The original IRD featured powerful engines, twin laser cannons, and the best pilot ejection mechanism of any contemporary fighter, but lacked a hyperdrive. As a result, the Authority IRD had to be transported by larger vessels such as the Marauder-class corvette or the Victory-class Star Destroyer.
The Corporate Sector Authority designed the Authority IRD fighter for the various missions of the Picket Fleet. Early Authority IRD models were not aerodynamic and performed so badly in atmospheric combat that many pilots refused to engage targets in atmosphere; this led to the development of the Authority IRD-A starfighter, which was deployed during atmospheric battles. The IRD-A had a carefully molded fuselage that channeled air through a vector stabilizer, enhancing both maneuverability and speed; it also mounted concussion missiles, making it a tougher opponent than its predecessor.
During Han Solo's days in the Corporate Sector, Solo and a group of outlaw techs fought against the new Authority IRD-A fighters, defeating them in early model Z-95 Headhunters; this victory was anomalous, however, and other, more successful battles encouraged the Authority to begin a full production run of the IRD-A.
Several IRD-A's were present when Jahan Cross escaped from the Stark Compound on Etti IV. They gave chase as he fled the compound.