Patrol Craft designations cover a large assortment of light, short to
mid-range vessels, use by both military and civilian personnel. Patrol Craft
include Corvettes, Cutters, Gunboats, Clippers, Sloops, Corsairs and Monitors.
Although all are group as Patrol Craft, each is unique in their design and
Modern Corvettes are designed to conduct patrols in and near
established Star Bases and Outposts. They are built for extreme manoeuvrability,
often sacrificing speed for manoeuvrability. Most Corvettes are armed for short
to mid-range battle, with either a small number of heavy firepower weapons, or a
larger number of light weapons.
Corvettes are designed primarily to work in teams or three or more vessels,
patrolling in and around the immediate air space of a space station or outpost.
Corvettes are not designed for deep space patrols, having very limited supplies.
They are equipped with sensitive sensor equipment, equal to most cruisers and
escorts. They are also equipped with excellent crew amenities, due to the tedium
of their missions. Corvettes are very inexpensive to build and maintain.
Light Corvettes are essentially a larger version or a Long Range
Shuttle or Courier. Most operate in larger squadrons than standard Corvettes,
and often use similar tactics to fighters and armed shuttles.
Light Corvettes do have extremely sensitive sensor equipment in keeping with
their mission parameters. Most remain on patrol no longer than a few weeks, even
during times of conflict. Because of their small crew compliment and ease of
construction, Light Corvettes can be mass produced on a huge scale, with nearly
every Star base in the Federation having one or more squadrons of Light
Cutters, like Gunboats, are designed to operate in squadrons of 3 to 5
vessels, in and around an established outpost or base. They act as customs
vessels, inspecting incoming transports, freighters and other ships. They have
only moderate sensor systems, but often have a small boarding party or Marine or
Ground Forces personnel.
Most Cutters are built for only short range, remaining on patrol for no more
than a month. Cutters are also used in-system to scan local planets, re-supply
in-system listening posts and research facilities, conduct sensor sweeps of
asteroid fields and escort vulnerable incoming vessels. When faced with a large
cruiser or small squadron, Cutters swarm a target, attempting to overwhelm
itís attack capability.
Cutters almost exclusively employ short range weapons, opting for multiple
hits rather than range. Although dangerous against large warships, this
doctoring allows cutters to easily overwhelm most pirate vessels. Cutters are
not built for speed, opting for manoeuvrability. Cutters are very common in most
populated Federation systems.
Gunboats are designed to patrol in large numbers near established
shipping and transport lanes, attacking enemy forces and pirate raiders.
Gunboats, similar to Cutters, are built for speed rather than
manoeuvrability, and are armed with longer range weapons, balancing ease of
construction with combat ability. Most do not have as sensitive a sensor system
as Corvettes or Cutters, but have stronger shield and higher speed.
Most Gunboats also have larger cargo facilities, allowing longer patrols.
Like Corvettes, Gunboats are designed to swarm a single target, overwhelming it
targeting ability and delivering multiple hits on all sides.