U.S. FFGN-235 Francis Darcey Nuclear Missile Frigate:
In the dangerous years before the coming of the Great Cataclysm, there was a need for small combat vessels as well as larger warship designs. For the United States navy, this included both frigates and destroyer designs. As for frigates and those which served in the frigate role, the older Tomlinson class frigates and Patriot class litoral combat ships were becoming badly outdated. Most were being slowly phased out of service although some were kept in reserve. That left only the Richard E. Byrd class frigates and they were only produced in limited numbers.
As designed, the Darcey class had many clear advantages when compared to the older guided missile frigates. They have a vastly reduced radar cross signature compared to older classes, they had a far better Aegis type radar suite than previous frigate types, and could carry a far greater number of missiles. Their firepower and size has been classified as between frigate and destroyer by many military authors. Interestingly, the appearance of these frigates had aspects similar to the late Twentieth Century French Lafayette class frigate.
Some initial designs for the ship showed the frigate using a trimaran hull design but it was eventually designed as a single conventional hull design to simplify production. A trimaran design was being developed at the time of the Rifts as a follow-on frigate class to the Darcey class but these new frigates seem to have never laid down.
Similarly to most previous frigate and destroyer classes, these frigates were named for significant individuals. This includes both officers and enlisted personnel of the United States Navy, usually with some kind of historic significance. Many were named for admirals and captains. A smaller number were named after various government secretaries, mostly navy or defense secretaries, and the leaders of friendly nations.
Commander Francis Darcey was the commanding officer of the USS Bunker Hill, a Ticonderoga class cruiser, during the 2012 war with India. Most of the United States Navy was out of position and she ended having to engage an Indian Carrier Battle group with the cruiser and two frigates as escorts. She won although one of her escorts was sunk and the other was badly damaged.
Designed for mass production, these ships were produced in large numbers and was the most numerous warship class in the United States Navy at the time of the Rifts. As a result, there are even a few known to have survived damaged in various locations around Rifts Earth. Since the vessels were constructed using advanced high strength alloys, ceramics, and composites, these ships do not rust away like many older Pre-Rifts ships have.
It is likely that the Coalition has found some examples of these frigates although condition is unknown. It has been speculated that they may have their shipyards produce a warship design more heavily based on the Darcey class frigate instead of the James Bay class destroyer. Of course there may be technical issues involved there are rumors that Free Quebec may be producing a New German Republic ship design.
While the hull of the Darcey class is a single conventional hull and not a trimaran type hull, it is of a wide beam and is also fitted with hull stabilizers. As a result, these frigates are surprisingly seaworthy and stable. In addition to the alloys, composites, and ceramics used in the vessel making it virtually immune to the ravages of the ocean, these advanced materials make the frigate incredibly tough. They are also radar absorbing and with the design of the hull and superstructure to reduce the radar cross signature, the frigate has a very small radar profile for its size.
By the time that the Darcey class was developed, the United States Navy had gone to almost exclusively fusion power for their warships. Older frigates and destroyers had started life having diesel, gas turbine, or a combination of both but the Darcey class was designed using a compact fusion power plant. These destroyers were designed with the incredible top speed of around forty-five knots although more often cruise at around thirty knots.
The previous Richard E. Byrd class frigates had introduced twin screws in U.S. Navy frigate designs and this was retained on the Darcey class because it gave greater maneuverability and redundancy. Other features such as using electrical power transmission instead of traditional shafts powering the propellers were also part of the design. In order to both make the frigate more maneuverable and allow them to go from full speed to full reverse very rapidly, Darcey class used variable pitch propellers.
Various measures were done to reduce these frigates noise in order to facilitate their use in anti-submarine warfare. These include a special bubble masking system for both the propellers and the hull itself. In addition, the machinery was designed to be isolated from the hull. Of course, the electrical transmission of power already was designed to make these frigates extremely quiet.
Even though less powerful in terms of radiating power, the new Aegis type active radar system mounted on the Darcey class frigate was more advanced than that mounted on most larger vessels. Even so, the system does not quite have the range and tracking abilities of the larger systems. As these frigates were designed as anti-submarine warfare platforms, they mount an excellent sonar system with an extremely long ranged towed array.
