The Chimera class introduced in the mid 24th century was one of the first starship classes of Starfleet to be particularly designed and constructed as a "scout", therefore being specially adjusted to the tasks reconaissance and undercover research. While Federation had mainly used Peregrine class courier ships or research ships during the long period of peace at the beginning of the 24th century due to the relative rarity of such missions, the significance and necessity of the obversation of enemy fleet movements and bases grew with the rapid deterioration of the relations to the Cardassian Union in the 2340s. It became obvious that the vessels previously used for this purpose wouldn't be up to these tasks in a war-like situation any longer, and instead, a compact, quick, but also powerful ship would be necessary. In 2345, these considerations and the following project requirements exactly worked out by the ASDB resulted in the beginning of the Chimera project, with the Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards being responsible for he construction. Although a non-propulsive base version of the prototype and the spaceframes of 6 additional vessels of the class were already avaiable 3 years late, the beginning of the Cardassian Wars in 2346 and the massacre of Setlik III in the following year showed that the project had been initiated too late. Therefore, from this moment the construction of the prototype was accelerated and additionally, it was decided to construct another four vessels of the class. Consequently, the USS Chimera, the first real scout ship of Starfleet, could be comissioned in 2350. Together with the 10 series vessels comissioned between 2351 and 2355, it did a good job for Starfleet during the Cardassian Wars. Although the Chimera class has been getting on in years and is inferior to the more modern starship classes like the Defiant class or Intrepid class in the meantime, the beginning of the conflict with the Dominion in late 2370 has shown that a compact and reliable scout is still needed by Starfleet.
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