Animating space ships with path constraint

I’m doing an animation of a scifi battle, but Blender follow path constraint is giving me fits. So I did the preliminary animation by hand of several fighters. So all the fighters and objects are no longer at origin and I’m not looking to redo the whole thing.

Is there anyway to use the follow path constraint without starting over? So far the only thing that happens when I tried to apply the constraint is it goes randomly elsewhere. I’ve looked for solutions and found none that doesn’t state starting at origin.

Is there a better way to do animation of flying objects that have a launch sequence, formation, then break into their respective animation paths and have to get back together?

Follow path is a bit limited, as it works in local space. If you need to animate your ship firstly by hand and then have it follow a curve (if I understand correctly?), you can do it but not on the same controller. Once the ship reaches the start of the path, you can then copytransform-it (in world space) to another object (or another bone in the same rig) that only follows the path (that controller needs to be completely unparented from all other controllers). Then animate the copytransform’s influence from zero to one over a single frame and you’re set. It’s called space switching, which is on topic for your animation !