REEF FFL-1 Tarantula class Strike Corvette:

When the REEF set up their base of operations in Florida, they needed to look to a way of supporting their community. Early on, it was decided to set up a company known as Southern Cross Manufacturing. The plan was to produce military hardware both for their own forces and for export.

As manufacturing expanded, it was decided to get into naval ships production as well as aircraft, power armors, and small arms. One of the original naval designs to come out of their facilities is the Tarantula class corvette. Some might consider it to be a light frigate as well. Comparatively cheap to build, it was designed both for service in the REEF military as well as for export.

Currently four vessels have been completed with two in service with the REEF navy and two more having been exported to Columbia. Columbia became interested in the vessel after Iron Heart Industries was destroyed by the Coalition. Four more of these corvettes are under construction with plans in place for the building of twelve more. Currently, the Super Piranha submersible attack boat has taken priority as far as construction for the REEF.

These plans are currently under review due to the fact that interest in the design has been comparatively modest compared to many of the company’s power armor and aircraft designs. Several other companies build vessels of similar roles which creates quite a bit of competition. This is in spite of the fact that the Tarantula could be considered superior to most designs filling the same role.

Even in service with the REEF, there is debate about replacing the craft with a more advanced design. Recently the REEF has been able to study the new Surface Effect Ship (SES) design produced by Triax for the New German Republic and the possibility of developing something similar is being considered. The design is considered faster, is able to operate in shallower waters, and features radar reducing materials for a much smaller silhouette. Of special concern is that there are a large number of rivers and shallow lakes in what was once called Florida which the Tarantula is unable to operate in. In addition, the REEF is considering simply continuing to produce their modified version of the Piranha vessel which is both a hydrofoil and a submersible vessel.

As far as the basic of the design of the Tarantula, the REEF discovered the remnants of an old Soviet Tarantul class corvette from the late Twentieth century. It had found its way into a museum in North America. While not considered worth rebuilding, it was able to form the basis of the design for the Tarantula class corvette. The design is one of the first indigenous designs by Southern Cross Manufacturing. Previous efforts had been rebuilding vessels from prior to the Great Cataclysm.

While the vessel is not considered truly a shallow water design, it is able to operate in larger lakes and even some rivers. Even though relatively small, it is also considered capable of open ocean operations. Both the REEF and Columbia do generally prefer to operate their vessels close to the coasts however.

Compared to the Triton which Iron Heart Industries produced, the Tarantula has a slightly lower top speed. Normal top speed is considered to be forty five knots. The boat uses a pair of fusion turbine aircraft engines in order to provide enough power with a pair of variable pitch propellers. The variable pitch propellers allow for much faster speed changes and increases maneuverability. Unlike similar engines on many aircraft, there are no issues with overheating due to using the water for cooling.

Unlike the Triton, the Tarantula is a conventional hull design. In order to allow for more rapid construction, the vessel is designed with modular construction techniques. Whenever possible mercantile standards are used in the construction of these vessels to reduce cost. As well, off the shelf systems are used whenever possible. One issue with any replacement design would be to keep costs down as much as possible.

As designed, these corvettes were considered fast strike boats. However, in normal service these vessels have operated far more in the patrol role. How well they might perform in their original role is under some debate although the crews of these boats generally like them. Over time the weaponry has evolved slightly. When the Tarantula first entered service, it was used to test a variety of different weapon systems.

Various lightweight gun mount systems were considered during developed. Eventually however it was decided to mount in the bow a TX-862FC flack cannon from the Triax Hunter (Jaeger) class robot vehicle. The Tarantula herself uses one acquired through grey market channels but later vehicles mount a copy of the Triax flack cannon. Originally the Tarantula mounted a WI-GL21 Automatic Grenade in the fantail. This was later however upgraded with a mount that retains the automatic grenade launchers but pairs it with an 81 mm electromagnetic mortar.

For its size, the corvette has reasonable self defense capabilities. This includes a pair of laser mounts with one mounted on the forward superstructure and the second mounted on the after part of the superstructure. Each are close copies of the Kittani K-1000 Spider Defense Mount although they are fixed mounts instead of mobile and pull power directly from the vessel. Supplementing this is a short range missile launchers mounted behind radar mast. The launcher has a total of thirty-six short range missiles with twelve ready to fire. The better range means that they can engage missiles and aircraft before the close range point defense mounts can engage.

