Yup though the majority of their losses were from their canon fodder vessels aka Excelsiors and Mirandas. lol I think the Federation lost more Miranda's than the Empire lost B'rels or the Dominion lost bugs.
That did always bother me... I mean, yeah, Excelsior's were pretty old a that point... but just look what the refits could do (aka, the Lakota) I mean... DAMN! The Excelsior-II variant was one mean combat machine!
Well the Excelsior Mk 2 was really a enhanced Excelsior (we're talking back in the 2290's) the in-universe reasoning behind the added parts on the hull was for extra sensor suites to help detect cloaked warbirds. It didn't work out as intended and it was later found that the original Excelsior was more cost effective and so only a handful of the mk 2 including the Enterprise-B were produced. Out of universe they didn't want to damage the Excelsior model and so added the additional parts to be damaged saving the original model for future use in TNG.
The Lakota refit was really a plot device but still adding the ablative armour and enhance weapons and shields could have been done to all Excelsior's. It didn't happen for a few reasons I think, firstly it was costs, cheaper in the long run to produce more Defiant's as they were small and fast to produce and probably more effective in combat, secondly they were in war and needed numbers as the Dominion's ship building ability was impressive and many Excelsior's and Miranda's were rumoured to have been brought out of mothballs to fight. Though lastly I just think the developers/producers wanted it to look like a war and so needed a lot of ships to go boom! lol
Probably, though the fight between the Defiant and Lakota, I dunno... the Lakota kicked the Defiant around pretty good there The Defiant is a bit of a glass cannon, I guess she could be considered a battle-crusier maybe? (battle-frigate?) - Punches WAY above her weight class, but can't take that same punishment back. Now, the Sovereign on the other hand has the staying power The Lakota though... whew... that was one sexy ship
Well the Defiant was a bit of a plot device (so overpowered for such a small ship), so was the Lakota when you come to think of it. I would personally call the Defiant an escort stronger than a Destroyer and the standard cruiser as well but not rivaling a large cruiser like a Galaxy or Sovereign.
That's the problem with DS9 and the TNG movies, so much power creep, ships so powerful compared to what came before. Understandable there were more threats like the Borg and Dominion I suppose it woke Starfleet up and started to bring them back in line with Kirk's era, being warriors as much as explorers.
Indeed - though I think that's part of what made the Defiant so kickass - a small ship that could punch well above its own level... makes me think of the old Q Ships of WWII - subs think they have found a nice, fat, easy cargo ship, then suddenly GUNS EVERYWHERE!
Indeed I love the Defiant as much as the next guy (despite DS9 being my least favourite Trek series) I really like how it moved away from the standard Federation design of a saucer, engineering hull and 2 nacelles on pylons. I honestly think the Defiant was the first step in a new direction for Federation ship design. I'd imagine by the 25th century all new designs would be more compact and pylons with nacelles on them would be a thing of the past.
Realistically spoken it should not explode, plasma itself cannot explode so all that happens is that the nacelles burn inside out like a tree. So long antimatter tanks and engineering is intact ship's fine. But i am nitpicking there...