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As weapons became more accurate and powerful, fighter squadrons found themselves outclassed on the longer range missions. This lead to a larger frame being commissioned to hold more weaponry and armour but still keep the manoeuvrability of its smaller cozen[1]. Their initial effectiveness was impressive, taking most militaries by surprise and inflicting horrific casualties until tactics adapted but, like fighters, they tend to have a low survival time.

In combat Corvettes use a mixture of alpha strike and long term weaponry, giving them a high initial punch but the staying power to continue dealing damage as the battle progresses. The design firstly gives them the ability to range long distances from the carrier vessel[2], and with the hull large enough to mount a jump drive they can reach other stars under their own power. Secondly, with the sheer number of thrusters they possess and large engines, they can be nearly as manoeuvrable as the early fighters[3] and this gives them the edge when fighting. Finally, corvettes can carry enough guns to be a threat to frigates and even some of the early destroyers and, while fighters become slowly outmoded as the setting progresses[4], the fixed guns can be upgraded in line with current development.

Like fighters corvettes tend to be tied to a carrier, in the fighters case this is for transport, but for the corvette this is much more of a supply issue. On a corvette every cubic meter is precious[5], and space for crew quarters is space not used for guns or thrusters. Hence, most corvettes will have a carrier where the crew will be housed and the ship maintained, this saves the corvettes from having to drag unnecessary supplies into battle. There are exceptions to this rule, quite a few corvette designs are built around strategic freedom, so will have supplies for much longer missions, but these are understandably weaker in battle, though have a nasty tendency to be raiding your supply lines.

In battle corvettes are generally a front line combat vessel designed to do as much damage as possible during the engagement mêlée. Most combat oriented corvettes will be launched from the carrier[6] prior to the attack and use their superior manoeuvrability to doge most the enemy barrage then charge in close and hit as many strategic targets as possible. After a minute or so of battle they will be either already destroyed or running low on charge or ammunition and be forced into a supporting role, but there are more than a few instances where corvettes carrying additional munitions have turned the tide of the battle[7].

Beyond the battlefield corvettes tend to be used by the civilian forces above any other, they are reasonably cheep to maintain but carry meaningful amounts of firepower or cargo. Both the police are merchant convoys use them for projection of force[8], but also for support as they can carry vital supplies and even provide emergency assistance in a pinch.

[1] Rumour has it that the Commonwealth was inspired to create the Corvette class after seeing the effectiveness of a hastily modified Sparrow Hawk freighter during the Independence Wars.

[2] If they had one, some were designed to be used for long campaigns and so would carry berths and other amenities, though this would cut down on weapons.

[3] Modern fighters do outclass them.

[4] Mostly because missiles slowly become less and less effective in battle, warhead improvements are only rarely useful for larger ships. On the other hand Fighters do still have their niche as they have a tendency to be underestimated and that can be catastrophic when someone’s invested in their torpedoes.

[5] More so than a larger ship.

[6] Bear in mind that corvettes only dock internally with very large ships, the majority will have docking clamps on the exterior and a few servicing hatches. This means that keeping the corvettes docked during the initial firestorm only limits their survivability, unlike fighters who benefit from the additional protection.

[7] American fleets are infamous for this.

[8] Which means the pirates use frigates but what are you going to do?


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