These small but powerful warships were designed for one purpose, which was to smash enemy formations by destroying their main combat ships. They were armed with 10 turbolaser cannons, 8 laser cannons (with at least some in twin barrel batteries), and 4 concussion missile tubes, plus a number of antimissile weapons. Warrior-class gunships packed enough firepower to threaten heavy cruisers, and their racks of CM-9 concussion missiles, the same weapon carried by the Majestic-class heavy cruiser, could even cripple Star Destroyers.
Following New Class practice, the Warrior-class gunship was built on the same hull as the Agave-class picket ship. Like the Agave, the Warrior was 190 meters long and was equipped with a Class 1 hyperdrive. At sublight speeds, it was driven by a bank of at least six engines. These ships had a small crew of only 44 people, along with 36 gunners and room for 10 additional passengers.
In spite of their strengths, the Warrior-class were designed for fast attacks, and not for extended, close-range combat against cruisers. While they were significantly more robust than their Agave-class cousins, their deflector shields would be overwhelmed in a matter of minutes by heavy cruiser turbolasers, and their particle shields could be brought down by a single missile salvo. This vulnerability was seen in the Battle of ILC-905, when the New Republic gunship Vanguard engaged two Yevethan Aramadia-class thrustships. Although Vanguard played a major role in destroying one of the enemy cruisers, it was obliterated after a few volleys of enemy missiles.
To perform their mission, these ships normally moved ahead of the main fleet to make first contact with the enemy. Warrior-class gunships had enough laser cannons to fend off starfighters, while their armor provided protection beyond the typical starfighter's ability to do damage.
Once a Warrior group had penetrated enemy screening lines, they targeted and destroyed the enemy's main ships before withdrawing into hyperspace. Individual gunships could also be used in smaller squadrons, paired with cruisers as robust and well-armed support ships, capable of scouting more aggressively than sensor pickets or starfighters. Warrior gunships were also used to clear corridors for surface forces to land after planetary guns had been disabled.
Behind the scenes
The only official image of the Warrior-class gunship is found in the RPG sourcebook Cracken's Threat Dossier. Like the pictures of other New Class ships, this picture contradicts information from the Black Fleet Crisis novels, on which Cracken's Threat Dossier is based. The Warrior and Agave classes look nothing alike, even though they are supposed to be built on the same hull.