U.S. LPH-14 Belleau Wood class Amphibious Assault Ship:


Budgets were tight in military circles when the revolution in super tough materials made all of the militaries of the world obsolete. This included the largest militaries in the world including the United States military. The navy simply could not afford to replace all of its warships.


A partial solution was to refit older vessels with the new materials but in general that was considered a stop-gap solution. Still, the United States Navy refitted the Wasp class amphibious assault ship with the new alloys and composites. Even then, there were issues including the fact that most of the class used steam plants while there were few other naval vessels still using boilers.


As a result, it was decided that a new class of amphibious assault ship would be developed. In order to keep costs down, it was decided that the design would be comparatively austere. Actually slightly smaller than the Wasp class, these vessels would lack a well deck and concentrate more on aviation assets. Other changes included the reduction of troop compliment and even hospital facilities. The Wasp class had a six hundred bed medical facility while in comparison the new design only had three hundred beds.


Instead of using a combination of diesels and gas turbines as how the last of the Wasp class was powered, the new class would be purely diesel. A modified version of the propulsion system of the San Antonio class amphibious transport dock, it gave the new design a top speed of just under 22 knots, a reduction of around two knots compared to the Wasp class.


The old designation “LPH” for Landing Platform Helicopter was revived for the class. When first entering service, helicopter were far more commonly operated from their decks than in later years. Normal aircraft compliment as built was ten V-22 Ospreys, four CH-53L Super Stallion heavy transport helicopters, four AH-1 Viper attack helicopters, four MH-60 Sea Hawk search and rescue helicopters, and six F-35B Joint Strike Fighters. The vessels could also operate in the pure carrier role with sixteen F-35B fighters and two MH-60 Sea Hawk helicopters.


The ships primary weaponry was based on self defense. It included two Mk 15 Vulcan CIWS, two Mk 49 RAM launchers, and a single Mk 55 vertical launch system. Initially the ship was going to mount a Mk 29 box missile launcher with space set aside for a Mk 49 vertical launch system. In the end, it was decided to upgrade to the new Mk 55 launcher. For sensor systems, older systems were mounted with SPS-48 and SPS-49 radar systems. In fact, they were originally from decommissioned vessels.


Thus the Belleau Wood class amphibious assault ship was developed. Initial plans were for eight of these amphibious vessels to be completed but was cut short at four. No matter what, the criticism of no deck for landing craft dogged the class. Even so, as the newest class of amphibious assault ships, these ships performed critical service for the Navy.


As time went on, the Wasp class suffered increasing mechanical problems and more of the burden fell on the Belleau Wood class. Unfortunately, the next class was delayed as well. Eventually a new class of amphibious assault ship did enter service. This was the Tripoli class and unlike the Belleau Wood class, it did feature a dry deck. It was also larger and in fact slightly larger than the Wasp class.


The Belleau Wood class continued in service even after a number of Tripoli class amphibious vessels were completed. Even without having a dry deck, these ships were considered useful assets. Over the years, these vessels received a number of upgrades. These included the engines replaced, the radar systems upgraded, and point defense weaponry upgraded.


The Mk 15 Vulcan CIWS and Mk 49 RAM launchers were replaced by Mk 44 “Sea Sabre” combination point defense batteries which merge a short range missile launcher with a powerful rail gun. The Mk 55 missile launchers were retained although new missiles made them more effective. Both the SPS-48 and SPS-49 were replaced with a single system, the SPX-1A active phased array radar system. The replacement radar had similar range to the systems it replaced while having far greater tracking ability.


During extended yard periods, the original diesel engines were replaced by fusion reactors. In addition to giving the amphibious assault ship virtually unlimited range, the fusion reactors produced far greater power and top speed was increased to just under twenty-five knots. Even though a major undertaking, it was considered worth converting the Belleau Wood class to nuclear power. Part of the volume originally dedicated to fuel was fitted with additional floatation.


For embarked aircraft compliment, there were a number of new aircraft embarked over the years. Both the V-22 Ospreys and the support helicopters were replaced with fusion powered V-22 based designs. At the same time, the F-35B were replaced by the FV-38 Panther II fighter. The FV-38 fighter was largely based on the F-35B but was fusion powered while retaining the ability to make vertical take offs and landings. The RAH-64E Super Comanche replaced the AH-1Z viper aboard as well.


Another major change was the embarking of power armors. For flight capable power armors, a total of two hundred PA-04A SAMAS power armors were commonly embarked although might embark three hundred where operated in the sea control role. For ground roles, the GPA-01 ground assault power armor were sometimes embarked as well.


