French Charlemagne class Pentamaran Command / Aviation Cruiser:

When they entered service, the Jean Bart class amphibious support cruisers often found themselves being used for different roles. With their large number of missiles, good command and control facilities, and large aviation compliment, they were often deployed with non amphibious task forces either as command ships for the air defenses of carriers or on independent duties. There were concerns that when required for amphibious operations that they might not be available.

As a result, it was decided to develop a more general purpose version of the Jean Bart class cruiser. The result was the Charlemagne class command cruiser. In order to reduce development costs as much as possible, it was decided to make as few changes to the design as possible. Of course this also had the advantage of reducing development time as well.

Charlemagne was laid down in Twenty Eighty-Seven and completed in Twenty Ninety-Four. The second ship in class, Charles Martel, was laid down two years later in Twenty Eighty-Nine and completed in Twenty Ninety-Seven. With the two Charlemagne class command cruisers completed, two more were authorized with the Jeanne d’Arc under construction at the time of the Great Cataclysm with the fourth vessel not yet laid down.

These cruiser were often assigned to carrier groups although also often operated in independent command with their own task forces. Due to being faster than older warships, they were often escorted by Deply class frigates, the only vessels with similar top speeds in the French navy. Such task forces had the ability to rush to trouble spots much more rapidly than more conventional designs.

At the time of the Great Cataclysm, the Charlemagne was assigned to the Provence carrier task forces in the North Atlantic while the Charles Martel was operated with her own small task force in the southern Atlantic. The fate of neither of these vessels is known for sure although there is much speculation of one or both being destroyed. Of course the used of high strength composites and alloys means that if one survived, it is quite possible than they might be salvageable.

During development, an early decision was to retain the engineering, hull, and much of the superstructure of the Jean Bart class. The pentamaran hull made for an extremely stable design while the top speed of forty-eight knots make the cruiser able to respond to situations around the globe in far less time than the conventional hulled elements of the French navy. The vessel retained the various noise reduction features of the Jean Bart class, making these extremely quiet vessels for their size.

Even though similar, the designs were not identical. A major change was in the electronic suite, which in term caused the superstructure to be modified. While the DRBW 25C active phased array radar was a vast improvement over previous French radar systems, an even more effective radar system had been developed. The DRBW 28E had even better range and tracking ability than the previous system. Just prior to the Great Cataclysm, there was debate about replacing the radar on the Bretagne class carriers with this more advanced system but events intervened. It was decided however that the backup DRBJ 19C radar system could be deleted in order to compensate for the weight of the large main radar and associated electronics.

As these vessels were expected to operate in the anti-submarine warfare role, it was decided to fit these cruisers with a towed array sonar. While helicopters were usually considered the main anti-submarine platforms, this still greatly extended the ability of the cruiser to detect and track submarines. The multi-array hull sonar system of the Jean Bart class was retained, considered generally an excellent system.

During development, engineers debated modifying the weapon suite. In the end, the engineers decided to retain the weaponry of the Jean Bart class with few modification. Two modifications under discussion had been the replacement of the triple 155 mm electro-thermal gun mount with a twin mounting and a larger vertical launch system amidships. In the case of the gun mount, the development of a twin mounting would have potentially caused serious delays and would have also required the redesign of the deck in that area. With the amidships vertical launch system, there was found not to be adequate space without serious redesign of the entire superstructure. The replacement of the rail guns with additional short range missile defenses was discussed but in the end the original setup was retained.

There were a number of minor changes to the weaponry however. With the removal of the rear secondary radar, some of the space for supporting equipment was able to be used to carry additional 324 mm torpedoes. While usually set aside for the torpedo catapults, they could also be used by embarked helicopters. In addition, while not always carried, up to two quad MM40 long range missile launchers could be carried to either side of the aft Sadral-AL sextuple short range missile launchers. With a total of sixteen long range missiles, usually anti-surface types, this partially compensated for the failure to mount a larger vertical launch system amidship.

