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British Royal Navy Africa class Multi Role Amphibious Assault Ship:


After the war for South Africa it became clear that, like much of the Royal Navy equipment, the aging Ocean helicopter assault ship and the two Albion class landing dock ships were considered to be near the end of their life spans. A complete rebuild for these vessels was briefly considered, but this would only add about fifteen years to the life of these ships. Thus it was clear that the best course of action would be that a new class of ships would need to be built.


New demands now placed on Great Britain after its re-emergence as a colonial superpower meant that the Royal Navy had to have a much greater ability to project troops around the world. Specifically, it was determined that the navy have the capacity to transport a full division of troops and equipment to any part of its empire in a short time. This meant that the new ships had to have a significantly larger troop carrying capacity than the classes that they would replace.


Prior to deciding to develop their own design, a number of “Off the Shelf” solutions were considered including from the United States. Possibly they might be even built abroad instead of domestically. One of these was the American Belleau Wood class amphibious assault ship, but it lacked a dry deck for landing craft. For a while attention was focused on a undated Wasp design. However, it was found that these ships would be too large for the job required. In addition, due to the extensive aviation facilities, there were concerns that it might displace future carrier programs. Finally, the design was develop prior to the development of advanced composites and alloys and there were concerns about modifying the design to take advantage of them.


The design put forward by BAE (a company whose name was sometimes seen as a abbreviation for “Battle, Annihilation and Extinction” due to its extensive military division) was much more suited to the needs of the Royal Navy, and also featured a rather original layout. Since there was no need for a long flight deck for strike aircraft, the Africa class has its main helicopter (and later VTOL) hangar in the middle of the deck, effectively splitting the flight deck in half. The hangar could hold up to twenty craft, and a hangar under deck could hold another twelve aircraft. On top of the hangar were two levels holding both the bridge, the command and control room, and most of the electronics for the ship.


During the development phase, there was an attempt made to reduce the radar cross signature of the amphibious vessel. Even so, many Royal Navy designs have far lower radar cross signature. In common with all new Royal Navy ships, the Africa class had a Fusion plant for its power source. Power was transferred to the propellers through ad advanced electrical propulsion system. With fusion power, high speed operations became economical and the fusion plant was designed to be able to propel the vessel at up to thirty knots.


As these vessels were meant for amphibious operations and not as true combat vessels, the weapon fit on the Africa class was mostly designed around self defense. This consisted of four manually operated 30 mm cannons mounted below the flight deck near the corners of the vessel, four Mk 44 “Sea Sabre” combination rail gun / short range missile mounts, and two sixteen cell Mk 41 vertical launch systems integrated into the sides of the superstructure. Of American design, the Mk 44 “Sea Sabre” mounts had replaced Mk 15 Phalanx and SeaRAM weapon system weapon systems on most British naval designs. Also of American design, the Mk 41 vertical launch systems were also considered highly effective with each missile cell usually loaded with four medium range missiles and used primarily for defensive purposes by the Africa class amphibious assault ship.


For radar, the Africa class amphibious assault ship mounted the Mini-Sampson, the same radar as was mounted on most frigate designs operated by the Royal Navy. While by this time considered an older system, still considered quite capable. In order to deal with potential submarine threats, it was decided to fit the amphibious vessel with a hull sonar although no towed array is mounted. While never carried in service, the vertical launch system could theoretically carry anti-submarine rocket boosted torpedoes.


Even though not designed with a full length flight deck, it was decided to embark a limited compliment of fighters / attack aircraft. Initially upgraded versions of older aircraft designs were embarked, many of American design. These included the STOL versions of the Joint Strike Fighter along with Apache attack helicopters and Osprey tilt rotors.


Later, the ship’s air wing was replaced by more advanced designs. By the time H.M.S. Africa set out on her ill-fated task of assisting the Ark Royal, the FV-38 Panther was carried as the main fighter, although the main ASW and ESW vehicles were still the Merlin helicopter. The Royal Navy operated their own Seawolf assault helicopters from the Africa class, variants of the British armies Wolf class assault helicopter. For transporting troops and light equipment the Africa usually carried up to twenty-two upgraded Merlin helicopters.


In addition to aircraft, these vessels were designed with a huge amount of space for vehicles. While not normally considered part of the normal vehicle compliment, the Africa class amphibious assault ship was designed to be able to embark around two hundred power armors. Instead of relying on American designs, the British military developed their own power armor known as the Gypsy Moth. It is similar to the American SAMAS however and it is likely that they received American assistance when developing it.


