Australian Swan class Guided Missile Frigate:

In the start of the Twentieth-First Century, the combat arm of the Australian navy was composed of strictly frigates which was later supplemented by three Aegis destroyers of a Spanish design. When you compare the Australian navy for much of the Twentieth Century, it was far larger. It included a battle cruiser, carriers, cruisers, and destroyers. There was quite a bit of criticism on just how much the Australian navy had shrank over the years.

At the Australian navy’s lowest in terms of surface warships, they operated six Adelaide class frigates and eight Anzac class frigates. The Adelaide class frigates were a modified version of the American Perry class frigate while the Anzac class frigates were a derivative of the German MEKO 200 design and operated by both Australia and New Zealand, hence the name. While initially lightly armed, the Anzac class frigates were designed to be upgraded with additional weapon systems and additional electronics.

Although augmented by three Hobart class guided missile destroyers, by the time the Twenty-Thirties rolled around and there was a revolution if high strength materials, two of the older Adelaide class had been retired to provide spare parts for their remaining sisters, Even the Anzac class frigates were becoming a little on the old side although all eight remained serving faithfully.

Even though relatively old, the Australia navy decided to go ahead and upgrade the Anzac class frigates with new composites and alloys. They had been upgraded several times and were considered the most up to date frigates in the Australian navy. However, it was decided to retired the remaining Adelaide class frigates and a new class of replacement frigates would be ordered.

Initial designs for the new frigate were basically an upgraded version of the Anzac design with a maximum weapon fit using the new advanced material technology. There would have been some further updates to the electronic systems although relatively minimal. Eventually this minimalist design was rejected and it was decided to develop a far more capable frigate design with far better missile defense capabilities.

While still based on the Anzac class frigates, the new frigate is almost unrecognizable as being developed from the previous frigate design. Vastly changed from the original Anzac class frigate, the new frigate was both longer and has a vastly altered superstructure compared to the original design.

Named the Swan class, initially only four of these new frigates were planned although this initial order was later increased to six vessels. At the same time, New Zealand at first ordered three of these frigates, later increased to four frigates. The HMAS Swan was laid down in Twenty-Thirty Three and was commissioned three years later in Twenty-Thirty Six. In order to work out any issues with the design, there was a two and a half year delay between the laying down of the HMAS Swan and the next ship of the class. Later frigates followed at the rate of almost one per year.

By the Twenty-Forties, it was decided to retire several of the refitted Anzac class frigates. Originally it was planned to be replaced by a new destroyer class but was eventually dropped due to cost concerns. Instead it was decided to build an additional five Swan class frigates. With a total of eleven frigates, the Swan class form the bulk of the Australian naval forces.

It was not until Twenty Fifty-Three that this changed. Australia became an unofficial member of POMA (Pacific Ocean Military Alliance) with Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan at this time. At that point, a massive expansion program was begun and the importance of the eleven Swan class frigates was greatly reduced. Still, the Swan class frigates were considered an important component of the Australian fleet and were upgraded to extend their service lives.

All eleven remained in service at the time of the Great Cataclysm. There are rumors that one or more Swan class frigates might have survived. One is the HMAS Starling which is rumored to have run aground at Christmas Island and may be salvageable. In addition, the HMAS Sea Eagle is rumored to have survived trapped in Antarctic ice. As far as others, there is less information but it is certainly possible that others might have survived.

With regard to the hull, the Swan class frigate used a modified Anzac class frigate hull which has been lengthened. This gives a better length to beam ratio as well as additional volume and displacement for additional electronics and weaponry. Both the hull and superstructure are designed with a reduced radar cross signature although still considered relatively minimal.

Originally the Swan class frigate was to be powered by four diesel engines for efficient cruising with a single gas turbine engine for high speed operations. During development, the diesel engines were deleted and a pair of gas turbines were fitted instead. At the time, extremely fuel efficient gas turbines were entering service and were closing in on diesel engines with respect to fuel efficiency. In addition, the gas turbines were both far more compact and lighter weight than the diesel engines.

On builder trials, the HMAS Swan did greater than thirty-three knots. One of the changes in the Swan class over the Anzac class was that power is transferred to the twin propellers through electrical transmission instead of reduction gear. The frigate features variable pitch propellers and both the hull and propellers are protected by a bubble masking system.  

With the introduction of fusion turbines, it was decided to replace the original engines with fusion turbines. The fusion turbines produced about twenty-five percent greater power, allowing the frigates an increase of around two knots compared to their original top speed. Still, the real advantage of the fusion turbines was in giving the frigates virtually unlimited endurance.

Instead of the SPS-49 radar system carried on the Anzac class frigate, it was decided to fit the Swan class frigate with SPS-88 single rotating active phased array radar system. Even though the older SPS-49 radar system had over twice the range, the far better tracking and targeting of the SPS-88 was considered worth the trade off. The SPS-88 was carried on a number of other classes including the American Richard E. Byrd class frigates. While the radar system was of American origin, both the hull and towed array sonar systems of the Swan class frigate are British designs.

