Japanese Kuzuryu (Nine-Headed Dragon) class Submarine:

Having bought their first submarine in 1904, the Japanese submarine forces continued to grow until by the time of the Second World War, the submarine forces of the Imperial Japanese Navy were among the largest and most varied in the world. These included the largest submarines prior to the Nineteen-Sixties with ballistic missile submarines and the fastest submarine of its time, predating the German XXI by five years.

Of course, this mighty Japanese submarine forces were either sunk during the war or was disposed of just after the war ended. As such, the Japanese submarines forces built up from almost nothing. After the Second World War, their first submarine was a Gato class submarine loaned to them by the United States. This was followed by the Oyashio, the first new submarine built by Japan in over ten years and based on the wartime I-201 design with a number of American innovations. From these humble beginning, the Japanese submarine forces grew to be one of the largest in the world.

In common with many navies, the revolution in high strength alloys and composites made their military forces incredibly vulnerable overnight. However, it was also a time of relative peace. There were some tensions with China and Communists had taken control back in Russia and reformed the Soviet Union. Still, China was not pushing too hard and there were thoughts that the Communist leadership in the Soviet Union might be a relief after the oligarches that had ruled the nation for the last few decades.

Even so, the Japanese government decided to replace all of their previous submarine classes with a single class using the new advanced materials. Originally it was planned for sixteen of these submarines to be built. The basic design was a modified version of the previous Soryu class with a number of minor improvement. As a result of being so heavily based on the previous class, the design was able to be quickly developed and the first boat was soon laid down.

It shared the same hybrid diesel electric and Stirling engine propulsion system which gave a range underwater of over six thousand nautical miles. In addition, the submarine had a teardrop shaped hull and “X” type tail fins. While many other nations had gone to using pump jets, the Kuzuryu class continue to use a conventional propellor although it was designed in a manner that greatly reduced cavitations.

One major change between the Soryu class and the Kuzuryu class was the addition of six American Mk 45 vertical launch systems in the bow behind the bow sonar array but still outside the pressure dome. Originally developed for BGM-109 Tomahawk missiles, they were later adapted for a variety of different cruise missiles. Otherwise, the submarine retained six forward firing torpedoes and a total of thirty torpedoes could be carried for reloads. Missiles can be carried for the torpedo tubes although once anti-ship versions of the BGM-109 Tomahawk missile were reintroduced, the submarine mostly relied on the vertical launchers to carry missiles.

There were a number of less obvious modifications as well to the design as well. These include that the sonar systems on the Kuzuryu class have improved range and tracking compared to those on the Soryu class. Another is that the use of the new advanced composites and alloys allowed the Kuzuryu class to dive quite a bit deeper than previous Japanese submarine classes.

Construction was to be soon interrupted however. When the revolution in practical fusion technology occurred, four boats were fully operational, two boats were in the final stages of fitting out, and two boats were under construction. Immediately construction was halted on the two boats under construction and the laying down of a ninth boat was stopped while the program was evaluated. It was however decided to complete the two boats that had been fitting out.

It was soon decided to outright cancel all of the boats that were not under construction. There was quite a bit of debate on what to do with the two remaining boats however. Some wanted to simply complete them as originally planned while others wanted to simply scrap them incomplete. While they were initially disregarded, a number of people in both in the navy and the government wanted to replace their original conventional propulsion system with a fusion reactor. As time went on, this option grew more popular.

Once the completion of these boats with a fusion power plan was approved, a hasty redesign was made. During the conversion, there were a number of problems. In the end, these boats ended up being delivered almost two years late. Even so, these boats entered service almost four years before the first of the new Wakashio class submarines. These boats were often called the Kinryu (Golden Dragon) sub-class. Otherwise, while these boats had effectively unlimited endurance, they were still limited to a top speed underwater of around twenty knots.

There was some debate afterwards whether the rest of the class should be converted in a similar manner. In the end, the idea was shelved even though the boats were all relatively new. Most military analysts consider it likely that there were concerns that rebuilding these submarines would interfere with the construction of the new Wakashio class submarines.

As Wakashio class fast attack submarines began entering service, the Japanese navy began retiring their conventional submarines. They started with the remaining Soryu class but then began retiring the Kuzuryu class submarines as well. A few of the Kuzuryu class were sold to other countries, unlike previous Japanese submarine classes. The two Kinryu sub-class submarines initially served in front line roles but were relatively soon relegated to training roles.

