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USSF George Washington class Space Cruiser:

The George Washington was supposed to be the first military large space ship built by the United States military. The Washington was also the last. The ship had been contracted from Boeing Aerospace and built by them. The ship was commissioned only four days before the coming of the Rifts (or the Flash as people in Orbit call it) and while the ship was still on tests, the ship was a marvel of engineering for it time. It also was both the largest starship and the largest vehicle that has ever been built by the original residents of the Earth and the Earth's Orbital Community. It is still the largest ship in orbit of Rifts Earth. The ship is a product of the United States Air Force and is crewed by Air Force personnel and the crew uses both the Air Force's rank structure and terminology. Naval terms are not used by the ship’s crew due to there being a certain prejudice against the Navy. This ship was designed so that a large artillery platform, fighters, and large numbers of troops could all respond to a hot situation if necessary. This ship was also built to be as independent as possible so that the ship could deal with situations that take long periods of time to be dealt with.

The period that this ship was constructed was a time of unrest and the unrest was beginning to spill into orbit. While the American ship was the only complete, many governments including the Russians, Chinese, and European orbital interests were all building ships as well.

The ship is long but blocky in the main body with the rear area being slightly wider to accommodate the engineering section. The ship has a rotating cylindrical section that is partially enclosed on the sides by the hanger bays. On each side of the ship is a fighter bay.

The ship’s propulsion is eight pulse fusion engines. This allows for both fast accelerations and for long distance operations. The engine uses reaction mass in the form of deuterium and helium 3. Most of the fuel is carried in a frozen form to increase the storage ability of the ship. This gives the ship a four month endurance (three with constant flight operation because the fighter use the same fuel).

The ship is very well armed. For the ships main non missile weaponry, it has four heavy ion cannon forward and two heavy ion cannons to the rear. The ion cannons are a similar but are a longer ranged version than what is carried of the submersible carrier, U.S.S. Ticonderoga. The Washington has twelve rail guns for both support of the ion cannons against large targets and to be used against fighters, power armors, and missiles. The ship also has twelve automated laser close in weapon systems that normally act as the ships point defense but can be designated on other targets if needed. The ship carries eight long range missile launchers for both anti-ship and anti-fighter use. The ship has also have eight medium range missile launchers that are used for anti-fighter and anti-missile defense. The ship also has an automated mini-missile launching system that is used as inner anti-missile point defense.

This ship is also equipment with the most sophisticated ECM systems better than any other system belonging to any human culture on Rifts Earth (Kittani equipment is more advanced than this system). The computer systems are designed with double hardened systems to prevent either jamming or EMP from damaging the ship’s system or any systems of equipment inside the ship. While the ship does not have a force field, the ship has a special magnetic shield that reduces the effectiveness of particle beams. The ship also carries four defensive chaff launchers and eight advanced decoys. The radar system on the ship is very sophisticated and uses two towers all equipped with phase array systems. This system is used for both tracking and fire control. The systems partially cover each other so the loss of one tower will only cause minimal loss of tracking and targeting.

This ship is not laid down like a traditional ship. All sections except rotating crew sections have the floors towards the rear of the ship. This means that while the ship is accelerating or decelerating (The ship simply flips to decelerate) the crew have the comfort of the appearance of some gravity and the forces of acceleration will not be striking the crew members sideways. This means the crew can do most jobs at full efficiency though some jobs would seem to be done sideways when compared to traditional naval ships. The control center is also laid out in a novel way to take advantage of the ship’s design. The ship is also equipped with a special section that rotates to always give the crew an environment with a gravity of one standard G. Inside this section are crew quarters and exercise area including a small running track that goes around the entire outside of the rotating section. Entrance to this section is made through the central hub area. The rotating section is kept rotating in the same way an electric motor spins in basic principle. The system is free floating and requires little power to continue to spin.

The ship has an extensive hydroponic section to greatly extend te ships supplies and to help augment the life support. Special plants have been engineered for the hydroponic section that provide all the nutritional needs of the crew but the hydroponics section does not grow enough food so that the ship must carry food supplies as well.

