Developed alongside the Defiant and Akira classes as unofficial warships to counteract the Borg threat, Prometheus was intended to separate into three equally capable ships during combat, becoming a force multiplier. Every system on the ship was thus triplicated, as each section had its own warp core, nacelle pair, command bridge, impulse engines, etc.
Because of this never-before tried capability however, the project had an extended development time. The prototype NX-74913 was frequently only able to do short test flights out of the Beta Antares Ship Yards before the power systems failed in one way or another, and thus needed to be towed back.
By mid 2373 however all these issues were resolved, and the prototype was commissioned into the fleet. Its complex production however meant Starfleet never built ships of the class in high numbers, giving more priority to designs like the successful Akira class, which were faster to construct and required less materials.
The Battles against the Borg at Wolf 359 and Sector 001 both showcased several flaws in Starfleet battle readiness and threat response capabilities. One of the main concerns in the eyes of Starfleet Command was that early on in both battles, the Admiral's flagship in command of the fleets was destroyed, leaving the remaining forces uncoordinated and with a crippled chain of command.
Cerberus was built specifically to try and offer a solution to this problem. The ship was not intended to separate into three independent crafts during battle as other Prometheus-class vessels, but rather to function as a resilient flagship able to withstand heavy barrages of enemy fire and still coordinate fleet movements effectively.
The redundancy inherent of the class design, with its 4 main warp nacelles, 3 independent computer cores, 6 impulse engines, and many other redundant systems, made it a perfect candidate for this role. The ship still retained the ability to separate in an emergency, but its spaceframe was heavily modified to prioritize total hull strength when the ship was connected together.
Originally intended to enter service in 2375, delays with the spaceframe modifications pushed the commissioning of Cerberus to 2376, just enough to miss the end of the Dominion War. The vessel became the new flagship for Rear Admiral Ross, and while it didn't see the heavy fighting it was designed to withstand, still proved a successful and versatile peacetime flagship for the Admiral, showing the flag in many diplomatic missions during the post-war reconstruction of the Alpha Quadrant.
- Cerberus was mentioned as the post-war flagship for Admiral Ross in several Star Trek novels. The registry number came from the RPG sourcebook "Star Trek Adventures: Utopia Planitia".