Developed by Sienar Fleet Systems, the GAT blastboat series was the Empire's preferred gunship for demanding point missions and patrol assignments. The craft boasted such impressive firepower and shield output that some armament registries listed the vessel as capital-class -- a designation usually reserved for vessels four times the size or larger. In addition to patrol duty, blastboats are dispatched for planetary defense and interdiction missions.
Blastboats are assault gunships that were used by the Empire. They are larger and far more powerful than starfighters but are small enough to be carried aboard capital ships. The most prominent line of blastboat is the Sienar Fleet Systems GAT series, which includes the 12h, the 12i, and the 12j models.
A blastboat fills the gap between highly maneuverable starfighters and weapons-laden capital warships. Though not as agile as starfighters, they are nonetheless swift and capable of atmospheric entry and prolonged complex aerial maneuvers. The GAT is one of the smallest Imperial Navy vessels to be equipped with a hyperdrive, providing class two hyperspace performance.
When the Empire chose not to purchase the GAT-12h Skipray in large quantities, Sienar Fleet Systems began to sell the ships on the open market, so many can be found in corporate, mercenary, pirate, and smuggler fleets. Talon Karrde's smuggling fleet on Myrkr included two Skipray blastboats, although both ships were destroyed after Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade crashed them in the heart of Myrkr's dense forests.
The Skipray's ventral and dorsal stabilizer fins assist the ship's atmospheric flight and rotate 180 degrees to a horizontal landing configuration. Blastboats are more maneuverable in an atmosphere than in a vacuum, and have a top atmospheric speed of over 1,200 kilometers per hour; they are as fast as the Alliance's X-wing fighters in space. Skiprays are equipped with hyperdrives and a nav computer that can store four sets of astrogation coordinates, allowing them to operate independently of larger base ships.