The British Leyland Type-27 fighter became outmoded during the Third Age of humanity; it was superseded by the superior Keepsake. This upgrade programme led to an increasing amount of defunct Type-27s – a significant proportion of which were available as military surplus.
The Magpies – a notorious group of British privateers – bought all the 27s they could lay their hands on and set about retrofitting the fighters to serve in the modern age. The ships were given a shiny new coat of sensor-baffling stealth paint. Additionally, a suite of modern targeting and counter-measure electronics was installed in the white bundle, just behind the cockpit.
Although incapable of independent Faster-Than-Light travel (the Magpies transport and deploy their fighters on external racks) these Magpie-27s have proven themselves quite capable in the opportunistic pirate actions of the privateers and gained a second life and reputation after their first round of military deployment. Many of the Magpie pilots are retired British military personnel; their familiarity with the ship made them just that bit more deadly behind the controls.