As originally designed , these vessels were meant for fast strike roles. As such, they are heavily armed with long range missiles. These are bolt on units designed to be easily jettisoned with two sets of four on each side of the vessel. Their design is a close copy of the Mk 141 Harpoon canisters used by the United States navy for many decades although is modified to be able to fire a variety of long range missiles. The design does incorporate lighter weight composite materials than the original canisters. Anti-surface missiles are predominant however. The general tactic is to launch missiles and make a run for it in the confusion that hopefully results.

During the development of the vessel, the designers decided to give the corvette limited anti-submarine warfare capabilities. This includes a pair of 324 mm torpedo tubes on either side of the vessel. They are manually loaded however, giving a relatively limited rate of fire. In addition, only twelve torpedoes are carried for reloads. These can be fired at other surface ships as well and decoy and interceptor torpedoes can also be fire from the torpedo tubes.

Electronic systems are based on pre cataclysm systems which they were able to copy and miniaturize. Many systems were copied originally from the frigate U.S.S. Tomlinson.   Whenever possible, these systems were miniaturized. In general the systems are considered relatively capable but there is a fair amount of discussion around upgrading systems when new systems become available.

The radar is based on the venerable SPS-49 radar system. While it is relatively long ranged, it is not a phased array radar array or even a true three dimensional radar type. As such, the system does not have the tracking ability of more advanced systems. Some consideration is being given towards replacing it with a more sophisticated even if shorter ranged system. Various rotating phased array radar systems are being considered and the same system may also replace the SPS-49 on the Wolverine.

Unfortunately the hull sonar of the U.S.S. Tomlinson was simply too large to mount on the Tarantula. As a result, a smaller sonar array need to be developed. The REEF was able to get a look at the SQS-56 mounted on the Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate and develop a smaller sonar system based on their examination. Unfortunately it is far shorter ranged than the SQS-53 mounted on the U.S.S. Tomlinson. The towed array sonar however is more capable, based on the SQR-19 towed array on the U.S.S. Tomlinson. In both cases the sonar systems are not as advanced as later systems.

Similar to other systems, the electronic warfare system come from the U.S.S. Tomlinson and contains a powerful jamming array along with its radar detection ability. Luckily, the system was relatively capable and with upgrades can deal with most modern radar and electronic warfare suites with their ability to leap across frequencies. Interestingly, few military forces since the Great Cataclysm both much with electronics warfare.

Besides active self defense systems, the vessel does have a number of more passive self defense systems. While a quite venerable system, the corvette uses chaff and flare to protect it against missiles that make it through the vessels other defenses. For protection against torpedoes, the vessel mounts a miniature towed decoy system. To reduce the sonar signature of the vessel, it has a bubble masker as part of both the hull and the propellers. At high speeds, the system is considered not particularly effective. One criticism is that the vessel does not feature any reduction in its radar cross signature.

Standard crew is considered to be twenty-five with two officers and three senior petty officers. The two officers share a single stateroom with the three senior petty officers also sharing a stateroom. Otherwise, the boat has two ten man staterooms. The boat is fairly cramped although not considered any worse than most vessels of similar size. The corvette is designed to operate without resupply for several months although rarely operates for long periods away from their home base.

Finally, the vessel also has the ability to embark twelve power armors. Usually, REEF vessels have only six troops embarked due to the current shortages of power armor troopers. It is hoped that eventually this will be able to be improved. Standard REEF power armors are the Katana SAMAS power armor and the vessel usually embarks one underwater power armor.

Model Type: FFL-1 Class Corvette (Light Frigate).

Vehicle Type: Ocean & Waterway, Corvette (Light Frigate).

Crew: 25; 2 officers, 3 chief petty officers, and 20 enlisted (has a high degree of automation).

Troops: 12 power armor troops (6 pilots for Katana SAMAS power armors currently on REEF vessels).

Robots, Power Armors, and Vehicles:



Aqua-Tech LEA-50 Deep Sea Power Armors.



Flying Power Armors (6 REEF PA-03 Katana SAMAS Power Armors on REEF Vessels)

M.D.C. by Location:





[1] RDR-2D Compact Two Dimensional Air Search Radar Mast (superstructure):



FCF-1B Recoilless Anti-Aircraft Flack Cannon Mount (1, forward):



CWS-1 Combination Electromagnetic Mortar / Automatic Grenade Launcher (fantail):



[2] LPDS-1000 Light Point Defense Systems (2, Superstructure):

50 each.


LRM-4-LW Long Range Missile Canisters (16 total, 4 each side):

80 each.


