter was used in pre-reboot canon for the massive main power core of the ISD; the same name was sometimes applied to something aboard the TIE on the internet, but I don't think I ever quite figured out if there was any proper canon source for this...?
- The Imperial Ewok
Huh, okay I guess I never took that close of a look.
My comment about the Missile Boat was basically "there's no way they can really fit 80 missiles into that thing, they're just trying to invoke willing suspension of disbelief".
Maybe they're mini-missiles - closer in size to the sort of thing a bazooka would fire, or even smaller?
I think we needn't overcomplicate the matter. Micromissiles do make sense but alternatively one can use regular missile size too if you keep the payload the same but tweak the propulsion system.
Classic missiles are like little rockets. If you use miniturized Ion drives you need no more rocket part and just the payload tip + a way smaller drive component behind it.
Alternatively you could have the payload use magnetized mine technology to home in on a target nearby and not use any affixed drive entirely but simply have a shipbound system propell them out of the missile boat at high speed. Like an airgun does the propelling and not the bullet itself.
That saves space a lot!
Oh yeah, about the TIE power modules, that's something that was added retroactively right? I can't imagine the modelers or artists would have these details in mind when they were first creating them.
You asked the right question, though, and that's the important thing.
The Missile Boat has that many missiles? As @Iron_lord and @ColeFardreamer said, I guess they could be compact weapons...
For the TIE Advanced and the TIE Defender, the simple answer is that we don't know one way or another - we know from the Star Wars Sketchbook that the TIE Advanced was intended to be a faster version, and the plot suggests the type was possibly intended to be hyperdrive-equipped, but I can't find any details about whether Joe Johnston and GL had anything specific in mind when they added a big module to the back of the cockpit...
As to the First Order versions - the TIE Superiority that Finn and Poe steal was designed with bulky external power packs strapped around the wings and larger thrusters added on the rear of the cockpit, while the TIE Silencer has a huge rear section with a massive sublight thruster bank that evokes the Falcon. The idea that they have hot-rod power/drive systems seem to be part of the original design, though I'd guess that specific details like putting the power cells for the guns in the wings of the TIE Silencer may have been added for the cross-section...
I guess the obvious thing is for someone who can remember their twitter password to simply ask Joe Johnston and Jason, and see if they get replies...?
- The Imperial Ewok
We at the collation of progress would like to take this oppurtunity to thank the loyal and hard working workers of Sienar fleet system and the quality work this corporation produces!
As many of you have pointed out we in empire in conjunction SFS have developed numerous prototype tie fighters. This is because our galaxy is a dangrous and varied place with many challenges. As such our glorious Emperor wants ensure that our armed forces have the best tools available.
As with any design process many of these prototypes fail testing in combat and thus only a small number enter full scale production.
However the TIE fighters that do enter production due to the extensive testing are superior models.
Take a look at our standard TIE/LN design!
Despite terrorists destroying our Peace station at Yaniv (through design sabotage by a traiter) a small number of TIE fighters took out 3 entire wings of terrorist star fighters with only 2 enemy fighters and a freighter escaping.
So...how about hyperdrive sleds? The Republic used hyperdrive rings for their fighters during the Clone Wars, and there's a hyperdrive sled for the Cloakshape fighter. Seems like it would be a useful thing for TIEs to have, as well as any other non-hyperspace capable fighter. Why don't we see more of these things around?
Imperial doctrine does not call for them. TIEs are short range fighters that are purposely reliant on support from capital ships they launch from or from planet based garrisons. Can't let those fighter pilots think they get to think for themselves.
Doctrine schmoctrine. Why hobble your own forces for no good reason? Let's say your recon ships have discovered some rebel activity in a nearby system. Your local garrison isn't equipped with Assault Gunboats, and it'll take some time for your frigates to sortie and jump. So what do you do? Strap some hyperdrive rings (which have been conveniently headcanoned in) onto your TIE Fighters and TIE Bombers and off you go.
Hyperspacerings for Ties are a brilliant idea!
@Coalition for Progress - welcome to the boards, whoever you are! That was a pretty impressive first post (and I'm grateful becuase I thought I'd vaped the discussion with the reply immediately before yours).
All this is true, but I don't think we should underestimate the underlying differences in technology.
1.) TIEs are designed to work as part of a coordinated unit with telemetry, tactics and hyperdrive propulsion being provided by a command ship. At the most basic level, this means a Gozanti carrying two or four TIEs, presumably a supporting sensor suite and flight controllers, and not much else at all... for something a little more sophisticated, there's an escort carrier, which has the full TIE wing and a sensor suite and a little flak, but nothing else resembling an actual capital ship. This does reflect the Empire's controlling thinking, but leaving off the heavy sensors and the hyperdrive means that the TIEs also have an improved performance as fighters. I am entirely happy with this concept.
2.) The idea that the TIE uses unusual power/propusion, which was integral to the original concept, may inhibit them from using hyperdrives. Photovoltaic panels probably don't work in hyperspace.
