From a 1979 Kenner in-package catalog:
"The STAR WARS IMPERIAL TIE FIGHTER Ready to do Battle with the Rebel Alliance! Authentically detailed TIE FIGHTER has two large "Solar Panels" on either side of a spherical cockpit. Special buttons release panels to simulate "Battle Damage" action. Hand operated lever raises seat and escape hatch to allow child to seat DARTH VADER or other STAR WARS figures. For added play excitement, a dramatic red laser cannon lights up and emits a whining "laser sound" when rear deck button is pushed."
The TIE Fighter was one of the first vehicles offered in Kenner's Star Wars line and experienced the most changes during its lifetime. In addition to the original TIE, the following versions were offered: Darth Vader's, Battle Damaged, and Interceptor.
The electronics on the TIE series and X-Wing consisted of a small DC motor that provided the "whining
laser sound" and a red LED "laser cannon". A common problem found with these ships is that the sound works but the LED does not light up. The fix can be as simple as removing the batteries and reinserting them in he opposite direction. The motor in the ships will work even if the batteries are installed "backwards" (wrong polarity) but the LED only allows current to pass in one direction. If the batteries are not installed correctly, the LED does not let electricity pass and appears to be burned out.