How do tight budgets affect the Solarian League Navy?
What all this means is that Solarian League Navy is actually considerably less efficient and less technically advanced than many of the SDFs. It's senior officer corps is riddled with deadwood careerists, its R&D bureaus are starved for funding and generally unable (for budgetary reasons) to compete with private industry when it comes to attracting the really good researchers, and more money goes into maintaining the equivalent of the ships' paint and exterior appearance of efficiency than into realistic training, etc. It isn't really that the people running the SLN are stupid; it's that they have been so well insulated from the realities beyond the core worlds for so long that they don't really think about it any more. (Please note: There is a sort of fleet-within-a-fleet inside the SLN. These are the people who might be thought of as "the frontier fleet" commanders--the ones out at the sharp end of the stick who are actually called upon for anti-piracy ops, etc. They have a much more realistic appreciation for the fact that people can actually get hurt in combat and that joining the Navy is a serious business, and it is to be anticipated that should the SLN ever actually go to war, the people who would replace the deadwood would be drawn from these "frontier fleet" COs. However, it is important to note that even they have virtually no experience whatsoever in the sort of fleet ops the Manties and Peeps are currently engaged upon. Their experience is all in relatively small-scale operations, and their technology--however it may compare to that of the PRH, the SKM, or the SL's own SDFs--is generally much superior to the ragtag forces which oppose them. They, too, thus have no firsthand experience to suggest that their hardware is not the best in the explored galaxy.)