Spanish Marsopa (Porpoise) class Nuclear Fast Attack Submarine:

While Spanish shipbuilding developed a number of excellent submarines, prior to the Marsopa class, all previous submarine classes had been first diesel electric and then with Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) systems. Even though Air Independent Propulsion gave far better underwater endurance and range compared to purely diesel electric boats, they were still quite limited compared to nuclear powered submarines.

Although often forgotten, fusion power becoming viable in the Twenty-Forties was just as much of a game changer as the new alloys and composites developed in the Twenty-Thirties. With regard to submarines, it allowed many more nations to operate long range submarine design than ever did previously. Before then, military nuclear reactors were relatively large and only a few militaries operated nuclear submarines.

Prior to fusion becoming practical, the Spanish navy had already commissioned a number of Air Independent Propulsion submarines using the new high strength materials. Even so, while they were not rendered quite obsolete, the Spanish navy decided to replace them in service. While some navies did refit their submarines with fusion power, they tended to be slower than most purpose built fusion boats and not really designed for extended missions. In addition, while cheaper than building new submarines, cutting a submarine in half and replacing the original engineering section was still far from cheap.

The new submarine program became the Marsopa class, Marsopa being the Spanish word for porpoise. The lead boat of the class was laid down in Twenty Forty-Eight and completed six years later in Twenty Fifty-Five. Building times were able to be reduced in later boats. As the program continued, building times were reduced to around five years and the final boats only took about four years to complete.

Originally the plan was for eight boats to be constructed. However, due to political tensions, this was later expanded, first to twelve boats and finally to sixteen boats. It was not until Twenty Seventy-Six that the final boat was completed. While the Spanish navy originally considered retaining some of the previous class as training boats, it was soon decided to remove them from service. They were sold to other nations that could not afford their own building programs.  

With a total of sixteen boats, the Spanish government halted submarine production. Even with heightened international tensions, there was seen as little need for additional submarines. As one might expect, there were a number of attempts in the naval command to get more submarines authorized. Still, the government was reluctant to authorize additional construction.

It was not until just before the coming of the Great Cataclysm that more submarines were authorized with a further increase in political tensions. While based on the Marsopa class, these submarines would have been slightly larger and faster. The first of this new class had just been laid down before the world was destroyed and was never completed.

Being built of high strength composites and alloys, it is quite likely that one or more of these boats may have survived, although none are known to have been recovered. These materials are considered almost immune to corrosion. If properly sealed, there should be little damage to internal systems as well. Being that they required very small crews, the boats would also likely be perfect for mercenary crews. The boats were designed to be operated by a crew of twenty-eight and had the ability to carry eight special forces troops.

Fusion plants gave the potential for far more power than a conventional power plant. This was in addition to virtually unlimited underwater range. Top speed underwater was considered to be twenty-eight knots and sixteen knots on the surface. While most navies went to pump jets, the Marsopa class used a special non cavitating propeller driven by an electric motor in order to maintain silent operations. In addition, the submarine was sheathed in special sound absorbing materials and the power plant was isolated from the hull.

With a maximum depth of twelve hundred meters, the Marsopa class was sizeably improved with regard to maximum depth compared to previous Spanish submarine classes. As far as endurance, the fusion plant only needed to be refueled every ten years and the boat was designed to carry four months of supplies for the crew. With troops embarked, this was reduce to around three months.

These submarines were designed with six 533 mm heavy torpedo tubes in the bow over the main sonar array. For reloads, the Marsopa class could carry up to twenty-four additional torpedoes. During the design phase, it was decided to have an autoloading system for the six torpedo tubes. This allowed the submarine to be operated by a smaller crew as well as being considered quieter than manual loading.

 While missiles can be fired from the tubes, usually only conventional torpedoes were carried for the tubes. This is because the submarine also had eight vertical cruise missile tubes in the bow behind the main sonar array although outside the main pressure hull. Unlike the torpedo tubes, there were no reloads for the cruise missile launchers.

Finally, the submarine was armed with a blue green laser of German design mounted on the main sail. Designed for use underwater and on the surface, it was considered useful for defense against both incoming missiles and torpedoes. When not in use, the laser was designed to fully retract into the sail so that the weapon would not disrupt water flow and either increase noise or reduce the speed of the submarine.

Sonar systems were of non-Spanish designs, the towed array a British design by Thales and the main hull array an American system developed by Lockheed Martin. Hull sonar was mounted on the bow with side arrays along the flanks of the submarine as well. The systems were capable but shorter ranged when compared to those mounted on most American fast attack designs. Part of the reason for that is due to the arrays being comparatively small compared to those on larger vessels.

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: S-800 Marsopa class.

Class: Ocean, Fast Attack Submarine.

Crew: 28; 5 Officers, 4 chief petty officers, and 19 enlisted (Has a high degree of automation.)

Troop Capacity: 8 (Special Forces personnel.)

Robots, Power Armors, and Vehicles:


M.D.C. by Location:


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

120 each.


Vertical Cruise Missile Launchers (8, bow of submarine):

100 each.


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



Main Sail:



[1] Sail Planes (2, sail):

150 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: 18.41 mph (16 knots/ 29.63 kph).

Underwater: 32.22 mph (28 knots /51.86 kph).

Maximum Depth: 3,937.0 feet (1,200 meters).

Range: Effectively Unlimited due to fusion engines (needs to refuel every 10 years and requires maintenance as well). Boat carries four (4) months of supplies for crew on board. Reduce to three (3) months if a troop compliment is also embarked.

Statistical Data:

Draft:    20.01 feet (6.1 meters).

Length:  237.20 feet (72.2 meters).

Beam:    38.71 feet (11.8 meters).

Displacement: 3,120 tons surfaced and 3,680 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 more space for personal items. Most of the boat’s spaces are taken up by extra ammo, armor, weapons, and engines.

Power System: Nuclear fusion; average energy life of 10 years. Normally refuels every 5 years.

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

Weapon Systems:

  1. One (1) Retractable Blue/Green Laser Cannon Turret: Developed in Germany, this cannon was mounted on the forward section of the main sail and fully retractable so that it did not disrupt water flow at high speeds. 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: 6,000 feet ( 1,828.8 meters). Under Water: 3,000 feet (914 meters).

    Mega-Damage: 5D6 M.D. per single blast.

    Rate of Fire: Five (5) blasts per melee round.

    Payload: Effectively Unlimited.

  2. Six (6) 21 inch (533 mm) Heavy Torpedo Tubes: On the bow of the submarine, above the hull sonar, are six torpedo tubes. Tubes are 21 inches (533 mm) wide and torpedoes can be used against both surface ships and submarines. Torpedo launchers 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. 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.]

  3. Eight (8) Vertical Launch Cruise Missile Launchers: In the front of the submarine but behind the sonar dome, the submarine has 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 can fire all standard cruise range missiles including the hypersonic Fasthawk missile in both its sea skimming anti ship and semi ballistic land attack guises (See Fasthawk missile for details.

    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) or four (4) cruise missiles and can be fired at multiple target at the same time.

    Payload: Eight (8) cruise 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. ]

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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

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