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A while ago I have read that in the new canon TIE Fighters do have life support and their pilots wear space suits to ensure survival in the case of a quite likely damage and resulting decompression.

I'm not sure how true is that, but I have also recently learned of a TIE Fighter modified starship "TIE/mg Mining Guild starfighter". That thing in particular does have shields, so I've been wondering - is it common for civilian Star Wars starships (especially those that are never meant to see combat) to have those, and TIE fighters are very unusual to fly through space without those?

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Per the (canon) Star Wars - The Force Awakens - Incredible Cross-Sections factbook, most starships (which presumably included civilian ships) use concussion shields to protect themselves from space debris. Those that are likely to face enemy action are also liable to be equipped with ray and particle shields.

Shields are protective force fields that repel solid objects or absorb energy. Concussion shields repel space debris, while two varieties of deflector shield protect craft in battle. Ray shields deflect or scatter energy beams, while particle shields diffuse impacts from high-velocity projectiles and proton weapons. A shield's intensity gradually diminishes with distance from its projector. Most starships use a combination of ray and particle shielding for the most reliable protection.

The (Legends) YT-1300 Millennium Falcon Owners' Workshop Manual factbook goes into a little more detail about the sorts of shields usually equipped by civilian spacecraft.

DEFLECTOR SHIELDING

Vital to survival aboard nearly every starship, deflector shields surround a ship in protective force fields. A deflector shield generator, the shield’s power source, determines the shield’s strength, radius, and also the amount of damage it can absorb. Deflector shields are projected just a few molecules underneath hull plating, but different power settings and configurations can extend a shield farther away from the hull. Smaller ships, such as starfighters, are typically equipped with a single deflector shield generator that can be adjusted and directed to protect specific parts of the vessel, while larger ships have multiple deflector shield generators dedicated to different areas.

There are two types of deflector shields: particle shielding and ray shielding. Particle shielding repels solid objects such as space debris and high-velocity projectiles. Because particle shielding completely surrounds a ship, it must be temporarily turned off before a ship can fire its own missile, launch an escape pod, or receive a shuttlecraft.

Ray shielding, also known as energy shielding, protects against stellar and magnetic radiation, lasers, blasters, and other energy beams. Ray shielding does not stop solid matter. Because large amounts of energy are required to maintain ray shielding, ships equipped with ray-shield generators typically set the shields at a low-energy level as a standard defense against radiation, and increase power to the shields as a defense against enemy fire.

Although both types of shielding are needed for complete protection, the Empire restricted the use of high-energy ray shielding to gain a tactical advantage over most private and commercial vessels in Imperial space. Non-Imperial vessels were required to apply for permits to carry ray shielding, but the standard explanation of ’fear of piracy’ was usually sufficient to secure permission.


Classical TIE-Fighters lack shielding and life support in order to save space and to increase their efficiency as short-range fighter craft.

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