A rare hull, the Challenger Heavy Frigate was a design study on the feasability of a new style of phaser array. Although
new phaser array technology had greatly improved the arcs of fire compared to older phaser banks they felt that there was
still room for viable improvement. Using scaled down versions of existing designs, the Challenger was constructed.
The finished model of the Challenger was in many ways a design success. Three heavy phasers could be installed on the
vessel with extreme arcs of fire allowing it excellent weapons coverage even after sustaining damage. However, unlike almost
every other Starfleet vessel, the Challenger was not equipped with photon torpedo launchers at all, the extra space being
needed to house the phaser's associated equipment and power systems. These facts combined with the design's other
failings led Starfleet to limit future new construction of Challenger hulls and the design was shelved.
When the Borg first invaded Federation space, at least one Challenger Heavy Frigate was activated to serve in Admiral
Hanson's defense fleet. The new Starfleet technologies would not turn the tide of battle at Wolf 359. After the Borg attack
Starfleet research proceeded in new directions, and the Challenger was all but forgotten, the few surviving specimens left
to defend important worlds in the role of a light system monitor.