The ship was classified as a Cruiser but both has a large fighter compliment and carries space assault troops (originally formed from Air Force Special Operation but act like space marines) equipped with power armors. The ship has two hanger bays that each normally carry 40 fighters each but can maintain up to 60 allowing one hanger bay to take up some of the slack of the other hanger bay. The hanger bays are long sections that are external to the main body. These hanger bays have large hatches that open on the front and back for landings and have thirty smaller hatches on the sides of the hanger bays to launch fighters. When the hanger bay is not being used for flight operations, it is pressurized and all doors are closed. When the hanger bay is being used for flight operations, the fighter bay is a vacuum and airlocks prevent air loss from the rest of the ship. Fighters and assault/cargo shuttles land in the hanger bays by approaching the bay from the rear. They are caught by hooks bars that are mounted on both the top and bottom of the hanger bay. These hooks ride in electromagnetic rails and the hook bar will be gradually slowed down by electromagnetic force. Vehicles can land without need of the electromagnetic rails but they make vehicle operations quicker. The hanger bay is open on both the front and the rear to prevent vehicles from crashing into the front of the bay and shuttles are launched from the front of the bay. Fighters can leave the hanger bays under their own power but are normally launched by an electromagnetic catapult. This is done so the fighters clear out of the landing path of other incoming vehicles without the fighters engines doing damage to the hanger areas. The fighters are hooked to a harness that is then accelerated along an electromagnetic bar. Thirty fighters can be launched from each bay at one time using the catapults. The ship has grapnels to grab disabled vehicles and can actually approach a disabled vehicle very carefully and then have the hanger crew secure the vehicle while in the hanger bay.

The George Washington follows theoretical information about starships operating non chemical propulsion in space. This has meant much greater speeds and accelerations. Listed is the formula to allow player and game masters to calculate the Washington's velocity and distance traveled:

Because the revised starship rules may not be desirable by all groups, vehicle statistics have been listed in standard Rifts levels as well. Using standard Rifts level, the starship’s performance is only a fraction of listed performances for the revised writeup.

Vehicle Type: Space, Combination Cruiser/Carrier
Crew: 1,160 (40 officers and 1120 Enlisted) standard
Troops: 825 Assault troops, 60 Specialized shuttle crew members, 180 fighter pilots, and ship can carry up to 200 additional passengers

Vehicle, Robots, and Power Armors:
Power Armors:

400Space SAMAS
40USA-G10 Glitter Boys
80SF-70 Star Talon Fighters
Other Vehicles:
6Assault/Cargo Shuttles
4Fuel Shuttles

M.D.C. By Location:

Heavy Ion Pulse Cannons (6, 4 forward and 2 aft):500 each
Rail Gun Turrets (12):250 each
Laser CIWS Turrets (12):150 each
Long Range Missile Launchers (8):300 each
Medium Range Missile Launchers (8):200 each
Anti-Missile Mini Missile Launchers (4):100 each
Defensive Chaff Throwers (4):50 each
[1] Main Body:35,000
Hull Per 40 ft Area :200
[2] Control Center:5,000
[3] Sensor Towers (2):2,000 each
[4] Rotating Crew Section:10,000
Hanger Bays (2):10,000 each
Front And Rear Hanger Bays doors (2 Front / 2 Rear):2,000 each
Fusion Pulse Thrusters (6):1,000 each

[1] Depleting the M.D.C. of the main body will put the cruiser out of commission. All internal systems will shut down, including life support. Rotational crew section will stop rotating. The ship itself will be an unsalvageable floating wreck.
[2] In reality this is how much damage needs to be done for a weapon to hit the control center through the ships armor. This ship does not have an auxiliary control center. Even if the control center is destroyed, the ship can still be piloted from engineering but ship is -3 to dodge and all weapon systems will be at local control. Weapon hits near the bridge that do not penetrate the ships integrity can injure crew members on or near the bridge.
[3] The destruction of one sensor tower will cause a 25% reduction in sensor effectiveness. The destruction of both sensor towers will effectively blind the ship except using fire control systems as sensors.
[4] If the M.D.C. of the Rotating Crew Section is reduced to less than half, the crew section will loose power to the rotational system. The rotating crew section will slow down at the rate of 10% of its speed for every hour that the power is out for rotating the Rotational Crew System. In 10 hours, the rotation will completely stop.

