Golden Age Weaponsmiths Ohio class Ballistic Missile Submarine:
While in many ways similar in design, ballistic missile submarines perform a very different role to fast attack submarines. Fast attack submarines may carry a number of cruise missile to be used against inland targets but they are usually targeted against tactical targets. Ballistic missile submarines on the other hand are armed with much larger missiles in order to deal with strategic targets. They were also more of a political weapon while fast attack submarines were far less of one.
While cruise missiles were fired a number of times during the late Twentieth Century and during the Twenty-First Century, ballistic missiles were never fired in anger during that same period. This included during the height of the second Cold War. France actually gave up their ballistic missile submarine forces and many other navies drastically reduced them.
The Ohio class ballistic missile submarine was designed during the late first Cold War. At the time they were the largest submarines even to enter the water with the exception of the Soviet Typhoon class submarines. Originally twenty-four were planned but capped at eighteen boats with the end of the Cold War. With the retirement of all previous submarine classes, the Ohio class became the only class of ballistic missile submarines operated by the United States Navy. Due to treaty agreements, the number of Ohio class ballistic missile submarines was further decreased with a number converted into cruise missile submarines.
Developed during the Twenty-Twenties, a replacement class for the Ohio class was planned but never built. Instead the design was used for a new cruise missile submarine design. Instead the remaining Ohio class submarines remained in service although with limited upgrades including the introduction of high strength composite and plastic sheathing. As one might expect, these submarines operated far past when it was originally planned to retire them.
At one time it had been hoped that the United States Navy could retire their ballistic missile submarine forces. Unfortunately tensions kept increasing and the United States Navy was forced to finally develop a new class of ballistic missile submarines. Known as the Francis Scott Key class, they carried even more ballistic missiles than the Ohio class and each missile had a greater number of nuclear warheads than the Trident missiles carried on the Ohio class.
Once the new Francis Scott Key class ballistic missile submarines entered service, it was finally time to retire the surviving Ohio class submarines. Even so, the frantic shipbuilding efforts of the later Twenty-First Century meant that several of the Ohio class submarines had not yet been scrapped prior to the end of the Twenty-First Century although they had been defueled.
Along with a number of other naval vessel classes, Golden Age Weaponsmiths was able to find a number of these old ballistic missile submarines with two remaining intact enough to refit. The original plan appears to have been to convert these submarines to cruise missile submarines but the Coalition offered to buy them in order to operate them as ballistic missile submarines. Possibly in a museum but the Coalition was also able to find an example of the Trident D-5 ballistic missile and copy it. The two ballistic missile submarines recovered relatively intact were originally SSBN-737 U.S.S. Kentucky and SSBN-739 U.S.S. Nebraska and have been renamed the Defiance and the Reprisal respectively by the Coalition.
Luckily for the peace of the work post the Great Apocalypse, the Coalition has neither been able to find any Francis Scott Key class ballistic missile submarines or any of the new Thunder Bird ballistic missiles developed for that class. As it is, the Coalition appears to be planning to develop their own ballistic missile submarine built around the old Trident D-5 ballistic missile and carried aboard an enlarged version of their Orca class submarine. Many powers are concerned that the Coalition may not operate with the restraint practiced by the major powers prior to the Great Cataclysm.
Even though slightly older, these ballistic submarines were generally considered on par with improved versions of the Los Angeles class fast attack submarines as far as how quiet the design was. Later Sea Wolf and Virginia class fast attack submarines were even more quiet however, especially at higher speeds. During their long service, the Ohio class did receive some limited upgrading including the replacement of the propeller with a pump jet and fitted with anechoic (sound absorbing) tiles on the hull to further reduce the noise signature of these ballistic missile submarines.
While refitted extensively by Golden Age Weaponsmiths, the Coalition has found it had to keep these submarine maintained even though they rarely deploy. Even so, the incredibly firepower of these ballistic missile submarines means that the Coalition plans to retain these old submarines until replacements enter service. Currently the Coalition has retained these submarines in port but a number of senior Coalition naval officers are concerned that they are actually more vulnerable than they would be if deployed. One though is to keep them in the Gulf of Mexico escorted by a pair of fast attack submarines each.
As for the actual refit, while these submarines were fitted with limited additional hull sheathing in later United States naval service, Golden Age Weaponsmiths replaced those old materials with stronger materials which is able to withstand greater abuse. Still these submarine’s maximum depth is effectively unchanged due to the hull not being actually constructed from these materials. In addition these submarines can withstand a fraction of the damage of a modern submarine constructed from advanced composites and alloys.
Over the course of these submarines service, the Ohio class were refueled multiple times. They were among the last conventional nuclear powered vessels in service in the United States Navy. At one time the navy considered converting their submarines to fusion power but was not considered cost effective. Golden Age Weaponsmiths though decided to replace the original nuclear reactor with a modern fusion plant. Generally fusion plants are considered safer, easier to maintain, and easier to refuel. The fusion plant produces slightly greater power than the original reactor but top speed is considered unchanged.
