French Saphir class Fast Attack Submarine:

While the French government had done some limited upgrades to their military forces during the first half of the Twenty-First century, the state of their forces was often considered to be at deplorable levels by the leaders of the military. The reality was that the majority of their equipment was quite old and much was worn out and outdated.

With the resurgence of colonial Britain in the Twenty-Fifties, the French government “woke up” to the fact that they had lost their status as a world power. In order to make up on lost ground, the French government funded a enormous military build-up program to re-equip its military in all areas. The army, navy, and air force all received funding for projects, especially those dedicated to colonial expansion and enhancing global presence.

In the late Twenty-Forties, the French government ordered the retirement of the Le Triomphant class ballistic missile submarines, effectively giving up French strategic forces. However, France’s fleet of Nymphe class attack submarines remained in service patrolling in hostile waters and occasionally engaging enemy forces. The majority of these attacks were cruise missile strikes against land targets.

The Améthyste had long been retired by this point and the refitted Suffren class were in the process of being retired with only two remaining in service. They had been delayed to allow time for the two conventional nuclear powered Nymphe class to be refitted with fusion plants. Still, the remaining Suffren class were considered overdue to be retired.

At this point it was decided to massively increase the submarine forces. Instead of developing the new submarine class from the prior submarine class, it was decided that the new submarine class as a virtual “Clean Sheet” design, taking advantage of all of the current technologies. In addition, the French admiralty wanted a more capable boat with much expanded littoral warfare stand-off attack capabilities.

However, the enormous cost of the various new programs under development by the French military were economically taxing. These included developing and building the Bretagne class aircraft carriers, Chevillon light tank, Hering anti-aircraft tank, and Weygand missile vehicle as well as upgrading the Super Rafale using new composites as well as with new weapons and sensors. As a result, funds for new programs were very tight. Instead of developing a new multi-mission submarine to fulfill all the needs of the French Navy, it was decided for the time being that only a dedicated fast attack submarine design would be pursued.

What was eventually developed became the Saphir class. Although a bit larger than the prior Nymphe class, these new submarines were still smaller than the boats of most navies. Unlike the Nymphe class and the previous Suffren class with cigar shaped hulls, the Saphir class fast attack submarines featured a more streamlined tear-drop shaped hull. While actually slightly shorter than the Nymphe class, the Saphir class was slightly wider than the previous class.

It was decided to mount a number of long range missile tubes just forward of the main sail in order to give the new fast attack submarine the ability to carry a greater number of missiles than prior classes. While the warhead is smaller, long-range missiles had a similar range to cruise missiles and were capable against aircraft as well against ground targets. A total of twelve long range missiles could be carried.

For torpedo weaponry, three twenty-one inch torpedo tubes were located along each side of the hull for a total of six tubes. Prior French fast attack submarine designs only mounted four torpedo tubes. Unlike the Nymphe class, reloading itself was done by a fully automated magazine with a total of thirty-six torpedoes able to be carried.

In addition to torpedoes and missiles, the Saphir class submarine carried a retractable blue/green laser turret on the after part of the sail. This was designed as a defense against both torpedoes and missiles although many captains considered it of limited effectiveness. Even so, the weapon system was retained in later French submarine designs.

The move of the torpedo tubes on the Saphir class was in part to allow for a much larger and powerful bow array to be mounted. In addition, a quite powerful towed array sonar was also mounted. Like most submarines, an extensive decoy system was also carried on the Saphir class.

Even thought later Nymphe class had replaced the conventional nuclear reactor with a fusion reactor, the Saphir class was designed from the beginning with a fusion plant. Top speed was around thirty-six knots, a bit slower than American and British submarines from the same period but still considered adequate. Power from the power plant was transferred using an electrical transmission and the entire propulsion was incredibly quiet. As well, the submarines used a shrouded pump jet.

The use of high strength composites and alloys allowed the submarine to dive to incredible depths compared to submarine designs developed prior to the development of the new materials. As with the Nymphe and Suffren class, the tail fins were mounted in an “X” type configuration. Like most advanced submarine designs, the hull was covered by a sonar-defeating rubber coating to further reduce submarine noise.

