Craft: Empire of the Hand Nssis-class Clawcraft starfighter
Type: Space superiority starfighter
Skill: Starfighter piloting: Clawcraft
Crew: 1 (pilot)
Crew Skill: Astrogation 4D, communications 3D+2, sensors 3D+1, starfighter piloting 5D, starship gunnery 5D+1
Cargo Capacity: 25 kilograms
Consumables: 1 week
Nav Computer: No (relies on navigation beacons, see below)
-Atmosphere: 400; 1,150kmh
4 L-s7.2 Laser Cannons (fire-linked)
Location: Mounted at the forward wingtips
Fire Arc: Front
Crew: 1 (pilot)
Skill: Starship gunnery
Fire Control: 3D
Space Range: 1-3/12/25
Atmosphere Range: 50-300/1.2/2.5km
-Stutter Fire: 3D+1
Rate of Fire: 2
-Stutter Fire: 7
"You have to admire the Chiss. They don't just steal your technology?they make it better."
-Anonymous Imperial engineer.
The Nssis-class Clawcraft was a starfighter normally associated with the Chiss, but in fact was a hybrid development of standard Imperial technology.
During the Yuuzhan Vong War, Jagged Fel's clawcraft was known to use the stutter fire option being equipped to other starfighters to help combat the Vong's dovin basals.
HYPERSPACE NAVIGATION BEACON: The Nssis-class clawcraft does not have a navicomp to navigate hyperspace. Instead it relies on signals from a beacon ship or base ships used by the fleets of the Chiss Ascendancy or the Empire of the Hand. These beacon ships transmit signals through hyperspace that are registered by the Nssis-class ships, which can either jump to where the beacon ship is located, or to coordinates provided by the beacon ship. Chiss Star Destroyers can also fill the role of beacon ships, and the Nssis-class can also use the hyperspace beacons found throughout the New Republic/Galactic Alliance and other sectors of civilized space. However, the more remote the area of space, the less likely any form of navigation beacon will be encountered, and therefor hyperspace travel to these areas is not possible, unless possibly using specific Force powers.
STUTTER FIRE: When the XJ X-Wings were introduced, they had the standard Rate of Fire of 1 like their predecessors and other starfighters. However, when the Yuuzhan Vong invaded the galaxy, the XJ and all other fighters had trouble getting through their defensive measures, namely the black hole shields of the dovin basals equipped to their ships. To help with this, many pilots began modifying their fighters energy weapons to use a stuttering fire option, where they would fire multiple shots at lesser power in order to tire out the dovin basals, allowing later shots at higher power to hit the Yuuzhan Vong ships.
The fuselage was based on the ubiquitous "ball cockpit" of the TIE series of Imperial starfighters, with a Sienar ion drive pod mounted on the rear, but stemming from the junction of cockpit and drive pod were two pairs of curving wings which thrust out like an X-wing's strike-foils, and then extended forward in a claw-like grip around the cockpit. At the tip of each wing was a Sienar L-s7.2 laser cannon.
With modest deflector shields and thicker hull armor, Clawcraft were slower at sublight speeds than their TIE/In starfighter progenitors, although the ion engines allowed the ship to achieve an atmospheric speed of 1,000 kilometers per hour, and a respectable sublight acceleration of almost forty thousand meters per second squared.
Clawcraft made up for their lower sublight speed by greater maneuverability. Each curved wing could make minor position adjustments and was paired with a mounted control jet to allow a Clawcraft's pilot to throw the ship into sharp turns and complex maneuvers.
A unique hyperspace beacon system allowed a Clawcraft to make lightspeed jumps without an on-board navigation computer, enabling it to function as a long-range craft while significantly reducing the weight, size and complexity of non-combat equipment carried.
But the starfighter's dependence on navigational data transmitted from a nexus of anchor points also restricted the area in which most Clawcraft could operate. For long-range deployment, ships of this class typically had to travel with specialist beacon ships, until about 28 ABY, when new variants began to enter service, featuring on-board navicomps for the first time, as well as warhead launchers.
Nssis-class Clawcraft were often associated in the public imagination with the Chiss Expansionary Defense Force, but although the basic term "clawcraft" would appear to be a Chiss one, and fighters so described were used as trainers by cadets at Chiss military academies as early as 19 ABY, there is no direct evidence that these ships incorporated the TIE technology of the Nssis-class.
In fact, the design lineage and operational history of the classic Clawcraft connects the type far more closely with the forces loyal to Grand Admiral Thrawn. Part of the confusion stems from the fact that Thrawn's Household Phalanx was largely staffed by Chiss personnel?but this unit was a "rogue phalanx" operating independently of the CEDF, commanded by Imperial General Soontir Fel, and operated alongside the stormtroopers and line military units of the Empire of the Hand.
By 19 ABY, pilots from the Household Phalanx were using long-range scout vessels combining TIE cockpits and drives with alien technology in a manner that bear an obvious similarity to the Clawcraft, and it is known that the Empire of the Hand was using some form of Clawcraft as combat fighters by 22 ABY, at which point the Chiss Ascendancy was still apparently refusing to adapt non-Chiss technology.
The Nssis-class was revealed to the wider galaxy in 26 ABY, when three squadrons of Chiss pilots from the Household Phalanx fought at Garqi and Ithor where they were commanded by Commander Jagged Fel. A part of this force continued to fight alongside Rogue Squadron until at least the battle of Kalarba, and after the fall of Coruscant. The Chiss force returned to their home territory until Commander Jagged Fel convinced Baron Fel to allow him to take a scout force to further determine the danger posed by the Yuuzhan Vong. This led to Commander Fel and Shawnkyr Nuruodo to deploy in a wing-pair of Household Phalanx Clawcraft where they participated in operations in the Hapes Cluster. Commander Fel's group were later joined by several squadrons of combat pilots that formed Vanguard Squadron at the time. The two Clawcraft also fought alongside the Galactic Federation of free Alliances with Twin Suns Squadron until the end of the war.
A few Nssis-class ships were seen in Chiss space in 29 ABY, by which time unknown political developments in the Unknown Regions had led to Baron Fel becoming Assistant Syndic of the CEDF; but it was not until the clashes with the Killik Colony in 36 ABY and 38 ABY that the familiar Clawcraft categorically appeared in large numbers in CEDF forces.