Chinese Type 039E & 039F class Attack Submarines:

While the Chinese Navy was the first Asian navy to develop an indigenous nuclear powered submarine design, the backbone of the Chinese submarine were conventional designs until the middle of the Twenty-First century. Prior to the revolution in advanced materials, the Type 039A and Type 039C were the mainstay of Chinese submarine forces with most of the older submarines retired. Even though a number of these submarines were only a few years old, these became obsolete virtually overnight.

Looking at options, a stopgap measure was to refit the submarines with the new materials. However, this was considered sub-optimal in many respects. Even though replacing them with nuclear submarines would be the best option in most respects, conventional submarines are far quicker to build and are far cheaper. As a result, it was decided to authorize construction on thirty-six of these new submarines. Six were laid down as soon as the design process was completes with six more laid down within a couple of years.

As designed, the new submarine was a modified version of the Type 039C. While theoretically the Type 39C was based on the Type 039, the Type 039C would be better to considered a virtually new design and was a fair amount larger. An important modification was the additional of an air independent propulsion system which gave the submarine far greater range than the previous Type 039 class submarine.

The first batch had already entered service, the second batch was almost completed, and a third batch had just been laid down when the whole program was put on hold. This was due to was a second technological revolution, this time in practical fusion power. After some debate, it was decided to complete the second batch as designed but the third batch was delayed while options were considered. All later batches were cancelled although material had already been acquired for the construction of the fourth batch. In the end, it was decided to complete the third batch with fusion reactors replacing the original propulsion systems. These became the Type 039F class submarine.

Over the years, the Chinese navy had become an increasingly blue water force. As a result, it was decided that future submarines would be of larger designs. Eventually an additional twelve Type 095C class submarines were authorized. Still, the Chinese navy decided that it would be worth upgrading the Type 39D to fusion power even though it would involve cutting the submarines in half. It was considered less of an issue than with the larger Type 095B nuclear submarines. There were also no concerns about radiation as their where with the two nuclear submarines. Four of the first batch however were never converted and instead were sold to foreign powers.

Even though considered relatively old, twelve of the fourteen converted boats remained in service when the Great Cataclysm occurred. Two boats were badly damaged in service and were not considered worth repairing. Instead they were used as parts hulks for their other sisters. One Type 039F was found on the beach in Japan, apparently abandoned but the fate of the others is unknown. They could potentially be quite useful to adventurers if discovered and was able to be salvaged.

A major advantage to the new advanced materials is that the Type 093D and 039F could dive far deeper than older submarines. Maximum depth was considered to be around twelve hundred meters, over double that of the Type 039B. In both the conventional and fusion powered versions, these submarines were limited to a top speed of around twenty knots underwater and twelve knots on the surface.

With the original conventional power plant, range was limited to around twelve thousand underwater on diesels, three thousand nautical miles on fuel cells, and six hundred and sixty nautical miles on battery. Of course under conventional power, these submarines would have to travel relatively slow. In contrast, the fusion powered version could keep up a top speed of twenty knots virtually indefinitely.

Over the year, the Chinese navy had been able to study the sonar systems of Russia, France, and Italy. With those, the Chinese navy was able to develop their own indigenous sonar systems. Those on the Type 039D were more of an upgrade on the previous systems on the Type 039C over new systems. Still the sonar systems were generally considered excellent overall. The towed array was mounted in a large external housing as was the case with many Soviet submarines.

Unlike with the larger nuclear submarines, it was decide to retain 533 mm torpedo tubes on the conventional submarines instead of 650 mm tubes. The type 039D was designed with six torpedo tubes and was able to carry up to twenty-four torpedoes. While anti-ship missiles could be fired from the torpedo tubes, these submarines were not designed with a vertical launch system. In later service, the survivors in Chinese naval service were modified with a short range missile launcher in the sail. Otherwise, the submarine relied on decoys and noise makers to protect itself against enemy attacks.

Standard crew was considered to be just under forty, far smaller than Chinese nuclear submarines. In order to reduce crew requirements, these submarines did have a fair amount of automation but was not considered comprehensive. Those converted to fusion power could be operated by a slightly smaller crew than those that remained with a conventional power plant. As with most submarines, crew quarters were considered cramped although still relatively comfortable. Due to space considerations, there were no provisions for naval infantry to be embarked.

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:

Type 039E

Conventional Submarine.


Type 039F

Nuclear (Fusion) Submarine.


 Ocean, Attack Submarine.


Type 039E

38; 6 Officers, 6 chief petty officers, and 26 enlisted.


Type 039F

36; 6 Officers, 6 chief petty officers, and 24 enlisted.

Troop Capacity:



Robots, Power Armors, and Vehicles:


M.D.C. by Location:


533 mm (21 inch) Torpedo Tubes (6, sides of submarine):

80 each.


Short Range Missile Launcher (1, sail - Type 039F):



Towed Array Sonar Housing (aft):



Main Sail:



[1] Sail Planes (2, sail):

120 each.


[2] Pump Jet Propulsor (1):



[3] Main Body:



[1] Destroying the submarine’s sail planes will reduce the submarine’s ability to change depths but will not eliminate it. It also makes it difficult for the submarine’s crew to control the submarine giving a penalty of -25% to all underwater piloting rolls.

[2] Destroying the submarine’s pump jet propulsor causes serious problems. The submarine will no longer be able to use forward momentum and the sail planes to keep the submarine level. It is recommended that ballast tanks are immediately blown so submarine comes to the surface.

[3] Depleting the M.D.C. of the main body destroys the submarine’s structural integrity, causing it to sink. If the submarine is underwater, the entire crew will die unless protected by environmental armors that can withstand the pressure that the submarine is under. If on the surface, there are enough flotation devices and inflatable life rafts to accommodate everyone aboard.


