Japanese Taiho II (Great Phoenix) class Aircraft Carrier:

As the Twenty-First Century progressed, the Japanese Navy expanded at a rate that had not been seen since the Second World War. Immediately after World War II, severe restrictions were put on Japan’s armed forces and were officially not a military but a “Self Defense Force.” The Japanese Navy was also restricted in size and carriers were specifically prohibited. They got around the restriction by operating helicopter destroyers that were effectively carriers in everything but name.

Still, with the expansion of the Chinese Navy along with Japanese concerns about the new Soviet military and the already large Indian Navy, the Japanese government pushed to get the restrictions on their military lifted, including those against operating carriers. At the same time, Japan made mutual defense treaties with Australia, South Korea, and Taiwan against these rising threats. There was strong concern by each of them that the United States could not protect the Far Eastern nations.

The carrier was laid down in the late Twenty-Forties with the second vessel, the Ryuho, in the class laid down a few years later. Only two vessels were built and there were concerns that the United States would become belligerent if Japan laid more than two large carriers. As they entered service, the old helicopter destroyers were retired in order to ease any issues that might arise otherwise.

Some of the basis for these new carriers came from the previous helicopter destroyers but were far larger. As well, the design shared some aspects with the British carriers that had been launched earlier in the Twenty-First Century although the Japanese carriers were slightly smaller. Finally, they also had many similarities with the United States Escort / Light Carriers built a little more than a decade earlier.

Weaponry was meant for self defense only but were still quite well protected. As with most carriers, they were usually escorted by other vessels to give additional protection. Over their careers, these two carriers had quite active lives, often getting involved in various minor trouble spots. During their service lives, these two carriers had been upgraded several times both in terms of their power plan and weaponry. Even though supplemented by a new class of escort carriers, there were no plans to retire these carriers. The Taiho was underway when the Rifts consumed the world and is believed to have been lost but the Ryuho was in port in Kure at the time of the Rifts and was carried forward in time.

One major difference between the Japanese design and the British carrier is that the Taiho is not equipped with catapults or arrester gear. However, the Japanese carriers did have a ski-jump on the bow to allow vertical take off and landing aircraft (VTOL) aircraft to carry higher payloads on takeoff. The carrier has three elevators with one forward of the superstructure, one aft of the superstructure, and one on the after port side. The superstructure is designed for a reduced radar cross signature. The whole carrier uses radar absorbing composites to further reduce the carrier’s ability to be detected on radar. Still, the carrier is heavily armored and can withstand a huge amount of abuse before being sunk.

The ship’s propulsion was twin pod design driven by electric motors. The propellers were designed with variable pitch blades. The power was initially provided by four gas turbine engines which were replaced in refit by nuclear fusion turbine engines. The initial gas turbine engines were an advanced derivative of the LM-2500 gas turbines that produced more than twice the horsepower of the original design and gave the vessel a top speed of 30.5 knots. The upgraded engines increased the top speed by more than four knots and allowed speeds of up to 34.8 knots as well as effectively giving indefinite endurance. The propellers have bubble masking system to make the vessel harder to detect on sonar.

For self defense, the carriers are equipped with multiple layers of air defenses including several different types of missile launchers. Aft of the main superstructure is a Mark 41 tactical length vertical missile launcher with thirty-two cells. Normally, the launcher carries exclusively long range missiles but in some cases, anti-submarine rocket launched torpedoes are carried as well. Because the carrier does not mount any torpedo tubes, this can be considered useful in some circumstances.

For medium range defense, the carrier carries a pair of Mk 55 vertical launch systems on the starboard side of the superstructure. These are relatively small missile launchers designed to have a minimal deck footprint. These launchers are identical to those carried on the United States Ranger class carriers and fire at a slight angle to the starboard side so missiles that fail on launch do not crash onto the flight deck. There was some consideration to mounting two additional mounts on the port side but they were deleted in the later stages of the design process.

As built, the carrier was armed with Mk 49 RAM (Rolling Airframe Missile) mounts and two Mk 15 Vulcan CIWS mounts for inner point defense. Later all four were replaced with Mk 44 “Sea Sabre” combination point defense mounts which combine a heavy rail gun with a short range missile launcher. Two are located small vertical on the starboard side of the superstructure. In addition, two mounts are on the sides of the ship near the fantail.

