C.E. Evans wrote:
Crazy Eddie wrote:
It's more likely that the heyday of the Constitutions was around the time of the Cage and the entire class was already in the process of being replaced by the time TOS came around
That's not more really likely at all. A case could be made that the Constitution-class was in the process of being replaced by the time of Star Trek III, but its heyday was during
I really don't think so. When you consider that only ten years after TMP, the Enterprise was a training vessel and the lead ship of the class that (arguably) replaced it was "ready for trail runs" with a brand new drive system. The extensive refit of the Enterprise, also, is not indicative of a starship class that is still in its prime; quite the contrary, it's indicative of a design that is growing increasingly obsolete and has to be upgraded to remain in service at all (and even then, only for another ten or twelve years).
We know Enterprise wasn't a brand new ship under Kirk's command and depending on your interpretation of the Robert April background it wasn't even new under Pike. USS Defiant -- a Constitution of possibly similar age -- has a registry in the high 1700s. Starships in the 1800 range (Reliant and Saratoga, for example) should already have been in service for several years by the time Gary Mitchel's eyes started glowing. If Reliant is really 15 or 20 years old by the time we see it in Wrath of Khan -- and it very well could be -- it's quite likely that the ship was built and launched in that configuration and represented the state of the art for the 2060s; the TOS years, and the movie era immediately after, would be the heyday of the Mirandas, not the Constitutions.
Not saying Enterprise was an obsolete rustbucket or anything. But the ship goes into retirement WAY too soon for it to still be in its prime in TOS. It's enough to know, at least, that the original Enterprise is at least somewhat older than Kirk, and is ready for retirement WAY before he is.