The first great experiment, and the first great failure.
The design drew from the supposed strengths of the three engine version of the Wasp class, unfortunately the designers failed to take account of the very different warp dynamics of the Tritium design compared to the eariler vessel. The designers also did not pay heed to the difficulties suffered by the Wasp programme.
The failure of the triple engine design of the Tritium was one of the most costly failures in the History of Starfleet. Although the design showed the promise of the three engine layout to boost power, it would be another 15 years before computer advances allowed the three engine warp field to be successfully balanced in the Quetzalcoatl class.
On paper a powerful ship, under impulse power the design performed superbly, with power to spare. At warp the design was shown to be far slower than designed for, and the fuel consumption meant the range was half of that predicted, additionally the warp drive system required five times more maintenance than an equivalent twin engine system.
“The Tritium class has the dubious distinction of being the worst major ship ever built by the UFP. Insurmountable design flaws surfaced during its validation phase, and though six Tritium class ships were constructed in a vain attempt to overcome glaring shortcomings, the Federation finally cut its losses and cancelled the series. As a costly reminder to future generations, the Tritium may also be viewed as the Spaceflight museum on Memory Alpha.”
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