The Iron Duke class battleship demonstrates the speed at which a design could become obsolete.
Conceived in 2245, construction began in 2250, but the Iron Duke did not finally commission until 2256. The delays were initially caused by the lack of a suitable warp drive, and then the impulse engine created further problems, serious thought was given to commissioning the class using ancient FNSP-X impulse drives taken from obsolete vessels in the surplus yards.
When commissioned the Iron Duke was by far the biggest ship in Starfleet, but in terms of combat efficiency it was less effective than the far smaller and cheaper Heston class Battle cruiser. The ship was still working up when the four years war ended, and it was realized that a major refit with phasers and photon torpedoes was necessary to ensure that the ship remained a viable combat unit.
The refit to Mark 2 added a second M4 computer core, and substituted phasers and photon torpedoes for the earlier lasers and accelerator cannons. The ship recommissioned in 2258, but was put into reserve in 2260. The Iron Duke finally saw action during the Organian crisis when she was recommission to act as a Flagship. The taskgroup she led was one of the few to actually engage enemy vessels. At the end of the crisis though she again returned to reserve.
Iron Duke remained in reserve until 2283, all suggested refit proposals were rejected as impractical on cost grounds. In 2283 she was recalled to service to test some systems for the proposed Excelsior class Battleship, and also to act as a trainer to familiarise the crew with serving on such a large vessel. Iron Duke was returned to reserve in 2289, and was finally scrapped in 2295.
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