In the third Naussicaan Raid, COBRA's fighter corps got it's first taste of battle. Fightercraft were initially designed as low cost defensive craft for the Cobra-II lunar system, but in the battle their high speed and maneuverability proved their effectiveness. Fighter attacks disrupted the pirate's formation while laying in missile and light energy attacks from multiple vectors which softened their defenses an struck at vulnerable systems. One ship was destroyed mostly by fighter attacks and the one which was captured did not escape after it's warp drives were struck by fighter attacks. This (as well as subsequent war games) proved the effectiveness that a single man fighter could show in battle, which was taken into consideration in future spacecraft design and doctrine. Garter
class frigates would carry a single Stiletto Fighter as would subsequent ships in their range. The upgrade from Mark-1 impulse Fightercraft to Mark-2 fighters capable of warp travel at 2 C in 2120 was a further boon. Even so, their were still considerable limitations imposed by range. As preparations were made to establish COBRA's first out of system colony in 2127, work began on the Wasp
. COBRA's first dedicated carrier. Construction would take five years to complete, with the Wasp entering service in 2133 after passing it's shakedown cruise.
At 250 meters long and massing 200,000 tonnes, the Wasp
was far larger than any previous COBRA warship. It was also outfitted with the fastest COBRA warp drive of it's time, able to reach 38 C (Warp 3.3) with a cruising speed of 25 C (Warp 2.8). It had a complement of 500 personnel. It's armament was comparatively modest with twelve medium particle beam cannons and no missile capacity. Instead it carried a complement of 24 Stiletto fighters and 8 Star Rattler heavy fighters.
The first combat mission of the Wasp was in 2136 in response to raids on interstellar shipping between COBRA prime and the new colony of Vanguard by another small fleet of raiders (in this case an multi-species fleet). In response a carrier group tracked them down to their asteroid orbiting an otherwise unremarkable red dwarf and launched an attack from five AU away. While three fighters were lost in the initial the attack did manage to destroy two of their five ships and damage a third. The rest of their fleet was dispatched by the Wasp
's escorts with fighter support fairly easily. Even so, more pressing challenges awaited.