Surface: 13.8 mph (12 knots/ 22.2 kph) maximum and 11.5 mph (10 knots 18.5 kph) normal cruise speed.

Underwater: 23.0 mph (20 knots / 37.0 kph) maximum and 5.8 mph (5 knots / 9.3 kph) normal.

Maximum Depth: 3,940 feet (1,200 meters).

Range: Both versions of the boat carry three (3) months of supplies for crew and troops on board.

Type 039E (Conventional):

Diesel: 17,260 miles (15,000 nautical miles / 27,780 kilometers) at 11.5 mph (10 knots 18.5 kph) on the surface and 13,810 miles (12,000 nautical miles / 22,225 kilometers) at 11.5 mph (10 knots 18.5 kph) while snorkeling.

Battery: 760 miles (660 nautical miles /1,220 kilometers) at 5.8 mph (5 knots / 9.3 kph). Reduce to 50.6 miles (44 nautical miles / 81.5 kilometers) at 23.0 mph (20 knots / 37.0 kph). Requires 48 hours to fully recharge batteries.

Fuel Cell: 3,450 miles (3,000 nautical miles / 5,555 kilometers) at 5.8 mph (5 knots / 9.3 kph).

Type 039F (Fusion): Effectively unlimited due to fusion engines (needs to refuel every 15 years and requires maintenance as well).

Statistical Data:

Draft:    21.98 feet (6.7 meters).

Width:   27.56 feet (8.4 meters).

Length:  257.22 feet (78.4 meters).

Displacement: 3,250 tons surfaced and 3,800 tons submerged.

Cargo: Submarine is very cramped, 8 tons (7.26 metric tons) of nonessential equipment and supplies. Each enlisted crew member has a small locker for personal items and uniforms. Boat’s officers have a bit more space for personal items although still extremely cramped. Most of the boat’s spaces are taken up by extra torpedoes, weapons, and engines.

Power System:

Type 039E (Conventional):Hybrid diesel electric and fuel cell.

Type 039F (Fusion): Nuclear fusion reactors; average energy life of 15 years. Normally refuels every 10 years.

Black Market Price:

Type 039E (Conventional): Not for sale; many nations and organizations would pay one hundred million or more credits for a new and undamaged Type 039E class submarine.

Type 039F (Fusion): Not for sale; many nations and organizations would pay hundreds of millions of credits for a new and undamaged Type 039F class submarine.

Weapon Systems:

  1. Six (6) 533 mm Heavy Torpedo Tubes: On the sides of the submarine are six torpedo tubes with three on each side. Tubes are 21 inches (533 mm) wide and torpedoes can be used against both surface ships and submarines. For warheads, heavy torpedoes should be treated as having long range missile warheads. Along with standard torpedoes, the launcher can also fire missiles (long range or cruise missiles) in special canisters and rocket boosted ASW torpedoes. Submarine normally carries twenty-four reloads for torpedoes (in addition to six torpedoes in the tubes) and can carry up to forty-eight mines in place of torpedoes.

    Maximum Effective Range: 40 miles (34.8 nautical miles / 64 km) for torpedoes.

    Mega-Damage: By heavy torpedo warhead type (See revised Rifts torpedoes for details), can fire missiles (long range or cruise missiles) in special canisters as well (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)

    Rate of Fire: Can fire heavy torpedoes one at a time or in volleys of two (2), three (3), four (4), or six (6) torpedoes. Reloading takes one full melee round.

    Payload: Six (6) heavy torpedoes total [Has twenty-four (24) additional heavy torpedoes for reloads.]

  2. One (1) Sail Mounted Short Range Missile Launcher (Type 039F Only): Not an original weapon system but mounted later on the Type 039F submarines in Chinese service. The submarine has a retractable short range missile launcher on the sail for defense against aircraft although is effective against incoming missiles as well. Launcher can be used while the submarine is up to 80 feet (24 meters) deep and is useful against aircraft hunting the submarine while the submarine is underwater. Short range missiles are usually a mixture of 50% Armor Piercing and 50% Plasma. Launchers can lock onto multiple targets at the same. The systems missile launchers can target up four targets simultaneously and can fire a volley up to twice per melee round.

    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) or four (4) short range missiles and can be fired up to two (2) times per melee round.

    Payload: Thirty-two (32) short range missiles.

  3. Eight (8) Decoys Drones: The submarine carries fourteen decoy drones. They are a small automated vehicles that creates a false sonar image designed to mimic the submarine’s sonar signature. It has a small propulsion system that can simulate movement [has a maximum speed of 13.8 mph (12 knots / 22.2 kph)] and maneuvers. In addition to be able to be used to decoy torpedoes, they can sometimes be used to trick another vessel while the submarine moves into position. If decoys are not destroyed, they can usually be recovered and repaired if they can be retrieved. 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.: 10.

    Range: Not applicable. Decoys do however have a duration of 30 minutes (120 melee rounds) once launched.

    Effects: The decoy has an 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 the decoy has a 10% chance of fooling advanced military sonars (Like those of the New Navy and Triax) and smart torpedoes.

    Rate of Fire: Boat can launch one decoy drone per melee round.

    Payload: Eight (8) decoys drones.

  4. Noisemakers: The submarine carries noisemakers in order to decoy torpedoes. They are most effective against normal torpedoes and less effective against “smart” torpedoes. Considered in many ways to be the last line of defense against incoming torpedoes and similar systems are carried on most submarines. The noisemakers are launched from the middle of the submarine.

    Effects: 50% of decoying normal torpedoes and 20% of decoying smart torpedoes.

    Rate of Fire: Two (2) noisemakers at a time (Can be reloaded in one melee round).

    Payload: Twenty (20) noisemakers.

Special Systems:

The submarine 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 © 2019, Kitsune. All rights reserved.