A corvette is the smallest class of warship to be considered interstellar, and likely to leave a system to travel through hyperspace to another one. Corvettes are very lightly armed ships, none carrying Lance Torpedoes, and even most of their Chemlaser and Fusion Cannon mounts being smaller than usual on a warship. They are generally used for customs patrol within a system, or as cheap escorts for merchant convoys in time of (relative) peace, when only the rare Space Pirate is a threat. Many corvettes were operated by Internal Security rather than Earth Fleet before the Third Civil War. Afterwards, Arthur Clarke transferred them to either Earth Fleet or the Tech Infantry Special Service, as part of his systematic dismantling of a security service that had become more of a threat to the Federation than the subversives and rebels it was supposed to be fighting.
Human Corvette Classes[edit | edit source]
Behind the Scenes[edit | edit source]
Corvettes were originally sailing ships smaller than Frigates but larger than Sloops. As sails gave way to steam, sloops and frigates disappeared for a while, and Corvettes expanded to fulfill both roles to some extent. Corvettes were designed mainly for close inshore patrols, or along coasts where advanced industrial nations were not the main threat. When frigates made their comeback as ocean-going sub-chasers after World War Two, corvettes became the inshore sub chasers not intended to patrol the high seas. In space, corvettes generally stay in one system, but do occasionally travel by themselves in hyperpsace, unlike Fast Attack Craft, which lack the fuel endurance to travel interstellar distances in hyperspace without refueling.