U.S. MEAS-1 “Manta-Ray” Submersible Jet Fighter:

During its initial development, the “Manta-Ray” was a black project. It was not until a considerable number had been produced that it actually became public. During development it was given the non-standard designation of MEAS, for Multi Environment Attack Ship to obscure its actual role. This designation continued even after the aircraft became public knowledge.

It is believed that the submersible fighter was revealed to the public because it was too difficult to continue to keep secret. Even prior to the new aircraft being revealed, there were quite a number of rumors swirling around about a submersible fighter design. There were even both pictures and videos of the submersible aircraft making it extremely difficult to deny.

The Manta-Ray was far from the first top secret aircraft programs and over the years there had been quite a number of them. Among the most famous of these are the U-2 Spy Plane, the SR-71 Blackbird, and the F-117 Nighthawk. It was thought that the end of the first Cold War would usher in a new openness but with the tensions in the later part of the Twenty-First Century, secrecy again descended.

In its development and early production, as much as possible funding was kept “black” in order to maintain secrecy of the program. Largely funding was pulled from the budget of other programs with the explanation being given as cost overruns. The use of components ordered as spares for other craft did allow for some reduction in program costs. Still nothing like the submersible fighter had ever been developed and a great many new systems had to be developed. A number were authorized as systems for those same craft.

Other measures were enacted in order to keep the program secret. One of the more obvious was that the submersible fighters were only allowed to fly over land at night and rarely flew even over water at night. A secret facility was built for the manufacture of the fighters on a secure naval base. Later of course a number of secret underwater facilities were developed so that the craft could still be produced after war had been declared.

Initially the Trident class submersible carrier was also kept secret. Measures included that the vessels were built in covered facilities and covered pens also had to be created in order that the unique role. Of course with the Manta-Ray becoming public, the exact role of the Trident became public as well. Even so, the submersible carriers retained a veil of secrecy. Most of the drawings of the Trident class were extremely inaccurate and the actual characteristics were also kept secret.

Similarly to the Trident class, the performance and capabilities of the Manta-Ray submersible fighter was largely kept secret even after the existence of the craft itself became public knowledge. A number of experts attempted to speculate on the Manta-Ray but their speculations varied wildly. Even reports on the actual size of the craft were often wrong. It is also believed that the United States Navy leaked contradictory information to further confuse speculation.

It was not well known at the time but even though large numbers were in service, the submersible fighter might be best to consider something of a prototype. As stated earlier, nothing like it had ever been developed before. There were a number of upgrades planned that never entered production due to the coming of the Great Cataclysm. Some of these included improved engines and reconfiguring the ordnance bay.

Otherwise the submersible fighter was incredibly advanced. It combined stealth with the ability to operate underwater. A number of compromises were involved in the design such as being only capable of around Mach 1.5 while in flight and a relatively small ordnance bay. Especially during its early service it was also considered something of a maintenance hog, especially compared to conventional fighters.

Authors Notes: The Author suggests using this writeup in the place of the Manta-Ray in Rifts: Underseas. The craft itself appears to be too small for the ordnance it carries and also wanted to do a better writeup of the stealth features of the submersible fighter. Also added additional hit locations for the craft.

Model Type: MEAS Mark I “Manta-Ray” Submersible Fighter.

Vehicle Type: Multi Environment Attack Ship / Submersible Fighter.

Crew: One.

M.D.C. by Location:


[1] Ion Pulse Guns (2):

30 each.


Ordnance Bay (1, centerline):






[2] Engines (2):

100 each.


[3] Lift Nozzles (4, sides):

40 each.


[4] Main Body:



Landing Gear (3):

10 each.


[1] These are small and difficult targets to strike, requiring the attacker to make a “called shot.” Even then the attacker is at -4 to strike.

[2] The destruction of one engine will reduce the fighter’s top speed (both in flight and under water) by half and give the pilot a -2 penalty to dodge as well as giving a -15% penalty to piloting. Destroying both engines will cause the aircraft to crash while flying and will be immobile underwater. Pilot may attempt an emergency landing or pilot can choose to eject.

[3] Destruction of a single lift nozzle will prevent the aircraft from hovering. Destruction of a pair of lift nozzles will prevent the aircraft from making short take off and landings. These are small and difficult targets to strike, requiring the attacker to make a “called shot.” Even then the attacker is at -4 to strike.

[4] Depleting the M.D.C. of the main body will shut the aircraft down completely, rendering it useless and causing it to crash if in flight. Damage to the main body will also reduce the aircraft’s stealth. For every 10% of damage to the main body, reduce the aircraft’s stealth by 10% of its total.


Driving on Ground (Taxiing): Only possible for take offs and landings as well as for parking and storage. Speed is 40 mph (64 kph) when traveling on the runway / air field and not on take off or landing. The aircraft can make both short take off and landings as well as true vertical take off and landings.

Flying: Can hover and go up to a maximum speed of Mach 1.6 (1,141.9 mph / 992.3 knots/ 1,837.6 kph). Its cruise speed is up to 300 mph (260.7 knots / 482.8 kph) and has a maximum altitude is about 60,000 feet (18,288 meters). The sea-air fighter must slow down to 250 mph (217.2 kph) before entering water. Due to the fact that all ordnance is carried in internal bays, the aircraft’s performance reduction when fully loaded is negligible.

Surface Travel: Can float on the surface or can travel as a hydrofoil on the surface of the water with a top speed of 300 mph (260.7 knots / 482.8 kph). Can take off from this mode of flight.

