The YT-1300 Light Freighter is one of the most successful designs in the history of the Corellian Engineering Corporation. The appeal of the vessel is not its basic equipment, but its ability to take an extraordinary amount of modifications and alterations. In short, the YT-1300 is reliable, durable, and easy to modify, hence its popularity amongst freighter captains throughout the galaxy.
The features the YT-1300 was given on the production line are necessary but basic: the off-center cockpit; two escape pods, located on the port and starboard side of the freighter; a laser cannon mounted atop the craft; and about 100 tons of cargo space. However, in most cases, every YT-1300 that was sold was later customized with a handful of extra components, from simple underfloor storage space to a new hyperdrive and added firepower.
One of the primary drawbacks of this craft is the off-center cockpit placement. This positioning leaves a great deal of the ship out of the pilot's view. While this is common for larger vessels, it makes it much harder to maneuver in tight spaces for many new pilots. The more worrisome of these captains often install five-axis laser ranging pods near the front mandibles, in order to provide them with real-time data about the parts of the ship they cannot see. The mandibles contains much of the freighter's avionics control systems and sensor modules. The forward section of the ellipse contains crew space, while the aft section is for cargo.
While all YT-1300s look similar from the outside, the interior of the ship can be configured in a number of ways thanks to the modular design. Two of the most popular designs, and which see the greatest levels of production, are the freight (YT-1300f) and passenger (YT-1300p) configurations. It is not uncommon to find ships with a mixture of both passenger and cargo configurations belonging to more entrepreneurial captains, however, and later in the life-cycle of the YT-1300 product line the CEC execs grew wise to this fact.
Realizing that many customers were looking for a balance between cargo and passengers, CEC began to deliver ships with a blend of both freight and passenger modules. This configuration, initially called "YT-1300fp", has quickly become the most popular arrangement, and over time is now recognized as the "stock" version of the ship. The separate designations for freight and passenger configurations disappeared from common usage soon after the rise of the Galactic Empire.
The passenger configuration makes full use of the saucer shaped hull to fit as much living space as possible, sacrificing room that would be typically reserved for cargo or machinery in favor of multiple passenger cabin modules. Greater escape pod capacity was also a requirement and two 6-person escape pods were built into the sides of the YT-1300p to accommodate the larger passenger complement. As a result truncated boarding ladders have replaced the ramps used for standard access and egress.
The freight configuration leaves the interior of the ship as an empty shell, leaving the crew with minimal comforts as more room is given to the cargo holds. Of significant note are the twin boarding ramps, port and starboard, for the access of treaded cargo loaders and droids. These ramps, and the overhead clearance they require, take up much of the space that housed the escape pods in the YT-1300p. Matching port and starboard docking rings are instead placed in the protrusions on either side of the external hull, again showing the versatility of the CEC designers in that this interior change barely alters the outward appearance of the YT-1300.
Many individuals have also modified the exterior of the YT-1300, often expanding the forward mandibles for extra crew and cargo space. It is highly unlikely to find two ships that have exactly the same layout and systems.
The ship can also be fitted with optional external cargo pods. Mounted to the outside dorsal hull of the ship, around the central saucer section, the pods can add up to an additional 100 metric tons of cargo space. This configuration was popular with the Alliance to Restore the Republic's Support Services. Such modified freighters were used to resupply Rebel bases and starships located behind enemy lines.