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U.S. LPDN-48 Cape Lobos class Amphibious Transport Dock Ship:

In the late twentieth century, the design for the San Antonio class Amphibious Transport Dock was finalized. These fine ships were built over the next couple of decades and were an important component of the United States Navy amphibious forces. As a result of tight budgets, most of these amphibious ships were refitted with the new alloy and composite armors to extend their operational life.

While a good design when first introduced, they served far longer than expected when laid down and the design eventually became dated and needed replacement. A huge variety of designs were considered as a replacement for the San Antonio class including some extremely bizarre designs including trimaran hulls. The trimaran design was rejected due to have less internal volume than a more conventional hull would have.

After a grueling selection process, a relatively conservative design was finally selected as the replacement. Interestingly, the new design looked in many ways very similar to the ships that they were designed to replace. Still, they had many improvements over the San Antonio class. This new class became known as the Cape Lobos class Amphibious Transport Dock .

Initial production was slow, in part so that any problems could be worked out as the program progressed. As they entered service, the San Antonio class were retired. Even though production was relatively slow, especially at first, the Cape Lobos class slowly became the new foundation for the United States navy amphibious forces. A far larger number of these amphibious transport docks were built than the multi-role amphibious ships of the Tripoli class.

One major difference in these amphibious transport docks compared to previous classes was in the propulsion system. These ships were powered by fusion reactors which, when combined with the Tripoli class, allowed the potential of virtually unlimited time on an enemy’s shores. This presence, combined with an aircraft carrier group, was key to stopping several hot spots before they fully erupted into war.

These amphibious transport docks were also faster than older classes and could get to trouble spots rapidly. While not as fast as surface combatants constructed around the same time, the Cape Lobos class were capable of speeds of twenty-eight knots. In addition, these ships were fitted with variable pitch propellers to increase maneuverability and the ability to make crash stops.

The hull took advantage of advanced alloys and composites in initial construction and the Cape Lobos class were far stronger than refitted San Antonio class vessels. In common with the San Antonio class, the hull and superstructure of the Cape Lobos class were designed with a reduced radar cross signature. Even so, most combatant vessels, such as destroyers and cruisers, have far lower radar cross signatures.

These amphibious transport docks were designed with excellent anti-missile defenses. Missiles were considered to be among the greater threats to these vessels. For their radar, these ships carried a steerable active phased array system identical to the system carried on the American Hazzard class Coast Guard cutters. Such systems are also similar to the British Sampson system. While not quite as effective as the multi panel radar system mounted on most combatant vessels, it is still an excellent system while much lighter weight.

For actual weaponry, these amphibious transport have both medium range and close range defenses. Forward of the main superstructure, these amphibious vessels mount a small Mk 59 forty-eight cell vertical launch missile system. Loaded into the missile launcher is mostly medium range missiles. In some cases, the missile launchers may carry a number of shore bombardment missiles so that the escorts could carry higher loads of long range missiles so that it can defend the entire task force. Supporting the missile launchers, the Cape Lobos class carried four Mk 44 “Sea Sabre” combination weapon mounts. These combine missile launchers and rail gun point in the same defense mounts.

These ships were not fitted with sonar or any other anti-submarine warfare equipment with the exception of towed decoys. It was expected that escorts would perform this role and these ships were not expected to act as Sea Control ships as the Tripoli class was designed for. Otherwise, the only weaponry this ship mounts is that four rail guns can be mounted along the hull as defense against small boats and similar threats.

Unlike the San Antonio class, the Cape Lobos class were designed with a dry deck, and not a well deck that could be flooded. All landing craft operating from the Cape Lobos class were capable of hovering over the water or going from a dry surface to the water by means of a dropped ramp. Dry decks have a number of other advantages over well decks. These include that they allow for greater storage if the assault hovercraft were not carried and allowed for easier loading of cargo in many cases.

Even though the Cape Lobos class were a fair amount smaller than Tripoli class, the amphibious transport docks could embark almost as many vehicles than the amphibious assault ships with the exception of hover craft. In addition, the Cape Lobos class were designed to embark a large compliment of troops as well. For armored vehicles, the Jackson main battle tank and Maverick infantry fighting vehicle often made up the embarked heavy armor compliment of these amphibious transport docks. Interestingly, they were better liked by many marines than the newer designs. Instead of vehicles, the Cape Lobos class were designed to carry a large amount cargo when required.

For power armors, standard compliment is one hundred and twenty flying power armors. Most often it was sixty APA-15 “Semper Fi” power armors with flight packs and sixty USA-PA-04 SAMAS power armors. Eventually it was planned to retire the SAMAS and embark the “Semper Fi” exclusively. For ground power armors, USA-G10 Glitter Boy were sometime embarked and the USA-GPA-01 Ground Assault Power Armors were also embarked. These ground armors are at the expense of troops equipped with more conventional gear.

