The ship featured a compact design, and like other Federation ships of the period, had broken away from the traditional saucer-engineering design. The Saber-class featured an integrated secondary hull, which bisected the saucer section. This secondary hull housed the ship's deflector dish under the saucer. The ship's two nacelles were attached directly to the saucer via reinforced cowlings at the Bussard collectors. Perhaps the most drastic change came with the ship's two shuttlebays, which were located in the front of the saucer, just underneath the main bridge, and directly aft of the ship's registry.
Saber-class ships were well represented in the Federation fleet, most prominently at the Battle of Sector 001 in 2373, Operation Return in 2374, the second Battle of Chin'toka, and the Battle of Cardassia in 2375. (DS9: "Favor the Bold", "Sacrifice of Angels", "The Changing Face of Evil", "What You Leave Behind")
Background information Edit
During the pre-production phase of Star Trek: First Contact, the producers approved alternative backups for ship names and registries. The ship scale sheet showing the back-up names and registries can be found on John Eaves' blog.
"(...) Yes the notch in the front is a forward launch bay. And yes the name Yeager is after Chuck Yeager as is the NCC # 6-1947... the year he broke the sound barrier. Also there was another design that was not used in the film that was given the USS Yeager name, so I wanted to make sure that at least the name made it through. The unused design was posted on John's blog, it was the 1st design in that post.  The textures are from the Galaxy-class Enterprise, it was a quick way to show that even though it was a 'new' design, it was of the older era ships compared to the then new Enterprise-E. The # of new ship designs in Star Trek: First Contact was actually only 4, the Sabre, Steamrunner, Norway and of course the Akira. The goal with all of those ships was to make them look completely different from the Enterprise as we were introducing the E in that film and they didn't want people going, 'wait, which one's the Enterprise?' Therefore the very radical layouts on those 4 ships, but still keeping true to the basics of starship design, such as the deflector dish and Nacelle Bussard collectors must have a clear view to open space in the front view etc... (X)
"(...) Actually ILM was using Electric Image for animation and Form-Z for the models of these ships back then. I don't recall the actual size numbers, I just remember saying it was about the size of the Enterprise's Saucer section. Interesting note I just found that there was second version of the Sabre with a 3rd Nacelle on top called the U.S.S. Saratoga, it also has a wider lower hull for a larger deflector dish and the 3rd nacelle was one from the D Enterprise. I had forgotten about that one! Also in the original sketch I did, the escape pods were lined up along the 'secondary hull' on either side of the red stripe, but when I modeled it something changed and I put them back on the 'saucer' section. (X)
"(...) A couple more notes about this ship, as some of you have mentioned it's very compact. I basically approached it from the stand point of getting rid of all the struts and necks as possible and still maintain the 2 hull look. So there is still the flat horizontal 'saucer' section and the vertical (although more triangular) secondary hull. The only 'struts' are the stubs holding the nacelles off the saucer edges. I figured I could get away with this compactness since the Defiant had been introduced by the time FC came around. The impulse engines should not be glowing all over, you are correct that they only glow at the opening in the back. And as far as the CG model's life, these were VERY low res models, especially the Norway-class, so it's no surprise to me that they've been remodeled several times. Although now that I'm a better 3D modeler I'd like to take a crack at a redesign." (X)
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The model was rendered as a computer-generated visual effect and built by Larry Tan and Paul Theren. A year later ILM was requested by Paramount to hand over their models made for First Contact, among them the Yeager, to Digital Muse in preparation for use in the upcoming DS9 episode "Sacrifice of Angels". Due to software differences, the model had to be largely rebuilt in the LightWave 3D software, and was remapped at a higher resolution in the process, but it was completed early enough to be already showcased in "Call to Arms". (X)
A new CGI model was built for use in the Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection. This model features higher polygons, along with new hull detailing, and higher resolution textures. This model was then adapted for use in the Star Trek Encyclopedia (4th ed., Volume Two M-Z, p. 245).
The following information of specifications and defenses comes exclusively from the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Technical Manual:
- Production base: ASDB Integration section, Spacedock 1, Earth
- Type: Light cruiser
- Accommodation: Forty officers and crew; two hundred person evacuation limit
- Power plant: One 1,500 plus Cochrane warp core feeding two nacelles, two impulse systems
- Dimensions: Length, 364.77 meters; beam, 225.61 meters; height, 52.48 meters
- Mass: 310,000 metric tonnes
- Performance: Warp 9.7 for twelve hours
- Armament: Four type-10 phaser emitters, two photon torpedo launchers
The dimensions given here are identical to the dimensions given by the Deep Space Nine Technical Manual for the Norway-class, possibly due to an editing error.
The Saber appeared in both Activision's Star Trek: Armada II and Star Trek: Starfleet Command III. It is the smallest Federation ship available in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Dominion Wars, and one of the smallest in Star Trek Online, where it has variants named the Rapier-class and the Ushaan-class.
- Saber-class ship names in Starfleet Command III:
- USS Anderson
- USS Armstrong
- USS Chaka
- USS Degrasse
- USS Doolittle
- USS Du Bois
- USS Garvey
- USS Gleaves
- USS Halsey
- USS Hosegawa
- USS Hughes
- USS Jones
- USS McClusky
- USS Nimitz
- USS Randolph
- USS Reynolds
- USS Richard I. Bong
- USS Saber
- USS Senyavin
- USS Spruance
- USS Thomas B. McGuire, Jr.
- USS Tom Wolfe
- USS Towers
- USS Villeneuve
- USS Whitetree
- USS Yeager