Retaining the four helicopter hanger of the Jean Bart class, the Charlemagne class usually carried anti-submarine warfare helicopters instead of transport helicopters. There was some consideration given towards embarking a single airborne warfare helicopter in the place of one of the anti-submarine warfare helicopter to provide over the horizon targeting. Interesting, the troop compliment including power armors was retained. The Charlemagne class could perform the role of amphibious support about as well as the Jean Bart class if required. A final change was that the flagship facilities were slightly expanded.

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: Charlemagne class Command /Aviation Cruiser.

Vehicle Type: Ocean, Command / Aviation Cruiser.

Crew: 226; 16 officers, 28 chief petty officers, and 182 enlisted (Has a high degree of automation). Can embark a flagship staff of up to 32 when acting as a flagship.

Troops: 30 Panthère crew members, 80 Lafayette power armor pilots, and 400 marines with normal body armor and gear.

Robots, Power Armors, and Vehicles:

Power Armor Compliment:



Lafayette Power Armors.

Aircraft Compliment:



Panthère NH110 ASW Helicopters.

M.D.C. by Location:





[1] Thompson-CS DRBW 28E Active Phased Array Radar Panels (4, superstructure):

420 each.


Giat 155 mm / 65 Electro Thermal Cannon Barrels (3, gun mount):

150 each.


Giat 155 mm / 65 Electro Thermal Triple Barrel Gun Mount (1, forward):



Creusot-Loire CIWS Rail Gun Mounts (2, sides):

150 each.


Sylver MRX 64 cell Vertical Launch Systems (1, forward):



Sylver MRX 32 cell Vertical Launch Systems (1, amidships):



MM40 Quad Long Range Missile Canister Launchers (4, above hanger):

250 each.


Sylver LTR 16 cell Medium Range Vertical Launch Systems (2, sides):

250 each.


Sadral-AL Sextuple Short Range Missile Launchers (2, superstructure):

120 each.


Dual KD-73C 12.75 inch (324 mm) Fixed Torpedo Catapults (2, sides):

40 each.


[2] CSEE Sagaie AMBL-7G Chaff / Decoy Launchers (4, superstructure):

10 each.


Hangar (aft):



VTOL Pad (aft):



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



[3] Primary Hull (main body):



[4] Secondary Hulls (2, either side of primary hull):

1,000 each.


[5] Tertiary Hulls (2, either side of primary hull):

500 each.


[1] Destroying the DRBW 28E phased array air search system radar system will eliminate the ship’s long range air search ability but weapon systems have backup fire control systems and panels can partially compensate for each other.

[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. If the secondary hulls are still intact, the ship will sink very slowly and will take a full twenty four hours to sink. This may give the ships crew time to patch the damage to an extent that the ship will float but all propulsion will be destroyed but the ship may be repairable. There are enough life preservers and inflatable life boats to accommodate everyone on the ship.

[4] Destruction of one secondary hull will reduce stability and negate bonuses due to quiet design and for piloting. Destruction of both secondary hulls will give the ship a -20% penalty to piloting and give a bonus of +20% to be detected. Ship’s speed is also reduced to 34.5 mph (30 knots / 55.6 kph).

[5] Destruction of one tertiary hull will reduce stability and negate bonuses due to quiet design and for piloting. Destruction of both secondary hulls will give the ship a -10% penalty to piloting and give a bonus of +10% to be detected. Ship’s speed is also reduced to 46 mph (40 knots / 74.1 kph).


Surface: 55.2 mph (48 knots/ 88.9 kph).

Range: Unlimited due to fusion engines (needs to refuel every 20 years and requires maintenance as well). Ship carries six (6) months of supplies and consumables on board.

Statistical Data:

Height:  112.86 feet (34.4 meters).

Length:  585.96 feet (178.6 meters) waterline 627.30 feet (191.2 meters) overall.

Width:   113.85 feet (34.7 meters).

Displacement: 11,020 tons standard and 13,620 tons fully loaded.

