British Royal Navy Ursula class Fast Attack Submarine:

In the beginning of the Twenty-First century the Royal Navy had many designs on the drawing table, all of which were supposed to replace elderly and obsolete equipment. Many of these projects floundered and died a silent death, due to the new “Golden Age” that man was suppose to have entered. So too was the project known as the Future Attack SubMarine, or FASM for short.

Originally meant to replace the Trafalgar class of nuclear attack submarines the FASM would have been large, fast, and heavily armed subs, the equal of anything in the western world. Unfortunately, the dwindling defense budget (due to the diminishing threats to the remainder of the British Empire) and the coming of the so-called “Golden Age” cut short the development of the FASM.

Instead the Royal Navy ordered five more submarines that were considered near repeats of the Astute class nuclear attack submarines, the development of which had been done nearly two decades previously. Granted, these submarines did take advantage of the new high strength composites and fusion power, but they did not break any real new ground as the American Swordfish class did. Eventually two additional of these new submarines were authorized. Originally called the Improved Astute class, reminiscent of the American Improved Los Angeles class, eventually they were redesignated the Ramillies class.

It was not until after the second Falklands War and the renewed growth of the Empire that the Royal Navy once again had enough funds to order the development of new submarines. And these were now urgently needed. The remaining Trafalgar class fast attack submarines had been retired finally and the Astute class submarines were pretty much tied to the pier. In fact, the Royal Navy often would trade crews back and forth between the Astute class and the Ramillies class in order to keep up active submarine forces.

This replacement submarine class became known as the Ursula class. Interestingly, even though the HMS Ursula was actually laid down first, HMS Upholder was actually completed first. As a result, the class is occasionally referred to as the Upholder class although that can get confusing because of the late Twentieth Century conventional Upholder class that later became the Canadian Victoria class. As the Ursula class entered service, the old Astute class submarines were finally officially retired.

While based in part on the old development work for the old FASM, the program involved a lot of new technology as well. The new FASM design that was ultimately chosen to replace the Astute class submarines was, by a quantum leap, the most advanced of its time. It outdid any submarine then in service in stealth and noise reduction, and was incredibly heavily armed for its size.

The design mounted no less than ten torpedo tubes, because it had been recognized that even the sound of the reloading of tubes could now be picked up by some sonars. Thus, ten tubes would provide the subs with a sizable amount of torpedoes to be fired before any reloads had to be performed, which could compromise stealth. Reloading itself was done by a fully automated magazine. With no human assistance usually involved in the firing of torpedoes, the torpedo room was only accessible to humans for the unlikely event that maintenance was needed during deployment.

Further weaponry was in the form of eight vertical launch missile tubes behind the large sail, from which cruise missiles could be fired. These too had an automated magazine loading system, enabling the sub to carry a total of thirty two cruise missiles. Some remarked at the appearance of the submarine with the vertical launch systems that it looked much like a short ballistic missile submarine.

A small blue green laser mount positioned on the sail provided the submarine with a short ranged defense, in the unlikely even that it should have needed it. Many commanders did not like the laser, considering it effectively useless. Most captains preferred to rely instead on stealth and decoys to deal with various threats against the submarine.

Sensor systems were not forgotten with the new Type 4045 hull and flank sonar array. It did much to erase the gap that had been forming between American and British sonar systems. The Type 4070B towed array was similarly advanced. While it did not have quite the range of the best American towed array sonar, it had greater tracking ability.

Even so, the true innovation was the development of a completely new method of reducing the noise signature of these submarines. When the new submarine was first deployed during war games, either against the United States or other European navies, it consistently defeated the attempts of its opponents to detect it. Often the first sign of its presence was the fact that the simulation computers registered a torpedo “hit” upon its targets. Only when the sub was pushed to great speeds did it become detectable like a normal submarine.

The secret was that the sub carried a set of chemicals onboard which, when combined with seawater and a electric field, would form a hard layer of gel around the sub. Since the electric field in which the gel would form was generated by the subs hull, the layer of gel was conformal to the hull of the sub. This layer of gel not only absorbed the incoming sound waves of active sonar arrays, it also muffled any sounds that came from the sub itself, making it very difficult to pick up on passive arrays as well. With respect to disadvantages, at high speeds the gel layer would slough off due to the friction forces, which led to a sudden increase in the submarine being able to be detected, and the fact that the submarines only carried enough chemicals onboard for a few applications of the gel layer.

The Ursula class had a small space to carry troops for assault missions or possibly shipboard defense. Up to twenty-four could be carried without power armor although more commonly carried were eighteen soldiers with Gypsy Moth power armors. These would usually be either Royal Marines or Special Air Service (SAS) personnel. For a submarine, the Ursula class had the ability to carry a relatively large amount of cargo to support these personnel.

Ultimately the Royal Navy would receive twelve Ursula class submarines. Of these, two were escorts for the Ark Royal and the battle group which was to perform some gunboat diplomacy in the waters off the Argentinian coast. The Ursula herself had already been patrolling the waters around the Falklands, and the Warspite left Great Britain together with the rest of the task force.

In the open ocean, less than 200 miles of the shore of Argentina, this task force was attacked by a group of stealth bombers from Argentina. Using stealth technology from China and armed with nuclear weapons, they completely destroyed the task force.

Or so everyone thought. While for a few weeks the world teetered on the brink of nuclear war, 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: Ursula class Submarine.

Class: Ocean, Fast Attack Submarine.

Crew: 85; 8 Officers, 10 chief petty officers, and 67 enlisted (Has a high degree of automation.)

Troop Capacity: 18 (With Gypsy Moth power armors) to 24 (Without power armors) - Royal Marines or Special Air Service (SAS) personnel.

