Smaller than a standard cruiser, but larger than a gunboat, the "Light" designation of the LPC-7 stood relative to the "medium" and "heavy" cruisers which could stretch for hundreds of meters. However, for its size, the Hermit bore a staggering amount of firepower. Its weapons were all forward-facing, emphasizing its role in patrol and pursuit, and removing the need for more space-and-power-intensive turret systems. While this augmented the lethality of its heavily armored bow, it left the sides and rear more vulnerable, though both gunners in the "bridge" of the upper deck could fire the Hermit's missile launchers at any target in a 360 degree arc around the ship. In addition to the two broad panels of interlocked missile tubes, the Hermit carried two turbolaser cannons manned by a gunner in the lower deck, rounding out its deadliness against both small fightercraft and larger, heavier vessels.Thick armor and powerful shields ensured its potential survivability against the latter, although similarly powerful engines, including a class 1 hyperdrive, allowed it comparable speeds to the former. The Hermit achieved this array of capability by virtually eliminating the considerations of crew comfort and dominating the ship's broad frame with missile magazines, power cells, and a massive reactor. The four-man crew were supplied with enough consumables for six months of continuous operation, and while the ship could be fully operated by two crew members, accommodations were doubled to reduce the crew's fatigue. Automation compensated for remaining crew, simplifying and centralizing control, scanning, and firing of the ship's weapons to single stations. The gunners in the upper deck also served as the Hermit's navigator and communications officer respectively, while the gunner in the lower deck was charged with maintenance. Crews often augmented their number with an MR2 unit to facilitate repairs and maintain the ship in combat.
Despite its utilitarian crew considerations, the Hermit enjoyed a reputation for reliability and survivability, and the relatively simple, robust design proved itself in repeated engagements against all manner of illegal starship activity.
Following the success of the Aurek starfighter, VMEW created its first shipyard. Until that time, VMEW had subcontracted manufacture of its starship designs to Ikest Industries and Rendili Star Drives, and both the production needs and funding of the emerging People's Galactic Alliance encouraged the company's expansion.
Early into its initial production, the long-range-patrol capabilities of the Aurek, one of the roles for which it was intended, was hotly debated among VMEW designers. For the shipyards' premier vessel, both of VMEW's top teams determined to create a patrol cruiser that would augment the performance and survivability of the starfighter.
A base requirement of the Aurek's 160MGLT top speed was decided upon so that the cruiser could keep up with the fighter on long patrols. Emphasis vacillated between a larger cruiser for combat against larger starships and a more streamlined cruiser that could engage multiple starfighters at once. The size and layout of the Hermit emerged as a compromise between both teams, and with those in place a final production model quickly took shape.
Operational deploymentEditThe Hermit was quickly purchased and adopted by the PGAF, and put to use patrolling its hyperlanes. It was a welcome addition to the PGAF fleets, and while single Hermits were deployed to remote interdiction duties, more often convoys were deployed in pairs, with a quarter or third of an Aurek squadron in support, relieved every two to three days.
The independence of the Hermit became a logistical boon for the PGA during the war with the Revenant Armada, so that convoys could continue more or less in isolation along increasingly vital hyperlanes while Aureks and other assets were redistributed elsewhere. Continued security provided by the Hermits even with the loss of Coruscant became the backbone of the PGA's supply network and maintained justification of trade route taxation, its most vital source of revenue.
As the PGA withdrew to isolation following the war, most Hermits were withdrawn from patrol duties and decommissioned or relegated to dry dock. Some have attributed this withdrawal to the rise of piracy which followed.