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Skipray Blastboat

Craft: Skipray Blastboat
Type: Defense and Patrol Blastboat
Length: 25 Meters
3 Capital Ship Medium Ion Cannons
1 Proton Torpedo Launcher
2 Laser Cannons
1 Concussion Missile Launcher
Crew: 4
Top Speed: 91 MGLT
Troop Capacity: N/A
Cargo Capacity: 20 Metric Tons
Passengers: N/A

Developed by Sienar Fleet Systems, the GAT blastboat series was the Empire's preferred gunship for demanding point missions and patrol assignments. The craft boasted such impressive firepower and shield output that some armament registries listed the vessel as capital-class -- a designation usually reserved for vessels four times the size or larger. In addition to patrol duty, blastboats are dispatched for planetary defense and interdiction missions. 

Blastboats are assault gunships that were used by the Empire. They are larger and far more powerful than starfighters but are small enough to be carried aboard capital ships. The most prominent line of blastboat is the Sienar Fleet Systems GAT series, which includes the 12h, the 12i, and the 12j models.

A blastboat fills the gap between highly maneuverable starfighters and weapons-laden capital warships. Though not as agile as starfighters, they are nonetheless swift and capable of atmospheric entry and prolonged complex aerial maneuvers. The GAT is one of the smallest Imperial Navy vessels to be equipped with a hyperdrive, providing class two hyperspace performance.

The 12h was released shortly before the destruction of the first Death Star, while the 12j upgrade was released only weeks after the death of Emperor Palpatine. Its most significant additions were larger ammunition bays for the proton-torpedo and concussion-missile launchers, increasing the capacity to twelve torpedoes and eighteen missiles, respectively.

When the Empire chose not to purchase the GAT-12h Skipray in large quantities, Sienar Fleet Systems began to sell the ships on the open market, so many can be found in corporate, mercenary, pirate, and smuggler fleets. Talon Karrde's smuggling fleet on Myrkr included two Skipray blastboats, although both ships were destroyed after Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade crashed them in the heart of Myrkr's dense forests.

The ships are only twenty-five meters long yet have an incredible weapon array, including three capital ship medium ion cannons, a proton-torpedo launcher, two laser cannons, and a concussion-missile launcher. The ion cannons give the Skipray a reasonable chance of disabling larger combat ships. The hull plating is so heavy that most starfighter lasers would have a tough time penetrating the armor, making the ship impervious to all but the most powerful fighter weapons.

The Skipray has sleek lines conveying an aggressive impression of speed. Its tapered forward hull had a slim vertical profile, with short wings on port and starboard sides each supporting a Siep-Irol Omni-Vu sensor pylon. A large forward-swept stabilizer fin assembly rotated along a cylindrical sleeve. In flight configuration, the wing planes aligned vertically, deploying the mounted ion cannons above and below the main hull.

The Skipray's ventral and dorsal stabilizer fins assist the ship's atmospheric flight and rotate 180 degrees to a horizontal landing configuration. Blastboats are more maneuverable in an atmosphere than in a vacuum, and have a top atmospheric speed of over 1,200 kilometers per hour; they are as fast as the Alliance's X-wing fighters in space. Skiprays are equipped with hyperdrives and a nav computer that can store four sets of astrogation coordinates, allowing them to operate independently of larger base ships.

The Skipray normally carries a crew of four: the pilot, the copilot and sensor officer, and two gunnery officers. In an emergency, the vessel can be flown by a single person. Blastboats are used for system patrol duty, point defense, or fire support for larger capital ships. They are normally deployed in pairs so that the ships can cover each other. Imperial commanders knew that they could send these ships into the middle of a battle and expect them to come back.

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