Driving on the Ground: Not Possible.
Space Propulsion: The starship does not have an effective top speed but is limited by acceleration. The Cruiser can reach a top acceleration of 3.2 G but due to high fuel consumption and extra strain on the engines, the ship will normally travel at 0.4 G for any extended trips. Top acceleration is only meant for emergencies and combat maneuvers.
Because the Cruiser is mostly unshielded from the effects of radiation and hypervelocity atomic particles (It is not completely unshielded, the cruiser is not operated at speeds exceeding 20% of the speed of light.
[ For gamers who do not wish to use revised rules, assume the ship’s engine is combination of a plasma drive with a top speed of Mach 8 and a traction drive. Note: If consider the ship this way, the ship cannot operate fighters or power armors at high traction drive speeds]
Planet Bound: The ship cannot operate within an atmosphere and if the ship was to ever enter the atmosphere, the ship would crash into the planet.
Maximum Range: Conditionally unlimited, while the fusion rector gives power for over two decades of service, the ship’s propulsion is limited by the ships reaction mass. The reaction mass consists of Deuterium (Hydrogen 2) and Helium 3. The ship can be refueled at ground based facilities, space stations, and other star ships as long as they have the special facilities. The ship can also be refueled by fuel shuttles.
The Cruiser carries 4 months of reaction mass for travel at 0.4 G of acceleration. Double the consumption of fuel for 0.8 G of acceleration and double the consumption again for every 0.8 G of acceleration beyond 0.8 G. this means the ship will burn the fuel 16 times faster than at 0.4 G of acceleration. The ship will often accelerate for a period of time and then shut down the engine and travel using the ship’s velocity. If the ship uses more than half of its reaction mass when accelerating, the ship will be unable to decelerate fully and the ship will normally only use a third or less of its fuel on accelerating so it does not run into a problem. If the ship runs out of fuel then it must be refueled by another vehicle traveling faster or be lost.
If the ship has a large amount of flight operations, the ship is limited to about three months endurance at cruising speed from the fighters using the ship’s reaction mass.
The ship has a hydroponic section and with ships stores and the hydroponic ship is capable of operating for three years without resupply.
[ For gamers who do not wish to use revised rules, assume the cruiser duration is effectively unlimited by drive systems]

Statistical Data:
Length: 4,268.3 feet (1,300 meters)
Height: 1,641.7 feet (500 meters)
Width: 2,298.3 feet (700 meters)
Weight: 620,000 tons (563,960 metric tons) fully loaded. The ship carries 160,000 tons (145,280 metric tons) of deuterium and helium three for fuel. Without fuel the ship weighs 460,000 tons (417, 680 metric tons)
Main Engine: The Ship is power by fusion reactors that will theoretically operate for 25 years and can provide effectively unlimited electrical power. However, it was recommended that the drive and power system have routine maintenance every 5 years. Also, the ship only carries about a four month supply of reaction mass.
Cargo: Ship has twelve small cargo holds that are each 20 x 20 x 20 feet (6.1 x 6.1 x 6.1 meter) in dimensions. The ship has a total of 96,000 cubic feet (2718 cubic meters). Each enlisted crew member has a small locker for personal items and uniforms. Ship’s officers have more space for personal items. Most of the ship’s spaces are taken up by extra ammo, armor, troops, weapons, engine, reaction mass, equipment, and hydroponics.
Cost: Any station in orbit would spend billions of IOU to purchase this ship.


