In the early days of the Rebel Alliance, the Empire's TIE series starfighters possessed a substantial speed advantage over any fighter craft the Rebellion could field. Recognizing this deficiency, General Jan Dodonna set out to design a dedicated interceptor capable of outrunning anything in the Imperial arsenal. Basing his work on the layout of the R-22 Spearhead, Dodonna's plans called for harnessing the power of two Novaldex J-77 Event Horizon engines, high performance units normally found on much larger vessels, to give the new model an unprecedented thrust-to-mass ratio.
Though loved by its pilots, the new TIE Interceptor was not without its problems. Most prominently, many aces being moved over to the new class found that they preferred the standard fighter's chin-mounted laser cannons to the Interceptor's wingtip mounts for precision aiming. While the L-s9.3 laser cannon was built for the chin position slot, the Interceptor did not have sufficient power to maintain a full rate of fire for six laser cannons, even with all power being directed to the weapons.
In many ways, the Empire's extensive TIE Advanced program was little more than a series of experiments undertaken to find the best application for Sienar Fleet Systems' new I-s3a solar ionization reactor. The product of more than a decade of research and development, this power plant so outclassed its predecessors that the standard TIE/ln starfighter configuration simply could not be made to take advantage of it.