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Old July 29 2012, 04:06 AM   #530
Ian Keldon
Fleet Captain
Re: My homebrew kitbashes

I'm breaking my self-imposed post moratorium for this one project (since it wouldn't leave me alone anyways). I'm only posting the write up and the final image here, as opposed to my usual progression of changes.

The Constitution-class shipbuilding program died as it lived, fighting for every last moment in the sun and a chance to make new contributions to the knowledge and the security of the Federation.

By 2290, it had become apparent that the design was fast approaching the technological wall. Major strides forward were being made in both hull engineering and ship's systems with every passing month. The promising results that were starting to be generated by the Excelsior prototype (having abandoned transwarp drive in favor of more conventional engine technology), and even more exciting prospects on the drafting computers at the ASDB made it abundantly clear that the Constitution program was simply nearing the end of it's technological usefulness.

That did not sit well with some officers, however, both in field service and in the Corps of Engineers. To them, the Constitutions had become more than just ships in the Fleet; they were the Fleet. For over 40 years Constitutions had led the way during the Great Leap Outwards. They anchored Starfleet's battle lines during the Four Years War, rode herd on the re-emergent Romulan Empire, patrolled the spacelanes against Orion pirate incursions, and generally served as the face of the Federation to both far-flung colonies and foreign powers alike.

Now, in the apparent twilight of their service lives, more than a few were simply not ready to give up on the "Great Grey Ladies" and their noble legacy. In response to a staggering volume of requests from the fleet rank and file, the ASDB agreed to authorize a new SLEP proposal that might see the class remain in service for the next 40 years.

The proposal was put to the Federation Council in 2291, debated for several months, then authorized for a single ship only with the option to extend the program if the results warranted doing so.

The decision was made to use the Constitution herself as the testbed as she was the oldest example of the type still in service. Put into Spacedock and carefully examined, the determination was made that it might just be possible to again salvage the "core" of the ship, and rebuild the rest to new specifications.

The "spine" of the hull strongback through the centerline of the secondary hull, the interconnecting dorsal, and through the heart of the saucer was retained. Both hulls would see extensive reworking, the saucer to the expanded Mark 13-C configuration, and the secondary hull to a new configuration utilizing elements of the abandoned Galaxy-class. The result was an increase in internal volume of both hulls while reorganizing interior spaces to accommodate updated major systems as well as to address other perceived shortcomings in compartment layout.

Improvements were made to the M/AMRC assembly and impulse engines. The warp nacelles were changed from the LN series to the ACE-X-5-B, and improvements were made in both sensors and weapons (including finally providing a power reserve for the phaser systems).

The work took approximately 20 months, with Constitution ready to return to service in the first quarter of 2293. However, events outside the Federation's control would soon overtake the refit program. The explosion of Praxis and the subsequent collapse of the Klingon Empire led to the signing of the First Khitomer Accords.

The resulting treaty demands for reductions in force for Starfleet made the Constitution proposal untenable. The Federation Council decided it would be better to use available fleet deployment slots for the larger and more capable Excelsiors.

The Constitution herself would serve another two years as a technology testbed and training vessel (alongside the Republic) before being decommissioned and scrapped.

However, it seems as if Fate, would not let the legacy of the Constitution class die, however, and significant parts of the final SLEP would later be incorporated into the design of Lexington-class cruiser, which first saw service in the last half of the Dominion War.

"Like a Phoenix from the Ashes", Jane's Starship Review, 2388 edition
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