Shortly after the Organian Treaty was established, Starfleet began a buildup of research vessels. Contracts were let out for ships with limited combat capabilities and extensive research facilities. The most famous of those commissioned was the Bader class. Although classified and armed as a scout due to its military role, it was in all respects a research vessel. The research facilities aboard the Bader class ships were the most extensive of any on a Starfleet vessel until the Oberth class research vessels entered service.
The U.S.S. Bader, U.S.S. Clifton, and U.S.S. Tombaugh were the research vessels awarded to the winner of the coveted Sagan Award for research contributing to the advancement of Federation science. Every year, each of the three research teams that won the award was given one of the vessels for two years, fully equipped to perform whatever studies and research the teams wished. This made the Bader class popular and easily-recognized throughout the scientific community.
In its military role, the Bader class was not quite as exciting. The warp engines were not as efficient as those mounted on other scouts, and the vessels were not as maneuverable. Due to the mass of the Bader class, this deficiency could not be easily corrected. Attempts were made to increase the impulse drive power, but even that did not bring the performance up to the level of other scouts. Furthermore, compared to other scout classes, the Bader class was undergunned, mounting only four phasers; the Bader class was the only scout class of its era that did not mount photon torpedo tubes. For these reasons, the Bader class was not popular among crews assigned to patrol the Federation's borders with other major powers.
Of the 164 Bader class scouts built by June 2281, 117 Mark IIs and 15 Mark Vs remained in active service, with four Mark IIs in reserve fleets. Five Mark Is, six Mark IIs, and one Mark V had been destroyed; four Mark Is and two Mark IIs were listed as missing; two Mark IIs had been scrapped; and four Mark Is and two Mark IIs had been sold to private commercial concerns. The Bader class was constructed at the Jupiter shipyards at a rate of four per year.