The Springfield is a forerunner of the Nebula design, with which it shares the distinctive mission adaptable pod feature. Much smaller and less capable than the Nebula, the Springfield is intended to operate over relatively shorter ranges. As such it was to have a top speed of warp 8 and the accommodation standards were designed to be generally lower. No families are carried.
The Springfield proved less than completely successful in service. Considerable problems were experienced with the mission adaptable pod and external navigational deflector. Various solutions were attempted, but in the end the only effective solution was to limit the ships to warp 7.1 in order to reduce the effect to manageable levels. This reduced the effectiveness of the ships considerably, and Starfleet terminated the production run after only twenty-six vessels.
One of these ships, the USS Chekov, was lost to the Borg in the battle of Wolf 359. During the Dominion war their low speed generally consigned these ships to a defensive role and they did not take part in the larger battles. As a result only five more were lost during the course of the war. The remainder continue in service.