Good morning (or evening) all………..while sitting here, sipping my coffee and getting my day starting going through my usual blog list, I came across another interesting article that vaguely parallels what I’ve got in mind as far as the latter half of Constitution class History goes.
This revolves around one of the US Navy’s newest ships, the next generation Zumwalt class Destroyer (link). A technological tour de force, it is to the Navy what Excelsior was to Starfleet (link), is commanded by none other than Capt. James Kirk (link). and could possibly be up-armed with bleeding edge weaponry sometime in the future (link). Originally 32 ships were planned, but for whatever reason that number was eventually cut down to 3 and as you might imagine, those 3 remaining ships became prohibitively expensive and the class itself was canceled.
An increasing threat from both short and long range missiles led the Navy to restart production (link) of the 30-yr old Arleigh Burke (DDG-51 – link) with various modifications and upgrades. However, as expectations and requirements have grown, so to have the costs, to the point where Zumwalt is beginning to now look palatable again. Add in a major push now by contractor General Dynamics and you have yourself one fine mess.
Now in the 23rd Century (my own version of it at least), Starfleet doesn’t operate under any fiscal constraints whatsoever, as money/currency etc is limited strictly to the civilian sphere. Imagine though, if after the failure of the Transwarp Development Project, Starfleet canceled Excelsior altogether and decided to refit Enterprise with more/improved weaponry, stronger shielding etc to oppose the Klingon ‘Kar’harmmer’ class (or however you want to spell it) Battleship. Ugly thought isn’t it? That’s pretty much what’s happening here.
As opposed to the actual Navy though, the way I’m writing now will see Excelsior and the last Constitutions (fully uprated to Potempkin class specs) grow into an evolved ‘high-low’ capability, the kind of symbiotic relationship that is currently lacking.
(I don’t like to play “armchair admiral” but if you ask me, the full 32 ship production for Zumwalt should’ve continued, perhaps in one or more production blocks to incorporate system advances, design changes etc—ala Excelsior/Enterprise-B. If one was still concerned about missiles and wanted to increase interoperability, a standardized/unified refit program with clearly specified features/capabilities could’ve been arranged for Arleigh Burke and perhaps one for the Ticonderoga (CG 47) class as well. Oh and to finish things off, the LCS (Littoral Combat Ship) program would finally be put out of its misery, with funds being diverted to refits of the above two classes as well as a ‘distributed lethality‘ program)