The Daedalus class specs and detailed history is almost wholly speculative since we haven't heard much about these ships. We do know that they where in service in 2167, and retired by 2196. The idea of them being built for the Romulan wars by Humans is my own. Members donating ships to starfleet comes from the Federation constitution given in the original series technical manual. I thought the idea that Humans got their apparently 'leading' role in the Federation and Starfleet from donating almost the whole of the Daedalus class to Starfleet, while the Vulcans held back because of their pacifism, seemed to make sense but naturally it's just my own guess.
The USS Essex is the only ship definitely known to be a Daedalus class. The Archon and the Horizon are conjectured to be Daedalus class ships in the Chronology, since they are in service at the same time as the Essex. Since the Chronology is a canon source, I've accepted that speculation as fact.
The idea that they where mothballed is my own, as is the date for the
introduction of the prime directive - canon only establishes that the PD
was instituted somewhere between 2168 and 2264. I linked the Daedalus class
to the development of phasers as a way to build a bridge between them and
TOS, and put one in the fleet museum alongside the Constitution Picard
mentioned in 'Relics'.
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