Forward of the superstructure, the Swan carries a single five inch gun which is a modified version of the American Mk 45 mount. Originally, it was planned to use reconditioned mounts from decommissioned American Spruance class destroyers with only additional armor added. Instead the mounts were completely rebuilt so that they could take advantage of extended range guided munitions.

Just behind the five inch gun mounts are eight Mk 141 missile canisters in two groups of four missiles. Originally the missile canisters were designed to fire RGM-84 Harpoon missiles exclusively but later modified to be able to fire a variety of long range missiles. Even so, anti-ship sea skimming missiles were almost always carried in the canisters.

Behind the frigate’s exhaust stacks, the Swan class carries a twenty-four cell tactical length Mk 41 vertical launch missile launcher. The original Anzac class frigate was designed with only a single eight cell tactical length Mk 41 launcher which could be upgraded to a sixteen cell launcher. While the launcher can fire both medium and long range missiles, normally medium range missiles are carried in the vertical launching system on the Swan class frigates. In some cases a small number of rocket launched torpedoes might be carried as well.

Instead of a Mk 15 Phalanx Vulcan CIWS point defense mount, a Mk 49 RAM (Rolling Airframe Missile) box launcher was originally mounted above the helicopter hanger. These mounts were purchased from the United States and many came from decommissioned American vessels, especially Spruance class destroyers. In later refits, these were replaced by Mk 44 “Sea Sabre” combination anti-missile defense systems. Most were replaced when the original gas turbines were replaced by fusion turbines.

Finally, the Swan class frigate was designed with a triple 324 mm torpedo tube mounting on either side of the hull. These are primarily an anti-submarine weapon although can be effective against surface ships as well. A total of sixty torpedoes are carried.

In reality, the main anti-submarine weapon is the embarked aircraft. The hanger on the Swan class frigate is designed to only carry a single helicopter. Enlarged slightly compared to the Anzac class frigate, the hanger was designed to be able to embark a single V-22 Osprey tilt rotor or a similar sized helicopters. In later service, the EVS-84A Kingfisher was commonly embarked although reserve Merlin helicopter would also sometimes be embarked. Due to the size of the frigate, the Australian navy decided not to attempt to embark any power armors.

Further automation was introduced in the Swan class frigate to decrease crew requirements to just over a hundred compared to over one hundred and sixty for the Anzac class frigate. One of the major selling points for the class was that three Swan class frigates could be manned by approximately the same number of personnel as three Anzac class frigates. Never designed as flagships, these frigates have no facilities for flag personnel.

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: Swan class Frigate.

Vehicle Type: Ocean, Guided Missile Frigate.

Crew: 105; 10 officers, 12 chief petty officers, and 83 enlisted (Has a high degree of automation.)

Troops: 6 Helicopter or VTOL pilots and crew.

Robots, Power Armors, and Vehicles:



Helicopters or other VTOL Aircraft (Usually EVS-84A Kingfisher ASW model).

M.D.C. by Location:





[1] SPS-88 Rotating Active Phased Array Radar System:



Mk 45 Five Inch (127 mm) / 62 Barrel (1, mount):



Mk 45 Five Inch (127 mm) / 62 Mount (forward):



Mk 141 Missile Canisters (8 total, behind Mk 45 mount):

100 each.


Mk 41 24 Cell Tactical Vertical Missile Launchers (1, superstructure):



Mk 44 “Sea Sabre” Combination Anti-Missile Defense System (1, hanger):

200 each.


Mk 32 Triple 12.75 inch (324 mm) Medium Torpedo Launchers (2, sides):

40 each.


[2] Mk 36 Super RBOC Chaff / Decoy Launchers (4, superstructure):

10 each.


Hanger (aft):



VTOL / Helicopter Pad (aft):



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



[3] Main Body:



[1] Destroying the SPS-88 rotating 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.)

[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] 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: 40.3 mph (35 knots/ 64.8 kph).

Range: Effectively unlimited due to fusion engines (needs to refuel every 20 years and requires maintenance as well). Ship carries about four months of supplies on board.

Statistical Data:

Draft:    15.1 feet (4.6 meters) including sonar array.

Length:  404 feet (123.1 meters) overall and 375 feet (114.3 meters) waterline.

Width:   48.6 feet (14.8 meters).

Displacement: 3,550 tons standard and 4,120 tons fully loaded.

Cargo: Can carry 100 tons (90.7 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 two nuclear fusion turbines with an average life span of 20 years.

Black Market Cost: Not for Sale but if found on the black market would probably cost 150 million credits. Cost does not include embarked craft and power armors.

