AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 13:  A Tie Fighter on display during the 2016 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival on March 13, 2016 in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Diego Donamaria/Getty Images for SXSW)
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Star Wars Explained: What The ‘TIE’ In TIE Fighter Actually Means
Unlike the Rebel’s traditional plane-looking X-Wings, the Empire uses the eyeball-like TIE Fighters to fight its enemies in the sky and space.
TIE is an acronym for “twin ion engine” and refers to the two large, fan-shaped engines, in between which a pilot sits and peers out through a round, iris-like window.
TIE isn’t the only Empire machine to use an abbreviation — one popular vehicle is the assault tank with giraffe-like legs known as the AT-AT, or “all-terrain armored transport.”
Even the robot characters’ names in “Star Wars” have a more complex meaning — for instance, R2-D2 stands for a second generation robotic droid series-2.
However, the name for the heroic droid actually comes from real life after sound editor Walter Murch asked for reel two, dialogue track two while working on “American Graffiti.”
The prequel trilogy shows that other military forces use acronyms for their vehicles, such as the LAAT gunship, or “low-altitude assault transport,” from “Revenge of the Sith.”