The Andor class, which was brought into service in June 2276, was the only operational missile cruiser in Starfleet at the time. These unique vessels earned the respect and admiration of their crews because of their handling characteristics and offensive capabilities. The overall design came from Andorian design teams contracted to design a cruiser with photon torpedoes as its primary weapon. These ships so captured the hearts and minds of the Andorians that the majority were crewed solely by them. All ships in the class were named for famed Andorian military leaders. The Andor class formed the core of all squadrons in the famed Blue Fleet, and was an integral part of Starfleet's front-line forces.
Like the Thufir class destroyer, the warp engines were mounted close together and center aft of the primary hull, which afforded the engines more protection during battle, due to the partial cover provided by the secondary hull. As with all Starfleet vessels, the engines could be jettisoned in case of an overload in the matter/antimatter reaction chamber.
The most unusual feature of the class was the weapons array. Mounting two phaser arrays and eight photon torpedo tubes, it well deserved its informal name of "missile boat." Andor class cruisers were capable of engaging the enemy at 180,000 kilometers with phasers, and at 160,000 kilometers with torpedoes. Due to the number of torpedoes and the ranges at which they were most effective, Andor class ships normally operated in combat at 120,000 kilometers. The Andor class was encountered and engaged by both Romulan and Klingon forces, which were taken by surprise when the Starfleet vessel fired a spread of torpedoes whose number was unexpected. In each case, the enemy withdrew before the vessels could be put fully to the test.
The Andor class cruisers were manufactured at the Andor and Salazaar shipyards at a combined rate of 28 per year. Of the 140 built by June 2281, 138 remained in active service; two were scrapped following a high-speed collision that resulted in irreparable damage.