SRM-36 Short Range Missile Launcher (1, rear):



MTT-2 Dual 12.75 inch (324 mm) Medium Torpedo Launchers (2, sides):

35 each.


[2] CD-4 Chaff /Decoy Launchers (2, superstructure):

10 each.


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



[3] Main Body:



[1] The RDR-2D radar system is for long range tracking but can be used for crude targeting as well. Missiles rely mostly on onboard tracking and targeting systems otherwise.

[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] Depleting the M.D.C. of the main body destroys the vessel’s structural integrity, causing it to sink. There are enough flotation devices and inflatable life rafts to accommodate everyone aboard.



Surface: 52 mph (45 knots/ 83 kph)

Range: Unlimited due to fusion engines (needs to refuel every 10 years and requires maintenance as well). Vessel carries two (2) months of supplies on board.

Statistical Data:

Draft:    8.20 feet (2.5 meters) hull and 9.19 feet (2.8 meters) including sonar array.

Length:  175.52 feet (183.5 meters) waterline and 190.29 feet (58 meters) overall.

Width:   39.37 feet (12 meters).

Displacement: 500 tons standard and 580 tons fully loaded.

Cargo: Can carry 20 tons (18.14 metric tons) of nonessential equipment and supplies. Each enlisted crew member has a small locker for personal items and uniforms. Vessel’s officers have more space for personal items. Most of the vessel’s spaces are taken up by extra ammo, armor, troops, weapons, and engines.

Power System: Nuclear Reactor, average life span is 10 years. Usually only goes 5 to 7 years between refueling.

Black Market Cost: The REEF in an effort to sell more of them sells them keeps the at a relatively low price of 250 million credits. Cost does not include embarked craft and power armors.


  1. One (1) FCF-1B Recoilless Anti-Aircraft Flack Cannon Mount (Bow): The cannon is mounted in a protective gun in the front of the ship. The weapon is a single barrel cannon system that is identical to the TX-862FC with the exception that the weapon’s ammunition bins are larger. The cannon mount can rotate 270 degrees and the barrel can tilt up to 90 degrees. It is normally used for anti-aircraft purposes but also works quite well in the role of short range artillery.

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

    Mega Damage: Single Round: 4D6 M.D.C., Two Rounds: 1D6x10 M.D.C., and Six Rounds: 3D6x10 M.D.C.

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

    Payload: Total of 1,200 rounds for the gun mount. That is 200 volleys of 6 rounds, or 600 two round volleys.

    Special Feature: The flack cannon has both and independent power supply and its own laser targeting and radar tracking system (especial useful if radar system is destroyed). Sensor has a range of 11,000 feet (3353 meters). The system can also be set on automatic which gives it +1 to strike and three (3) attacks per melee round and will fire two round burst. Gives +2 when fired by gunner.

  2. One (1) CWS-1 Combination 81 mm Electromagnetic Mortar / Automatic Grenade Launcher: Mounted on the rear of the ship just aft of the short range missile launchers is a weapon mount combining a. MI-EMM-80 81 mm electromagnetic mortar and a WI-GL21 automatic grenade launcher. The mount has 270 degree rotation. Mortar is used for indirect fire while the grenade launcher is to deal with close threats.

    Maximum Effective Range: Electromagnetic Mortar: 20,000 feet (7,620 meters) [Minimum range of 250 feet (76.2 meters)]. Automatic Grenade Launcher: 3,000 feet (914 meters).

    Mega-Damage: Electromagnetic Mortar: 1D6x10 for Fragmentation with a blast area of 25 feet (7.6 meters), 2D4x10 for High Explosive with a blast area of 15 feet (4.6 meters), 2D6x10 for Armor Piercing with a blast area of 5 feet (1.5 meters), and 2D6x10 for plasma rounds with a blast area of 25 feet (7.6 meters). The launcher can also fire smoke, illumination, and chemical rounds. Automatic Grenade Launcher: 4D6 for Fragmentation with a blast area of 12 feet (3.7 meters) and 1D4x10 for Armor Piercing with a blast area of 3 feet (0.9 meters), burst of 10 rounds does 2D6x10 for Fragmentation with a blast area of 40 feet (12.2 meters) and 3D6x10 for Armor Piercing with a blast area of 8 feet (2.4 meters).

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

    Payload: Electromagnetic Mortar: 120 rounds ready to fire (120 additional rounds in vessel’s magazine). Automatic Grenade Launcher: 800 rounds ready to fire (1,600 additional rounds in vessel’s magazine).