Robots, Power Armors, and Vehicles:

Power Armor Compliment:



BA-V FPA-05D Gypsy Moth Power Armor.

M.D.C. by Location:


533 mm (21 inch) Torpedo Tubes (10, front / sides of submarine):

150 each.


Vertical Cruise Missile Launchers (8, behind sail of submarine):

200 each.


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



Main Sail:



[1] Bow Planes (2):

250 each.


[2] Pump Jet Propulsor (1):



[3] Main Body:



[1] 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.

[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 tanks are immediately blown so submarine comes to the 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.


Water Surface: 40 mph (34.4 knots /64.3 kph).

Underwater: 50 mph (43 knots/ 80 kph).

Maximum Depth: 11,480 feet (3,500 meters).

Range: Effectively Unlimited due to fusion engines (needs to refuel every 30 years and requires maintenance as well). Vessel carries ten (10) months of supplies for crew and troops on board.

Statistical Data:

Height:  69 feet (20.8 meters) not including periscopes and antenna.

Width:   38.1 feet (11.8 meters).

Length:  402 feet (120.6 meters).

Displacement: 8,200 tons surfaced and 9,800 tons submerged.

Cargo: Submarine is very cramped, 60 tons (54.4 metric tons) of nonessential equipment and supplies [normally used for equipment for Royal Marines / Special Air Service (SAS) personnel.] 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 30 years. Normally refuels every 15 years.

Black Market Cost: Top secret! Not available; but costs hundreds of millions of credits to build with all the standard features and weapons. Cost does not include embarked craft and power armors.

Weapon Systems:

  1. One (1) Pop-Up Blue Green Laser Mount: The weapon is mounted in the top of the sail, and has complete coverage of the sky. The turret fully retracts as to not interrupt water flow while the submarine is underwater. Limited to low underwater speeds [5.8 mph (5 knots / 9.3 kph) or less]. This was a relatively weapon mount which could be used against small vessels, power armor, and missile volleys. Actually many commanders felt that the mount was one of the most useless items on the subs, since more than ninety-nine percent of each deployment was spend underwater anyway with the laser considered by most to be of limited use against torpedoes. The laser mount had its own gunner and could 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: 6D6 M.D. per single blast.

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

    Payload: Effectively unlimited.

  2. Ten (10) 533 mm Heavy Torpedo Tubes: The boat mounts ten torpedo tubes in the bow just behind the bow sonar array with five to either 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 eighty reloads for torpedoes (in addition to six torpedoes in the tubes) and can carry up to one hundred and eighty 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), four (4), five (5), or ten (10) torpedoes. Reloading takes one full melee round.

    Payload: Eight (8) heavy torpedoes total [Has eighty (80) additional heavy torpedoes for reloads with eight reloads per tube.]

  3. Eight (8) Vertical Launch Cruise Missile Launchers: These silo-style launchers are located aft of the submarines sail and face upwards. Missiles are launched in special canisters that enable the missiles to be used in depths down to around 150 feet (45.7 meters.) System has an automatic reload system and launchers are located within the pressure hull of the submarine. All launchers operate as one system and are used to engage enemy ships and ground targets. The cruise missile usually carried was the hypersonic Fasthawk in its sea skimming anti ship and semi ballistic land attack guises.

    Maximum Effective Range: As per cruise missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details / for Fasthawk missiles, go to missile description for details.)

    Mega-Damage: As per cruise missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details / for Fasthawk missiles, go to missile description for details.)

    Rate of Fire: Can fire cruise missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2), four (4), or eight (8) cruise missiles and can be fired at multiple target at the same time. Can be fired once per melee round.

    Payload: Four (4) cruise missiles per launcher for a total of thirty-two (32) cruise missiles. Normal cruise missile complement is twenty-four (24) land attack and eight (8) sea skimming anti ship Fasthawk cruise missiles.

  4. Eight (8) Advanced Decoy Drones: The submarine carries eight advanced 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 23.0 mph (20 knots / 37.0 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.

    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: Eight (8) decoy drones.

  5. 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.

  6. Gel Coating: The submarine was designed to form a gel coating around itself by running a low powered electric current through its hull and releasing a set of chemicals into the water surrounding it. Under the influence of the electric current the chemicals bonded with the seawater, forming a thick gel that clung evenly to the hull. This coating absorbed both incoming and outgoing noise, which made the submarine virtually impossible to detect by both passive and active sonar.

    The drawback was that the gel would slough off if the sub exceeds fifteen knots of speed, and that the sub only had a limited supply of the gelating chemicals aboard. In order to listen past the coating the sub reeled out a towed sonar array through the gel layer.

    M.D.C.: 15.

    Range: Not Applicable.

    Effects: The gel layer absorbs, deadens and distorts all sounds from and to the submarine. The sub is -30% to detect [comes in addition to other penalties so is -80% to detect at below 17.3 mph (15 knots / 27.8 kph).]

    In addition to that, if detected there is a 20% chance that the sub will be mistaken for a large school of fish or a whale due to the gel layer having a density much like flesh or whale blubber.

    Gel layer has a duration of four (4) days at speeds below 17.3 mph (15 knots / 27.8 kph). Above 17.3 mph (15 knots / 27.8 kph) the layer peels off in three (3) melee rounds, negating its effects.

    Rate of Fire: Submarine can form a new gel layer in eight melee rounds, but must be at a speed of 5.8 mph (5 knots / 9.3 kph) or lower!

    Payload: Six (6) applications.

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. ]

[ 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 Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune) & Mischa (E-Mail Mischa).

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