In order to carry troops or vehicles to the shoreline, the Africa class has the ability to embark four hovercraft. The American developed LCAC-854 “Crab” were embarked, with only minor differences in equipment. Unlike most older amphibious vessel classes, these hovercraft were carried on a dry deck. A major advantage of a dry deck over a conventional well deck was that the vessel could carry other vehicles in place of the hovercraft.


Common vehicle compliment was ten heavy tanks, twenty-five armored personnel carriers, ten artillery pieces or missile batteries, and fifty support vehicles. Of course this compliment could be varied based on mission requirements. The British marines used mostly army equipment although the Conqueror tank was considered too large by most marines.


During amphibious operations, the vessel was expected to provide medical support for troops. As such, it the capacity for four hundred patients and also had a full operating theater. Half of the medical department was part of the crew and the other half was part of the marine compliment.


In 2072, the British Empire became aware that the Argentinians once again were about to embark on a campaign to “liberate” Los Malvinas from British rule. And so it was decided that a taskforce, centered around a carrier should be send to the Falklands to do a little gunboat diplomacy. The Ark Royal was the carrier chosen for the task. In December 2072, just following Christmas, she and her extensive group of escorts set sail to the Falklands.


Along with the carrier task force, the Africa was sent along with a full compliment of 1,600 marines and 100 SAS members. Officially this was for practicing landings on the difficult shores of the Falklands, but the pretense was a thin one. It was quite clear that after the exercise most of the Royal Marines would be staying on the Falklands to strengthen the garrison present there.


As fate would have it, they would never arrive. In the open ocean, less than 200 miles off the shore of Argentina, the task force was attacked by a group of stealth bombers from Argentina. Using stealth bombers purchased from China and carrying nuclear weapons, they destroyed the task force. Or so everyone thought. For a few weeks the entire world teetered on the brink of nuclear war.


Instead, the Ark Royal and her task force had been displaced in time. Having shot down or prematurely detonated all of the nuclear missiles heading their way, the explosion of the nukes had released enough energy to temporarily activate what would later become known as the South American Sea Triangle. A brief but violent electrical storm later, the task force emerged unscathed into a world both very different and yet very recognizable. . .


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: LHDN-II Africa class Multi Role Amphibious Assault Ship.

Vehicle Type: Ocean, Amphibious Assault Vessel.

Crew: 420 (30 officers, 50 chief petty officers, 340 enlisted [Has a high degree of automation.])

Troops: 360 pilots for Gypsy Moth power armors, 160 aircraft pilots, 310 vehicle crew members, and 1,700 soldiers.


Robots, Power Armors, and Vehicles (Standard):

Power Armor Compliment:

 

200

BA-V FPA-05D Gypsy Moth Power Armors (with Flight Packs.)

Fighter/Aircraft Compliment:

 

6

FV-38 Panther II VSTOL Fighters.

 

6

IE-15AH Sea Wolf Attack Helicopters.

 

2

Westland Merlin HM 1 helicopters (Airborne Radar Version.)

 

4

Westland Merlin HM 1 helicopters (Anti-Submarine Warfare Version.)

 

24

Westland Merlin HM 1 helicopters (Transport Versions.)

Landing Craft Compliment:

 

4

LCAC-854 “Crab” Air Cushion Landing Craft.

Tanks & Other Vehicles:

 

20

GKN / Vickers Valiant Infantry Fighting Vehicles.

 

10

Vickers AS100 Braveheart II Self Propelled Howitzers.

 

4

Vickers “Conqueror” Heavy Battle Tanks.

 

10

Vickers Firefly Mk II Expeditionary Tanks.

 

50

Support Vehicles (Various).


M.D.C. by Location:

 

Mk 44 “Sea Sabre” Combination Anti-Missile Systems (4, superstructure):

200 each.

 

Mk 41 Tactical Length 16 Cell Vertical Launch System (2, sides of superstructure):

160 each.

 

30mm Mark 44 Bushmaster II Auto Cannon Mounts (4, sides):

50 each.

 

[1] Type 1055 “Mini Sampson” Active Phased Array Radar System:

225.

 

[2] Signaal Sirius Infrared Cameras (2, superstructure):

10 each.

 

[2] Sea Gnat Chaff / Decoy Launchers (4, superstructure):

10 each.

 

[3] Inboard Elevators (2):

400 each.