That said, the pre-reboot lore does allow that a TIE can be rigged with a hyperdrive - we see Vader flying a high-performance hyperdrive TIE in ANH, and we see hypedrives on ordinary straight-wing TIEs, for example in the OT-era comic Star Wars #61 - the iconic Screams in the Void - and in the first Young Jedi Knights story, where Jaina rebuilds the wreck of one of the ordinary TIE Fighters that was shot down at Yavin and retrofits a hyperdrive. This probably isn't terribly useful in terms of performance and standalone combat capability, but doesn't require anything as bulky as a hyperdrive ring.
But if people - like @Alpha-Red and @ColeFardreamer - think hyperdrive rings are cool, I'm not really sure any thing I can say can argue with that.
Also, regardless, something that just occurred to me: hyperdrive TIEs, like Jedi Starfighters, are generally used by Force-sensitives who don't need a larger ship as a sensor platform in support...
As an aside - what other small carrier platforms for TIEs are there, in addition to the Gozanti? A really obscure reference in WEG's Planets of the Galaxy Vol. 3 gave us a "hyperdrive-equipped patrol craft" with two TIEs in an add-on hangar module and a few fighter-scale lasers and ion-cannons, presumably for point-defence and smuggler-stopping respectively - twelve of these, plus a single old 200m light cruiser, provided the regular flag-showing presence in an obscure Outer Rim sector (Elrood), supported by the two ISDs that provided the heavy presence, and a massive HQ battlestation in a base system with a picket squadron of six non-hyperdrive gunships.
- The Imperial Ewok
Would like to see this one make a comeback in nu-canon....The Imperial Escort Carrier. Not sure on the actual size though.
And there is the Quasarfire-class as well.
I´m loving these posts! The Coalition for Progress is here!
A very quick-and-dirty scaling measurement suggests a minimum length of ~300m - starting with the view that's been doing the rounds off the internet since the Prequel era, which is slightly off-broadside but close enough to ballpark, I measure the midships hangar as 15 pixels high, and the ship as about 430 pixels long - assume a minimum of 10m hangar height to allow TIE access to the hangar, and that gives around 285-290m in length; add a bit of extra length because this view's not quite orthogonal, and 300m seems like a cautious lower limit...
Becuse you tagged this as a reply to my post, I should maybe make clear that in my own remarks about the "escort carrier" I meant the Quasar Fire (a favourite design, especially in the REBELS version) and the boxy Ton Falk from the pre-reboot material, both of which carry six squadrons of TIEs and not much else, rather than the Storm Commando version, which has a more meaningful-looking armament but seems to carry a lot less fighters (some sources say two squadrons, but I'm not sure what that's based on). Not sure if that was clear or not.
But I like the Storm Commando version a lot, too.
- The Imperial Ewok
I think while an actual hyperdrive can be fit into a Tie as has been done, a Hyperdrive Ring is more than just a hyperdrive. Given its size it might pack a lot more like extra sensors, additional sublight drives and fuel and the like that makes it worthwhile to support a fighter on longer missions in a way only a capital ship had done previously. Given Tie's rely on sensor data relayed via Stardestroyer command and other such systems lacking, this may return them to the Ties. Of course specialist ties already had these systems built in again, so the hyperdrive ring idea was more about the stripped down standard Ties for quick launches before capital ships would be ready to give chase or jump. All else a specialist Tie may do better.
Do Stardestroyers carry attacheable mobile hyperdrives to haul home shipwrecks or cargo larger than their hangars? I have not seen a ship use a tractor beam in hyperspace yet to keep its prey along.
Also, if a regular Tie Squad needs telemetry from a command ship, may one replace the command ship with one specialist Tie that acts as eyes and ears for the entire squad? If so a mobile hyperspace capable Tie squad would make sense and be cheaper than a squad of specialist Ties. One Tie-Advanced accompanied by several regular Ties slaved to his navcomputer for hyperjumps would be all that is needed.
We saw hyperdrive rings used by Jedi Starfighters and Torrent-fighters in TCW. Does each type need its own ring design or are the rings adapteable to various starfighter configurations?
Also like Thrawn did with modded Moleminers, Hyperdrive rings can be used to hijack ships or take over enemy vessels if you can simply attach them and have the enemy forcibly jump into a trap or hazard.
Also how were Hyperdrive rings ever created? Did some hotshot pilot try to fly through a Gree or Kwa hypergate and his ship got stuck and took the entire gate with him into hyperspace? Engineers then copied the idea to hyperdriverings.
The switch from hyperspace canons and (star)gates to mobile hyperdrives is an interesting one inuniverse and a hyperdrive ring may be the missing link!!!
Edit Add on: The Physics of Hyperspace
A ship needs to accellerate to a certain speed, be it lightspeed or beyond to breach into hyperspace. These days ships can do that via hyperdrive, but older ones could not and used hypercanons to reach the needed high speeds. Hypergates on the other end are like wormholes through hyperspace that upon passing the event horizon accellerate you through it to its other end. A cross of both ideas may be, a hyperdrive.