  1. Six (6) Heavy Ion Pulse Cannons: Four heavy ion pulse cannons are mounted forward and two heavy ion pulse cannons are mounted aft. Each cannon has an arc of fire of 20 degrees so they can be aimed without changing the position of the ship. These weapons are version of the same cannons as is carried on the U.S.S. Ticonderoga but have a better focus that gives the cannons a better range in space. Cannons can be fired together or individually. Cannons have standard penalties for heavy starship weaponry.
    Maximum Effective Range: 160 miles (256 km) in space and 8 miles (12.8 km) if fired into an atmosphere [Non revised rules, cut space ranges by 3/4].
    Mega-Damage: 1D4x100 each (Forward cannons can be combined for up to 4D4x100 and aft cannons can be combined for 2D4x100)
    Rate of Fire: 2 pulses per cannon per melee (a total of 12 pulses can be fired per melee)
    Payload: Effectively Unlimited
  2. Twelve (12) Rail Guns Turrets: Six turrets are mounted on the top of the ship and six turrets are mounted on the bottom of the ship. Each rail gun turret can rotate 360 degrees and has a 180 degree arc of fire. This weapons are used against full size starships, against fighters, and an anti-missile point defense. The rail guns normally fire discarding sabot rounds that increases the damage per round.
    Maximum Effective Range: 16 miles (25.6 km) in space and 2 miles (3.2 lm) if fired into an atmosphere.[Non revised rules, cut space ranges by 3/4]
    Mega-Damage: Normal Ammo: 3D4x10 for a 40 round burst. Discarding Sabot Rounds: 3D6x10 for a 40 round burst
    Rate of Fire: Equal to gunners hand to hand (Usually 4 or 5).
    Payload: 40,000 round (100 bursts) per rail gun turret.
  3. Twelve (12) Laser CIWS Turrets: The ship has four turrets on the top of the ship, four turrets on the bottom of the ship, one turret on either side of the ship, one turret on the front of the ship, and one turret in mounted on the rear of the ship. Each system is automated and fires laser pulses at missiles and attacking fighters. The targeting system can be overridden and be used to target larger targets. The system uses radar to track incoming targets (Has +3 to strike missile and +2 to strike aircraft). This system is the same system as is carried on the U.S.S. Ticonderoga that has been adapted for use in space.
    Maximum Effective Range: 6 miles (9.6 km) in space and 4,000 ft (1,220 m) if fired into an atmosphere. [Non revised rules, cut space ranges by 3/4]
    Mega-Damage: 1D4x10
    Rate of Fire: Each turret has six (6) attacks per melee round
    Payload: Effectively Unlimited
  4. Eight (8) Long Range Missile batteries: Four of these launchers are mounted on the top of the ship, two launchers are mounted on the top of the ship, and two of the launchers are mounted on the bottom of the ship. These launcher are both used to launch anti-ship strikes and to launch against starfighters. Missiles are assumed to accelerate at 2 times normal mach speed in Gs greater than the starships speed when used in space. Missiles can be launched at non moving targets beyond the powered range of the missiles to hit targets without the chance of the launching ship being hit by missiles itself. Each of these launchers can be targeted and fired at multiple targets. The missiles normally used are Smart Missiles.
    Maximum Effective Range: varies with missile type, long range missiles (Powered range is x 8 in space - Go to revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Mega-Damage: varies with long range missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Rate of Fire: Can fire missiles one at a time, or volleys of two (2), four (4), or eight (8) missiles per launcher (64 max per volley with all launchers).
    Payload: 256 Total with 32 each launcher. The ship has an additional 256 missile in storage
  5. Eight (8) Medium Range Missile Launchers: Four launchers are mounted on the top of the ship and four launchers are mounted on the bottom of the ship. These launchers are designed to intercept missile and are also useful against starfighters. Weapon system can be used against larger targets as well. Missiles are assumed to accelerate at 2 times normal mach speed in Gs greater than the starships speed when used in space. Missiles can be launched at non moving targets beyond the powered range of the missiles. Each of these launchers can be targeted and fired at multiple targets. The missiles normally used are Smart Missiles.