In addition to embarked troops and ground vehicles, these amphibious transport docks were designed with a large hanger. The hanger has the capacity for four helicopters or other VTOL designs. Most commonly carried are Kingfisher utility VTOLs. The older V-22N Super Osprey were also commonly embarked. The flight deck was designed to be able to carry an additional two aircraft for short period of time. In some cases, a single FV-38 Panther II or F-45 Sea Hawk VTOL fighters have been landed on the flight deck although they prevent any other aircraft from using the flight deck.

For support of deployed marines, these amphibious transport docks were designed with a small but capable medical center. This includes two operating rooms and thirty patient beds. In addition, the Cape Lobos class were designed with one hundred and twenty overflow beds.

Due to extensive automation, these amphibious vessels are designed to be operated by a crew of around forty percent less than the San Antonio class. It is likely that the crew could have reduced further but there were concerns with operating the vessel with much smaller crew. This included emergency damage control as well as being able to properly supporting marines. These amphibious transport docks had some limited amphibious command ship abilities although in most cases command was run from an amphibious assault ship such as a Belleau Wood or Tripoli class.

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: LPDN-48 Cape Lobos class Amphibious Transport Dock Ship.

Vehicle Type: Ocean, Amphibious Transport Vessel.

Crew: 218 (18 officers, 16 chief petty officers, 174 enlisted [Has a high degree of automation]).

Troops: 80 pilots for Semper Fi Power Armors, 80 pilots for SAMAS power Armor, 200 vehicle crew members, and 500 soldiers.

Robots, Power Armors, and Vehicles (Standard):

Power Armor Compliment:



USA-G10 “Glitter Boy” Power Armors (Occasionally embarked.)



USA-GPA-01 Ground Assault Power Armors (Occasionally embarked.)



USA-PA-04A SAMAS Power Armors.



APA-15 “Semper Fi” Power Armors (with flight packs).

Aircraft Compliment:



Helicopters or other VTOL Aircraft (2 more can be carried on flight deck for limited periods.)

Landing Craft Compliment:



LCAC-854 “Crab” Air Cushion Landing Craft.

Tanks & Other Vehicles:



USA-M-7 Jackson Main Battle Tanks.



USA-M-8 Maverick Infantry Fighting Vehicles.



USA-M-9 Morgan Missile Vehicles / USA-M-10 Galahad Self Propelled. Howitzers.



Support Vehicles (Various).

M.D.C. by Location:


Mk 44 Combination Anti-Missile Defense System (4, Superstructure):

200 each.


Mk 59-B Forty-Eight Cell Vertical Launcher System (1, Forward):



[1] USA-M31 Medium Defense Rail Guns (4, sides):

50 each.


[2] SPX-1A Active Phased Array Radar System:



[1] Chaff / Decoy Launchers (4, Superstructure):

10 each.


[3] Rear Flight Deck:






Rear Vehicle / Dry Deck Doors:



[4] Main Bridge / Superstructure:



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



[5] Main Body:



[1] 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.

[2] Destroying the phased array radar panel will destroy the ship’s main fire control systems but the vessel has backup systems with a shorter range (Equal to robot vehicle sensors.)

[3] If the flight deck is destroyed, no aircraft can be launched or land.

[4] If bridge / superstructure is destroyed, the ship can still be piloted from engineering but with a -15% to piloting rolls. Communication and sensor equipment are not concentrated on the bridge to reduce the effectiveness of bridge hits.

[5] Destroying the main body destroys propulsion and power systems, disabling the ship. The ship is fitted with advanced polymer armors that allow the ship to withstand up to -1,000 M.D.C. before losing structural integrity and sinking. There are enough life preservers and inflatable life boats to accommodate everyone on the ship including marines.


Surface: 32.2 mph (28 knots/ 51.9 kph).

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

Statistical Data:

Length:  689 feet (210 meters).

Draft:    24.6 feet (7.5 meters).

Width:   105 feet (32 meters).

Displacement: 21,700 tons standard and 28,500 tons fully loaded.

Cargo: Can carry 8,000 tons (7,260 metric tons) of nonessential equipment and supplies [Increase to 15,000 tons (13,608 metric tons) without vehicles.] 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: Two nuclear fusion reactors, average life span is 20 years. Usually only goes 10 years between refueling.

Market Cost: Not for sale but costs around 400 million credits to construct. If found and sold on the black market would probably cost 1 to 2 billion credits. Cost does not include embarked craft and power armors.


