this article was thought of and created by StarSword
Escorts were small, fast, maneuverable vessels with high firepower but poor defenses. They had the primary mission role of guarding convoys and providing fire support and additional defensive coverage for larger combat vessels.
When briefing his command staff on the USS Defiant in 2370, Commander Benjamin Sisko admitted that for Starfleet's purposes the term was in fact a euphemism for "warship". This was meant to appease the school of thought that Starfleet was not and should not aspire to be a primarily military organization.