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U.S. LSDN-53 Point Defiance class Dock Landing Ship:

In the late Twentieth Century, the design for the San Antonio class Amphibious Transport Dock was finalized. Over the next couple of decades, these fine ships were built and became an important component of the United States Navy amphibious forces. Many of the ships were later refitted with new alloy and composite armors to extend their operational life.

However, the Whidbey Island and Harper’s Ferry class dock landing ships were considered to old to be worth refitting. As a result, it was decided that a new vessel design would be developed to replace these older vessels. The design which was develop is the Point Defiance class dock landing ships and were one of the few United States Naval vessels laid down soon after what is often called “The Mega-Damage Revolution.”

In order to reduce design and development costs, it was decided that the new design would be based on a San Antonio with a number of modifications to the base design. Some of the design changes included the reduction of troops, removal of forward missile launchers, removal of 30 mm cannon mounts, and no helicopter hanger. Of course the ships were build using the new composites, ceramics, and alloys which made them far tougher than previous amphibious warfare classes.

With the refitted San Antonio class, these vessel formed the bulk of the United States Navy Amphibious forces for the next several decades. Replacing the old Whidbey Island and Harper’s Ferry class vessels on a one for one basis, a total of twelve of these vessels were built at the rate of one ship every two years. Even after the Cape Lobos class amphibious transport docks entered service in large numbers, Point Defiance class dock landing ships continued to serve. In fact there was no plans to retire them and they continues to serve right up until the coming of the Rifts.

During their long service lives, the Point Defiance class dock landing ships were upgraded several times. Even so, they were not as fast as the later amphibious vessels such as the Tripoli and Cape Lobos classes. As a result, they were often assigned to operate alongside Belleau Wood class amphibious assault ships. Both classes were a bit slower than the more modern classes.

What exactly happened with the Point Defiance class dock landing ships after the coming of the Rifts is unknown. Still, their construction from advanced composites, ceramics, and alloys makes them virtually immune to corrosion. It is quite possible that if one of these ships was found that it could easily be restored back to operational status.

Initially, the San Antonio class were built with diesel engines, a modified version of the engines carried on the San Antonio class. As the Point Defiance class displaced less than the San Antonio class, these new amphibious vessels could reach up to twenty-four knots. The diesel engines gave better range than gas turbine engines would have. In later refits, the original diesel engines were replaced by fusion engines. With the fusion engines, top speed rose to 26 knots and they gave the amphibious vessels had virtually unlimited range. The propulsion system used variable pitch propellers as well as an electrical drive system.

As was common with most American vessels built since the close of the Twentieth Century, the dock landing ships were built with a reduced radar cross signature. The composites, ceramics, and alloys which were used in the hull and superstructure were introduced just a few years before construction of the amphibious vessel and the vessel greatly benefitted from the use of these new materials.

In order to reduce the cost of the vessel, old SPS-49 radar systems were mounted instead of the more advanced phased array radar systems mounted on most combat vessels around the same time. In fact, these systems were from decommissioned vessels. While quite long ranged, it is not capable of three dimensional tracking and has limited tracking abilities. A radar transparent composite mast encloses the radar system in order to protect the sensitive equipment from corrosion.

Later in these vessel’s service lives, there was a fair amount of debate about upgrading the radar system to a single array phased array radar system. However, this was never implemented. It was not considered particularly critical with these dock landing ships usually accompanied by vessels with superior tracking abilities. Most amphibious forces had frigates and destroyers escorting them.

With long range weaponry, the Point Defiance class are armed with only close in defense weaponry. Originally these dock landing ships had two Mk 49 RAM launchers fitted with one mounted on the forward part of the superstructure and the other in the after part of the superstructure. . Later these were replaced with Mk 44 “Sea Sabre” point defense mounts which combine a powerful defensive rail gun with short range missiles launchers. Otherwise, the only weaponry the ship had was against small boats and similar attacks. Originally there were four .50 caliber machine gun mounts but later replaced by rail guns. These rail guns are the same models carried on the USA-PA-04 SAMAS power armor.