  1. Four (4) USA-M31 Medium Defense Rail Guns: These weapons are mounted with two on either side of the hull for defense against small boats and similar threats. Not considered effective against aircraft or missiles. These rail gun mounts were identical to those carried on the USA-PA-04A SAMAS power armor although outfitted with a double sized ammunition drum. The rail gun has fewer bursts and is heavier but the rail gun inflicts more damage than the post Rifts C-40R.

    Weight: Rail Gun: 110 lbs (49.9 kg), Double Ammo Drum: 280 lbs (127.0 kg).

    Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,200 meters).

    Mega-Damage: A burst of 40 rounds inflicts 1D6x10. One round inflicts 1D4+1.

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

    Payload: Each has a 4,000 round magazine for 100 bursts.

  2. Four (4) Mk 44 “Sea Sabre” Combination Anti-Missile Defense Systems: One is mounted on the front of the superstructure, a second is mounted on the rear of the superstructure, and there are two mounted to either side of the superstructure. This anti-missile defense system combines both a rapid fire rail gun and a short range missile launcher. While mounted in one system, both defense systems have separate tracking and fire control systems. The short range missile launchers can target up four targets and can fire a volley up to twice per melee. Quite powerful, the rail gun is capable of destroying any missile or inflicting serious damage on aircraft. The rail gun can fire on automatic at up to six targets per melee (Has +3 to strike missiles and +2 to strike aircraft). In its design, the rail gun is very similar to those carried on the Sea King cruiser and it is likely that the Sea King’s rail guns came from a prototype of this system. The system also can be used against other ships and ground targets. The system has a 360 degree rotation and can elevate up to 90 degrees to fire at targets directly overhead.

    Maximum Effective Range: Rail Guns: 11,000 feet (2 miles / 3.2 km). Short Range Missiles: As per short range missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)

    Mega-Damage: Rail Guns: 3D4x10 M.D. per burst of 40 rounds (Can only fire bursts). Short Range Missiles: As per short range missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)

    Rate of Fire: Rail Guns: Six (6) attacks per melee round. Short Range Missiles: Two (2) attacks per melee round, can fire short range missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2) or four (4) short range missiles.

    Payload: Rail Guns: 8,000 rounds (200 burst) each. Short Range Missiles: Sixteen (16) short range missiles each.

  3. One (1) MK 59-B Vertical Launch Missile Systems: Launching cells are located forward of the main superstructure. The launcher is smaller and carries half as many missiles as the launcher on the Francis Darcey and Raymond Fox class naval vessels. The system is similar to the vertical launch system employed on many ships in the late twentieth century to launch the SM-2 series missile but since the missiles are smaller they have a reload system that reloads from under the launcher and can reload within 15 seconds. The launcher has a total of forty-eight individual cells and is six missile cells longs by eight cells wide. The launcher can fire up to half its total payload per melee. The launcher can use a vast variety of missiles including surface skimming missiles and rocket propelled torpedoes (See revised Rifts torpedoes for details.) Each cell can carry one long range missile or two medium range missile. The reload for the cell must carry the same load as the main cell. Long range missiles are normally used against large targets and aircraft further out where the medium range missiles will normally be used to engage closer targets. About half of all long range missiles carried are fusion warheads and most missiles are normally smart missiles.

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

    Mega-Damage: As per long 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 volleys of two (2), four (4), eight (8), sixteen (16), or twenty-four (24) missiles for the whole launcher per melee round. Missile cells are automatically reloaded and are ready to fire next melee round.

    Payload: forty-eight (48) missile cells in launcher with reload systems for each cell [one (1) reload each cell.] One (1) long range missile or two (2) medium range missiles may be carried per cell but reload must be the same load out as well. The ship will often carry thirty-two (32) cells with two (2) medium range missiles each and the other cells loaded with one (1) long range missile each.

  4. Four (4) Chaff / Decoy Launchers: Located on the sides of the hull 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: Twenty-four (24) each for a total of ninety-six (96) canisters.

  5. Four (4) SLQ-52B Naiad Advanced Towed Torpedo Decoys: The vessel carries four advanced towed decoy drones. They are each a small automated vehicle that creates a false sonar image designed to mimic the vessels. The decoy is dragged behind the vessel using a cable. If decoys are not destroyed, they can be recovered and repaired. 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 each.

    Range: Not Applicable although decoy is deployed approximately 1,000 feet (304.8 meters) from the vessel.

    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: One can be deployed at a time and requires two (2) minutes to deploy (reel out) another decoy.

    Payload: Four (4) towed decoys.

Special Systems:

The ship 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. ]

Image drawn and copyrighted by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 2001, 2002, 2003, & 2017, Kitsune. All rights reserved.