Back about 15-20 years ago I drew out the design for a pre TOS 22nd century starship. I even thought of writing a story for the ship with a loose framing sequence of one of the TOS characters reading an historical or fictionalized account of one of this ship's voyages. Maybe one day...
Anyway this was long before the advent of ENT and I had a vague idea of the 22nd century being an era of diversity and experimentation when all kinds of approaches and design platforms were being tried in the wake of the space warp development of the preceding century. I also accepted the idea of Earth and the Romulans being involved in a protracted conflict, partially because the ships of the era were supposed to be relatively crude and comparatively slow (re: TOS' "Balance Of Terror"). Out of the conflict would come a number of advances and innovations that would lay the groundwork for the more familiar starships we see in TOS about a century later.
My general design concept was to have a ship that would resonate with familiar TOS era design cues, but look distinctly more rudimentary and evolutionarily older. I certainly wanted to avoid just rearranging already familiar components. I rejected the idea of using one of MJ's designs that was adopted as the Daedalus
-class because I just didn't think the design worked. There's a reason MJ rejected it. The spherical hull might work on a much older design, perhaps very early 22nd century, but I just couldn't accept it for later. Note, though, that since those days I have seen the occasional fan based design that makes the Daedalus
concept look more credible than what is "officially" established.
After a lot of sketches and getting some ideas and inspiration from SF book covers I eventually came up with what I called the Heracles
-class star clipper.
The basic concept is a flexible modular platform that allows different types of ships to be constructed off the same basic spaceframe. The top left design was the initial concept, a deep space survey ship performing comparable duties as the TOS era Enterprise.
It could also be armed for deep space patrols. The top right variation is the same ship but with a large cargo module affixed for occasional transport of valuable bulk cargo. The bottom right variant is the design fitted out as a fast transport, a class of ship for replenishing distant outposts, bases and colonies (I think it would have been cool to have seen something like this used as the old freighter S.S. Woden
in TOS' "The Ultimate Computer"). The final lower left variant is a medical support/transport. This was the best way to get advanced medical aid to distant locales. Try to envision something of an expanded space faring M*A*S*H unit in flight.
The singular space warp nacelle was inspired by the idea seen in Franz Joseph's destroyer/scout designs as well as tying into the idea of the 22nd century being an era of experimentation with different approaches.
I'm going to take a break from my shuttlecraft designs to stretch myself a bit with this. I will be drawing better and more detailed schematics of the ship as well as building it in 3D. This will also allow me to modify the design as I go to beef up or change a few things I see differently now. But make no mistake, after all these years I still like this design very much and I'm anxious to see it realized in 3D. The variant I'm focused on is the initial deep space surveyor, the U.E.S. Swiftsure.