When I leveled a tac officer to VA on Holodeck one of the things I was able to get right away was the defiant retrofit, without buying it from the C-Store. I was able to just spend the VA ship token for this vessel. Now on tribble for the f2p test I just got another tac up to VA, and went to look at the ship selections.
Not only do you not receive any delithium at VA or RA upper half, you also do not get a chance to pick up a retrofit ship for your new VA. As it stands now, the only way to get the retrofit ships for any character is to buy them from the C-store. I think this counts as yet another thing that is being taken away from all subscribers.
I think this is a bug, all the C-store ships locked when they brought up the test C-store, however they clearly had dilithium prices before. There may be a bug that is not allowing the ships to be purchased both ways right now.
Both the RAUH and VA promotions you get from Quinn on Tribble say you get a ship plaque for a new ship. I didn't get a plaque either time. I'm pretty sure the text is a holdover from Holodeck and will be changed to "Hey, nice job grinding, Buttercup. Visit the C-$tore if you want a better ship" or something similar. Basically, no ships or Dilithium at RAUH or VA and all the retrofits are C-$tore only (now with inflated prices!). Grinding isn't even an option at VA anymore. Now it's just pay-or-pay.