The Starhawk was a one-man fighter designed for use both inside and outside a planet's atmosphere. Its highly streamlined and aerodynamic shape allowed it to travel at impressive speeds during aerial flight. Its high-powered twin sublight engines resulted in similarly impressive performance in the vacuum of space, with a top cruising velocity of 100 MGLT. Moreover, two rear-facing maneuvering thrusters, mounted on the underside and near the outside edge of the wings, allowed the Starhawk to cut tighter turns than any other ship of its class.
These high performance flight characteristics, however, placed a heavy strain on the fighter's power plant. Therefore, both offensive and defensive systems on the Starhawk were rather limited. Its deflector shields were only about half as powerful as other interceptor-class craft of that era. The designers did their best to compensate for this limitation by covering the forward edges (and certain other critical areas) of the craft with an ultra-reflective metal alloy, which helped to reflect and dissipate the destructive energies of many E.M.-based weapons. This technique yielded results almost comparable to competing interceptor defensive systems in head-to-head confrontations, but left the craft rather vulnerable to attacks from the rear.
The fighter's primary offensive weaponry consisted of two forward firing laser cannons mounted on the tips of its gracefully sweeping wings. Though their power output was fairly typical for the time, these cannons were made significantly more potent through the use of a state-of-the-art targeting system that was particularly effective during strafing runs. A pair of proton torpedo launchers were also present on the belly of the craft, but could carry only a single torp each. Ground crews could replace the launch tubes with miniature ion cannons if the need arose, but the power drain from multiple ion blasts could lead to a severe degradation in flight performance.
Starhawks were designed as short-range fighters, typically dispatching from capital ships or serving in planetary defense forces. As such, the fighter's design made no allowance for hyperdrives or the astromechs needed for hyperspace jump calculations. Many pilots found the lack of an astromech slot to be a greater detriment than the non-existent hyperdrive. For this reason, customized Starhawks, with non-standard astromech slots squeezed in just behind the cockpit by frustrated flight mechs, became quite common. In fact, providing commercial kits for these conversions was a fairly profitable niche industry for many years.
Making "Korpil Corporation" the designers of the Starhawk was pure impish whimsy on my part. I figured hey, if this is a prequel ship, then why not have it be designed by one half of Slayn & Korpil prior to the merger that eventually led to the B-Wing?
Oh, and Copyright © 1998 Joseph W. Reiss, All Rights Reserved