Cargo: Can carry 400 tons (369.9 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: Four 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 500 million or more credits. Cost does not include embarked craft and power armors.


  1. Giat Triple Barrel 155 mm / 65 Electro-Thermal Naval Gun Mount (1): These guns were mounted in a single turret in the front of the vessel. Designed after the American gun of the same diameter and similar caliber, it replaced older designs for the main dual purpose gun system for the French navy. The projectile is loaded into the barrel, behind which there is a “propellant,” which is a dot of light metal. A powerful electromagnetic force is applied to the metal, which causes its atoms to "switch" directions. This happens so violently that the metal turns to plasma, and this expanding gas then drives the projectile forward. The reload system is fully automated and the rate of fire can be maintained as long as the system retains ammunition. While the projectiles have a lot greater range than standard 155 mm projectiles, they carry the same size warheads and inflicts about the same damage. Self guided projectiles can be used for pinpoint accuracy although G.P.S. satellite guided projectiles are no longer useful due to the elimination of the satellites. Guided projectiles are far more expensive. Both non rocket assisted and rocket assisted projectiles are available for the weapon system. Weapon is not designed to use extended range guided munitions and they were not seen as necessary with the great range of the electro-thermal projectiles. Gun mount can rotate 360 and has a 90 arc of fire.

    Maximum Effective Range: 31.1 miles (27 nautical miles / 50 km) for standard projectiles, and 49.7 miles (43.2 nautical miles / 80.0 km) for rocket assisted projectiles.

    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 Assisted 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.

    Use the statistics for 155 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: Up to five (5) single shots per melee round per barrel (Can fire up to fifteen (5) shots per melee round for mount.)

    Payload: 1,500 rounds total

  2. Two (2) Creusot-Loire Rail Gun Close-In-Weapon Systems: One CIWS mount is each side of the superstructure in what are effectively “wings.” Replacing obsolete systems, these point defense systems are surprisingly similar to the later versions of the United States Mk 15 Phalanx weapon system although considered slightly more accurate. Another major improvement when compared to the Mk 15 Phalanx is the use of a six-barrel rapid fire rail gun that fires 20 mm special discarding sabot rounds in the place of an auto-cannon. Has a much greater payload as a result. Like the American Mk 15 Phalanx, the system is unmanned and fully automated. The weapons can be used on surface targets as well as against missiles and aircraft. Each rail gun can fire on automatic at up to six targets per melee (Has +4 to strike missiles and +2 to strike aircraft). The system has a 360 degree rotation and can elevate up to 90 degrees to fire at targets directly overhead.

    Maximum Effective Range: 11,000 feet (2 miles/ 3.2 km).

    Mega-Damage: 3D4x10 per burst of 40 rounds (Can only fire burst).

    Rate of Fire: Each mount can fire six (6) attacks per melee.

    Payload: 8,000 rounds (200 burst) each.

  3. Two (2) Sylver MRX Advanced Capacity Vertical Launch Systems: The ship has one launch systems with sixty four cells and one launch systems with thirty two cells. A French design, the sixty-four cell forward launcher is located between the 155 mm gun mount and the superstructure while the thirty-two cell launch is located amidship between raised areas of the superstructure. The redesigned launchers were built to incorporate the same diversity of missiles that were being designed for the comparable American Mk 41 systems. Each cell could carry a single cruise missile, two long-range missiles, or four medium-range missiles. Cruise missiles are usually used against hardened fixed targets, long range missiles are normally used against aircraft and other large targets, and medium range missiles are normally used against closer targets such as incoming missiles. Anti-Submarine rocket launched torpedoes also can be fired from the launcher (See revised Rifts torpedoes for details.)

    Maximum Effective Range: As per cruise, long range, or medium range missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)

    Mega-Damage: As per cruise, long range, 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 sixteen (16) missiles per melee round and can be fired at multiple targets at the same time.