While the true main weaponry are the twenty-four Trident D-5 ballistic missiles, these submarines also have four twenty-one inch torpedo tubes. Mainly carried for defense against other submarines, the Ohio class submarine carries a relatively limited payload of torpedoes. Of course the twenty-four Trident D-5 ballistic missiles with fourteen maneuverable reentry vehicles on each missile have the capability of devastating many small countries.
Even though the sonar systems are not as advanced as those on the Sea Wolf and Virginia class submarines, they are still among the best surviving systems after the Great Cataclysm. While the technology behind weapon systems are little degraded from before the cataclysm, the technology behind sensor systems has been largely lost. There are a few exceptions such as the New Navy, which inherited the technology of the United States Navy, the New German Republic, and the Republic of Japan. The Coalition has been able to learn much through the study of the sonar systems of older United States naval vessels.
In common with virtually all submarine, the Ohio class were considered quite cramped. Unlike most fast attack submarines however, the ballistic missile submarine was designed with enough berthing for the entire crew and there was no need for hot racking. Officers, with the exception of the captain and executive officer, have to share staterooms.
In United States naval service, these submarines operated with two crews. These were the blue and gold crews. In order to increase the number of deployments, the submarine would rotate between the two crews. While the Coalition only has a single crew per submarine, this is being discussed with the possibility of these submarines deploying regularly.
Author Note: The author suggests that this writeup is used in place of the writeup done by Palladium Books in the Coalition Navy Source Book. This writeup is more complete and is based on greater research and a better general knowledge of the United States Navy by the author.
Model Type: Modified SSBN-726 Class.
Class: Strategic Ballistic Submarine.
Crew: 153 total; 15 officers, 16 chief petty officers, and140 enlisted crew.
Troop Capacity: None.
Robots, Power Armors, and Vehicles:
M.D.C. by Location:
533 mm (21 inch) Torpedo Tubes (4, sides of submarine):
Ballistic Missile Launchers (24, Behind Main Sail of Submarine):
 Sail Planes (2):
 Pump Jet Propulsor (1):
 Main Body:
 Destroying the submarine’s sail planes will reduce the submarine’s ability to change depths but will not eliminate it. It also makes it difficult for the submarine’s crew to control the submarine giving a penalty of -25% to all underwater piloting rolls.
 Destroying the submarine’s pump jet propulsor causes serious problems. The submarine will no longer be able to use forward momentum and the bow planes to keep the submarine level. It is recommended that ballast tanks are immediately blown so submarine comes to the surface.
 Depleting the M.D.C. of the main body destroys the submarine’s structural integrity, causing it to sink. If the submarine is underwater, the entire crew will die unless protected by environmental armors that can withstand the pressure that the submarine is under. If on the surface, there are enough flotation devices and inflatable life rafts to accommodate everyone aboard.
Surface: 23 mph (20 knots/ 37 kph).
Underwater: 28.8 mph (25 knots/46.3 kph).
Maximum Depth: 1,200 feet (365.8 meters).
Range: Effectively unlimited due to fusion engines (needs to refuel every 15 years and requires maintenance as well). Boat carries six (6) months of supplies on board.
Draft: 36.25 feet (11 meters).
Width: 42 feet (12.8 meters).
Length: 560 feet (170.7 meters).
Displacement: 16,764 tons standard and 18,750 tons submerged.
Cargo: Submarine is very cramped, 12 tons (10.88 metric tons) of nonessential equipment and supplies. Each enlisted crew member has a small locker for personal items and uniforms. Boat’s officers have a bit more space for personal items although still extremely cramped. Most of the boat’s spaces are taken up by extra torpedoes, ballistic missiles, and engines.
Power System: Originally one pressurized-water S8G reactor, converted to more modern fusion reactor system (15 year duration).
Black Market Price: Not available but it is rumored that Golden Age Weaponsmiths sold these submarines to the Coalition for a cost of 800 million credits each.
Four (4) 533 mm Heavy Torpedo Tubes: On the sides of the submarine are four torpedo tubes with two on each side. Tubes are 21 inches (533 mm) wide and torpedoes can be used against both surface ships and submarines. For warheads, heavy torpedoes should be treated as having long range missile warheads. Along with standard torpedoes, the launcher can also theoretically fire missiles (long range or cruise missiles) in special canisters and rocket boosted ASW torpedoes. Submarine carries sixteen reloads for torpedoes (in addition to four torpedoes in the tubes) and can theoretically carry up to thirty-two mines in place of torpedoes.
Maximum Effective Range: 40 miles (34.8 nautical miles / 64 km) for torpedoes.
Mega-Damage: By heavy torpedo warhead type (See revised Rifts torpedoes for details), can fire missiles (long range or cruise missiles) in special canisters as well (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
Rate of Fire: Can fire heavy torpedoes one at a time or in volleys of two (2), three (3), or four (4) heavy torpedoes. Reloading takes one full melee round.
Payload: Four (4) heavy torpedoes total [Has sixteen (16) additional heavy torpedoes for reloads.]