While much lighter armed than the Delaware class missile cruiser constructed around the same time, the Darcey class frigate is still considered quite well armed and was designed to deal with most situation that it might find itself engaged in. As designed, the Darcey class frigate was to mount a single light weight version of standard cannon, either a five inch or three inch gun mount, but this was replaced by a powerful 100 mm rail gun before construction began. This rail gun primarily fires high velocity solid projectiles but is also able to fire explosive rounds. Mounted near the front of the ship, this rail gun is fitted forward of the superstructure and the ship’s missile launcher battery.
On the raised deck behind the rail gun mount, the vertical launch system is the same basic ninety-six cell that is carried on the Delaware class missile cruiser. However, while Darcey class frigate only carries one battery, the Delaware class cruiser carries two of these vertical launch systems. Each cell has the ability to carry one long range missile or two medium range missiles. In addition to normal long range and medium range missiles, the launchers normally carry several anti-submarine missiles.
For inner point defense, the Darcey class frigate mounts a pair of “Sea Sabre” point defense mountings on the superstructure. They combine a short range missile launcher with a powerful rail gun. Normally the missiles engage incoming missiles first and the rail guns attempt to destroy any that leak through or when the short range missile launchers run out of missiles. The rail guns are also useful against surface targets and small boat attacks.
The Darcey class frigate is armed with quad mount torpedo tubes on either side primarily for use against submarines. In addition to being used against submarines, the ship can engage surface ships and interceptor torpedoes can also be fired from the tubes. The frigate carries a total of sixty torpedoes. In order to increase the speed that the torpedo tubes get reloaded, there is an automatic reload system.
For defensive systems, the Darcey class frigate is reasonably well equipped. This includes both a anti-missile chaff and decoy system for use against missiles along with having towed decoys for use against torpedoes. In addition, the frigate has an active jamming system although there is the risk of missiles homing in on the jamming signature and active phase array radar systems can often frequency hop to avoid jamming.
With a normal crew of around one hundred and ten, the Darcey class frigate does have a marginally larger crew than the older Richard E. Byrd class but still far smaller crew than the old Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate. There is extensive automation to enable the vessel to be operated by such a small crew and the frigate is considered relatively comfortable even though heavily armed. Like most frigates class, the Darcey does not have space to embark any marines although does have body armor and weapons for the ship’s crew if required to prevent boarding.
Finally, the frigate has hanger space to carry up to two helicopters or other VTOL aircraft. Normally these are anti-submarine aircraft. While the Kingfisher was the main anti-submarine aircraft, there was a shortage of the new design. As a result, the Darcey class frigate might end up only embanking one or embarking the older V-22N Super Osprey tilt rotor instead.
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: FFGN-235 class Frigate.
Vehicle Type: Ocean, Guided Missile Frigate.
Crew: 110; 10 officers, 15 Chief Petty officers, and 85 enlisted (Has a high degree of automation).
Troops: 8 Helicopter Pilots or VTOL Pilots / Crews Members.
Robots, Power Armors, and Vehicles:
Helicopters or other VTOL Aircraft (Usually EVS-84A Kingfisher ASW model).
M.D.C. by Location:
 SPS-6S Phase Array Radar Panels (4, superstructure):
Mk 205 Single Barrel 100 mm Heavy Rail Gun Barrel (1, gun mount):
Mk 205 Single Barrel 100 mm Heavy Rail Gun Mount (1, forward):
Mk 44 “Sea Sabre” Combination Anti-Missile Defense System (2, superstructure):
Mk 59 Ninety-Six Cell Vertical Launcher System (1, forward):
Mk 52 Quad 12.75 inch (324 mm) Medium Torpedo Launchers (2, sides):
 Chaff / Decoy Launchers (2, superstructure):
VTOL / Helicopter Pad (aft):
Outer Hull (per 40 foot / 12.2 meter area):
 Main Body:
 Destroying the SPS-6S phased array radar panels will destroy the ship’s fire control systems but guns have backup systems and panels can compensate for each other.
 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.
 Destroying the main body causes the ship to lose structural integrity, causing the ship to sink. There are enough life preservers and inflatable life boats to accommodate everyone on the ship.
Surface: 52 mph (45 knots/ 83 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.
Draft: 15.1 feet (4.6 meters) hull and 24.3 feet (7.4 meters) including sonar dome.
