The Heron provides the strategic and tactical mobility of a cruiser with potential firepower limited only by available strike-craft. It is the perfect accompaniment to the quick-moving and hard-hitting fleet of an admiral who knows when to take the initiative, hit quickly, and withdraw while enemy forces are still responding to the threat.
Historically the Heron represented a movement in Domain Armada strategy from a heavy capital ship doctrine based on overwhelming firepower toward a focus on strike craft and support cruisers that enable sufficient firepower to be quickly focused on weak points, a strategic shift that would reverse itself as a natural reaction against tradition from each successive generation of Armada officers. This process was occurring once more in the years immediately preceding the fall of the gate system and, in something of a coup for the so-called "Cruiser School", the forward-thinking Altair Exotech won the Heron design contract over the traditional manufacturer of heavy Armada warships, Perseus Shipyards.
However the doctrinal shift embodied by the Heron was interrupted by the isolation of The Fall, and as such it is not often found in core Hegemony fleets (whose officers still cling to tradition). This hull has however found great popularity among the independent worlds, megacorporations, and mercenary forces of the Sector that tend to field leaner, faster fleets.
The Heron is a fast midline two-deck carrier. It has a higher combat speed than even the Falcon, although it lacks the light cruiser's Maneuvering Jets.