Armed with twenty laser cannons, the Tartan-class cruisers were designed for use against starfighters, bombers, and pirate vessels. Most notably, powerful sensor and computer systems enabled their guns to engage rapidly with swarms of small, swift targets, although these systems came at a hefty price.
In addition, powerful engines gave these ships the speed and maneuverability to engage directly with starfighters, and the systems that channeled power from the generators to systems throughout the hull were also versatile and sophisticated, being able to redirect energy from the deflector shields to give more firepower to the weapons systems. However, they were more or less useless against larger capital ships, unless in large numbers.
During the unstable times following the formation of the Galactic Empire, the Damorian Manufacturing Corporation was tasked to develop a warship capable of engaging with small, fast-moving targets as a response to increased piracy. The end result was the Tartan-class patrol cruiser, which was equipped with an advanced tracking system.
The Tartan-class patrol cruiser were similar to the later and somewhat better-known KDY Lancer-class frigate, which had an almost identical armament and a similar mission profile, and also with the Rendili StarDrive Neutron Star-class bulk cruiser, a larger patrol vessel with a very similar armament.
Whereas the Lancer-class ships were basically defensive platforms designed to do no more than keep pace with larger capital ships, and while the bulk cruiser was a cheap design known for its slow speeds, the Tartan-class was fast and agile, able to skirmish directly with enemy starfighters—displaying the same pace and agility as the same manufacturer's earlier Carrack-class light cruisers. This agility often led to it being used as reinforcement for the defense of Cardan-class space stations.
Known ships used by the Empire were the Diadem and the Battler. A few of the ships also fell into the hands of the Zann Consortium through bribery of their crews, though the Consortium also acquired the actual ships to be manned by its own soldiers through pirating them.