The Crossbow class Frigate is an ancient class of escort vessel native to the Kraelis Sector. While exact records have been lost it is widely believed that the Crossbow was originally a local modification of the Chainsaw Class Heavy Frigate produced by forge worlds native to the sector. In their peak it was virtually unheard of for a major deployment of Battlefleet Kraelis to occur without at least one squadron of Crossbows and many of the legendary admirals of the Battlefleet Kraelis prior to the 41st millennium had served on the vessels during their career.
Unfortunately the technology needed to produce the engines which were the Crossbow's largest advantage over the Chainsaw was lost in mid M37 and many of the vessels have began to suffer heavily due to a shortage of spare parts for the drives. Many of the vessels have been decommissioned while those that remain are assigned to guard the most vital regions and convoys of the sector. Being assigned to a Crossbow squadron is considered a sign that Battlefleet Kraelis expects great things from an officer.
While production of the Shortbow class Frigate, a successor to the Crossbow began in M38 their performance is noticeably inferior to the Crossbow and the remaining Crossbows are highly prized by their commanders.
The Crossbow class is large for an escort but it is one of the fastest escorts in the Imperium. A dorsal mounted Neutron Laser battery provides close quarters firepower to the bow and flanks of the craft port, while an enhanced frigate turret array provides point defense. The class carries a pair of Attack Craft launch bays. Typically the craft carries Daggerstar Light Interceptors and Knight Mace Strike Bombers using the craft from the main bays for long range strikes while Daggerstars from smaller secondary bays provide close in support for the Crossbow itself.