When one first sees one of these ships, one quickly thinks of a skateboard with rockets strapped onto the sides. This analogy isn't far from the truth. With the lagging behind of starfleet intelligence to the other major powers of the quadrant, notably the Obsidian Order, The Tal Shi'ar, and even the 8472, and the recent insecurity of even the most advanced encryption technologies, the need was found to investigate other means of conveying messages from one point to another.
Used by Starfleet Intelligence and the diplomatic corp expressed interest in a small, but fast ship that would be easy to produce and able to fulfill the neccessary role of courier in the fleet. The ship class was named for William H. Russell, the primary founding member of Earth's Pony Express.
The Richardson is not much for amenities, the majority of the interior of the vessel is devoted to the horizontally mounted core and fuel storage. There are 5 sleeping bunks and those aboard the ship must sleep in shifts. The ship has one standard replicator.