The Daedalus Cruiser was the primary ship operated by the early Federation. Originally designed by Terran agencies, the Daedalus Cruiser quickly found a home within the unified Federation Starfleet.
Equally equipped for both exploratory missions and combat, the Daedalus saw its share of both. It was the members of the Daedalus class that pushed back the frontier, exploring areas of space that would not be revisted for nearly a century. At the same time the Daedalus Cruisers saw combat in the Terran/Romulan War.
By the late 22nd Century the Daedalus fleet was getting old, too old to any longer compete with the newer technologies of the Klingons and other aggressive Federation neighbors. The last Daedalus was retired in 2196.