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The first ship of this class was commissioned in 1843 PD as a system defense picket and customs patrol unit. It had a heavier beam armament than most contemporary classes, though contrary to typical Manticoran Naval doctrine, the lasers were optimized for point defense fire as well as the antiship role. The one-shot missile launch cells were built directly into the hull, allowing for system checks and routine maintenance without vacuum gear by the crew, although this increased costs and made them less suited to rapid re-arming than previous external launchers.
When the Highlander-class was first put into service, light attack craft were primarily used as home system pickets and scouts, freeing up hyper-capable ships for interstellar deployment or rapid reaction system defense. As King Roger III's naval buildup progressed, hyper limit picket duty in the Manticore System was shifted to destroyers cued by reconnaissance satellites and passive system arrays.
Starting in 1887, the Highlander-class was retired. A number of hulls were stripped of armament, modified heavily and transferred to the Royal Manticoran Astro-Control Service as search and rescue vessels. An additional small number were retained as training craft for the Royal Manticoran Naval Academy on Saganami Island. (Companion)
Considered completely obsolete in a state-of-the-art space force by the early 20th Century PD, many remaining Highlanders were given to the militarily weaker members of the Manticoran Alliance. (JIR1)
|Manticoran Starship Classes|
Hawk | Highlander | Pryderi | Shrike | Skyhawk