The Walker Class is named for US Air Force Captain, experimental physicist and NASA test pilot Joseph A. Walker who flew the first to space plane flights in 1963.
The design of the Walker Class was one of the last ship classes that made use of both phase cannons and phaser banks. Ships of this class are also note worth of having the ships bridge located on the ventral surface of the saucer hull.
Ships of the Walker class were primarily ships of exploration and scientific research but were well armed and able to defined themselves if so required. One ship of this class, The USS Shenzhou, was present at the Battle of the Binary Stars. The Shenzhou was heavily damaged, including a major hull breach that spanned multiple decks in the battle and was abandoned by the crew. In their role as vessels of science and exploration Walker class ships were equipped to handle extended missions on the perimeter of Federation space and could undertake a range of missions such as repair and maintenance of sensor and communications relays located in interstellar space.