    Maximum Effective Range: Varies with missile type, medium range missiles (Powered Range is x8 in space - Go to revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Mega-Damage: Varies with medium range missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Rate of Fire: Can fire missiles one at a time, or volleys of two (2), four (4), or eight (8) missiles per launcher (64 total).
    Payload: 512 Total with 64 each launcher. The ship has an additional 512 missiles in storage
  6. Four (4) Anti-Missile Mini Missile Launchers: Two of these launchers are on the port side of the ship and two of these launchers are on the starboard side. The system is an automated system that launches ten fragmentation or plasma mini missiles at a volley of enemy missiles. If the volley is tightly clustered, then the mini missile will automatically destroy the volley, but if the volley are widely separated, then the mini missile will target two mini missiles at each incoming missile and will target up five incoming missiles per launcher. Each system has 5 individual laser targeting systems to guide missiles. Missile are assumed to accelerate at 2 times normal mach speed in Gs greater than the starships speed when used in space.
    Maximum Effective Range: Powered range is 8 miles (12.8 km) in space (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Mega-Damage: fragmentation mini-missile do 1D4x10 and plasma mini-missile do 2D4x10. If fired at a single missile or single tightly clustered missile volley, the target will be destroyed. If the missiles are targeted at a widely spaced missile volley, roll for each missile to strike (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Rate of Fire: Each launcher can fire up to four (4) times per melee round
    Payload: 80 missiles (eight shots), but can be reloaded at the rate of ten missiles per melee round (carries 800 mini-missiles as reloads)
  7. Four (4) Chaff Throwers: This system launches clouds of chaff around the ship. The chaff are canisters of thousands of small highly reflective aluminum. The chaff will remain around the ship for a period of time unless the ship accelerates, decelerates, or changes course which will take ship out of the chaff cloud within one melee. All launchers must launch or ship will only have partial effects. Each reduction of a launcher will reduce effects by 25%. Rifts Earth decoys systems are assumed to not operate against Phase World missiles due to technological difference.
    Mega-Damage: any vehicle flying through take 2D6 M.D.C.
    1. Has a 50% chance of confusing or deflecting ordinary missiles,
    2. Disguises ships radar signature
    3. Defuse and reflect laser fire so that lasers do half damage
    As long as the ship does not accelerates, decelerates, or changes course the chaff will take five melees to disburse. If the ship accelerates, decelerates, or changes course, the ship will leave the chaff cloud in one melee.
    Maximum Effective Range: Protects Ship
    Rate of Fire: Once (1) Per Melee (Uses 4 canisters each time used)
    Payload: 200 Cylinders of chaff (50 per launcher).
  8. Advanced Decoys (8): The ship carries eight advance decoy drones. They are each a small automated vehicle that projects a false radar image designed to mimic the Washington's radar signature. It also has a small transmitter to transmit false radio signals and has a small propulsion system that can simulate movement and maneuvers. If decoys are not destroyed, they can be recovered and repaired. Rifts Earth decoy systems are assumed to not operate against Phase World missiles due to technological difference.
    Mega-Damage: Self Destruct system does 2D4x10
    Effects: The decoy has an 80% chance of fooling ordinary non military sensors and non smart guided missiles, the decoy has a 50% chance of fooling military level sensors, and the decoy has a 25% chance of fooling advanced military sensors and smart missiles.
    Decoys have a duration of 5 minutes (20 melee rounds)
    Maximum Effective Range: Not Applicable
    Rate of Fire: Ship can launch one drone per melee.
    Payload: 8 Decoys

Other Systems:
The Cruiser has all systems standard on a robot vehicle plus the following special features:

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Image drawn and copyrighted by Mischa (E-Mail Mischa ).

Mischa has no art home page at present but many other items on my site.

Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 1998 & 2001, Kitsune. All rights reserved.