In service during the 2280s, the Oberth-class was designed and used almost exclusively for the study of astronomical phenomena, including data gathering missions on stars and planets. By the late 2360s, these vessels served various roles in limited capacities, such as transports and supply ships. They would be slowly phased out in the 2370s following the introduction of the more advanced Nova-class science vessel.

Despite its limited defenses, the Oberth-class starship was a highly valuable and adaptable class of vessel to the United Federation of Planets; it fulfilled a role that followed up on discoveries made by, and freeing up the resources of, the capital ships of the fleet.

In overall size, the Oberth-class is among the smallest long-range starships in the fleet.

The outboard plan of the Oberth's design incorporates a unique split hull design, with an upper primary hull that is composed mainly of the saucer section, which is mounted onto a rear extension that mounts the impulse drive, and warp drive nacelles to either side to the saucer. The secondary hull is connected to the primary hull at the nacelles by reinforced pylons. The secondary hull itself has a oblong shape.

Tactical Systems

The Oberth class are armed. The exact number and type of weapons is unknown, but they are fitted with at least one phaser

As a science vessel, some Oberth-class starships are designed with specialized shields, which allow them to push through gravitational wavefronts. In conjunction with this feature, the interior bulkheads are composed of victurium alloy to better facilitate shielding.

Escape pods
Oberth-class starships are also equipped with escape pods, having a minimum compliment of two.
An Oberth-class ship had an standard crew complement of approximately eighty, but was capable of operating with a crew of as few as five to seven.

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