The Endurance had a Class 1 hyperdrive and could carry 1,600 troops and enough consumables for five months. However, weapons had to be sacrificed to make room for extra fighters. Endurance-class fleet carriers were only armed with a secondary armament of twelve turbolaser cannons, twenty laser cannons, eight ion cannons, and four tractor beam projectors.
While they boasted improved hull integrity, their shields were markedly less powerful. Although they were equipped with a formidable anti-starfighter weapon system, the fleet carriers were usually protected by screening ships and starfighters. They were not designed to enter the savage heart of battle, but to deploy and coordinate smaller ships.
The main fighting punch of an Endurance-class ship consisted of almost four wings of starfighters. One wing was a short-range assault wing composed of K-wing bombers and Defender starfighters for close support. Another wing was a long-range superiority wing composed of hyperdrive-equipped fighters such as E-wings, A-wings, and X-wings.
Fleet carriers represented a change in the Republic's military policy. While the Imperial Navy was built around larger, heavily-armed warships, such as the Imperial-class Star Destroyer, the New Republic had chosen to use much smaller gun platforms, with starfighters playing a greater role in power projection.
Following New Class practice, the Endurance-class fleet carrier was built upon the same basic hull and systems of the Nebula-class Star Destroyer—although this commonality disguises the fact that the Star Destroyer was apparently designed first, as part of the Defender project, so that the Endurance-class could also be seen as a Star Destroyer variant with heavy weapons replaced by extra fighters just as on the earlier Venator-class Star Destroyer.
Besides being a base ship for starfighters, the Endurance was also a command vessel. Task force commanders and fleet flag officers often used these carriers as their flagships. Admiral Areta Bell raised her flag aboard the lead ship of the class, Endurance, during the Orinda campaign of 12 ABY, until her destruction by the Imperial Remnant at the Battle of Orinda.
Behind the scenes
Until recently, the only official image directly depicting the Endurance-class fleet carrier came from the RPG sourcebook Cracken's Threat Dossier. In contrast with some of the other New Class Modernization Program designs supposedly based on shared hullforms, the image of the carrier resembled that of the Nebula/Defender-class Star Destroyer reasonably closely. The differences were that the bridge tower on the Endurance was topped off by a sizable saucer section (possibly representing the carrier's role as a command ship) and a second, smaller tower was located at the front section of the ship. Often, people have misread Before the Storm's description of the carrier, reading fat-hulled as flat-hulled. This discrepancy makes it somewhat easier to reconcile the CTD image.
More recently, Starships of the Galaxy provided a new image of the Defender-class Star Destroyer (now retconned to being the Nebula-class), much sleeker in appearance and completely lacking a bridge tower.
A new image of the Endurance-class fleet carrier has appeared in the Essential Guide to Warfare. This image resembles the image of the Nebula-class Star Destroyer that appeared in Starships of the Galaxy.
- Before the Storm (First appearance)
- Shield of Lies
- Tyrant's Test
- Specter of the Past (Mentioned only)
- Specter of the Past unabridged audiobook (Mentioned only)
- Cracken's Threat Dossier
- Starships of the Galaxy
- The Essential Chronology
- The New Essential Chronology
- Starships of the Galaxy, Saga Edition
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
- "Designing Warships"—Star Wars Insider 134