Built in the 2320’s, the Centaur is the forerunner of the Saber class. Intended to operate with the Ambassador, Excelsior, and Miranda classes, the Centaurs where to act in the role of scouts and conduct general support missions during fleet actions. They where designed to be very small and agile, and as a result the Centaur has limited weaponry and a relatively poor standard of accommodation. This has prevented them from being used regularly on long duration missions, a problem which recurred with the Defiant and Saber classes.
The hull form of the Centaur clearly shows the ship to be a contemporary of the Excelsior generation. Her nacelles are large for a ship of this size, a feature she shares with the Excelsior. She is equipped with phaser banks rather than arrays. Starfleet has attempted to refit the Centaur class with phaser arrays several times during their life span. The Centaur is equipped with two torpedo tubes, one forward and one aft, and a limited stock of reloads.
The Centaur has proved popular with her crews, but these ships are now nearing the end of their service lives and are due to be decommissioned in the next few years. However, the Centaur class have been heavily involved in the Dominion war. It is therefore unlikely that any of these ships will actually be retired anytime soon, unless serious age related problems begin to appear.