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Based on Mandalorian designs, the Dreadnaught-class Heavy Cruiser first saw action over eighty years before the Clone Wars by the Republic Judicial Forces. In their day, they were considered very advanced by comparison to other ship designs, but with the passage of time, that opinion has changed: their sublight and hyperspace speeds are very slow compared to newer ships. By the time of the Clone Wars, the Dreadnaught-class Heavy Cruiser was outdated by newer, more advanced ships such as the Acclamator I-class Assault Ship and early Star Destroyers. However, the Dreadnaughts were used extensively during the Clone Wars due to their abundance and because the newer ships were reserved for the elite troops.
Compared to modern ships, the 600 meter-long capital ship's only redeeming quality is its hull strength and fire-power, consisting of 100 various turbolasers and heavy lasers. One of their disadvantages, regardless of their age, was their dependence on manpower. For a long period of time, the ship required a crew complement of roughly 16,000 people. Later models included a full-rig slave circuitry system which greatly reduced the crew complement. Despite their age, Dreadnaught-class Heavy Cruisers are still used by many local governments due to their cheap cost. Some have also been spotted in the service of many of the larger governments, serving as patrol ships over the various backwater worlds they control.