As the Rebel Alliance began to acquire Galactic Republic-era Rendili StarDrive Dreadnaught-class starships, it found the required 16,000-being crew to be difficult to manage and procure, yet they were in desperate need of warships.
After equipping Dreadnaughts with droids and automated systems to reduce the crew requirement to 5,000 beings, thus rendering the ships usable, Rebel engineers began modifying Dreadnaughts to allow for greater speed and efficiency while retaining the original weapon systems. The final product was only recognizable as a descendant of the Dreadnaught-class by the nose of the ship. Most of the internal structure was exposed to space, while a dorsal and ventral fin provided added maneuverability. The modifications resulted in greater fuel efficiency.
These modifications removed the internal docking capacity of the Dreadnaught-class, but the ships were equipped with 20 umbilical docking fixtures like those on the EF76 Nebulon-B escort frigate. Unlike the Nebulon escort frigate however, these docking fixtures could not carry other ships through hyperspace. In addition, the assault frigate carried a modified assault shuttle on its back, which was secured in a manner that allowed it to be carried in hyperspace.
The assault frigate had a larger number of weapon emplacements than the original Dreadnaught, but the turbolasers had a shorter range and slower fire rate due to the increased demand on the main power system. The removal of large quantities of hull plating reduced the ship's durability, but slightly stronger shields partially compensated for this.
The Assault Frigates generally had one prong at the bow, but variants were equipped with split-bows.
Assault frigates first saw combat around the time of the Assault on Kashyyyk of the Galactic Civil War. They served as a mainstay of the New Republic Defense Fleet in the years following the Battle of Endor.
The frigate was tweaked into the Assault Frigate Mark II, and although the Mk. I remained in operation, the Mk.II production line failed.
The refits were expensive and time-consuming, but the Assault Frigate was considered to be a very effective combat warship. Though these warships were unique to the Rebellion/New Republic, the Empire made efforts to acquire them—a rather ironic reversal of fortune.[source?]
The name of this ship class is a proper noun as well as a description of the vessel type. To aid in the potential confusion, the ship was commonly referred to as the New Republic assault frigates or Rebel assault frigates by Imperial forces.
Behind the scenes
The Assault Frigate Mark I included in Starship Battles, published in 2006, presents a different image of the Assault frigate, featuring a slimmer shape overall, as well as two forward hull sections that look identical to that of a Nebulon-B frigate and are arranged in the same manner as the Nebulon-B2. Starships of the Galaxy Saga Edition, published in 2007, also presents this style of Assault Frigate.
The Wii version of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II depicts the Salvation as a ship of this latter type. However, the PS3 and Xbox versions, as well as the canon novel and comic adaptations, depict the Salvation as a Nebulon-B Frigate. In the PC, PS3 and Xbox versions of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II an Assault Frigate as depicted by Wizards of the Coast is seen escorting the Salvation.
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II (Xbox, PC, and PS3 versions; as the Salvation in the Wii version)
- Star Wars (2013) 16
- Star Wars: Rebellion
- Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance
- Dark Forces: Rebel Agent
- X-Wing: Wedge's Gamble
- Heir to the Empire (First appearance)
- The Last Command
- The Last Command audiobook
- X-Wing: Isard's Revenge
- Specter of the Past
- Specter of the Past unabridged audiobook
- Legacy (2006) 25
- The Rebel Alliance Sourcebook
- Heir to the Empire Sourcebook
- The Rebel Alliance Sourcebook, Second Edition
- The Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels
- The Thrawn Trilogy Sourcebook
- Star Wars Gamemaster Screen, Revised
- Star Wars: Rebellion: Prima's Official Strategy Guide
- Star Wars: Behind the Magic
- Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance: Prima's Official Strategy Guide
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 5 (THR3, Grand Admiral Thrawn)
- Starships of the Galaxy, Saga Edition
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II: Prima Official Game Guide
- The Essential Guide to Warfare