The latest starfighter in the storied TIE line looks similar to its predecessors, but the TIE/FO boasts improved solar cells and higher-capacity converters, making these ships deadlier than the TIEs that saw service in the Imperial era. Unlike the Empire, the First Order values its pilots as key military assets, protecting them with onboard deflector shields.
Imperial pilots were treated as expendable, sent into combat in unshielded TIEs, but the First Order treats its fighter pilots as important parts of its war machine. Potential First Order pilots are identified as children and given rigorous training, often within the corridors of warships, then tested ruthlessly throughout their careers to ensure their reflexes, visual acuity and coordination measure up. Elite Special Forces fighter pilots bear red flashes on their helmets, and report to the upper ranks of the First Order hierarchy.
The New Republic’s rise reduced the once-mighty Empire to a rump state hemmed in by strict disarmament treaties and punishing reparations. But in the galaxy’s Unknown Regions, former Imperial officers, nobles and technologists plotted a return to power, building fleets and armies in secret. This movement became the First Order, ruled by Supreme Leader Snoke, and is now ready to reclaim the Imperial legacy.