The so-called Hunter Killers is a mysterious menace; nobody is quite sure where their ships are built and to whose design and yet are very much real and strike fear into the hearts of the most hardened denizens of the colonies. With ability to deal damage at short and long range, as well as a fearsome boarding party ready to terrorise disabled ships, the Hunter Killer is one of the more dangerous threats faced on the edge of civilisation.
The majority of pirates and mercenary forces on the Outer Rim are poorly armed and equipped scavengers; they pick on the weakest and least protected traders and prospectors and are generally scared off by any sort of escort. The groups using Hunter Killers are professional, clinical and extremely dangerous to even well escorted convoys. Their services come at a high price, however, and they are more often used as an expensive tool by one corporation against another.
The ship itself is solidly built with few weakspots in the superstructure. Wing-mounted plasma cannons give short-range bite whilst the underslung tunnelling-particle cannon allows for accurate and devastating offensive capability against armour and hull of opposing ships and facilities.
It can carry, collect and deploy up to 20 armoured marines in space or atmosphere for all manner of operations, including boarding actions, sabotage and property damage.
The Hunter Killer lacks anti-fighter weaponry but is nimble enough to make itself a harder target for fighters and interceptors than a capital ship. On the rare occasions the ship has gone up against military capital ships of corvette-size and above it has retreated but not without doing a fair amount of damage in return. The human governments have declared the ships illegally armed and banned them from civilised space. This has done little to discourage them from operating in the wild west of the Outer Rim and they continue to gain work and infamy.
The mysterious Hunter Killer gunships and their mercenary crews are a genuine threat to the denizens of the Outer Colonies but mercifully rare. The one effective counter against the ships are capital ships of corvette size and above; vessels tough enough to soak up a little damage but well armed enough to give it back. The mercenaries have access to a corvette of their own; double the size of the gunship with twice the weaponry.
The providence of the aliens and their technology is not well known but is unquestionably effective. In the one, much downplayed, exchange of fire between an American LCS and the Hunter Killer corvette (HKC) the LCS came off the worse and had to withdraw. What the HKC lacks in turreted weaponry it makes up for in a tough hide and above average agility on the battlefield.
Four heavy weapons are almost unprecedented on such a vessel and would not be possible with turreted weapons; the HKC’s armament all faces forward and requires careful aiming. This extreme focus on forward firing leaves the ship more vulnerable to fighters compared to its smaller cousin, but even these attacks must be strong enough to dent the HKC’s armour.