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They were frequently deployed to the border, where they performed interception missions against the pirates and smugglers (Han Solo, for example) who sought to penetrate to the fabulously wealthy inner worlds of the Hapes Cluster. They were designed primarily as large-scale support ships, intended to respond to threats rather than undertake extended missions.
The Nova-class battle cruisers were four hundred meters in length and were bristling with weaponry. The bridge of the ship was connected to a long neck-like body, with an "inverted-V" shape split-wing structure at the rear of the vessel. The bridge had a retractable wall-like shield that could be deployed for combat.
Near the end of the ship's body was the hangar bay and main power core. The ion/hyperdrive engines and maneuvering jet arrays on the rear wings made for a combat cruiser that was extremely swift at both sublight and light speeds, thanks to its modern design (and not a little due to technological espionage directed against Imperial corporations such as Kuat Drive Yards and SoroSuub Corporation).
The main weapons of the cruiser were generally 25 turbolasers for use against capital ships, 10 laser cannons for dealing with starfighters or light freighters, and 10 ion cannons for disabling and capturing enemy ships.
In its docking bays, a Nova cruiser carried two squadrons of Hapan Miy'til starfighters and six Hetrinar assault bombers. Nova cruisers picked and entered their battles cautiously, as Hapan turbolaser technology lagged behind the Galactic standard. Their turbolasers took roughly three times longer to recharge than their Imperial and New Republic counterparts, which sometimes left Nova cruisers unable to return fire at inopportune times. As a result, they were generally deployed in wings of 3 or more, allowing for the swift, brutal assault that was generally preferred by the Hapans.
Later retrofits of Nova-class cruisers followed the practices of the Mon Calamari in adding redundant shield generators and larger, more reliable power generators at the cost of reducing the Miy'til fighters to a single squadron. New Republic Intelligence believed that they employed shield designs stolen from the Mon Calamari Shipyards.