To mark the year 1100 the Imperial Navy challenged naval architects across the Imperium to come up with innovative new design concepts. RINA (Rhylanor Interstellar Navy Architects ... a small design house specialising in unusual requirements) came up with a concept ship they named the Panther. The idea was for the smallest (and thus cheapest) ship capable of carrying a 100 dton meson gun while keeping up with standard fleet units (ie. Jump-4 and 6G).
RINA's design used 2 tricks to achieve this. First, rather than carry a power plant capable of meeting all energy requirements for the duration of a cruise (28 days), two power plants were installed: one for 28 days of normal use, and another for 30 hours of combat activities. Second, the main weapon could only fire at half the normal rate: energy had to be built up in the ship's jump drive capacitors. This later trick effectively halved the EPs/turn required by such a weapon. For defense the Panther relied solely on a moderately high agility.
In the end only an initial run of 4 Pathers were built (unimaginatively named Panther-1, Panther-2, Panther-3, and Panther-4). Panther-2 was destroyed in early trials, but the remaining three still function together as a squadron.
1,000 dtons standard, 14,000 cubic meters, close structure configuration
19 (Command=1, Bridge=6, Engineering=10, Gunnery=1, Medical=1) ... double occupancy
Jump-4, 6G Maneuver, Power plant (main)-6 (60ep), Power plant (combat)-9 (90ep), Agility 4
Bridge with Model 4/Fib computer
100dton Meson gun
464 dtons fuel (1 jump-4, 28 days endurance, and 30 hours combat endurance)