Twenty Four (24) UGM-133A Trident II D-5 Strategic Ballistic Missiles: Behind the submarine’s superstructure are two rows of twelve ballistic missiles. These missiles make the Ohio class one of the most dangerous ship classes on Rifts Earth. Missiles can be launched at depths up to 300 feet (91.44 meters) underwater. The Coalition States have simply copied the missile designs from a recovered pre-Rifts ballistic missile. Missiles have a range of 6,000 nautical miles but essentially enter a low orbit to do so they would probably either be destroyed by the debris rings or by defense satellites. Missiles can be launched at targets less than 1,000 nautical miles without entering a ballistic trajectory. Each missile has fourteen warheads that are each the equivalent of a nuclear long range missile warhead. The missiles can hit targets up to 100 miles away from where the missile breaks into its multiple warheads and can target multiple targets. Each warhead has independent guidance and is considered a smart missiles.
Maximum Effective Range: 6,904.7 miles (6,000 nautical miles / 11,112 km ) but must be launched ballistically, 1,150.8 miles (1,000 nautical miles /1,852 km) with missiles being launched sub ballistically. Missile warheads can hit targets withing a 115 miles (100 nautical miles /185 km) of where the missile breaks into fourteen warheads.
Mega-Damage: Each ballistic missile have fourteen (14) warheads which each are equal to a nuclear long range missile warhead (See revised bomb and missile tables - nuclear warheads for details.)
Rate of Fire: Can fire UGM-133A Trident II missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2) or four (4) missiles per melee round and can be fired at multiple targets at the same time.
Payload: Twenty-Four (24) Trident II ballistic missiles total. Submarine carries no reloads.
Fifteeen (15) Decoys Drones: The submarine carries fifteen decoy drones. They are a small automated vehicles that creates a false sonar image designed to mimic the submarine’s sonar signature. It has a small propulsion system that can simulate movement [has a maximum speed of 13.8 mph (12 knots / 22.2 kph)] and maneuvers. In addition to be able to be used to decoy torpedoes, they can sometimes be used to trick another vessel while the submarine moves into position. If decoys are not destroyed, they can usually be recovered and repaired if they can be retrieved. Rifts Earth decoys systems are assumed to not be effective against Phase World / Three Galaxies guidance and targeting systems due to technological differences.
Range: Not applicable. Decoys do however have a duration of 30 minutes (120 melee rounds) once launched.
Effects: The decoy has an 65% chance of fooling ordinary non military sonars and non smart guided torpedoes, the decoy has a 35% chance of fooling military level sonars (like those of the Coalition), and the decoy has a 10% chance of fooling advanced military sonars (Like those of the New Navy and Triax) and smart torpedoes.
Rate of Fire: Boat can launch one decoy drone per melee round.
Payload: Fifteen (15) decoys drones.
Noisemakers: The submarine carries noisemakers in order to decoy torpedoes. They are most effective against normal torpedoes and less effective against “smart” torpedoes. Considered in many ways to be the last line of defense against incoming torpedoes and similar systems are carried on most submarines. The noisemakers are launched from the middle of the submarine.
Effects: 50% of decoying normal torpedoes and 20% of decoying smart torpedoes.
Rate of Fire: Two (2) noisemakers at a time (Can be reloaded in one melee round).
Payload: Twenty (20) noisemakers.
The submarine has all systems standard on a robot vehicle plus the following special features::
Extended Life Support: This submarine has an enhanced life support system when compared to most other vehicles because it is designed to operate underwater for extended periods of time. The submarine has an incredible air recycling system that allows the crew to recycle air for five months before the atmosphere is too stale to breathe. The submarine also has a ninety-six hour supply of oxygen to support the recycling system.
BQQ-6 Hull Sonar System: This hull sonar system has both a passive and active system built in. Sonar system can track up to 16 targets at one time. Sonar also has built in communication system and sound pulse system to detect obstacles, objects, vessels and fish (schools and large animals), as well as measure distances and depth. Range: 27.6 miles (24 nautical miles / 44.4 km).
BQQ-9 Towed Array Sonar: The system is basically a long and very sensitive sonar system carried behind the submarine on a long cable. This towed array sonar system is a passive only system. Sonar system can track up to 32 targets at one time. Range: 103.7 miles (90 nautical miles /166.7 km).
WLR-8(V)5 E.S.M. Suite: Radar and radio detection suite. This includes the ability to detect radar guided weapons. Can be used for limited targeting. The system uses an antenna mounted in the sail which is extended in a similar manner to a periscope. The antenna is both very hard to detect visually and is designed with a reduced radar signature. The system can detect another radar system at around 125% of the range of the transmitting radar and is usually subject to radar horizon.
Quieted Propulsion and Anechoic Coating: The boat uses a very quiet pump jet propulsor design, the submarine’s reactors make very little noise, and the boat is coated by a sonar defeating rubber coating. The submarine is -40% to detect when traveling at less than 5.8 mph (5 knots / 9.3 kph) and is at -20% to detect when traveling at speeds greater than that.
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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).
Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2001, & 2018, Kitsune. All rights reserved.