In the later part of the Twenty-First Century, the Belleau Wood class were considered second line ships and moved into the active reserve. At the same time, crews and troops became a composite of active and reserve personnel. As a result, the ships continued embarking older aircraft for the most part. Rarely was the EV-84 Kingfisher embarked and the FV-45 Sea Hawk was generally considered too large to operate effectively off the Belleau Wood class. Similarly, the PA-04A SAMAS power armors were generally retained instead of the newer APA-15 “Semper Fi” power armors. In some cases, a small compliment of G10 Glitter Boys have been known to have been embarked.


As reserve units, these amphibious assault ships are all believed to have been near United States waters during the apocalypse. Still, it is quite possible that one or more of the Belleau Wood class survived. With the use of high strength composites and alloys, it might be quite possible to refit and repair one of these vessels if one were found intact.


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: LPH-14 Belleau Wood class Landing Platform (Helicopter).

Vehicle Type: Ocean, Amphibious Assault Vessel.

Crew: 430 (35 officers, 45 chief petty officers, 350 enlisted [Has a high degree of automation])

Troops: 200 pilots for SAMAS power Armor (300 in Sea Control), 100 aircraft pilots / flight crew, and 1,000 marines / soldiers.


Robots, Power Armors, and Vehicles (Standard):

 

Assault

Control

 

Power Armor Compliment:

 

40

0

USA-G10 “Glitter Boy” Power Armors (Occasionally embarked.)

 

200

0

USA-GPA-01 Ground Assault Power Armors.

 

200

300

USA-PA-04A SAMAS Power Armors.

Fighter/Aircraft Compliment:

 

6

16

FV-38 Panther II VSTOL Fighters.

 

4

0

RAH-66E Super Comanche Reconnaissance & Attack Helicopters.

 

16

2

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

 

0

2

V-22N Super Osprey Tilt Rotors - Airborne Radar Model.


M.D.C. by Location:

 

Mk 44 Combination Anti-Missile Defense System (4, flight deck):

200 each.

 

Mk 55 Eight Cell Vertical Medium Range Missile Launcher (1):

300.

 

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

50 each.

 

[2] SPX-1A Active Phased Array Radar System:

200.

 

[1] Chaff Launchers (4, superstructure):

10 each.

 

[3] Elevators (2, sides):

300 each.

 

Hanger Doors (2, sides):

300 each.

 

[4] Main Flight Deck:

2,000.

 

[5] Main Bridge / Superstructure:

1,200.

 

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

80.

 

[6] Main Body:

6,500.


Notes:

[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 the 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.)

[3] If both 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 and helicopters can be launched or landed although 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 -1,000 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: 28.54 mph (24.8 knots/ 45.93 kph). Fitted with bow thruster to increase maneuverability.

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:    26.8 feet (8.17 meters).

Length:  765.5 feet (233.32 meters) at waterline and 810.2 feet (246.95 meters) overall.

Width:   102.4 feet (31.21 meters) at waterline and 132.5 feet (40.39 meters) extreme beam.

Displacement: 33,800 tons standard and 37,500 tons fully loaded.

Cargo: 4,000 tons (3,628 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 diesel propulsion, converted to two nuclear reactors with an average life span of 20 years.

Black Market Cost: Not for sale but would costs around 500 million credits to construct. If found and sold on the black market would probably cost 2 to 3 billion credits. Cost does not include embarked craft and power armors.


WEAPON SYSTEMS:

  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. These weapons are sponsoned out on the sides of the hull below the flight deck. Two are forward and the other two mounts are mounted toward the rear on either side of the rear elevator. 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) Mk 55 Vertical Medium Range Missile Launcher: Mounted on a raised platform forward of the main superstructure. Unlike most vertical launch systems, these launchers fire the missiles on a six degree angle forward. This is because the system was initially designed for carriers and is to prevent a missile that fails on its launch from crashing the vessel. The missiles are arranged in a two by four pattern, and each launch cell has six reloads. 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. Anti-Submarine Rocket Boosted missiles can be carried for special purposes (See revised Rifts torpedoes for details.)

    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: Can fire medium range missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2), four (4), or eight (8) medium range missiles.

    Payload: Eight (8) medium range missiles in each launcher, with forty-eight (48) medium range missiles in magazine for automatic reloads, for a total of fifty-six (56) medium range missiles including missiles in launchers.

  4. 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.

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

  5. 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 vessel 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 weapons 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 © 2017, Kitsune. All rights reserved.



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