The Dreadnaught-class Heavy Cruiser, or simply the Dreadnaught, is a heavy frigate available to the Imperial Remnant and New Republic in Eras 1–5. It carries an armament of 30/6 Turbolasers and 20/2 Dual Turbolasers.
The Dreadnaught was designed by Rendili StarDrive for the Republic Judicial Forces some 80 years before the Clone Wars. It was based on the larger Mandalorian Kandosii-type Dreadnaught from the Mandalorian Wars. After being commissioned, it was used to end several major conflicts, but its shortcomings soon became obvious. The most glaring flaw was its enormous crew requirements (16,000 were needed per Dreadnaught). In order to rectify this, the Galactic Republic military installed a full-rig slave circuitry into a fleet of these ships, reducing the crew requirement to 2,200. The fleet, christened the Katana fleet, was lost on its first tour when the crew was infected with a fatal hive virus, slaved the ships together, and made a random jump to hyperspace before the crew died.
In addition to galactic organizations, the Dreadnaught was also utilized by local forces, who found smaller designs more affordable than larger warships. During the Clone Wars, Dreadnaughts saw heavy use in many key battles, including the Battle of Coruscant. Because the more advanced assault ships and Star Destroyers were manned by clones or highly dedicated Republic crews, planetary security forces and volunteer militaries of the Republic made heavy use of the Dreadnaught-class.
Dreadnaughts saw heavy use in the Imperial Navy due to their abundance. They were fitted with a faster hyperdrive and cargo space was converted into a hanger with room for one squad of TIEs. They now saw use as patrol ships, maintaining order over primitive or unimportant worlds. The Rebel Alliance, and later the New Republic, used donated, captured, or stolen Dreadnaughts throughout the Imperial Civil War. Many were converted into the more modern Assault Frigates, which were less manpower intensive and more heavily armed. Formally decommissioned by the New Republic Defense Fleet upon the success of the New Class Project, the Dreadnaught would be called back into active duty once again during the devastating Yuuzhan Vong War as powerful ships became a valuable commodity.
The Dreadnaught-class Heavy Cruiser is the only ship available to both the Imperial Remnant and the New Republic, making it a unique ship. It is one of the fleets primary frigates, being able to deal much damage but not take much in return. It is an excellent garrison unit if given the proper support. Although not meant to be the focus of an attack, they can be used to great effect if a more threat generating target (VSD, ISD, MC lines), as the enemy is more likely to focus fire on it, allowing the Dreadnaughts to open up with Power to Weapons and shred the enemy.
Its primary weaknesses are its lack of fighter support and lack of Ion weaponry. The latter is rectified with the Katana Dreadnaughts (available after completing a mission in The Thrawn Campaign only). In addition to their standard weaponry, Katana Dreadnaughts carry an added 20/4 Ion Cannons, makin them much deadlier.