Australian Farncomb Nuclear Fast Attack Submarine:

Beginning in the middle of the Twenty-First Century, the threat of the New Soviet Navy, the Chinese Navy, and the Indian nation was a serious concern by many of the Pacific Oceans. This caused the Australian government to form an unofficial alliance with the POMA (Pacific Ocean Military Alliance), comprised of Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, in 2053. Mutual defense and combined fleet operations were major points of the agreement, and Australia was forced to create a truly offensive naval force as a result.

At the time of the treaty, Australia had a submarine force consisting of five conventional submarines. These submarines were laid down in the later Twenty-Thirties as replacements for the Collins class submarines built around the beginning on the Twenty-First Century. The class were combination diesel-electric and fuel cell with the entire class being relatively new and built using high strength alloys and composites. As such they were still in good condition.

Still, these submarines had limited range and were not as flexible as nuclear submarine designs. There was some consideration given to cutting the submarines in half and replacing the conventional power plant with a small fusion reactor but instead it was decided to replace the entire class. One reason cited was that new submarines could take advantage of the advances of the couple of decades.

The first of the new class was laid down in 2056 with another following in 2058. After that, the submarines were laid down at the rate of one per year. While the first pair of submarines of the class required about six years to construct, construction times decreased with later vessels. By the time the final vessels of the first batch were completed, they only required about four years each to complete.

The conventional submarines remained in service until the first four of the Farncomb class were commissioned and then were decommissioned and sold to foreign powers. Two were sold to New Zealand but the remained three were sold to various South American nations who retained them to the coming of the Great Cataclysm. The sales of the conventional submarines partially financed an additional three Farncomb class submarines for a total force of seven submarines with the final one being commissioned in 2077.

After a three year delay, five more submarines were laid down at the rate of one per year. The last was completed in only three years and was commissioned in 2088. There was consideration to build an additional four submarines but the additional submarine program was dropped. Still, the class served the Australian Navy well although they did not have the capabilities of American or British submarines commissioned during the same time frame.

In 2097, a new class of Australian nuclear submarines which were larger and would have carried more weapons, especially missiles, were laid down but none were completed before the coming of the Rifts. There were plans for six of these new submarines but there were no plans to remove the Farncomb class from service. The new submarines would have carried forty-eight cruise missiles and one of the roles considered for the new submarines would have been to perform a nuclear deterrent role by carrying nuclear warheads.

One submarine of the Farncomb class is known to have survived the coming of the Rifts and joined the New Navy. The Australian submarine is retained as a training boat by the New Navy although the crew has long amalgamated with the personnel of the New Navy. As far as other boats, the status of the other Farncomb class submarines is unknown with three having been in port at the time of the coming of the Rifts.

The HMAS Farncomb is named after Rear Admiral Harold Bruce Farncomb. He was in the first class in the Royal Australian Naval College. He commanded the HMAS Australia during the Battle of Coral Sea and Guadalcanal, the escort carrier HMS Attacker during landings in southern France. He later became commander of the Australian Squadron with the HMAS Australia as his flagship when Commodore Collins was injured. His squadron supported landings in the Philippines among other battles. Commodore Farncomb was promoted to Rear Admiral in 1947 with Commodore Collins and they were the first Royal Australian Naval College graduates to attain flag rank.

One of the long retired Collins class submarines had also been named HMAS Farncomb. The first batch of seven Farncomb class submarines were named after famous Australian naval personnel from World War II as well. Several Farncomb class submarines share names with retired Collins class submarines. Later submarines however were named after captains and other officers of the Australian submarine forces. One might consider them to be the pioneers of the Australian submarine forces.

Instead of developing a new fusion reactor for the Farncomb class, the Australian Navy opted to purchase an already developed German design. A French design was also considered but the German design was preferred after a careful evaluation. Top speed was around thirty-six knots, a bit slower than American and British submarines from the same period but still considered adequate.

As was common with submarine designs of the time period, the submarines uses a shrouded pump jet to reduce propulsion noise. In order to further reduce the noise signature of the submarine, power from the power plant was transferred using an electrical transmission along with the machinery being specially isolated from the hull. Like most advanced submarine designs, the hull was covered by an sonar defeating rubber coating to reduce submarine noise.

While most submarine designs were more of a cigar type shape, the hull form of the Farncomb class was a teardrop style shape and was similar in size and shape to the old American Skipjack class submarines. Compared to British and American submarines built around the same period as the Farncomb class, the Australian submarine was considered relatively small. With the use of high strength composites and alloys, the Farncomb class could dive to incredible depths compared to older submarine classes.

