Like most TIEs, the TIE Interceptor shared nearly identical cockpits, drive pods, and wing brace design with the TIE Fighter. The solar collector panels were lengthened and angled, and the forward center section was removed. This new solar array design gave the Interceptor its unmistakable dagger-like appearance, while providing the pilot with increased visibility and shrinking its profile making targeting more frustrating for enemy gunners. This wing design gave the craft a more menacing visage, continuing the Empire's reputation of ruling through fear.

The original production model came standard with four L-s9.3 laser cannons installed on each wingtip. New targeting software was among other advancements installed in the TIE Interceptor; the SFS T-s9a targeting computer offered greater accuracy during complex flight maneuvers. Twin laser cannon hardpoints still remained on the "chin" portion of the cockpit module. Provided technicians could find room for additional power generators, these cannons could also be utilized.

Later TIE Interceptor models were modified to carry four blaster cannons, replacing the original wingtip laser cannons, along with twin chin mounted laser cannons. It is believed these models participated in the Battle of Endor. However, the older model remained a common sight in Imperial fleets for years to come.

The TIE Interceptor fielded P-s5.6 twin ion engines. These new engines included an advanced ion-stream projector, thus allowing pilots access to more sophisticated combat maneuvers. Twin-port deflectors supported this feat by allowing the pilot individual manipulation of the deflectors, thus providing finer flight control. These advancements in engine technology made the TIE Interceptor a superior platform in space combat, achieving speeds beyond all other Alliance starfighters short of the A-wing.

The TIE Interceptor's primary role was as its title suggested. Like its predecessors the Interceptor lacked heavier armor, deflector shields, a hyperdrive, and life-support systems. Interceptor pilots were forced to rely on speed, maneuverability, superior numbers, and advanced weapon systems to prevail in its primary role of space superiority.

With no hyperdrive, the TIE Interceptor was reliant on a capital ship for an operations base. Star Destroyers and prominent shipyards such as Kuat and Fondor were common place for Interceptor squadrons; however, smaller vessels and more remote locations had to rely on aging TIE/ln fighters.

There was also a special variant, painted completely red with significant upgrades, that was available for use by the Emperor's Royal Guards. Aside from its paint job and upgrades, this model also featured two small wings protruding from each solar panel.