Niobe is based on a starship design which is over two centuries old. The exact age of Niobe herself is unclear. Niobe has undergone extensive modifications over the years, including the addition of three main cannons and a point-defense turret which make her unusually powerful for a ship of her size. Though currently crewed by five persons, she can - in theory - be effectively commanded by just two.
Source: Crimson Dark Glossary