Anton Escort Cruiser was developed when Starfleet was expanding in response to the changing and expanding economic and political goals of the United Federation of Planets. To meet the demand of a larger navy, the Military Appropriations Committee authorized the development and testing of hundreds of vessel types, the Anton among them.
During this same period, the concepts of ship design were rapidly evolving and becoming more sophisticated, and the technology to build and operate starships was going through an industrial revolution. Advances in all facets of the technology required to construct, maintain, and operate a starship was changing so rapidly that some ships were obsolete before they were completed. The Anton design was changed no fewer than 12 times before the tooling and machining was begun. Even so, the ship required some alterations during its trials and was to see many more changes after its commissioning.
The Anton Escort Cruiser was originally meant for a research role in the fleet, but because of limitations and design changes, the most severe of which was a lack of range compared to other explorer vessels, ships of this type came to serve almost exclusively as escorts for other cruisers, most notably the Constitution Light Cruisers.
The Anton Escort Cruisers were almost all refitted to the new Miranda Light Cruiser standard from 2266-2274. These two designs are not considered variants, however, because like the Constitution, the Anton Escort Cruiser required a complete rebuild from stem to stern in order to upgrade them. By 2276 the last Anton Escort Cruiser was pulled out of service.