The original TIE Starfighter first entered Imperial service years ago. It has proved to be one of the most effective symbols of the Emperor's power and "foreign policy". Despite its success, the design is aging and inadequate against the latest New Republic starfighters. As a result a replacement for the TIE Starfighter has been produced. The new fighter, codenamed "Dagger" is similar in concept, but with many improvements.
First, the traditional circular cockpit window on all earlier TIE models has been replaced. The new rectangular, bevelled window affords the pilot an unobstructed 180 vertical degree view of space. The new single piece of transparisteel making up the window removes the necessity of structural braces across the window as found on older TIES which obstruct the view.
The profile of the new TIE Starfighter has been reduced. The clunky, massive solar panels on the original have been replaced with smaller, more efficient units similar to what is found on the TIE Interceptor. The wings are also angled outwards to provide a larger field of fire for the four laser cannons.
Finally, perhaps the most innovative new design feature are the swiveling weapons. Each laser is mounted on a swiveling emplacement, and can swivel up to 30 degrees. The angled segments of the wings are also hinged allowing a "variable geometry" firing pattern. These two articulations in the laser system are tied in with the automatic targeting computer which automatically adjusts gun positions to track a target. The result is much higher laser accuracy and fewer wasted shots.
Like its predecessor, the new TIE Dagger lacks shields and hyperdrive. Shields and hyperdrive greatly increase the cost of the fighter and it was decided that they should be left off. This more simplistic design allows for much faster production at a much lower cost, allowing the Empire to deploy millions of the new TIEs in a very short period of time. In addition, the smaller profile of the fighter allows more of these fighters to be packed into the hanger bay of a Star Destroyer. With the new fighters, a Star Destroyer's standard complement has been increased from 72 to about 96 fighters.