Historical starship database brief:
Excelsior Class Refit III
After the first conflict with the Cardassian Union in the mid 24th century coming to a close, Starfleet Command (SFC) conducted the traditional performance review of fleet personal and equipment during hostilities. What was discovered was startling to both Starfleet and the Federation council. The fleet was woefully ill prepared for long term/large scale engagements. The reliance of the workhorse Excelsior and Miranda classes displayed that the fleet would was falling behind its competing powers in the quadrant.
After the after action assessment, the drive to produce new ship classes to replace the aging fleet commenced. With the new designs still years from completion, SFC and the corps of engineers reviewed the fleet for a stopgap measure to bolster fleet operations. The Excelsior Class was in its final deployment stages. At nearly a hundred years, the vessel had been slated for its final refit phase but that had been postponed due to a lack of perceived need. After the conflict, the design plans were approved for the final Excelsior design to be implemented by converting a third of the active vessels with upgrades used in the larger Ambassador class explorers.
The third refit (R3) design included several upgrades: Armor plated dorsal sections on the nacelles, a redesigned neck which included a third shuttle-bay, complete overhaul of ship systems, uprated weapon ports, and an upgraded bridge module. The Buenos Aires was relaunched after pushed 6 month refit. Capt. Jose Palurik was selected to command the vessel as it was dispatched to the Romulan border for trial runs.
The Buenos Aires performed well, the design updates made use of common sense upgrades that could be applied to other Excelsior class vessels. The main objection from many in SFC was its refit time. The projected time for the final refit of the scheduled ships was almost 10 years, which would draw away resources from the modernization program. After completion of a handful of refits, including the Lakota and Melbourne, the R3 program was halted. Tensions had once again cooled and it appeared the Alpha Quadrant would have a lasting peace.
The Buenos Aires and its fellow R3 variants participated in the following turbulent events, marking a dark chapter in the elegant ships final years. The design functioned better than the prior two design variants in relation to similar size opponents, with a favorable survivability rating and firepower capacity. With the positive reviews, the unfortunate truth became evident, the Excelsior Class was old. The modernization program had implemented new designs that were developed by Buenos Aires and the new face of the fleet was now a reality. The Buenos Aires was retired in the following months after the conclusion of the Dominion War, having served with distinction for almost 45 years.