Maybe circular hypergates act like particle colliders that in circular movement accellerate particles to the speed needed to breach into hyperspace, which then releases these particles into the circles interior where they open a wormhole and passage tunneling through hyperspace taking along whoever touches the event horizon.
A hyperdrive now acts as a cross between the canon and the gate. It accellerates the particles of hyperfuel like coaxium (?) to reach breaching speed inside the hyperdrives labyrinthine yet ultimatlely circular pathways. As the ship approaches its sublight topspeed, the hyperdrive projects this accellerated particle field around the ship (like a shield generator) instead of inside like with the hypergate/ring. Enveloped thus the ship can go even faster along with the hyperspeed-particle-shield and breach alltogether into hyperspace tunnelling through it as if in a mobile wormhole kept around the ship.
With 'escort carrier' I was just assuming Ton Falk. But your numbers on the size of this sound intriguing. And I like the 2 heavy guns it brings to the table.
Well, I confused you (and perhaps other people?) in a way I hadn't realised, so I'm glad I cleared that up.
Squinting at that pic some more, I'm starting to think that the details inside the hangar are actual TIEs, which might push up the overall length to 400m. Incidentally, some of the game cutscenes that the ship appear in also show a vertical opening in the bottom of the forward fuselage, just forward of the second gun mount, which looks like a second hangar and would provide additional space for TIEs.
But yes - I like the heavy guns and their very wide range of fire. Resisting the urge to talk too much about this, I'll note simply that for me, the design manages to suggest "sleek and compact" and "interesting variation on the usual Imperial design concepts", and simultaneously evokes real-world WW1 and WW2 types designed to fight outside the main fleet.
- The Imperial Ewok
Regarding TIEs and reliance on sensor data, there is actually a dedicated TIE specifically to supporting other TIEs in this area, the TIE/fc. Oddly, the Star Wars Sourcebook suggests that 4-8 out of each Squadron are of this type.
A good topic!
However, this is where I get pedantic. No criticism intended - you've spotted a bit of a continuity puzzle and I had fun digging through the old sources to remind myself of what they said.
To be clear, this is just a random fanboy commentary on some of the old pre-reboot canon. Everyone's welcome to have their own opinion, or remind me of anything that contradicts my own speculation in what follows!
The only thing I can see in the Star Wars Sourcebook is a note that there are "2-4 TIE/fc models" in the entire wing aboard an ISD, allocated within the four squadrons of straight-wing TIE Fighters. They're characterised in a separate infobox as providing "accurate fire control and target designation for long-range naval bombardment", working with a "fleet ship", i.e. they're sensor pickets to provide long-range telemetry for the Star Destroyer. Note that their telemetry is commed back to the capital ship, not handled by their pilot. One might speculate that they form part of the reconnaissance squadron, which in this sourcebook is characterised as a unit of standard TIE Fighters with a specialist role rather than special fighters. Hold that thought.
The piece on TIE Fighters in Star Wars Adventure Journal #10 makes things a bit more complicated. This says several things...
An Imperial Navy "deployment squadron" has two flights of TIE Fighters and one of TIE Fire Controls - this does correspond to the combination you described, but this is a unit "deployed for particular sorties". Does that mean that the fighters are reshuffled for actual missions, or that this is a specialised unit for detached duty?
A "TIE recon squadron" has eight TIE Reconnaissance and four TIE Fire Control. "When deployed", apparently - does that mean that a unit equipped with the TIE Reconnaissance is an optional component in larger wings, or also a type of "deployment squadron"? Both?
Then we're told that Star Destroyers "often include a TIE/fc flight" with their TIE Bombers.
The text then goes on to enumerate the wing, referring back to the Star Wars Sourcebook, and noting that the 48 straight-wing TIE Fighters are "often mixed with 2-4 TIE/fc and eight TIE/rc".
All this is a bit contradictory, but I think what this means is that an ISD still carries no more than "2-4 TIE/fc models". They're presumably placed in the recon squadron, but can be deployed with other units because they act as mobile sensor/targeting platforms for the controllers on the capital ship. Individual squadrons aboard smaller ships may trade four of their TIE Fighters for TIE Fire Control variants to act as a mobile sensor array in the absence of a powerful sensor platform on the carrier.
The Star Wars Sourcebook remarks that the TIE/fc has a "jam-resistant" transmitter, and although the Star Wars Adventure Journal #10 piece remarks that TIE/rc is designed to "relay" sensor information, they're also described performing fast, unsupported passes through systems where Rebel activity is suspected. Possibly the TIE Fire Control has better comm systems to act as a direct sensor picket for a larger ship, whereas the TIE Reconnaissance is designed more to make unsupported runs with the information being stored on-board and returned manually...?
Regardless, all this gives a nice sense of complexity, integration, and ultimately the way that the Empire tries to abstract decisions out of the individual's control...
- The Imperial Ewok
No discussion of the TIE/fc would be complete without also talking about the TIE/gt, the original TIE bomber. From the old databank: "TIE/gt fighters typically operate with support from TIE/fc fighters, which provide scanner data for pinpoint accuracy. Large targets, such as buildings and capital ships, can successfully be attacked without the need for TIE/fc data."