Crew was reduced compared to the prior Nymphe class with a standard crew compliment of forty-eight including eight officers, eight chief petty officers, and thirty-two enlisted crew. In most cases a commander was the senior officer of the boat. With the relatively small crew, there was more space per crew member than prior classes although the boats were still very cramped compared to surface vessels. These boats carried extensive automation to reduce crew requirements and safety systems were very extensive as well. The vessels do not have quarters for marines as they were not intended for special operations like contemporary American and British fast attack submarines.

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: Saphir class Submarine.

Class: Ocean, Fast Attack Submarine.

Crew: 48; 8 Officers, 8 chief petty officers, and 32 enlisted (Has a high degree of automation.)

Troop Capacity: None.

Robots, Power Armors, and Vehicles:


M.D.C. by Location:


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

120 each.


Vertical Long Range Missile Launchers (12, bow of submarine):

150 each.


Retractable Blue-Green Laser Cannon Mount (1, mounted on aft quarter of sail):



Main Sail:



[1] Bow Planes (2):

220 each.


[2] Pump Jet Propulsor (1):



[3] Main Body:



[1] Destroying the submarine’s bow 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 bow 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.


Water Surface: 27.6 mph (24 knots /44.5 kph).

Underwater: 41.5 mph (36 knots /66.7 kph).

Maximum Depth: 9,842 feet (3,000 meters).

Range: Effectively Unlimited due to fusion engines (needs to refuel every 25 years and requires maintenance as well). Vessel carries ten (10) months of supplies for crew on board.

Statistical Data:

Height:  66.93 feet (20.4 meters) not including periscopes and antenna.

Width:   33.46 feet (10.2 meters).

Length:  332.68 feet (101.4 meters).

Displacement: 5,435 tons surfaced and 6,520 tons submerged.

Cargo: Submarine is very cramped, 10 tons (9.07 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: Nuclear fusion; average energy life of 25 years. Normally refuels every 15 years

Market Cost: Not for sale; many nations and organizations would pay hundreds of millions of credits for a new and undamaged Saphir class submarine.

Weapon Systems:

  1. One (1) Retractable Blue/Green Laser Cannon Mount: This laser mount is mounted on the aft part of the sail and is fully retractable so that it does not disrupt water flow at high speeds or add to the noise of the submarine. The laser cannon is useful both on the surface and underwater at low speeds [5.8 mph (5 knots / 9.3 kph) or less]. As a blue-green laser, they have a greater range underwater than they would otherwise. The weapon system is used mainly as close defense and against aircraft when on the surface. It can also be used to engage incoming torpedoes. The mount is controlled by a separate gunner and can rotate 360 degrees and had a 90 degree arc of fire.

    Maximum Effective Range: In Atmosphere: 2 miles (3.2 km). Under Water: 1 mile (1.6 km).

    Mega Damage: 1D6x10 M.D. per single blast.

    Rate of Fire: Four (4) attacks per melee round.

    Payload: Effectively Unlimited.

  2. 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. Torpedo tubes have a special automated reloading system to reduce noise. 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. Missiles are rarely carried however. Submarine normally carries thirty-six reloads for torpedoes (in addition to six torpedoes in the tubes) and can carry up to seventy-two 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 thirty-six (36) additional heavy torpedoes for reloads.]

  3. Twelve (12) Vertical Launch Long Range Missile Launchers: In the front of the submarine but behind the sonar dome, the submarine has vertical launch system for launching long range missiles. Long range missiles were chosen instead of cruise missiles because a larger payload could be carried while still having similar range. Launchers are outside of the pressure hull. While developed mainly to engage surface and land targets, the system is also effective at engaging aircraft. Anti-Submarine rocket launched torpedoes also can be fired from the launchers (See revised Rifts torpedoes for details.) Missiles are launched in special canisters that enable the missiles to be used in depths down to around 150 feet (45.7 meters.) Most missiles warheads normally carried are fusion as well as being smart missiles.

    Maximum Effective Range: As per long range missile type (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 six (6) long range missiles with all launchers operating together.

    Payload: Twelve (12) long range missiles total. Submarine carries no reloads.

  4. Four (4) Advanced Decoy Drones: The submarine carries four advance decoys 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 23.0 mph (20 knots / 37.0 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.: 20.

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

    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: Boat can launch one decoy drone per melee round.

    Payload: Four (4) decoy drones.

  5. 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 Kamikazi ( and Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

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