Several different radar systems were examined while developing the carrier. In specific, both various American four panel phased array systems and the British steerable single array phased array radar systems were examined. Eventually, the American SPY-3H active phased array radar system was selected for the Japanese carrier. While actually mounted mostly on cruiser and destroyer classes, the system was still quite effective and less expensive than the latest systems developed in the United States would have been. It is considered useful both in aircraft control and in control of the carrier’s weapon systems.

A powerful and sensitive hull sonar is mounted as protection against submarines and torpedoes. However, the carrier does not have a towed array sonar. At one time it was considered but was decided against due to cost considerations and such systems are usually better mounted on escort vessels. The hull sonar system is the same as is mounted on the Shimakaze class guided missile destroyer and was developed in Japan. Otherwise, the system is similar to those mounted on American warship classes.

For additional protection against missiles, the carrier mounts chaff and missile decoy systems. There is also an active jamming system but some missiles can home in on the signals of such systems. As torpedoes are also a major threat, the carriers also have four towed decoys.

As with all carriers, the true firepower of the carrier lies within its air wing. In comparison to United States super carriers, the Japanese carrier has far fewer aircraft. As well, the carrier is limited to VTOL type aircraft. However, the air wing is still impressive. The vessel was designed to embark three squadrons of fighters and attack aircraft. In addition, eighteen support aircraft are carried.

Originally, the VTOL version of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was the main strike fighter carried on the carrier and were supported by V-22 Osprey tilt rotors and conventional helicopters. The fighters were quickly replaced by the F-38 Panther II design and the V-22 Osprey tilt rotors and helicopters were replaced with newer designs which were nuclear powered. The final generation of aircraft embarked include the Sea Hawk and Kingfisher class thrust based VTOL aircraft but fighter squadrons had to be cut from twelve aircraft per squadron to ten per squadron. Embarking the FV-45J would result in a further reductions in fighter compliment, likely reduced to twenty-four fighters. Interestingly, the United States Navy chose to continue embarking the F-38 Panther II on many of their older aviation ships in order to maintain the number of fighters embarked.

The crew is much smaller than one might expect due to automation although the carriers were designed to carry marines as well and can act as amphibious carriers in a pinch. The crew of the carrier is around eight hundred and the ship can carry up to three hundred marines. Up to a hundred of the marines normally are equipped with flying power armors. These ships are fitted to act as flagships.

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: Taiho II class Aircraft Carrier

Vehicle Type: Ocean, Aircraft Carrier

Crew: Ships Crew: 525 (65 Officers and 460 Enlisted [Has a high degree of automation]) Air Wing: 350 (120 Pilots, 20 flight deck officers, 210 enlisted)

Troops: 300 (100 pilots for SAMAS power Armor, 200 soldiers in body armor).

Robots, Power Armors, and Vehicles:

Power Armor Compliment:



PA-04A SAMAS Power Armors.

Fighter/Aircraft Compliment:



EV-84A Kingfisher Utility VTOLs - General Cargo / Search and Rescue Model.



EVE-84A Kingfisher Utility VTOLs - Electronics Warfare Model.



EVS-84A Kingfisher Utility VTOLs - Anti-Submarine Warfare.



FV-45 Sea Hawk VTOL Jet Fighters (24 FV-45J Super Hawk VTOL Jet Fighters.)



V-22N Super Osprey Tilt Rotors - Transport / Search and Rescue Model.

M.D.C. by Location:


Mk 44 Combination Anti-Missile Defense Systems (4, sides):

200 each.


[1] USA-M31 Medium Defense Rail Guns (4, sides):

50 each.


Mk 41 Missile Launchers (32 cell - behind superstructure):



Mk 55 Eight Cell Vertical Medium Range Missile Launchers (2):

300 each.


[2] Phase Array Radar Panels (4, Superstructure):

200 each.


[1] Chaff Launchers (4, superstructure):

10 each.


[3] Elevators (3):

400 each.


Hanger Doors (3):

400 each.


[4] Flight Deck:



[5] Bridge / Command Tower:



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



[6] Main Body:



[1] 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.

[2] Destroying phased array radar panels will destroy the ship’s fire control systems but secondary systems have backup systems and panels can partially compensate for each other. All bonuses are lost if panels are destroyed.

[3] If all three elevators are destroyed, no aircraft can be moved from the hangers to the main flight deck.

[4] If the flight deck is destroyed, VTOL aircraft can be launched or land but at -15% to piloting.

[5] If the bridge/ control tower 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 additional floatation materials 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.


Surface: 39.7 mph (34.5 knots/ 63.9 kph).

Range: 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:    34 feet (10.4 meters) including sonar dome.

Length:  788.2 feet (240.3 meters) waterline and 846 feet (257.9 meters) overall.

