These ships served as starfighter platforms, and were very lightly armed. They lacked heavy guns, and were only armed with 20 anti-starfighter laser cannons for self-defense. The Defender-class assault carrier was equipped with a Class 1 hyperdrive, and had a crew of 4,050.
In addition to its starfighters, the Defender-class assault carrier also held assault shuttles and various personnel transports for its 700 troops.
The 700-meter-long Defender-class was originally designed as part of the Defender program in the early years of the New Republic. They were eventually folded into the New Class Modernization Program, under which these assault carriers also lent their basic hull-design to the Majestic-class heavy cruiser.
Each of these ships was home to a single New Republic wing of three squadrons, sometimes consisting of a single type of starfighter, and sometimes a mixed wing. The majority of Defender-class carriers in the New Republic Fifth Battle Group carried E-wing starfighter wings, while a few were dedicated to supporting K-wing bomber wings. Only one of these ships actually carried Defender starfighters, the starfighter it was originally designed to host.