Vanguard was COBRA's first colony beyond the Cobra system, established in 2128. While not as verdant as Cobra Prime the planet was habitable, nearby and was fairly easy to establish a presence on. In spite of the limits of the population size of Cobra Prime at the time even with Sauroids the Third Commander was eager to establish a presence on this new world after it's survey. Initially some 3,000 colonists were deployed and by 2140 this had grown to 43,500 (even though by that time the luster of the first colony had wained and many of the colonists it was receiving at this point were penal colonists and the less than Stellar products of the exowomb projects that the Hama dynasty that came to dominate the settlement effectively got at bargain basement rates). Despite this fairly rapid early growth the settlement remained a minor part of the nacent interstellar polity, especially after the annexation of Nerrax. This changed with the onset of the first COBRA/Klingon war in 2142. Vanguard was slightly further from Klingon Space than Cobra Prime and there was a crash effort to develop it's industrial capacity to (in the best case) help contribute to ultimate victory or (worst case) as a place to fall back to if Cobra Prime fell. Personnel and industrial equipment were transferred to the colony, though even with that upgrade it's capacities would be limited. As such a new design was quickly contrived for something that could easily be put together named the Vanguard class Corvette.
The Vanguard class Corvette (sometimes known as the Vanguard-I class, though this designation has never been official) was small at 75 meters and weighed in at a modest 2,500 tonnes and in many respects it was a step backwards for COBRA ship design. She carried no parasites beyond an EVA rig, her 30 man crew lived in cramped conditions hot bunking and many systems which kept as simple as possible. The bridge had a large transparent dome overhead which could have shutters cover it in battle. It's top warp speed of 29 c (Warp 3.1) and a cruising speed of 25 c (warp 2.8), though it did have comparatively good STL maneuverability. It's weapons included three medium particle beam cannons, one heavy particle beam cannon and four external torpedo tubes. It's most notable feature was the RAM-8 Reactor. Under normal conditions it was an adequate if unremarkable power plant slightly better than civilian models but over short bursts of up to a few hours it could provide twice it's usual output (though this was harsh on the ship's systems) allowing it to be hold it's own to some degree. Its energy weapons were each powered from a single capacitor which meant that firing it's heavy particle cannon would leave the ship unable to fire any energy weapons for twenty seconds. More than any other COBRA Vanguard class ships were made to deliver a single heavy blow and at most finish off their prey.
Over the course of the war some 13 Vanguard class corvettes were built. Three of them were made on Vanguard, four at Nerrax and six were built in orbit of Cobra Prime shipyards as they could be thrown together quickly using yards that usually built in-system mining vessels at the time. On Vanguard components were for the most sections of the ship up to full nacelles were made planetside, hauled to orbit with a heavy lifter shuttle for final assembly. These were usually assigned for system patrols and convoy escort. They had not the range or durability for front line use. Of these five were lost, three were destroyed by Klingon raids and two more were lost due to antimatter containment failure related incidents. After the war the remaining eight were relegated to patrols after the war, but save for the CSN Bandit (EC-07) which was retained as a training ship (after an extensive refit) the class was all either scraped or sold off between 2149 to 2151. They had served their purpose and were being supplanted by less slapdash deisgns. Even so the last sighting of a (heavily modified) Vanguard class Corvette was made in 2177 by the Federal Navy starship USS Gagarin (NCC-443) as part of a pirate fleet along the coreward frontier.