Weapon Systems:

  1. One (1) Mk 45 Mod 4 Single Barrel Five Inch (127 mm) / 62 Naval Gun: The ship mounts a five inch gun on the bow of the ship. The gun is very reliable although it fires at a relatively slow rate (20 rounds per minute). The gun was carried on many ship classes until well into the Twenty First century. The guns can be used against other ships, against ground targets, and against aircraft. The weapon can use special artillery rounds, rocket assisted rounds, and can even fire Extended Range Guided Munitions.

    Maximum Effective Range: 12 miles (10.4 nautical miles/19.3 km) for standard projectiles, 20 miles (17.4 nautical miles/32.2 km) for rocket propelled rounds, and treat Extended Range Guided Munitions as medium range missiles (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)

    Mega-Damage: Standard Projectiles: 2D6x10 to a blast radius of 25 feet (7.7 meters) for High Explosive, 3D6x10 to a blast radius of 6 feet (2 meters) for High Explosive Armor Piercing, and 4D6x10 to a blast radius of 25 feet (7.7 meters) for Plasma. Rocket projectiles: 2D4x10 to a blast radius of 20 feet (6.1 meters) for High Explosive, 2D6x10 to a blast radius of 4 feet (1.2 meters) for High Explosive Armor Piercing, and 3D6x10 to a blast radius of 20 feet (6.1 meters) for Plasma. Extended Range Guided Munitions: Treat as medium range missiles (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.) Use the statistics for 105 mm artillery warheads (Go to Battlefield Artillery for Rifts for more information - standard or rocket assisted as appropriate) when using artillery rounds.

    Rate of Fire: Normal Projectiles: Five (5) shots per cannon per melee round. Extended Range Guided Munitions can be fired at the rate of one (1) shot per melee round.

    Payload: 500 rounds - Each Extended Range Guided Munitions round takes up space for two (2) normal rounds. Ship normally carries usually carries 100 High Explosive, 100 High Explosive Armor Piercing, 100 Plasma, 50 Rocket Propelled High Explosive, 50 Rocket Propelled High Explosive Armor Piercing, and 50 Rocket Propelled Plasma rounds, and 50 Extended Range Guided Munitions. The ship will carry special rounds when employed in artillery roles.

  2. One (1) Mk 44 “Sea Sabre” Combination Anti-Missile Defense Systems: Replaces original Mk 49 RAM launchers. A single system is mounted on the hanger of the frigate and replaces the RAM (Rolling Airframe Missile) launcher. 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 round. 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 missile 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.

  3. One (1) MK-41 Tactical Length 24 Cell Vertical Launch Missile System (1): A very reliable vertical launcher system, dating back from the previous century, made in the USA, and exported to numerous countries. The tactical length version could not carry cruise missiles, and on the Swan class was used almost exclusively to house medium range surface to air missiles. From the beginning, the launchers have been found to be very flexible and adaptable and the launcher can carry two long range missiles or four medium range missiles per cell. Anti-Submarine rocket launched torpedoes also can be fired from the launcher (See revised Rifts torpedoes for details.)

    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 volley of two (2), four (4), or twelve (12) missiles per melee round and can be fired at multiple targets at the same time.

    Payload: Twenty-four (24) missile cells in the VLS launcher (Can carry a total of 96 medium range missiles). Two (2) long range missiles or four (4) medium range missiles may be carried per missile cell although normally medium range missiles carried exclusively. Ship carries no reloads.

  4. Eight (8) Mk 141 Long Range Missile Canister Launchers: These launchers are special canisters mounted in groups of four and just behind the five inch gun mount. 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. Originally designed for the RGM-84 Harpoon missile but adapted for a larger variety of ordnance. 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 missiles, 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), or eight (8) long range missiles with all launchers operating together.

    Payload: One (1) long range missile each launcher for a grand total of eight (8) long range missiles (Has no missiles in storage for reloads.)

  5. Two (2) Mk 32 Triple 12.75 inch (324 mm) Medium Torpedo Launchers: There is one launcher on each side of the ship. Each torpedo launcher has three 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 a total of 60 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 torpedoes one at a time or in volleys of two (2) or three (3) torpedoes per side. Reloading tubes requires two (2) full melee rounds.

    Payload: Three (3) medium torpedoes each launcher for a grand total of six (6) medium torpedoes. Has a total of sixty (60) medium torpedoes for reloads.

  6. Four (4) Mk 36 Super RBOC Chaff / Decoy Launchers: Located on the superstructure of the ship, they are designed to confuse incoming missiles. In addition to chaff these launchers also fired flares to decoy IR guided missiles. 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.

    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: Eight (8) each for a total of thirty-two (32) canisters. Ninety-six (96) reload canisters are carried, reloading takes two melee rounds.

  7. Two (2) SLQ-25F Nixie Towed Torpedo 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 28.8 mph (25 knots / 46.3 kph) and below. Otherwise, the noise of the ship’s systems and propellers are too powerful to mask. 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.: 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:

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Image drawn and copyrighted by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune) & Mischa (E-Mail Mischa).

Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 2003, 2010, & 2017, Kitsune. All rights reserved.