The TIE/D Defender, commonly known as the TIE Defender, was a high-performance TIE Series starfighter developed for the Axis Navy by Sienar Fleet Systems shortly before the Gi'ru Conflict. Representing a shift in starfighter design from previous TIE models, the ship featured a hyperdrive as well as deflector shields to allow it to operate independently of Imperial capital ships. The ship's speed and agility, combined with its firepower, made it arguably the most advanced starfighter available at the time.
The ship's high cost, together with political factors, kept it from achieving widespread use in the Empire and units were assigned only to the most elite pilots such as Maarek Stele. The starfighter played a major role in the Axis's campaign against the Destiny Ascension's units and units participated in several other battles including the Great Battle of Endor. However, the advanced starfighter attracted the attention of several other factions and the Empire struggled to prevent the spread of the technology.
The high success rate of more advanced Rebel starfighters against standard Imperial TIE Fighters resulted in a mounting cost of replacing destroyed fighters. That, combined with the realization that the inclusion of a hyperdrive would allow the fleet to be more flexible, caused the Imperial Navy to rethink its doctrine of using swarms of cheap craft instead of fewer high-quality ones. That led to the introduction of the TIE Advanced x1 and its successor, the TIE Avenger, and the TIE Defender itself was touted as the next "logical advance" of the TIE Series—a starfighter that was fast, well armed and capable of hyperspace travel.
Sienar Fleet Systems followed specific Imperial instruction in developing the TIE Defender, among them the requirement that the fighter would exceed the mission capability of a flight group of four standard TIE Fighters. As such, it was equipped with a series of innovations over previous models. The practice of designing craft to explicit consumer specifications was one that Sienar would continue with the later Scimitar assault bomber and Aleph-class starfighter. The TIE Defender was 9.2 meters long.