The Polaris Attack Cruiser was developed as a branch of the Nebula project aimed at providing a more compact, versatile New Orleans Battlecruiser hull. The relationship between the Polaris and the New Orleans parallels that between Nebula and Galaxy classes. The Polaris is outfitted with a mission-specific pod similar to that on the Nebula.
One of the unfortunate sacrifices that had to be made with the Polaris Attack Cruiser was the downgrading of its advanced photon torpedo tubes down to standard photon torpedoes. Internal space requirements precluded the munitions storage necessary with such weapons.
Polaris Attack Cruisers are rarely seen and are typically assigned to base defense or local system patrols deep in the heart of the Federation. Few such vessels have been constructed as of yet and, with the introduction of the Akira Strike Cruiser several years later, there is little chance of another construction run.