The Predator Gunship was developed under various codenames in secret for the Astra-Italia Corporation following the success of the Eabrizio-class fighter. The Eabrizio was originally designed for the European Union but found favour in the private armies of pirates and mercenaries. The Predator was designed as a larger, FTL-capable ship with the same intent and capability.
IAC developed the design in secret as they knew it would break numerous arms treaties and regulations through its potent power supply and weaponry. The first production line was shipped wholesale to New Riga to be sold under the table. There was no shortage of interest.
The factory model of the ship is quick in a straight line and packs a punch with the same particle cannons that made the Eabrizio infamous. The true strength of the Predator lies in the ability to modify the ship to specific needs via modules and add-ons; the missile and troop-carrier variants are particularly popular amongst criminal elements.
The European Union belatedly discovered the under-the-table dealings of IAC and shut down production; not before several hundred had been released into the wild. The Predator is an extrmeley effective pirate vessel; it can prey on large cargo ships with near impunity. It is not nimble enough to dogfight with interceptor-type fightercraft so wise Predator pilots stay away from the Core and Mid-Rim territories were the prey is more valuable but chances of being tracked by such ships is higher.