 

Hanger Doors (2):

400 each.

 

[4] Flight Decks (2):

2,000 each.

 

Rear Vehicle / Dry Deck Doors:

400.

 

[5] Main Bridge / Superstructure:

2,000.

 

Outer Hull (per 40 foot / 12.2 meter area):

80.

 

[6] Main Body:

10,000.


Notes:

[1] Destroying the Type 1055 “Mini Sampson” rotating active phased array radar panel will destroy the ship’s main fire control systems but the vessel has backup systems with a shorter range (Equal to robot vehicle sensors.)

[2] These are small and difficult targets to strike, requiring the attacker to make a “called shot,” but even then the attacker is -4 to strike.

[3] If both elevators are destroyed, no aircraft can be moved from the hangars to the main flight deck.
[4] If both flight decks are destroyed, only VTOL aircraft can be launched or land. VTOL aircraft are at -15% to piloting.

[5] If bridge / superstructure is destroyed, the ship can still be piloted from engineering but with a -15% to piloting rolls. Communication and sensor equipment are not concentrated on the bridge to reduce the effectiveness of bridge hits.

[6] Destroying the main body destroys propulsion and power systems, disabling the ship. The ship is fitted with advanced polymer armors that allow the ship to withstand up to -2,000 M.D.C. before losing structural integrity and sinking. There are enough life preservers and inflatable life boats to accommodate everyone on the ship including marines.


Speed:

Surface: 34.5 mph (30 knots/ 55.6 kph).

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


Statistical Data:

Draft:    29.5 feet (8.85 meters).

Length:  720.6 feet (219.6 meters) waterline and 788 feet (240.2 meters) overall.

Width:   145 feet (44.2 meters).

Displacement: 38,800 tons standard and 49,500 tons fully loaded.

Cargo: 5,000 tons (4,536 metric tons) of nonessential equipment and supplies [Increase to 12,000 tons (10,886 metric tons) without vehicles.] 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, and engines.

Power System: Four nuclear fusion reactors, average life span is 20 years. Usually only goes 10 years between refueling.

Black Market Cost: Not for sale but costs around 800 million credits to construct. If found and sold on the black market would probably cost two to four billion credits. Cost does not include embarked craft and power armors.


WEAPON SYSTEMS:

  1. 1 Four (4) 30mm Mk 44 Bushmaster II Auto Cannon Mounts: Four 30 mm cannons were mounted just below the edge of the flight deck, two on each side. These weapons had a good range and rate of fire, but lacked the punch to do damage to large targets. Since they were manually aimed, they were little good against missiles, and the crew often joked that they were only good for “Shooting life boats and survivors in the water.” Primarily however, they are for defense against small boats and similar threats. Each gun can rotate 270 degrees and has a 90 degree arc of fire.

    Maximum Effective Range: 10,000 feet (3,048 meters).

    Mega-Damage: 2D6 per round, and 1D6x10 for a burst of 30 rounds.

    Rate of Fire: Equal to the combined hand to hand attacks of the gunner (usually 4 or 5).

    Payload: 600 rounds (20 bursts) each. Ship carries an additional 28,000 rounds of ammunition in magazines. Auto cannons requires 3 minutes (12 melees) to reload by properly trained personnel (Double for untrained crews.)

  2. Four (4) Mk 44 “Sea Sabre” Combination Anti-Missile Defense Systems: One is mounted over the bridge, while the other two are located on the sides of the ships superstructure, next to the long range radar. Bought from the United States as a replacement for aging defense system. Bought from the United States as a replacement for aging systems like the Sea RAM and Phalanx CIWS. This anti-missile defense system combines both a rapid fire rail gun and a short range missile launcher. While mounted in one system, both defense systems have separate tracking and fire control systems. The short range missile launchers can target up four targets and can fire a volley up to twice per melee. Quite powerful, the rail gun is capable of destroying any missile or inflicting serious damage on aircraft. The rail gun can fire on automatic at up to six targets per melee (Has +3 to strike missile and +2 to strike aircraft). In its design, the rail gun is very similar to those carried on the Sea King cruiser and it is likely that the Sea King’s rail guns came from a prototype of this system. The system also can be used against other ships and ground targets. The system has a 360 degree rotation and can elevate up to 90 degrees to fire at targets directly overhead.

    Maximum Effective Range: Rail Guns: 11,000 feet (2 miles / 3.2 km). Short Range Missiles: As per short range missile type (See Revised bomb and missile tables for details.)