Width:   186 feet (56.9 meters) including flight deck and 124.4 feet (37.9 meters) waterline.

Displacement: 38,200 tons standard and 46,500 tons fully loaded

Cargo: 4,000 tons (3,630 metric tons) of nonessential equipment and supplies. 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: Originally conventional gas turbine propulsion, converted to four nuclear reactors with an average life span of 20 years.

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 2 to 5 billion credits. Cost does not include embarked craft and power armors.


  1. Four (4) USA-M31 Medium Defense Rail Guns: Originally M2HB .50 Caliber Machine Guns were fitted in these locations. These weapons are mounted with two on either side of the hull for defense against small boats and similar threats. Not considered effective against aircraft or missiles. These rail gun mounts were identical to those carried on the USA-PA-04A SAMAS power armor although outfitted with a double sized ammunition drum. The rail gun has fewer bursts and is heavier but the rail gun inflicts more damage than the post Rifts C-40R.

    Weight: Rail Gun: 110 lbs (49.9 kg), Double Ammo Drum: 280 lbs (127.0 kg).

    Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,200 meters).

    Mega-Damage: A burst of 40 rounds inflicts 1D6x10. One round inflicts 1D4+1.

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

    Payload: Each has a 4,000 round magazine for 100 bursts.

  2. Four (4) Mk 44 “Sea Sabre” Combination Anti-Missile Defense Systems: Replaces original Mk 15 Vulcan CIWS and Mk 49 RAM launchers. Weapons are mounted on the sides of the ship with two just forward of the superstructure and two on the sides forward of the fantail. 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 missiles 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 (4) 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. One (1) Tactical Length Mk 41 Vertical Launch Missile Launcher: The carrier mounts a single thirty two cell launcher behind the superstructure. This is are the shorter tactical version of the missile launcher and cannot carry the longer cruise missile. From the beginning, the launchers have been found to be very flexible and adaptable. The launcher was originally design for the Standard SM-2 Missile. On Rifts Earth and in the Pre-Rifts United States Navy, the launchers have been adapted to hold two long range missiles, or four medium range missiles per cell. Long range missiles are normally used against aircraft and other large targets, and medium range missiles are normally used against closer targets such as incoming missiles. Anti-Submarine rocket launched torpedoes are also can be fired from the launcher (See revised Rifts torpedoes for details.)

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

    Mega-Damage: As per long range 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 sixteen (16) missiles per melee round and can be fired at multiple targets at the same time.

    Payload: Thirty-two (32) missile cells in VLS launcher (Possible total of 64 long range missiles). Two (2) long range missiles, or four (4) medium range missiles may be carried per cell. Ship carries no reloads.

  4. Two (2) Mk 55 Vertical Medium Range Missile Launchers: Unlike most vertical launch systems, these launchers fire the missiles on a six degree angle to the side. This is because the system was initially designed for carriers and is to prevent a missile that fails on its launch from crashing into aircraft on the flight deck. The missiles are arranged in a two by four pattern, and each launch cell has six reloads. One launcher is mounted on either side of the hull of the cruiser and require much less deck space than a Mk-41 or Mk-49 vertical launch system. Each system can launch up to eight missiles simultaneously each and the launcher is automatically reloaded. These launchers often act as the ship’s middle point defense and are normally used to engage incoming air targets and missiles.

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

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

    Rate of Fire: Each launcher can fire medium range missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2), four (4), or eight (8) medium range missiles. Each launcher operates independently.

    Payload: Eight (8) medium range missiles in each launcher, with forty-eight (48) medium missiles in each magazine for automatic reloads, for a total of one hundred and twelve (112) medium range missiles for both launchers including missiles in launchers.

  5. Four (4) Chaff / Decoy Launchers: Located on the sides of the hull 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.



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



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



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

    Payload: Twenty-four (24) each for a total of ninety-six (96) canisters.

  6. Four (4) Advanced Towed Decoys: The vessel carries four advanced towed decoy drones. They are each a small automated vehicle that creates a false sonar image designed to mimic the vessels. The decoy is dragged behind the destroyer using a cable. If decoys are not destroyed, they can be recovered and repaired. Rifts Earth decoy systems are assumed to not operate against Phase World / Three Galaxies weapon systems due to technological difference.

    M.D.C.: 20 each.

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

    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: One can be deployed at a time and requires two (2) minutes to deploy (reel out) another decoy.

    Payload: Four (4) towed decoys.

Special Systems:

The ship 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. ]

Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

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