I'd like to propose a possible Valiant design concept, loosely based on Warped9
's Valiant artwork from May, 2011 which I linked to upthread. My concept is similar in shape, but significantly different in execution.
My basis for a Valiant ring-ship is that the rings are not
part of the propulsion system. Faster-than-light propulsion is accomplished by nacelles, similar in design to those of Cochrane's Phoenix, but larger. These nacelles are mounted outboard on the rings. These are not the only pods mounted on the rings. There are other, removable, interchangeable "mission pods" that can also be mounted on these rings. Think of this pod-mounting system as being vaguely similar to Franz Joseph Schnaubelt's container-pods being mounted under a Ptolemy-class warptug. (Only these mission pods are much smaller.) It is possible that some specially-designed mission pods serve as detachable short-range spacecraft that can make planetfall if necessary, like a big, early shuttlepod.)
Much of the design philosophy of later-generation Earth and Federation starships is based on starship classes, with different classes presumably designed or sized for different tasks. The Valiant, being a first-generation FTL starship, reflects a more generic, utilitarian design ethos. It is a "star ship class" vessel.
That is to say, there are no cruisers or tugs or science vessels or hospital ships. This is all Earth of the late 21st century could muster; a general-purpose modular FTL spacecraft that could swap out ring pods for mission-specific applications. (Not unlike the Eagles of SPACE: 1999)
The ring design facilitated this pod-swapping feature, making these early starships easier to adapt to mission-specific applications and also to swap out components for maintenance and repairs. (If a mission pod is worn out, it can be removed and recycled; if a pod is jettisoned or otherwise destroyed, is can be replaced, etc.) Even the central "nose cone" structure would be modular, with a forward "command module" and also a mid-section "service module" and an aft "engineering module"; all of which can be removed, serviced and replaced.