    Mega-Damage: Rail Guns: 3D4x10 M.D. per burst of 40 rounds (Can only fire bursts). Short Range Missiles: As per short range missile type (See Revised bomb and missile tables for details.)

    Rate of Fire: Rail Guns: Six (6) attacks per melee round. Short Range Missiles: Two (2) attacks per melee round, can fire short range missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2) or four (4) short range missiles.

    Payload: Rail Guns: 8,000 rounds (200 burst) each. Short Range Missiles: Sixteen (16) short range missiles each.

  3. Two (2) Mk 41 Tactical Length 16 Cell Vertical Launch Systems: Mounted on the sides of the superstructure. An American design which was much more flexible than the French Sylver A-50 launcher, the slightly larger cells allowed for two long range missiles or four medium range missiles to be loaded into one cell. It also provided a better rate of fire. The tactical length version could not carry cruise missiles and used almost exclusively to house surface to air missiles. From the beginning, the launchers have been found to be very flexible and adaptable and the launcher can carry two long range missiles or four medium range missiles per cell. Anti-Submarine rocket launched torpedoes also can be fired from the launcher (See revised Rifts torpedoes for details.)

    Maximum Effective Range: As per long or medium range missile type (See Revised bomb and missile tables for details.)

    Mega-Damage: As per long or medium range missile type (See Revised bomb and missile tables for details.)

    Rate of Fire: Can fire missiles one at a time or in volley of two (2), four (4), or eight (8) missiles for both launchers per melee round and can be fired at multiple targets at the same time.

    Payload: Sixteen (16) missiles cells in each VLS launcher (possible total of 32 long range missiles each.) Two (2) long range missiles or four (4) medium range missiles may be carried per missile cell. Usual complement was thirty-two (32) long range missiles and sixty-four (64) medium range missiles between both launchers.

  4. Four (4) Sea Gnat Chaff / Decoy Launcher: Located on the superstructure of the ship, they are designed to confuse incoming missiles. All four launchers must be operated or effects will be reduced. Rifts Earth decoys systems are assumed to not be effective against Phase World / Three Galaxies missiles due to technological difference. Reduce effects by 20% against smart missiles (Add +20% to rolls for smart missiles) and reduce effects of launchers by 10% per launcher not used (Add +10% to rolls per launcher not used.) Only useful against missiles, not useful against torpedoes underwater.

    Range: Around Ship.

    Mega Damage: None.

    Effects:

    01-35

    Enemy missile or missile volley detonates in chaff cloud - Missiles are all destroyed.

     

    36-60

    Enemy missile or missile volley loses track of real target and veers away in wrong direction (May lock onto another target.)

     

    61-00

    No effect, enemy missile or missile volley is still on target.

    Payload: Six (6) each for a total of twenty-four (24) canisters. One-Hundred and Forty-Four (144) reload canisters are carried, reloading takes two melee rounds.

  5. Six (6) SLQ-25F Nixie Towed Decoys: A special decoy which is towed behind the ship. The Coalition has not seen a need for this system so has not equipped their ships with it. It generates a sound like the ships propellers in order to confuse incoming torpedoes. Only effective at speeds 28.8 mph (25 knots / 46.3 kph) and below. Otherwise, the noise of the ship’s systems and propellers is too powerful to mask. Rifts Earth decoys systems are assumed to not be effective against Phase World / Three Galaxies guidance and targeting systems due to technological differences.

    M.D.C.: 5 each.

    Range: Not Applicable although decoy is deployed approximately 1,000 feet (304.8 meters) from the vessel.

    Effects: The decoy has a 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 non “smart” torpedoes, and the decoy has a 10% chance of fooling advanced military sonars (Like those of the New Navy and Triax) and “smart” torpedoes.

    Payload: One ready to use, with five more ready to deploy. It takes approximately three minutes (twelve melee rounds) to reel out another decoy.

Special Systems:

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



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[ Beyond the Supernatural®, Heroes Unlimited®, Nightbane®, Ninjas & Superspies®, Palladium Fantasy®, and Rifts® are registered trademarks owned by Kevin Siembieda and Palladium Books Inc. ]


Image drawn and copyrighted by Mischa (E-Mail Mischa). Click on line drawing for a better view.

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


Writeup by Mischa (E-Mail Mischa) and revised by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).


Copyright © 2002 & 2018, Mischa & Kitsune. All rights reserved.



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