Golden Age Weaponsmiths Virginia class Fast Attack Submarine:
Originally a large number of Sea Wolf class submarines were to have been built as a follow on to the Los Angeles class but was cut to three boats with the ending of the first Cold War due to cost. Still, a large number of American submarines were due to be replaced.
As a result, an alternate lower design which leveraged the technology developed for the Sea Wolf class was proposed. Originally developed under the code name Centurion and later designated the NSSN for New SSN, the first submarine laid down was the U.S.S. Virginia with most of the class named for states. Construction of these submarines was shared between Newport News Shipbuilding and Electric Boat.
When the revolution in high strength materials occurred, a number of these submarines were refitted with these new materials as a stopgap measure. Still, by the time of the Great Cataclysm, all Virginia class submarines had been retired. A number of advanced submarine designs had replaced the Virginia class including the Tigerfish and Swordfish classes, having gone back to fish names for fast attack submarines after the Virginia class.
Due to delays in disposal, a number of Virginia class remained intact although not operational. How many remained prior to the cataclysm is unknown however Golden Age Weaponsmiths had been able to find a total of five of these old submarines that ware intact enough to refit. Of these, four were sold to the Coalition States with a final being purchased by an independent power, either Free Quebec or Columbia.
In Coalition service, these submarines have been given the designation Shark class although most outside of the Coalition still call these submarines the Virginia class. The four submarines serving in Coalition service include SSN-1 Shark (originally SSN-795 U.S.S. Hyman G. Rickover), SSN-2 Hammerhead (Originally SSN-782 U.S.S. Mississippi), SSN-4 Manta-Ray (Originally SSN-801 U.S.S. Utah), and SSN-6 Skull Fish (Originally SSN-775 U.S.S. Texas). Eventually it is planned for the Coalition to retire these submarines with new built Orca class submarine but problems has caused a number of delays with the new Coalition design.
With submarines, noise is one of the most critical aspects. The quieter a submarine is, the hard it is to detect and the more effective it is. Compared to the prior Sturgeon and Los Angeles class submarines, the Virginia class submarines were far quieter. Most comparisons of the Virginia and Sea Wolf classes show them to be roughly equal in this regard.
A second extremely important aspect of submarine design are the sonar systems. In large part the sonar systems of the Virginia class were developed from those carried on the Sea Wolf class although are designed for easier upgrading. Even though developed long before the coming of the Great Cataclysm, these systems are among the most advanced sonar systems operated on Rifts Earth. In fact, the new Coalition Orca class submarine uses modified versions of these same systems.
Otherwise only the New German Republic, Japanese Republic, and the New Navy have the technology to build more advanced systems. For some reason the technology behind sensor systems was largely lost while far less so with respect to weapon systems. Compared to the United States just prior to the Great Cataclysm, the Coalition is far behind in terms of sensor systems.
Unlike prior submarine designs, the Virginia class submarine were designed using computers. This has the effect of making the Virginia class more space efficient than the previous Los Angeles class. Another major departure from previous designs was the use of many “commercial off the shelf” (COTS) components, especially in computers and data networks, to reduce costs.
As described previously, a number of Virginia class submarines were fitted with new composite and plastic materials even prior to the coming of the cataclysm. Interestingly none of these boats, mostly later submarines, have been recovered by Golden Age Weaponsmiths. Still, the company upgrades these submarines in a similar manner using advanced composites and plastics to allow these submarines to withstand greater damage. Otherwise just about any modern weapon could wreck these submarines.
Even though these materials are far stronger than the steel used for the hull, these submarine’s maximum depth is not radically improved. This is due to the fact that the original hull is simply sheathed in the new materials. The prior Sea Wolf class is considered to have a greater maximum depth while the Virginia and Los Angeles class are considered to be generally comparable.
