|Maximum speed (atmosphere)|
The droid tri-fighter, also known as the tri-droid fighter or simply tri-fighter, was a deadly Confederacy droid starfighter designed as a fast, agile and powerful space-superiority starfighter, built to excel in dogfighting. It would be used in large numbers in the later parts of the Clone Wars.
The droid tri-fighter was designed by the Colicoid Creation Nest—makers of the deadly droideka—and manufactured by Colla Designs and Phlac-Arphocc Automata Industries. The droid's ridged, three-armed design was based on the skull features of a fearsome predator native to the planet Colla IV.
The bracing arms surrounded the droid's advanced artificial brain, housed in a rotating, gyroscopic core. The droid tri-fighter had three independent thrusters, providing it with great agility, and a powerful reactor and control/commucations transceiver that gave the craft unusual range for a fighter drone.
It was armed with one heavy laser cannon protruding from the central ball, and a light laser cannon for each of the three arms. They could fire independently or together and could slightly tilt on rail to improve its deadly aim. Two to six missiles of variable payloads were housed within each arm. The nose-like cannon made the droid tri-fighter similar in appearance to the DSD1 dwarf spider droid also used by the Confederacy.
The droid tri-fighter was capable of deploying buzz droids via discord missiles fixed to the underside, and quickly became rival to the ARC-170 starfighter and the V-wing starfighter. Although it could not outrun the Eta-2 Actis Interceptors favored by the Jedi, it was bulkier and more heavily armed, making it a challenge for even the best living starpilots to overcome.
The droid tri-fighter was introduced into the Confederate Navy relatively late in the conflict, and its usage would further deplete Trade Federation coffers. One of its first recorded uses was on Praesitlyn, where they fought against the T-19 starfighters of the Praesitlyn Defense Force. Tri-fighters were also deployed at Boz Pity, Saleucami, and Belderone. It would prove troublesome for even Jedi pilots, as evidenced when three tri-fighters came close to overcoming Jedi ace Saesee Tiin before being taken out by Anakin Skywalker.
Many tri-fighters fought during the Battle of Coruscant, where they decimated ARC-170 squadrons. Swarms of them also fought in the battle within the city, harassing Jedi and clone pilots. Following the execution of the Separatist Council by Darth Sidious's new apprentice, Darth Vader, these units were de-activated. At least one tri-fighter comprised part of the Imperial junkyard during the Galactic Civil War.
In the Star Wars: Clone Wars animated series, a sleeker, more numerous variant of droid tri-fighters appear, armed only with a central cannon. These fighters swarmed the skies of Coruscant during the battle leading up to the third film. There is still discussion amongst fans as to whether this is a different variant of the droid tri-fighter or simply a design error in the cartoon, which has come into conflict with canon in some other areas. It may also simply be a stylistic interpretation of the movie design.
In Star Wars: Battlefront II, the laser cannon is replaced with a chaingun. The fighter is also manned by a droid marine or pilot, rather than a droid brain.