The Phantom-class Multi-Role Assault Fighter is equipped with hull plating designed for stealth and, in its standard configuration, is painted space-black to lower its visibility signature. It is capable of atmospheric flight and is equipped with four ordinance hard-points; two are concealed in alcoves above the wings, and two reside in alcoves below the wings. While advances in weapons and power technology allow the Phantom-class fighter to maintain prolonged combat exposure, its stealth capabilities are best implemented through fast-attack roles. One of the first fighter designs implemented since the Dominion War, the Phantom-class fighter is designed to be used both by Starfleet and in Starfleet Marine Corps operations.
The Starfleet Fighter Command Department of Research & Development eventually concluded sufficient range testing of the Phantom-class starfighter had been conducted and that more advanced field testing was required in order to proceed. Major Drake Lexon, seasoned starfighter pilot and squadron commander of the initial test group, was instructed by Starfleet Command to divide his pilots into three elements, each with their own advanced field placement assignment designed to test a wide range of the Phantom's abilities.
Major Lexon placed himself in command of the smallest element (only four starfighters) which was assigned the the Legacy-class USS Yorktown in August 2388. While the Yorktown was not equipped to support starfighter operations for any long-term duration, it was agreed her responsibility for escorting six Cardassian transports carrying much-needed relief supplies for stricken Romulan colonies would prove a substantial test ground for this new fighter design.