An interesting item of note is that, like the Soryu class, Kuzuryu class were named after mythological creature, mainly dragons. Prior to the Soryu class, Japanese submarines since World War II had been named after ocean currents. After the Kuzuryu class, Japanese submarines went back to the naming convention of being named after ocean currents.

When the Great Cataclysm occurred, the two Kinryu sub-class submarines were in Kure and were brought forward in time along with the city. At the time, there had been discussion about retiring them and replacing them in the training role with two of the older Wakashio class submarines. Even though considered relatively old, the Republic of Japan has decided to retain the two boats.

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: SS-601 Kuzuryu class.

Class: Ocean, Attack Submarine.

Crew: 65; 9 Officers, 9 chief petty officers, and 47 enlisted

Troop Capacity: None.

Robots, Power Armors, and Vehicles:


M.D.C. by Location:


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

80 each.


Vertical Cruise Missile Launchers (6, bow of submarine):

100 each.


Main Sail:



[1] Sail Planes (2, sail):

120 each.


[2] Propeller (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 propellor 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: 15.0 mph (13 knots/ 24.1 kph).

Underwater: 23.0 mph (20 knots / 37.0 kph).

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

Range: Boat carries three (3) months of supplies on board.

Kuzuryu class (6 Boats):

Diesel: 21,635 miles (18,800 nautical miles / 34,820 kilometers) at 11.5 mph (10 knots 18.5 kph) on the surface and 17,840 miles (15,500 nautical miles / 28,710 kilometers) at 11.5 mph (10 knots 18.5 kph) while snorkeling.

Battery: 1,105 miles (960 nautical miles /1,780 kilometers) at 5.8 mph (5 knots / 9.3 kph). Reduce to 73.6 miles (64 nautical miles / 118.5 kilometers) at 23.0 mph (20 knots / 37.0 kph). Requires 48 hours to fully recharge batteries.

Stirling Engine: 7,135 miles (6,200 nautical miles / 11,480 kilometers) at 7.5 mph (6.5 knots / 12.0 kph.)

Kinryu subclass (2 boats):

Effectively Unlimited due to fusion engines (needs to refuel every 10 years and requires maintenance as well). Boat carries four (4) months of supplies on board.

Statistical Data:

Draft:    27.89 feet (8.5 meters).

Length:  276.25 feet (84.2 meters).

Beam:    29.86 feet (9.1 meters).

Displacement: 2,980 tons surfaced and 4,260 tons submerged.

Cargo: Submarine is very cramped, 6 tons (5.44 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:

Kuzuryu class (6 Boats): Hybrid diesel electric and Stirling engine.

Kinryu subclass (2 boats): Nuclear fusion; average energy life of 10 years. Normally refuels every 5 years.

Black Market Cost:

Kuzuryu class (6 Boats): Not for sale; many nations and organizations would pay one hundred million or more credits for a new and undamaged Kuzuryu class submarine.

Kinryu subclass (2 boats): Not for sale; many nations and organizations would pay hundreds of millions of credits for a new and undamaged Kinryu subclass submarine.

Weapon Systems:

  1. Six (6) 533 mm Heavy Torpedo Tubes: On the sides of the submarine are six torpedo tubes. 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 carries thirty reloads for torpedoes (in addition to six heavy torpedoes in the tubes) and can carry up to sixty 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) heavy torpedoes. Reloading takes one full melee round.

    Payload: Six (6) heavy torpedoes total [Has thirty (30) additional heavy torpedoes for reloads.]

  2. 2 Six (6) Vertical Launch Cruise Missile Launchers (Mk 45 VLS): In the front of the submarine but behind the sonar dome, the submarine has six vertical launch system for launching cruise missiles. Launchers are outside of the pressure hull. 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. The launchers were originally designed to carry BGM-109 Tomahawk anti-ship missiles but were modified to fire all standard cruise missiles.

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

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

    Rate of Fire: Can fire cruise missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2) cruise missiles and can be fired at multiple target at the same time.

    Payload: Six (6) cruise missiles total. Submarine carries no reloads.

  3. Four (4) Advanced Decoys: The submarine carries four advanced 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 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.

  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 © 2018, Kitsune. All rights reserved.