While the United States submarine designs had gone to a more streamlined sail in general similar to Soviet submarine designs, the sail of the Farncomb class is more similar to older submarine classes. In addition, the Australian submarine’s planes were located in the sail like previous Australian submarine classes. The cancelled four additional boats would have had the planes moved to the hull of the submarine.

During development, various sonar suites were considered with German hull sonar and towed array design being chosen eventually for the Farncomb class. The previous two Australian submarine classes had mounted French developed sonar systems but the German sonar systems were considered superior. While American and British installations were considered as well, their most advanced suites were too large to fit into the relatively small hull of the Farncomb.

Weaponry on the Farncomb class compared favorably to that of submarine classes of other navies built around the same time frame. As far as the main weaponry, the Farncomb class mounted six torpedo tubes and twelve vertical launch cruise missile launchers. Even though the American Tigershark class was slightly older, the weaponry of the Australian submarine was often compared to it.

Of the standard Western twenty-one inch design, the torpedo tubes are located on the sides of the submarine where the main sail is located. In order to reduce noise when firing torpedoes, there is an automatic torpedo loading system. Compared to most larger submarines, the Australian submarine carried comparatively few reloads with a total of only thirty-six torpedoes. Missiles can be fired from torpedo tubes using special canisters but were rarely ever carried.

Located outside the pressure hull just behind the bow sonar array are the twelve cruise missile launchers with six on either side. Cruise missiles are launched in special canisters which can be fired down to around one hundred and fifty feet. Even though Australian navy submarines rarely carried nuclear weapons, the government leadership supported rumors that their submarines did in fact carry nuclear weapons.

In addition to torpedoes and missiles, the submarines carries a pulse laser on the after part of the sail. Less of the submarine needs to be above the surface of the water than if the laser was mounted on the hull. Of a blue-green laser design, the laser is considered effective against both torpedoes and missiles. As with the sonar systems and the reactor, the laser is of a German design.

Like most submarines designed around the same time period , an extensive decoy system was also carried. While most larger submarines carry eight or more decoy drones, the Farncomb class only could carry four advanced decoy drones. Even though noisemakers were also carried, they were considered far less effective.

As far as crew of the Farncomb class, standard compliment consists of fifty four enlisted, eight chief petty officers, and six officers. Normally a commander is the commanding officer of the boat. Even though cramped as all submarines tend to be, the submarine was considered relatively comfortable. While heavier armed than the older Australian submarines they replaced, the automation allows for them to be operated by a similar sized crew. In addition, the automation had extensive safety systems.

Unlike most American fast attack submarines and even a number of earlier Australian submarine designs, the Farncomb class did not have facilities for special forces. Of course this did not stop the proposal to use these submarines for special operations. One idea was to reduce the number of torpedoes and instead carry marines in the torpedo compartment. While some training was done in this regard, as far as is known these submarines were never used to carry out such missions.

Author Note: With respect to time line, these designs may or may not reflect our modern time line. The time line of these writeups diverged from our time line starting around 1999. Consider the universe that these designs are created for to be an alternate universe not bound by ours.

Model Type: Farncomb class Submarine.

Class: Fast Attack Submarine.

Crew: 68; 6 Officers, 8 chief petty officers, and 54 enlisted (Has a high degree of automation.)

Troop Capacity: None normally (Can replace torpedoes with troops on a one to one ratio.)

Robots, Power Armors, and Vehicles: 

M.D.C. by Location:


533 mm (21 inch) Torpedo Tubes (6, sides of submarine):

100 each.


Vertical Cruise Missile Launchers (12, bow of submarine):

125 each.


Retractable Blue-Green Laser Cannon Turret (1, mounted on aft quarter of sail):



Main Sail:



[1] Sail Planes (2, sail):

160 each.


[2] Pump Jet Propulsor (1):



[3] Main Body:



[1] 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 piloting rolls.

[2] 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 takes are immediately blown so submarine comes to surface.

[3] 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: 25.3 mph (22 knots/ 40.8 kph).

Underwater: 41.5 mph (36 knots /66.7 kph).

Maximum Depth: 1.3 miles (2.1 km).

Range: Effectively Unlimited due to fusion engines (needs to refuel every 20 years and requires maintenance as well). Boat carries four months of supplies on board.

Statistical Data:

Draft:    27.5 feet (8.4 meters).

Length:  284 feet (86.6 meters).

Beam:    33.5 feet (10.2 meters).