Unlike the larger San Antonio class amphibious transport dock, the Point Defiance class is designed mostly to carry vehicles and supplies and has a smaller troop compliment as a result. Maximum troop compliment is around 500 soldiers. They could however carry a considerable load of cargo or vehicles. In addition the Point Defiance class had a well deck which could be flooded as required. The well deck could carry either a pair of air cushion landing craft or a larger number of smaller landing craft. Later amphibious vessels, such as the Cape Lobos and Tripoli class, substituted a dry deck for a well deck.

Even though the Point Defiance class does not have a hanger, the vessel has a landing deck aft of the superstructure which can up to four helicopters or other VTOL aircraft although for only limited periods of time. While not originally designed for power armors, the ships were modified to carry up to sixty flying power armors to help support amphibious operations. While both the “Semper Fi” using flight packs and USA-PA-04 SAMAS could be embarked, due to shortages with the “Semper Fi,” the USA-PA-04 SAMAS normally made up the entire flying power armor compliment. The USA-GPA-01 Ground Assault Power Armors often were embarked and occasionally the USA-G10 would be embarked.

Compared to the San Antonio class, medical facilities are scaled back although the Point Defiance class does retain an effective medical center with a single operating room and twenty patient beds and fifty overflow beds. It is expected that these ships might have to deal with marine casualties evacuated from an assault. Still in most cases casualties would be evacuated to larger vessels whenever possible.

Even though developed from the San Antonio class, the Point Defiance class dock landing ships did have greater automation, allowing for reduction in their crews. Standard crew is around two hundred and forty, around a thirty percent reduction compared to the older class. These dock landing ships were not meant to act as command ship for amphibious operations. Instead a Wasp or Belleau Wood class amphibious assault ships would usually act as command ship in these ships early service with the Tripoli class later replacing the Wasp class during the later service of the Point Defiance 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: LSDN-53 Point Defiance class Dock Landing Ship.

Vehicle Type: Ocean, Amphibious Transport Vessel.

Crew: 242 (15 officers, 14 chief petty officers, 212 enlisted [Has a high degree of automation]).

Troops: 80 pilots for SAMAS power Armor, 200 vehicle crew members, and 250 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 (Sometimes embarked.)



USA-PA-04A SAMAS Power Armors.

Fighter/Aircraft Compliment:



Helicopters or other VTOL Aircraft (No hanger facilities so usually for limited periods only.)

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 (2, Superstructure):

200 each.


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

50 each.


[2] Enclosed SPS-49 Long Range Radar Mast:



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

10 each.


[3] Rear Flight Deck:



Rear Vehicle / Well 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 Enclosed Radar Mast will eliminate SPS-49 radar system 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 additional floatation materials that allow the ship to withstand up to -500 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: 29.9 mph (26 knots/ 48.2 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:

Draft:    21.5 feet (6.5 meters).

Length:  576.2 feet (175.6 meters) waterline and 612.6 feet (186.7 meters) overall.

Width:   90.5 feet (27.6 meters).

Displacement: 13,500 tons standard and 17,250 tons fully loaded.

Cargo: Can carry 5,000 tons (4536 metric tons) of nonessential equipment and supplies [Increase to 12,000 tons (10,886 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: Originally conventional diesel propulsion, converted to two nuclear fusion reactors with an average life span of 20 years.

Black Market Price: Not for Sale but costs around 250 million credits to construct. If found and sold on the black market would probably cost 500 million to 1 billion credits. Cost does not include embarked craft and power armors.


  1. Four (4) USA-M31 Medium Defense Rail Guns: Originally M2HB .50 Caliber Machine Guns were fitted in these locations. 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. Two (2) Mk 44 “Sea Sabre” Combination Anti-Missile Defense Systems: Replace original Mk 49 RAM launchers. One point defense mount is fitted on each 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. 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 difference. 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.

  4. 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 © 2003 & 2017, Kitsune. All rights reserved.