A starshipís Defense represents how difficult it is to hit in combat. Itís the attack roll result that an enemy ship needs to achieve a hit. In general, starships are easy to hit, which is why they rely on armor to absorb damage (see Starship Armor, below).
A starshipís Defense is partly determined by the skill of the pilot or the quality of its automatic pilot system.
A starship with a living pilot has a Defense equal to:
10 + starshipís size modifier + pilotís class bonus to Defense + pilotís Dexterity modifier
Starshipís Size Modifier: The bigger a starship is, the easier it is to hit in combat. The smaller it is, the harder it is to hit. Size modifiers are shown on Table: Starship Sizes.
Pilotís Class Bonus to Defense: The pilot imparts her class bonus to Defense to the shipís Defense. This bonus applies even if the starship is flat-footed or otherwise denied the pilotís Dexterity bonus to its Defense.
All starship pilots are assumed to have the appropriate Starship Operation feat. Consequently, they apply their full class bonus to Defense (instead of one-half the modifier) to a starshipís Defense.
Pilotís Dexterity Modifier: In any given round, a pilot may choose to transfer her full Dexterity bonus to the starshipís Defense. However, doing so forces the pilot to focus entirely on flying the ship, and consequently the pilot loses the Dexterity bonus to her own Defense for the round.
A pilot cannot apply her Dexterity bonus to a starshipís Defense if she or the starship is flat-footed.
Every starship comes equipped with a basic autopilot system that enables it to dodge enemy fire without need for a pilot. A starship on autopilot has a Defense equal to:
10 + starshipís size modifier + autopilot systemís equipment bonus
Starshipís Size Modifier: Size modifiers are shown on Table: Starship Sizes.
Autopilot Systemís Equipment Bonus: An autopilot system provides an equipment bonus to Defense depending on the shipís size: Huge +1, Gargantuan +2, Colossal +3. A ship equipped with an improved autopilot system (see Starship Defense Systems) gains a higher bonus.