  3. Two (2) LPDS-1000 Light Point Defense Systems: Based on the K-1000 Spider Defense Systems although fixed in place instead of being mobile platforms. They are a fully automatic point defense system. Located on the superstructure, one is in the forward and other is in the after part of the superstructure. The systems are connected to the ships power supply so that it has unlimited shots. Weapon system normally is used as an anti-missile defense. Instead of the system having its own independent power system, power is pulled from the ship and have effectively unlimited payload. Replacing the original smoke grenades, the mounts carry four prismatic aerosol grenades each for protection against lasers. Other grenades can be used as well but are rarely used.

    Maximum Effective Range: Laser: 4,000 feet (1,200 meters) for light blasts and 3,000 feet (915 meters) for heavy blasts. Electrical Blaster: 20 feet (6 meters). Grenades: 100 feet (30.5 meters).

    Mega Damage: Laser: 4D6 for light blasts and 1D4x10 for heavy blasts. Electrical Blaster: 3D6 S.D.C. Grenades: See writeups on grenades for further details on grenades.

    Rate of Fire: Autonomous: Six (6) attacks per melee round (+2 to strike) - grenades are fired on at a time. Manual: Equal to number of combined hand to hand attacks of the gunner (usually 4-6).

    Payload: Laser: Effectively Unlimited. Electrical Blaster: Effectively Unlimited. Grenades: Total of four (4) grenades - usually two smoke and two prismatic aerosol grenades.

  4. Sixteen (16) LRM-4-LW Long Range Missile Canisters: These launchers are special canisters that are located on the fantail of the ship. They mount on the deck of the vessel and are effectively bolted on. While the launchers are reusable, they are still inexpensive and are easily jettisoned if damaged. Close copy of the U.S. Mk 141 canisters originally designed for the RGM-84 Harpoon missile but adapted for a larger variety of ordnance and designed to be lighter weight. While any long range missile type can be carried, usually special surface skimming missiles will be carried in launchers and are used against surface targets only.

    Maximum Effective Range: As per long range missile type (Surface skimming missiles have 25% less range than normal long range missile, see revised bomb and missile tables for details.)

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

    Rate of Fire: Can fire long range missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2), four (4), eight (8), or sixteen (16) long range missiles with all launchers operating together.

    Payload: One (1) long range missile each launcher for a grand total of sixteen (16) long range missiles (Has no missiles in storage for reloads.)

  5. One (1) SRM-36 Short Range Missile Launcher: The missile launcher is mounted just forward of the automatic grenade launcher / mortar mount. Launcher has a thirty-six short range missiles and fills a similar role to the old U.S. GDC Mk 49 Rolling Airframe Missile Launcher. Twelve missiles are ready to fire. This launcher’s primary purpose is to engage incoming missiles. Short range missiles are usually a mixture of 50% Armor Piercing and 50% Plasma. Launchers can lock onto multiple targets at the same. The system’s missile launchers can target up four targets simultaneously.

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

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

    Rate of Fire: Can fire short range missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2), four (4), six (6), or twelve (12) short range missiles.

    Payload: Thirty-six (36) short range missiles in launcher [Has an additional thirty-six (36) missiles for reloads kept in storage. Reloading launcher requires six minutes (10 seconds per missile); twice as long if the crew is not familiar with the loading procedure.)

  6. Two (2) MTT-2 Dual 12.75 inch (324 mm) Medium Torpedo Launchers: There is one twin launcher on each side of the vessel behind the long range missile launchers. Each twin torpedo launcher has two torpedo tubes and tubes are 12.75 in (324 mm) wide. Torpedoes are normally used against submarines but can be targeted against surface targets as well. Interceptor torpedoes are also available for launchers / tubes to use against incoming torpedoes. Ship carries twelve reloads for torpedoes. For the most part torpedo warheads are equal to 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) medium torpedoes per side. Reloading tubes requires two (2) full melee rounds.

    Payload: Two (2) medium torpedoes each launcher for a grand total of four (4) medium torpedoes. Has an additional twelve (12) medium torpedoes for reloads.

  7. Two (2) CD-4 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 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: Four (4) each for a total of eight (8) canisters.

  8. Two (2) TDQ-2A 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 below 25 knots. 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 systems due to technological difference.

    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 one 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:

[ 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. ]

[ Macross®, Robotech®, Robotech: Sentinels®, SDF-1®, Southern Cross®, and Zentraedi® are registered trademarks owned and licensed by Harmony Gold USA, Inc. ]

Picture by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 1998 to 2001, 2010, & 2019, Kitsune. All rights reserved.