Interestingly, the Virginia class is considered to have been slightly slower than the Los Angeles class as well. A major improvement in the original reactors was that they were designed to operate for the submarine’s entire service life without needing to be refueled. Even so, Golden Age Weaponsmiths decided that the best course would be to replace the original reactors with fusion plants. This is even though the engineering plant required being almost completely ripped out. Fusion plants are considered far easier to refuel as well as being safer to operate.
While the Sea Wolf class mounted eight 660 mm torpedo tubes as their only weapon system, the Virginia class went back to the weapon systems of the Los Angeles class. These included four 533 mm torpedo tubes and twelve vertical launch systems originally designed for BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles. Payload with regard to torpedoes was increased compared to the Los Angeles class however.
Compare to prior classes, the Virginia class is designed with reduce manning requirements. Even so, these submarines are considered extremely cramped. Officers share tiny staterooms with not enough bunks for the entire crew. In fact, the crew has to hot rack where a crew members have to share bunks. A major issue with Colaition crews has been getting used to the cramped quarters. These submarines are also fitted to carry a small special forces team, most often Navy Seals in United States services, although this makes the submarines even more cramped.
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 SSN-774 Class.
Class: Fast Attack Submarine.
Crew: 134 total; 12 officers, 12 chief petty officers, and 110 enlisted crew.
Robots, Power Armors, and Vehicles:
M.D.C. by Location:
533 mm (21 inch) Torpedo Tubes (4, sides of submarine):
Vertical Cruise Missile Launchers (12, bow of submarine):
 Bow Planes (2):
 Pump Jet Propulsor (1):
 Main Body:
 Destroying the submarine’s bow 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: 34.5 mph (30 knots /55.6 mph).
Maximum Depth: 1,500 feet (457.2 meters).
Range: Effectively Unlimited due to fusion engines (needs to refuel every 20 years and requires maintenance as well). Boat carries six (6) months of supplies on board.
Draft: 30.5 feet (9.3 meters).
Width: 34 feet (10.4 meters).
Length: 377 feet (114.9 meters).
Displacement: 6,500 tons surfaced and 7,700 tons submerged.
Cargo: Submarine is very cramped, 10 tons (9.1 metric tons) of nonessential equipment and supplies (normally used for equipment for Marines / Navy Seals.) 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, weapons, and engines.
Power System: Originally one pressurized-water S9G reactor, converted to more modern fusion reactor system (20 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 500 million credits each.
1 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 fire missiles (long range or cruise missiles) in special canisters and rocket boosted ASW torpedoes. Submarine carries thirty-eight reloads for torpedoes (in addition to four torpedoes in the tubes) and can carry up to seventy-six 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 thirty-eight (38) additional heavy torpedoes for reloads.]
Twelve (12) Vertical Launch Cruise Missile Launchers (Mk 45 VLS): In the front of the submarine but behind the sonar dome, the submarine has a vertical launch missile system for launching missiles. Launchers are outside of the pressure hull. Missiles are launched in special canisters that enable the missiles to be used in depths down to around 150 feet (45.7 meters.) Most missiles warheads normally carried are fusion as well as being smart missiles. The launchers were originally designed to carry BGM-109 Tomahawk anti-ship missiles but were modified to fire all standard cruise missiles.
Maximum Effective Range: As per cruise missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
Mega-Damage: As per cruise missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
Rate of Fire: Can fire cruise missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2), four (4), or six (6) cruise missiles and can be fired at multiple target at the same time.
Payload: Twelve (12) cruise missiles total. Submarine carries no reloads.
Fourteen (14) Decoys Drones: The submarine carries fourteen 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: Fourteen (14) 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-10 Hull Sonar System and BQG-5A Wide Aperture Array: 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: 51.8 miles (45 nautical miles / 83.3 km). Bonuses: Sonar gives +10% bonus to Read Sensory Instruments and Weapon Systems skill rolls.
TB-33/TB-34 Towed Array Sonar Systems: 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: 120.8 miles (105 nautical miles /194.5 km).
BLQ-10 Advanced 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 is designed with 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 that 23.0 mph (20 knots / 37.0 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.