The Manta-class starfighter had a flat, organic design inspired by the creature for which it was named. It featured a trio retractable landing gear equipped with magnetic clamps, as well as several belly mounted magnetic pads, allowing the starfighter to clamp to the hull of a Tapani-class carrier and other starships for transportation; the Manta-class starfighter was not fitted with a hyperdrive, hence the need for interstellar transport.
The starfighter was designed to defend against pirates that preyed on ships traveling the Shapani Bypass. It had two configurations, acting as a high-speed interceptor or attack ship respectively. While in intercept mode, the wings were configured parallel to the hull which maximized speed but only provided average maneuverability. Although very few ships could outrun a Manta in this configuration, the aggressive capability of the ship was reduced since most power was automatically routed to the engines, leaving only the ion cannons enabled.
When in attack mode, the wings swung down 90 degrees, allowing the fighter's two heavy laser cannons to be deployed, therefore greatly increasing the ship's attack potential. In attack mode, the fighter increased its maneuverability greatly, at the cost of lowering speed for maneuvering.
Factory-model Manta-class starfighters cost around 95,000 credits.