Stalwart Escort Ship
The Stalwart is a convoy escort vessel and planetary defence ship. It is used primarily to escort merchant vessels as they travel between the heart of a system to jump ti point at the very fringes of the system. The Stalwart itself has no warp drives and cannot make jumps between planetary systems. A squadron of Stalwarts will escort a convoy from the space docks around the system's planets and then remain at the jump point when the merchant vessels fire their warp drives and make their leap into warpspace. The Stalwarts wait at the jump point for the arrival of another convoy, which they then escort back into the centre of the system.
Stalwarts both guide and guard merchant vessels they escort. Drawing on an intimate knowledge of their own system, the Stalwarts plot a course to avoid potential hazards, such as asteroid belts, comets and the favoured hunting grounds of pirate ships.
If the convoy is unfortunate enough to encounter pirates or other aggressors, the Stalwarts turn their laser batteries onto the enemy. Compared to the average sub-stellar pirate ship or the rag-tag entourage of a planetary governor, a squadron of Stalwarts is a fearsome foe indeed.
As a specialist convoy escort ship, the Stalwart is fitted with powerful blind field generators. These throw out a massive field of wide-spectrum electro-magnetic interference. To the naked eye, this appears as something like a dark cloud of dense fog which is impossible to see through. It has a similar effect on the sophisticated technology of a spaceship targeting systems, preventing accurate of any weapons either into or through the blind field.
The blind field provides complete protection for the merchant vessels behind it. It also makes the Stalwart itself an almost impossible target. And as the enemy ship closes with the Stalwart in an attempt to penetrate the blind field, it comes within range of the Stalwart's own lasers.
Although they are hardy sub-stellar defence ships, Stalwarts are no match for huge interstellar warships and it is every Stalwart captain's fear that the convoy he is escorting will fall prey to the incredible destructive power of these mighty vessels. When a convoy does have the misfortune to get caught up in a battle between interstellar ships, the Stalwart captains must trust to the defence to their blind fields as the convoy runs a terrible gauntlet of laser and torpedo fire.