This is a fan-made content and not canon.
Design Philosophy and Tactical Role
The advent of the Ictus heavy space superiority fighter was something of a gamechanger. Its introduction gave TOG a reasonably priced dogfighter with the potential to defeat even the heaviest of enemy fighters in single combat. The average time frame in which Commonwealth (CW) fighters receive the first internal damage dramaticallly shortens when Ictûs are around. The CW military themselves had introduced fighters which are mainly laser-armed to support their fighters which rely more on lateral-damage weaponry such as the Penetrator or the Space Gull. These fighters such as the Perforator and the Peacekeeper are quite agile to fulfill CW tactical doctrine which emphasizes hit-and-run tactics. None of them has the "first-blood" arsenal of laser guns of the Ictus though which is less nimble in return. Apart from the Fluttering Petal only the Punisher (and maybe the Slingshot) have the potential to stand up to the Ictus but the Punisher is still vulnerable when it is closing in to knife-fighting range.
It is intended to pair up the Specter with Punisher and Shrike units. Shrike production is expected to commence any time soon. According to simulations and real test data these pairings should complement each other's strengths well. When teamed up with Shrikes, these are to try and exploit the holes, that have been drilled into enemy fighters, with powerful NPC long-range blasts at optimum range. This should considerably weaken the frontal defense of their foes and soften them up for the ensuing dogfight. Operating with Punishers Specter fighters are to give cover with their stronger armor and shields while delivering heavy laser fire for the Ps. get to point blank range and unleash hell on the Toggies with the most devastating close quarter ordnance of a fighter beyond Caesar's Folly. With its exceptionally strong front shielding the Specter is well suited to targeting installations, too.
Intelligence has been tight about this new machine so the element of surprise should be on side of the CW pilots.
CAF Intelligence was foggily aware of the Ictus project due to the Peacekeeper incident and in a wise move decided to prepare a counter against this upcoming threat by issuing new design proposals. After the first reports about the Ictus came in CAF demanded urgently for a craft which could "out-Ictus" the Ictus. Not an easy task as its design is as good as it gets for the roles intended. Kylon Industries's proposal, the Specter, won and got cleared for production recently. KI went all the way to win the contract. The use of equipment which consist mostly of tried-and-tested components helps guarantee trouble-free maintenance and makes for a fast evaluation/test phase as well as a smooth production start. Statswise the Specter is essentially an upgraded Ictus. It fields a marginally stronger laser weaponry, one hardpoint more, the same armor protection and somewhat stronger shields. The front shield has a notable flicker rate of 80. All around cost effectiveness should be about equal to the Ictus'.
The Wraith has been a parallel development to the Specter sharing most of the construction parts. That is because it is essentially the same chassis differing by having 3 engines instead of 2. This arrangement allowed for better weight economy enabling the craft to carry 5 hardpoints which is more than most TOG fighters do. With the other stats identical to the Specter's the Wraith is an opponent not to be taken lightly. Combining two different armament philosophies this deadly ship is equally at home in both slugging in-fights as well as in unleashing a missile barrage against the enemies. In many fighter combat mission scenarios this armament is expected to give it a significant advantage.
Joint Commonwealth / Renegade Fighter Operations Board (JCRFOB) rated this the best of all submitted drafts but its combat prowess comes with a high price tag. And the CAF are desperately needing fighters - the more the better. This consideration tipped the scale in the Specter's favor for full-scale production which was deemed powerful enough a machine for a lower cost. Engine maintenance and turn-around time for the Specter should be easier/shorter as well due to it having one engine and one coupling set less.
However performance calculations for the Wraith as a multi-role heavy fighter were distinct enough that the Board decided not to drop the craft completely but to have it built at a lower production rate of 1:4 compared to the Specter. These will be given to selected units and pilots.