I distinctly remember in Star Wars, A New Hope, in the scene when the Millennium Falcon arrives at the remains of what was once Alderaan, a TIE fighter passes close by and Han Solo gives chase. Obi-Wan says "A fighter that size couldn't get this deep into space on its own." Is he implying that TIE fighters don't have Hyperdrives or that they are too far from Imperial space? I ask this because I distinctly remember that, at least by "ROTJ" X-Wings are very capable of hyperdrive as in the scene at the beginning of the Battle of Endor when the entire rebel fleet makes the jump into hyperspace including a squadron of X-Wings. X-Wings are not much bigger than TIE fighters. Thank you
2TIE fighters do not have hyperdrives. It makes them lighter.– Null ♦Feb 5, 2015 at 15:58
In space, weight is really irrelevant. Yes mass has an effect, but ultimately all the fighters seem to be relatively equally matched. TIE fighters are indeed faster but not greatly. A better engine design can account for this. Please be mindful... I'm only referring to the classic TIE fighters, not the other models.– Destroyer73Feb 5, 2015 at 16:01
2@Destroyer73 Being pedantic, yes, it's to reduce mass rather than weight. But that's the reason given. Search for "hyperdrive" in the TIE fighter Wookieepedia article.– Null ♦Feb 5, 2015 at 16:05
2@Destroyer73 Rebel vs. Imperial fighter philosophies are similar to the U.S. vs. Soviet fighter philosophies: the former favor quality, the latter quantity. Hence, TIEs and MiGs are cheap and plentiful but are outclassed by U.S./Rebel fighters 1 vs. 1.– Null ♦Feb 5, 2015 at 16:44
1More TIE Fighter questions! Hooray! :D– NomkinsFeb 5, 2015 at 22:05
According to the Wookiedpedia page on the TIE/IN Interceptor:
Hyperdrive system: None standard, can be equipped as upgrade
So they don't come as standard but they can be upgraded with a hyperdrive if you really want one.
The TIE_Advanced_x1 though is, as the name suggests, advanced:
it had a modest Class 4.0 hyperdrive
So the Advanced is the one you would probably want to drive.
Makes sense considering TIE fighters nearly always have some sort of support ship to return to and an X-Wing may be tasked with solo missions. Thank you @Daft Feb 5, 2015 at 16:04
1@Destroyer73 Exactly, I suppose they are like shock troops, short range hard hitters. Guns with an engine on the back. And you're very welcome.– DaftFeb 5, 2015 at 16:07
1And no shields on some of them.literally just an engine with guns Feb 5, 2015 at 16:31
And TIEs were flown by more expendable pilots. (In Vader's Army, everyone is expendable.) Feb 5, 2015 at 22:20
1Not having a hyperdrive would have made it a lot harder for a TIE fighter pilot to take his fighter with him if joining the rebellion. Sep 11, 2015 at 19:10
Seiner Fleet Systems supply the Empire with a wide array of Snubfighters because they are extremely cheap to manufacture and can be constructed en-masse VERY quickly.
The TIE/ln (Twin Ion engine) fighter, including other varients (TIE/sa, TIE/int, TIE/ga) are perfect examples of this. They are extremely basic craft, with no onboard life support or oxygen supply (hence TIE pilots wearing respirators), and very basic engines. In short, they don't have Hyperdrive systems because of the advanced cost. They're also notoriously bad at flying in-atmosphere and probably wouldn't be very comfortable to fly!
The Empire prefers quantity over quality, and so has it's Cruisers and Capital ships load up on masses of fighters; jumping to a location and rapidly deploying squadrons for an engagement.
As you rightly say, the snubfighters used by the Rebel Alliance in episode VI do indeed have Hyperdrives; an ode to thier highly-skilled yet non-expendable pilots. As a side note, many popular Rebel / Cartel ships such as the Z-95 Headhunter do not have hyperdrives. It's plausible that the Rebel Alliance chose it's best and most recent fighters (and pilots!) for the Battle of Endor.