There are still a few of the older multi-purpose vessels in production. One of the best of these is the Corellian Corvette. Built by the Corellian Engineering Corporation, it is a mid-sized vessel which can function as troop carrier, light escort vessel, cargo transport, or passenger liner. The interior of the ship is modularly designed, so it is easy to reconfigure a Corvette from one of these duties to another, thus greatly increasing its usefulness and resale value. Though unable to compete with dedicated ships in their specialties, many believe the Corvette's adaptability more than makes up for its weaknesses.
The Tantive IV was built sometime before the end of the Clone Wars. Originally called the Star of Alderaan, it was renamed to honor the Tantive system's diplomats. During the time of the Clone Wars, the ship was the consular vessel of Alderaan's Senator in the Galactic Republic, Bail Organa.
After witnessing first hand the betrayal of the Jedi, Senator Organa departed Coruscant in an attempt to rescue as many of the few survivors of the Jedi Purge he could. Using a stolen Jedi Beacon, Organa was able to contact and rescue the last two surviving members of the Jedi Council, Masters Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda. Later, after the death of their mother, it was onboard the Tantive IV the fates of Leia and Luke Skywalker were decided. Accompanying Organa on this fateful journey were Raymus Antilles and Jeremoch Colton. The droids R2-D2 and C-3PO were assigned to the ship at this point.During the days of the Empire, Princess Leia Organa used her position in the Imperial Senate to benefit the growing Rebel Alliance. Her consular vessel, which was afforded diplomatic immunity due to her ambassadorial status, frequently ran mercy missions as cover for assignments to aid Alliance efforts. Leia's starship could circumvent Imperial blockades due to its protected status. Such immunity did not extend to intercepting Alliance transmissions, Leia discovered, as Darth Vader's Star Destroyer crippled her blockade runner high over Tatooine.
Imperial troops boarded the vessel, searching for stolen technical data beamed to the ship by Rebel spies. Though Vader's troops were unable to find the datatapes, they nonetheless took Leia captured and destroyed her ship. Officially, Leia's ship was caught in an asteroid storm and all aboard were killed, though when Leia was eventually liberated from Imperial detention, the truth became known.
Corellian pilots like their ships fast in sublight speed and able to make hyperspace jumps quickly; Corellians also enjoy roomy interiors and plenty of creature comforts, not to mention large cargo space, passenger room, and the finest weapons systems. The Corvette goes a long way toward providing for all of these.
In its military configuration, a Corvette has little cargo space and few amenities; instead, that space is taken up by bigger sublight engines and shield generators, fire control and defensive computers, fuel containers, weapons systems, and troop berths. A military Corvette requires a crew of about 165 men to operate effectively.
Pirate, privateer, and Rebel blockade-running Corvettes are similarly equipped, though such vessels are typically older and more beat up than their Imperial counterparts.
As a transport vessel, the Corvette can be configured to haul a wide variety of cargo under a wide variety of conditions. It can be modified to carry bulk merchandise, such as water, grain or oxygen; it can be compartmentalized to carry many different kinds of cargo, maintaining each in the appropriate atmospheric and gravitational conditions; it can be made into a serviceable passenger vessel and outfitted with anything from steerage-class berths to luxurious first-class suites. (Before the Senate was disbanded by the Emperor, many Senators utilized Corvettes as diplomatic couriers).
Corellian Corvettes have served well in many interstellar fleets. While slowly being replaced by newer, fancier ships, vessels of this class have a well-deserved reputation for reliability and utility throughout the Empire, whether serving military, consular, piracy, or smuggling duty.