Length: 404.5 feet (123.3 meters) waterline and 442 feet (134.7 meters) overall.
Width: 54 feet (16.5 meters).
Displacement: 3,250 tons standard and 3,825 tons fully loaded.
Cargo: Can carry 200 tons (181.4 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: Two nuclear fusion reactors, average life span is 20 years. Usually only goes 10 years between refueling.
Black Market Cost: Not for sale but if found on the black market would probably cost 300 million credits or more. Cost does not include embarked craft and power armors.
One (1) Mk 205 Single Barrel Hyper Velocity 100 mm Heavy Rail Gun: Main weapon which is mounted in a gun mount position near the bow of the ship. The 100 mm heavy rail gun has better range than comparable sized standard cannons, inflicts greater damage to armored targets, and has a higher payload due requiring to no storage of propellant charges. While this rail gun normally fires a solid dart of high strength alloy material that does massive damage to targets that it hits, it can also fire explosive warheads for softer targets and against aircraft. The rail gun mount has the ability to rotate 360 and can tilt up to 90 degrees and is considered useful against both ground and air targets. In addition, the weapon system is also gyro-stabilized and has an advanced fire control computer. However, using solid dart rounds, the cannon is less effective at targeting fast moving targets such as aircraft, missiles, and flying power armors.
Maximum Effective Range: Direct Fire: 15 miles (13.03 nautical miles / 24.1 km). Indirect Fire: 45 miles (39.1 nautical miles / 72.4 km.)
Mega-Damage: A single solid dart round inflicts 5D6x10+20 M.D.C. (optional rule is that cannon gets a critical on a natural 18, 19, or 20 due to its high penetration). Can also use Standard High Explosive rounds that inflict 1D4x10 with a blast radius of 16 feet (4.88 meters). High Explosive Armor Piercing inflicts 2D4x10 with a blast radius of 8 feet (2.44 meters).
Rate of Fire: Maximum of four (4) shots per melee round.
Payload: 1,200 rounds. Ship normally carries 600 solid dart rounds, 400 high explosive rounds, and 200 high explosive armor piercing rounds.
Bonuses / Penalties: +2 to strike against ground / surface targets. Solid dart rounds have -2 to strike against aircraft, missiles, and flying power armors. No penalties for explosive rounds against fast moving targets.
Two (2) Mk 44 “Sea Sabre” Combination Anti-Missile Defense Systems: One system is in the rear of the superstructure just before the helicopter hanger and the other is on the front of the superstructure just before the bridge. 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 (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.
One (1) Mk 59 Vertical Launch Missile Systems: Launching cells are located forward behind the 100 mm rail gun mount on a raised deck. The system is similar to the vertical launch system employed on many ships in the late twentieth century to launch the SM-2 series missile but since the missiles are smaller they have a reload system that reloads from under the launcher and can reload within 15 seconds. The launcher have a total of ninety-six individual cells and is eight missile cells longs by twelve cells wide. The launcher can fire up to half its total payload per melee. The launcher can use a vast variety of missiles including surface skimming missiles and rocket propelled torpedoes (See revised Rifts torpedoes for details.) Each cell can carry one long range missile or two medium range missile. The reload for the cell must carry the same load as the main cell. Long range missiles are normally used against large targets and aircraft further out where the medium range missiles will normally be used to engage closer targets. About half of all long range missiles carried are fusion warheads and most missiles are normally smart missiles.
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 volleys of two (2), four (4), eight (8), sixteen (16), thirty-two (32), or forty-eight (48) missiles for the whole launcher per melee round. Missile cells are automatically reloaded and are ready to fire next melee.
Payload: Ninety-six (96) missile cells in launcher with reload systems for each cell (one reload each cell). One (1) long range missile or two (2) medium range missiles may be carried per cell but reload must be the same load out as well. The ship will often carry twenty-four (24) cells with two medium range missiles each and the other cells loaded with one long range missile each.
Two (2) Mk 52 Quad 12.75 inch (324 mm) Medium Torpedo Launchers: Mainly design for anti-submarine warfare but can be used against surface targets. Interceptor torpedoes are also available for launchers / tubes to use against incoming torpedoes. There is one launcher on each side of the ship with four tubes each. The tubes have an automatic reloading system and can be fired quickly. The ships carries a total of 60 torpedoes for reloads. Treat warheads as medium range missile warheads.
