This kind of Federation starship is often used for scientific missions.

The U.S.S. Grissom was of the Oberth-class. While in orbit of the Genesis Planet, Grissom was destroyed by Commander Kruge.

At the Battle of Wolf 359, an Oberth-class starship, in the Saratoga's battle group, was destroyed by the Borg. While trying to rescue his son, Sisko could see the ship's destruction through the portals of his quarters.