As we can see in this fragment of an X-Wing during the trench run:

X-Wing during Trench Run

An X-Wing with shields set to "all power to rear" is able to block a few shots. After this, it must be evacuated or will be destroyed.

However, in Star Wars Rebels we can see that TIE Defender gets 2 direct hits and is still in action.

Similarly, in Star Wars: Resistance an X-Wing gets one hit and has a disabled engine, while Red TIE also gets hit and is still in action. It looks like the Empire/First Order put no shield or very strong shield, while Rebels have always shields, but very weak.

Is a TIE Defender's shield stronger than X-Wings, or is this difference because of other reasons? I'm looking especially for canon answers, but non-cannon also are welcome as additional info.

BTW. In Battlefront II we can get few hits in normal TIE and it's still working, but I assume it's because it would be too hard to win if we have no margin at all.

  • Although probably non-canon (especially post-Disney), in the old X-Wing and Tie Fighter PC games both the X-Wing and Tie Defender fighters had moderatly strong shielding. Although it has been far too long since I've played either of them to say which one had more. And the regular Tie Fighters would be destroyed by two normal shots from another fighter.
    – Xantec
    Oct 26, 2018 at 13:58
  • There's an old text document called "TIE Guide" for the TIE Fighter game that lists X-wing shield strength as 50% of the TIE Advanced's. Unfortunately it doesn't list the Defender in the table, and also I have no clue as to where I got it from all those years ago. It was always a big help to playing the game though! Oct 26, 2018 at 16:20
  • In the incredible cross sections that came out in the 90s, it mentioned that TIEs have really powerful lasers (maybe turbo-lasers?) that can punch through shields.
    – CBredlow
    Oct 26, 2018 at 16:23
  • The TIE Defender, while EU for a long time, was only recently introduced to new canon via Star Wars Rebels, so that is probably your best / only source of canon info at the moment (maybe newer cross-section books?) FWIW - I wouldn't look to a video game (even one w/ a canon storyline, as BFII is) for any canonicity regarding ship/health stats, so that side comment in the answer may be best simply removed.
    – NKCampbell
    Oct 26, 2018 at 17:37
  • @CBredlow Good spot! Kyle noticed that in Rebels they explicite say about turbo laser in TIE Defender (so probably TIE Advanced has also turbo lasers). After watching again Battle of Lothal and of Endor, I see that most of the time we don't see how many shots did X-wing receive before blowing up, but normally it can survive ~2-4 shots of normal lasers, where normal TIEs are "one shot" fighters. Both X-Wing and TIE Defender has disabled shields after one shot from turbolasers. I don't know if I should post this as an answer, but maybe someone will find this helpful :)
    – T. Gawęda
    Oct 29, 2018 at 13:28

3 Answers 3


Rebel ships use lower-quality turbolaser components

The apparent difference in shield effectiveness may be due (at least in part) to weapon strength. A post from 2012 (revised in 2015) describes how Tibana gas quality affects blaster and turbolaser power:

If I recall, the color of a blaster bolt (character-scale or starship scale) is determined by the quality of the gas used in it - higher quality gives you green, lower quality gives you red. The Rebellion didn't have access to the highest quality gas, and had to make do with the lower quality ammunition.

— Source: Why are the colors reversed between the blasters and lightsabers of the Republic/Rebels and Empire?

The author cites references, noting that this information comes from Legends continuity.

  • It may be true for Rebel vs Empire + Republic vs CIS, but New Republic has still red color, while they are (officially) in charge. Maybe just ST has continuity error here :)
    – T. Gawęda
    Oct 29, 2018 at 10:46

In the Star Wars movies rebel fighters and TIE fighters all seem to blow up after two or more hits and seem fairly evenly matched. Most of the fighters Darth Vader blows up are hit more than once by his lasers, with the exceptions of Wedge and Luke who take single hits and survive.

Your "Rebels" example video explains itself. At 47 seconds into the video you posted, they say "It is a prototype TIE defender. It's armed with heavy cannons and shields."

  • Good spot on the conversation in video, that may make a difference :)
    – T. Gawęda
    Oct 29, 2018 at 13:31

Most of TIE fighters are unshielded, except few prototypes

Anyone who played classic games like X-wing or TIE fighter knows this:

Mass produced Imperial fighters like TIE fighter, TIE bomber or TIE Interceptor don't have shields or hyperdrive in their original factory configuration. Empire doesn't give rat's a.s about crew survivability, at least if we are talking about average Imperial pilots. Instead, they emphasize numbers, firepower and maneuverability. Imperial Navy is somewhat similar to Japanese Imperial Navy from WW2 in their tactics , they even have similar uniforms. However, more elite crews do get shielded spacecraft , and one example is aforementioned TIE Defender, idea od Admiral Thrawn to beat Rebels by superior quality, not quantity. Vader also had shielded TIE advanced, and First Order modified basic TIE fighter design to include shields.

On the other hand, Rebels simply could not afford to pick up their fighters after the battle, they often had to hit and run, so their fighters always had hyperdrives. Also, number of eligible fighters and pilots was limited, so their designs always incorporated shields, even in older Y-wings.

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