Being very fast and maneuverable, they patrolled Republic and later Imperial sectors when larger ships were unavailable. They were regarded as the first line of defense against purveyors of contraband and various organizations attempting insurrection against a system, and relied on their speed to catch and disable or destroy enemy craft. Pirate attacks fell to an all-time low when this craft was in a sector. However many fell into the hands of pirates and crime syndicates who used them to defend their outposts.
Lacking a hyperdrive, the IPV-1 flew specific routes along known smuggling lanes. Their objective was to maintain the peace and order of the galactic government within controlled space.
In order to serve their purpose well, these vessels were armed with four Taim & Bak XV7 turbolasers, as well as a single Krupx VL-4a warhead launcher.
At some point the IPV-1 was the most common warship in the Imperial Navy and skirmish lines of up to 24 IPVs guarded systems that required a permanent imperial presence.
The Alliance to Restore the Republic was also known to have purchased them through various merchant systems.
During the Thrawn campaign, Niles Ferrier managed to steal the three IPV-1 System Patrol Crafts from the Cavrilhu Pirates in the Amorris system in order to sell them to the Empire.