Appalachia was among the first Steamrunner-class heavy frigates completed on Copernicus Fleet Yards in 2373, with the starship class having been introduced only a couple years before. Its shakedown cruise on the outskirts of the Sol system coincided with the Borg incursion into Federation space, and Appalachia proved instrumental in the hours leading up to the Battle of Sector 001.
With only a skeleton crew on board, the ship shadowed the cube at maximum sensor distance and took detailed readings before the rest of the fleet was in a position to attack. This tactical information proved the basis for Vice Admiral Hayes' battle plan. After finishing repairs following the battle, Appalachia was properly commissioned and placed under the command of Captain Ahmed al-Rashid.