Maximum Effective Range: 20 miles (17.4 nautical miles / 32 km) for standard torpedoes.
Mega-Damage: By medium torpedo warhead type (See revised Rifts torpedoes for details.)
Rate of Fire: Can fire medium torpedoes one at a time or in volleys of two (2) or four (4) medium torpedoes per side. Launcher can fire a maximum of two (2) volleys of torpedoes per melee each launcher.
Payload: Four (4) medium torpedoes each launcher for a grand total of eight (8) medium torpedoes. Has an additional sixty (60) medium torpedoes for reloads.
Two (2) Chaff / Decoy Launchers: Located on the superstructure of the ship, they are designed to confuse incoming missiles. Both 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 differences. 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.
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 forty-eight (48) canisters.
Four (4) SLQ-52B Naiad Advanced Towed Torpedo 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 frigate using a cable. If decoys are not destroyed, they can be recovered and repaired. 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 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.
The ship has all systems standard on a robot vehicle plus the following special features:
SPY-6S Three Dimensional Active Phased Array Radar System: Miniaturized version of the system carried on the Delaware class cruiser that is less powerful but still very capable. The incredibly advanced radar and computer system first developed before the coming of the Rifts and is similar to the system as that which is carried on Coalition Navy vessels. Powerful and flexible active phased array radar system that is comprised of four panels that each emit radar waves. Active phased array radar systems are harder to detect and jam due to being able to rapidly jump across frequencies. System can track out to and can simultaneously track and identify up to 768 targets. As well, the system controls missiles launched from the missile launchers and the system can track and guide each individual missile to an individual target for up to 192 targets. If a target is eliminated, missiles are automatically guided to a new target. The system can also control missiles launched from other linked vessels as well and can also act as fire control for gun mounts. Range: 600 miles (521.4 nautical miles / 966 km), subject to the radar horizon. Bonuses: The system gives +10% to Read Sensory Instrument skill rolls, +2 on initiative, and +1 to strike.
SQS-84 Advanced Hull Sonar: Mounted under the bow of the ship. This hull sonar system has both a passive and active system built in and sonar system can track up to 32 targets at one time. Range: 25 miles (21.7 nautical miles / 40.2 km). Bonuses: Sonar gives +10% bonus to Read Sensory Instruments and Weapon Systems skill rolls.
SQR-35 Advanced Towed Array Sonar System: The system is basically a long and very sensitive sonar system carried behind the ship on a long cable. This towed array sonar system has both a passive and active system built in. Sonar system can track up to 64 targets at one time. Range: 100 miles (86.9 nautical miles / 160.9 km).
SLY-6 Advanced Integrated Electronic Warfare Suite: Combination of radar / radio detection system (ESM) and an active jamming (ECM) system. The system can detect another radar system at around 125% of the range of the transmitting radar and is usually subject to radar horizon. This includes the ability to detect radar guided weapons. Can be used for limited targeting. In jamming mode, causes -25% to detection but when it is active, other vehicles/ bases can detect that it is jamming, and some missiles will home in on jamming signals. Some missiles also have AESA type radars themselves and/or have backup infra-red sensors. Jamming also causes a -4 penalty to all radar guided weapons. Can be used to jam a wide area or for focused jamming against several targets.
Sonar Masking System: The ship uses air bubbles to form a barrier against sonar combined with general noise reduction features and an anechoic hull coating. Bubble masker protects both the hull and propellers against detection. Gives a -20% penalty to any Read Sensory Instrument skill rolls to detect this ship using sonar and bubble masker reduces ability to classify vessel.
Radar Defeating Profile & Radar Absorbing Materials: The ship’s superstructure and hull are designed so that the radar profile of the ship is reduced and the ship is covered with radar absorbing materials. Because of this, attempts to detect the ship using radar are made with a -40% penalty to any Read Sensory Instrument skill rolls when attempting to detect this ship and vessel will appear to be smaller on radar than it would otherwise. Go to General Detection Penalties / Bonuses for more information on penalties and bonuses to use with stealth.
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Image drawn and copyrighted by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).
Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).
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