[Ads-l] 'Fighter jets' again

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Thu Dec 3 17:17:46 UTC 2015

Geoffrey S, Nathan wrote:
> To the best of my knowledge TIE and X-wing fighters are not
> jet-powered, although heaven knows what is supposed to be
> their propulsive force.

The fictional TIE fighters of Star Wars are propelled by twin ion
engines (hence the TIE acronym) according to the sometimes reliable

Here is a link to the NASA webpage on ion propulsion.

[Begin excerpt]
Since the ions are generated in a region of high positive and the
accelerator grid's potential is negative, the ions are attracted
toward the accelerator grid and are focused out of the discharge
chamber through the apertures, creating thousands of ion jets. The
stream of all the ion jets together is called the ion beam.
[End excerpt]

Disclaimer: I am not a rocket scientist, and I do not even play one on
TV or the net.

It looks like ion propulsion uses ion jets; hence, it might be viewed
as a form of jet propulsion (in a generalized sense).

The Wookieepedia (of unknown reliability) has an entry for "R200 Ion
Jet engine" which suggests that in the Star Wars Universe ion engines
are considered to be jet engines.


On the other hand, the sometimes reliable Wikipedia says the following
under the "jet engine" entry: "In common parlance, the term jet engine
loosely refers to an internal combustion airbreathing jet engine (a
duct engine)." If "airbreathing" means that the engine requires the
intake of air from the surrounding atmosphere then the
currently-existing typical jet engine will not work in space.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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