A Light Frigate is a Royal Caledonian Navy term for a ship equivalent, in Imperial Navy parlance, to a Light Cruiser. It's smaller, obviously, than a Caledonian Heavy Frigate, but both classes are considerably larger and more powerful than most vessels called "Frigates".
The term is rooted in Caledonian naval antiquity, and is kept mostly for traditional reasons.
In Caledonian practice, Light Frigates serve as the fleet's long-range scouting force, for use especially in situations where "fighting for information" might be needed. Light Frigates are heavily deployed to Caledonian Forward Operating Bases. Light Frigates also provide a backstop for lighter escort forces in areas where buccaneers and Reavers are endemic.
The Light Frigate role includes:
- "Showing the Flag" in contested or unstable areas
- Providing a heavy escort for convoys traversing unstable, piracy-prone areas
- Aggressively patrolling for pirate and Reaver activity
- In wartime, reconnoitering areas ahead of larger fleet movements and raiding enemy commerce and communications
Light Frigates are generally very busy, even in peacetime. They are a prime career jumping-off point for young officers.
Pirate-Shining - A common tactic in buccaneer-prone areas involves a light frigate "shadowing" a convoy escorted by lighter escorts, travelling on impulse drive and emitting as little electro-magnetic radiation as possible. If buccanneers commence an attack, the sloops signal the Frigate via highly-directional laser communications, and the frigate "lights up" and engages - pretty much invariably to the freebooter's chagrin and, usually, death or capture.