The Cobra design was initiated not long before the Collapse, born of a speculative project to mount a reaper torpedo launcher on a fighter chassis.
The design requirements spun out out control almost immediately, and schedule overruns should have seen the Cobra project killed in its first cycle. But the eccentric owner - who had made his fortune in frontier prospecting and salvage - poured his fortune into the design and allegedly secured short-term loans from certain criminal elements to see prototype development through. The Domain Naval Procurement Board rejected the proposal outright and it's been suggested that this was due to an unstated policy of "discouraging" anti-capital torpedo bombers.
The development lead was found dead in extraordinary unpleasant circumstances; investigators ruled it a suicide. Meanwhile, much to the chagrin of legitimate lenders, the Cobra's schematics and prototype LPCs apparently disappeared into thin air.