    Payload: Sixty-four (64) missile cells in the forward VLS launcher and thirty-two (32) missile cells in the midships VLS launcher for a total of ninety-six (96) missile cells (possible total of 192 long range missiles). One (1) cruise missile, two (2) long range missiles, or four (4) medium range missiles may be carried per cell. he ship would often carried sixteen (16) cells loaded with cruise missiles, forty-eight (48) cells loaded with long range missiles (96 long range missiles) and thirty-two (32) cells loaded with medium range missiles (128 medium range missiles.)

  4. Four (4) MM40 Quad Long Range Missile Canister Launchers: These launchers are special canisters mounted in four quadruple mounts above the helicopter hanger but not always carried. These launchers are a slightly modified version of the French MM40 Exocet missile canisters. While the launchers are reusable, they are still inexpensive and are easily jettisoned if damaged although the whole quadruple mount has to be jettisoned. 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: Long range missiles are mounted in four quad launchers with four (4) long range missiles for a total of sixteen (16) long range missiles.

  5. Two (2) Sylver LTR Sixteen Cell Medium Range Vertical Launch System: One is mounted to either side of the superstructure above the secondary hulls. Similar in some respect to the American Mk 55 vertical launch system. As with the American system, these launchers fire the missiles on an eight degree angle to the side. Originally designed to prevent a missile that fails on its launch from crashing into aircraft on the flight deck of a carrier. The missiles are arranged in an two by eight pattern, and each launch cell has two reloads. Each system can launch up to eight missiles simultaneously each and the launcher is automatically reloaded. These launchers act as the ship’s middle point defense and are normally used to engage incoming air targets and missiles. Outer point defense is performed by the air compliment or escorting vessels.

    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: Each launcher can fire medium range missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2), four (4), or eight (8) medium range missiles. Each launcher operates independently.

    Payload: Sixteen (16) medium missiles in each launcher with thirty-two (32) medium range missiles in each magazine for automatic reloads, for a total of ninety-six (96) medium range missiles including missiles in launcher.

  6. Two (2) Sadral-AL Sextuple Short Range Missile Launchers: Mounted forward and aft on the superstructure to give the ship effective short range defense against incoming missiles. A modified version of the Sadral Mistral launcher which incorporated an automatic loading system and able to use a variety of short range missiles. The system is designed to be able to target multiple incoming missiles simultaneously. It can be fired against surface targets as well as against air targets.

    Note: SAM style missiles are missiles that sacrifice payload for higher speeds, see Chris Curtis’ modified missile table for specifics.

    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: Each mount can fire short range missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2), four (4), or six (6) short range missiles and can be used up to twice (2) per melee round.

    Payload: Six (6) short range missiles each launcher for twelve (12) total. The vessel carries forty-eight (48) short range missiles as reloads for each launcher for a total of one hundred and eight (108) short range missiles total. If a launcher is damaged, those missiles cannot be accessed except manually. Sometimes additional missiles are carried in the cargo hold for reloads.

  7. Two (2) Dual KD-73C 12.75 inch (324 mm) Fixed Torpedo Catapults: There are twin catapults for launching torpedoes on each side of the ship. Each catapult could launch 12.75 in (324 mm) torpedoes out to 492 feet (150 meters) from the ship. The torpedo’s motor would then take over, guiding it to its target. Torpedoes are normally used against submarines but can be targeted against surface targets as well. Interceptor torpedoes are also available for launchers to use against incoming torpedoes. Ship carries sixty 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 catapults 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 sixty (60) medium torpedoes for reloads.

  8. Four (4) CSEE Sagaie AMBL-7G Chaff / Decoy Launchers: Located on the superstructure 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 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: Six (6) canisters each for a total of twenty-four (24) canisters. One hundred and ninety-two (192) reloads are carried, reloading takes two melee rounds.

  9. Five (5) Dassault FRN-6F LAT Towed Torpedo Decoys: A special decoy which is towed behind the ship. 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 is 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 four 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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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 2018, Kitsune. All rights reserved.