Displacement: 3,600 tons surfaced and 4,050 tons submerged.

Cargo: Submarine is very cramped, 8 tons (7.3 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, weapons, and engines.

Power System: Nuclear fusion; average energy life of 20 years. Normally refuels every 15 years.

Black Market Cost: Not for sale; many nations and organizations would pay hundreds of millions of credits for a new and undamaged Farncomb class submarine.

Weapon Systems:

  1. One (1) Retractable Blue Green Laser Cannon Mount: Developed in Germany, this laser mount is mounted on the aft part of the sail and is fully retractable so that it does not disrupt water flow at high speeds or add to the noise of the submarine. The laser cannon is useful both on the surface and underwater at low speeds [5.8 mph (5 knots / 9.3 kph) or less]. As a blue-green laser, they have a greater range underwater than they would otherwise. The weapon system is used mainly as close defense and against aircraft when on the surface. It can also be used to engage incoming torpedoes. The mount is controlled by a separate gunner and can rotate 360 degrees and had a 90 degree arc of fire.

    Maximum Effective Range: In Atmosphere: 6,000 feet ( 1,828.8 meters). Under Water: 3,000 feet (914 meters).

    Mega-Damage: 5D6 M.D. per single blast.

    Rate of Fire: Five (5) blasts per melee round.

    Payload: Effectively Unlimited.

  2. Six (6) 533 mm Heavy Torpedo Tubes: On the sides of the submarine are six torpedo tubes with three on each side. Tubes are 21 inches (533 mm) wide and torpedoes can be used against both surface ships and submarines. Torpedo tubes have a special automated reloading system to reduce noise. 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. Missiles are rarely carried however. Submarine normally carries thirty-six reloads for torpedoes (in addition to six torpedoes in the tubes) and can carry up to seventy-two mines in place of torpedoes.

    Maximum Effective Range: 40 miles (64 km).

    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), four (4), or six (6) torpedoes. Reloading takes one full melee round.

    Payload: Six (6) heavy torpedoes total [Has thirty-six (36) additional heavy torpedoes for reloads.]

  3. Twelve (12) Vertical Launch Cruise Missile Launchers: In the front of the submarine but behind the sonar dome, the submarine has vertical launch system for launching cruise 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 can fire all standard cruise range missiles including the hypersonic Fasthawk missile in both its sea skimming anti ship and semi ballistic land attack guises (See Fasthawk missile for details.

    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.

  4. Four (4) Advanced Decoy Drones: The submarine carries four advance decoys drones. They are a small automated vehicles that creates a false sonar image designed to mimic the submarines sonar signature. It has a small propulsion system that can simulate movement (has a maximum speed of 20 knots) 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 decoy systems are assumed to not operate against Phase World / Three Galaxies weapon systems due to technological difference.

    M.D.C.: 20.

    Range: Not applicable. Decoys do however have a duration of 30 minutes (120 melee rounds) once launched.

    Effects: The decoy has an 80% chance of fooling ordinary non military sonars and non smart guided torpedoes, the decoy has a 50% chance of fooling military level sonars (like those of the Coalition) and non “smart” torpedoes, and the decoy has a 25% 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: Four (4) decoy drones.

  5. Noisemakers: The submarine carries noisemakers in order to decoy torpedoes. These noisemakers are similar to those used by Coalition 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.

Special Systems:

The submarine has all systems standard on a robot vehicle plus the following special features:

[ Altarain TM, Bandito Arms TM, Brodkil TM, Chipwell Armaments TM, Coalition States TM, Cyber-Knight TM, Federation of Magic TM, Free Quebec TM, Golden Age Weaponsmiths TM, Horune TM, Iron Heart Armaments TM, Kankoran TM, Kittani TM, Kydian TM, Larsen’s Brigade TM, M.D.C. TM, Mechanoids TM, Mega-Damage TM, Megaversal Legion TM, Millennium Tree TM, Mutants in Orbit TM, Naruni Enterprises TM, Naut’Yll, New Navy TM, New Sovietskiy TM, NGR TM, Nog Heng TM, Northern Gun TM, Phase World TM, Psyscape TM, Rifter TM, SAMAS TM, S.D.C. TM, Shemarrian TM, Splugorth TM, Stormspire TM, Sunaj TM, Tolkeen TM, Triax TM, Wellington Industries TM, Wilk’s Laser Technologies TM, Xiticix TM, and Zaayr TM are trademarks owned by Kevin Siembieda and Palladium Books Inc. ]

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

Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 2003 & 2017, Kitsune. All rights reserved.