Department of Flight Studies
Capital Starship Studies
They are the most prominent vessels in the galaxy. They are a symbol of planetary power and prestige. They are important to the Brotherhood because they afford protection against our enemies—and each other. They are capital starships. This course is designed to introduce you to the basic types of capital starships, explaining what they are designed for, and offering you some specific examples of these ships. Please note, however, that this course only touches the tip of the iceberg. Capital starships come in great varieties and functions.
Upon completion of the instructional portion, you will take an exam designed to test your knowledge of the ships and their uses. You will have to justify your answers—this is not a cut and paste test. The final question will deal with your own design of a capital starship and you will have to justify its stated mission. So, without further ado, let us commence with the instruction.
II-What is a Capital Starship?
When one thinks of a capital starship, they most often picture massive warships, bristling with weaponry. This is only partially true. The term “capital starship” actually refers to any ship that serves a military function and is at least 100 meters (~328 feet) in length. Under this definition, even the lightly armed Corellian Corvette is considered a capital starship, as well as some freighters. Lancer class frigates are capital starships, yet they do not possess heavy weaponry.
Capital starships vary in size from the 100 meter corvettes to the gigantic multi-kilometer Eclipse class star destroyers. And there are plenty of ships in between the two extremes. We will start at the smallest ships and move up to the largest ships.
Capital starships vary in function, ranging from escort to patrol to front-line combat. The most prominent of all capital starships are the so-called “ships of the line.” This is an archaic term referring to ocean-going surface vessels, the primitive ancestors of the ships we use today. The term “ship of the line” resulted from the fact that, in ancient days, ships used to form up in lines and shoot at each other. Though space combat is far more fluid than that, the term has remained in use by many.
Before we look at the specifics, we must first make a distinction between a starship type and a starship class. “Type” refers to the general make and function of the vessel; class refers to a specific design (whether it is physical, in the ship’s mission, or both). Classes are almost always named after the first vessel built of a particular design (at least in the Old Republic and the Empire. However, Mon Calamari ships, along with Corellian corvettes and gunships, do not seem to follow this trend).
We will now look at the various categories of capital starships, and some examples of them.
III-Corvettes and Gunships
Corvettes are a common sight in the galaxy and they serve a variety of functions. Corvettes can carry cargo, act as passenger liners, serve as ambassadorial ships, carry troops, perform escort missions, patrol for and interdict criminal activity, and serve as flanking guards for larger warships. For pirates, rebellious groups, or poorer planets, corvettes often serve as front-line warships. Here are some examples of various types of corvettes:
The CR90 class “Corellian Corvette,” built by the Corellian Engineering Corporation, is one of the most common capital ships in the galaxy. The CR90 is durable, fast at sublight speed, and, like most Corellian vessels, easily modified for specific purposes. The CR90 is the smallest capital starship. The Tantive IV, used by Princess Leia as she tried to escape from Darth Vader, was a CR90. CR90‘s have a modular interior, which permit the ship to do multiple jobs. The use of the CR90 by the Rebel Alliance earned the ship the reputation as a blockade runner: a fast ship capable of carrying a good deal of cargo, they also had enough weaponry to fend off Imperial forces until they could escape. In contrast to the Rebellion, the Empire used the CR90 largely as an escort and diplomatic vessel. When used in combat, the CR90 was often used to attack or hold off enemy fighters, or to evacuate cargo or vital intelligence from a battle. The CR90 was commonly armed with two dual turbolasers and four single turbolaser cannons, though the armaments could easily vary from ship to ship.
The Assassin class corvette, often called a “modified” corvette, is essentially a militarized CR90. Sleeker, better armored, and better armed than the standard CR90, Assassin class ships served as system patrol vessels, responding to Rebel and pirate fighter attacks on Imperial shipping. The ship is generally armed with 6 dual turbolasers and a warhead launcher.
The Marauder class corvette is ship largely used by the Corporate Sector Authority, though in recent times, other factions (including the Brotherhood) have added the ships to their fleets. Marauders are specifically designed as escort and policing vessels; they are fast, well armed (including very accurate tractor beams along with 8 double turbolasers), and even carry fighters and small squads of troops for boarding operations. Though more powerful than most other corvettes, Marauders are not capable of fending off larger warships.
In contrast to the often multi-purpose corvette, a gunship really only serves one purpose: combat. Gunships are fast, heavily armed, and they have little or no cargo or passenger space. Gunships serve in professional militaries as well as rebel, pirate, and smuggling outfits. Gunships are ideal for quick, brutal “shock” strikes against enemy targets, though their presence in a more traditional combat situation is nothing to ignore, either. The DP-20 Corellian Gunship is one of the most famous gunships in use.
The DP-20 class Corellian Gunship is one of the few strictly military ships built by the Corellian Engineering Corporation. The DP-20 has the same basic shape as its CR90 cousin, but that is where the similarities end. Almost half of the ship’s interior space was dedicated to the engines, with much of the rest dedicated to powering the shields and weapons on the ship. The DP-20 is also heavily armed, with 8 double turbolasers, four concussion missile launchers, and six quad laser cannons (other weapon configurations may also be seen). All of these weapons are crammed into a ship only 20 meters longer than the CR90. Just over half of the crew of the DP-20 serves as gunners.
IV-Frigates and Light/Medium Cruisers
Frigates are specialized ships that sit in between the corvettes and battle cruisers. On average, the ships are 250-300 meters in length. Frigates can run interference for other capital starships and they are also useful for escort missions; in fact, frigates are specifically designed as escort vessels. Frigates have also been used as the launching platform for an attack against an enemy, as they generally carry a squadron or two of fighters. Most frigates are reasonably well armed, but they would be no match for Star Destroyers (still, at the Battle of Endor, we can see Rebel frigates closing to point blank range with Star Destroyers). Some famous frigate classes are the Nebulon-B and the Lancer class frigate.
Nebulon-B: Nebulon-B frigates are instantly recognizable due to their unique shape and that they appear to move backwards. The vessels are primarily escort ships but they perform a variety of other functions. Originally designed to escor