Underwater: Has a maximum speed underwater of 57.8 mph (50 knots/ 92.7 kph).

Maximum Depth: 9,515 feet (2,900 meters).

Range: Engines do not overheat while underwater but the jet engines begin to overheat after 12 hours of continual flight. Occasional rest stops every 4 to 6 hours, giving the engines an hour to cool down, will allow

the aircraft to travel indefinitely (Pilot endurance will generally prevent operations of longer than 12 hours).

Statistical Data:

Length:         28.4 feet (8.66 meters).

Wingspan:    38.8 feet (11.82 meters).

Height:         9.8 feet (2.99 meters) with landing gear down and 6.8 feet (2.07 meters) with landing gear retracted.

Weight:        8.2 tons (7.44 metric tons) empty, 10.6 tons (9.62 metric tons) fully loaded.

Power Source: Nuclear Fusion, should have an average lifespan of 10 years.

Cargo: Minimal (Storage for small equipment). Does not include ordnance bay. Ordnance bay, if emptied of ordnance can carry up to can carry 4,000 lbs (1,816 kg) of cargo.

Black Market Cost: Not available, the New Navy will not sell the Manta-Ray and none have been able to be salvaged. If available, it would likely cost around 90 million credits.

Weapon Systems:

  1. Two (2) Ion Pulse Guns: These weapons are built into the wing roots on the fighter and are barely visible on the fighter. The weapons are effective both while the fighter is flying and while it is underwater although range is reduced underwater. These weapons are identical to those carried on the standard Manta-Ray combination fighter / submarine. The weapon is used for both defense against missiles and against other aircraft. It is controlled by the fighter’s pilot.

    Maximum Effective Range: In Atmosphere: 4,000 feet (1,220 meters). Under Water: 2,000 feet (610 meters).

    Mega-Damage: 1D6x10 for one ion gun and 2D6x10 for both ion cannons (Counts as one attack).

    Rate of Fire: Equal to the combined hand to hand attacks of the pilot (usually 4 or 5).

    Payload: Effectively unlimited (Draws power from the main engines.)

  2. One (1) Ordnance Bay: The fighter has a large bay in the main body that carry a wide variety of different ordnance types. Ordnance types include missiles, bombs, or torpedo types. Missile and bomb sizes may be mixed between different types of ordnance but an ordnance drop or launch must include the same type and size of ordnance. Ordnance may be carried at the rate of four short range missiles, four light bombs, four light torpedoes, two medium range missiles, two medium bombs, or two medium torpedoes for one long range missile, heavy bomb, or heavy torpedo. A single cruise missile can also be carried in place of all ordnance in the bay although rarely carried. Both guided and unguided ordnance may be carried. Special medium range amphibious missiles are also used. Medium range amphibious missiles (can be used as missile or torpedoes, have the same damage as equivalent missile, double cost, but can travel to underwater targets and are +2 to strike). Missile speed underwater is 120 mph (192 km) and has a range of 20 miles (32 km).

    Maximum Effective Range: Varies by missile type for missile and varies by altitude bombs are dropped at for missiles and torpedoes (See revised bomb and missile tables for details) or by torpedo type (See revised Rifts torpedoes for details.)

    Mega Damage: Varies by missile or bomb type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details) or by torpedo type (See revised Rifts torpedoes for details.)

    Rate of Fire: Ordnance is dropped or fired one at a time or in volleys of two (2) to four (4) but must be the same size (light, medium, or heavy) and style of ordnance (all missiles, bombs, or torpedoes in a volley.)

    Payload: Sixteen (16) short range missiles or light bombs, eight (8) medium range missiles or medium bombs, or four (4) long range missile or heavy bomb. One (1) cruise missile can be carried in the place of all ordnance in the bay. Otherwise, ordnance can be mixed and torpedoes may be carried as well as missiles and bombs.

  3. Anti-Missile Chaff / Anti-Torpedo Noisemaker Dispenser: Located at the very tail of the fighter are two chaff / noisemaker dispensers. When tailed by a missile, a cloud of chaff and other obtrusive particles can be released to confuse or detonate the enemy’s attack. Torpedo decoys work by firing patterns of decoys in the water and are noisemakers that act to confuse and decoy torpedoes. With both decoy systems, Rifts Earth decoys systems are assumed to not be effective against Phase World / Three Galaxies ordnance due to technological differences.

    Range: Around Craft.

    Mega Damage: None.


      Missile Decoys:


        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.

        For missile decoys, reduce effects by 20% against smart missiles (Add +20% to rolls for smart missiles.) Missile decoys are only useful against missiles, not useful against torpedoes underwater.

        Also note that the chaff cloud will also blind flying monsters that fly through cloud. They will suffer the following penalties: reduce melee attacks/actions, combat bonuses, and speed by half. Duration: 1D4 melee rounds.

      Torpedo Decoy / Noisemakers:

        50% of decoying normal torpedoes and 20% of decoying smart torpedoes. Reduce effects by 5% for each decoy launcher not firing torpedo decoys. Torpedo decoys are only useful against torpedoes, not useful against missiles in flight.

    Payload: Six (6) chaff pods and six (6) noisemakers.

Special Equipment:

The Manta-Ray all the standard features of a standard fighter (same as standard robot minus loudspeaker and microphone) plus these special features listed.

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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 2018, Kitsune. All rights reserved.