OK, my first toon (deleted to start over) had the Def R. However, I think he got it before it was placed on the C-store (that was over a year ago). Will it be unlocked for all my toons in this case? Not sure how I got it the first time, but Im fairly certain I did not get it from the c-store way back then.
If you bought it from the C-store, then yes it will be unlocked for all toons. If you got it with the redeem token, then it's a one-time deal for that character only. If you dismiss/discharge the ship you will not be able to get it back aside from "buying" it again on the C-store.
Should be pretty easy to check- if you go to the c-store on your new character, and look for the Defiant-R, you can tell if you had purchased it before or not. If you didn't purchase it, it will ask you for CP. If you did purchase it, it should say something like "your character cannot use this item yet".