In the last years of the 23rd century, relations between the United Federation of Planets and the Klingon Empire were at their lowest point for nearly a century. With the destruction of Praxus (a key energy production facility) and subsequent collapse of their economy, expansionist factions on Qo'noS gained support. Despite peace overtures and offers of aid from the Federation, the Klingons annexed several systems on their outer borders. Starfleet Command felt that the Klingons would soon turn their attentions toward the Neutral Zone. After decades of peace, and Starfleet's current mission of exploration, the Federation was left unprepared for the new threat.
In 2292 the Federation Council ordered the Starfleet Corps of Engineers to construct new ships to supplement the force assigned to patrol the Klingon Border. After the costly and disappointing Excelsior class, the SF Oversight committee felt that a more conventional approach, utilizing tried technology and manufacturing techniques was required. The result was the Challenger class.
Based on the venerable Constitution class the Challenger class was more heavily armed and produced nearly double the power output of it's predecessor. It also carried two subordinate craft designed to extend it's sensor range or aid in it's defense if necessary.
Construction commenced in 2293 at the new Utopia Planitia Shipyards in orbit around Mars. She was launched an unprecedented six months later. Starfleet had high hopes that the addition of this new powerful starship would act as a deterrent to aggression against the United Federation of Planets and restore stability to the alpha quadrant.
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