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U.S. SSVN-22 “Trident” class Submersible Escort Carrier:

Excerpt from Fox’s Combat Fleets of the World, 2096 to 2097:

Many misconceptions about this class have been said over the last few years and much of the information listed about this class is incorrect or at least misleading. Even most artist renditions of the class have significant errors in them. Weapon listing are often incorrect along with auxiliary equipment, vessel size, and crew compliment. Even the designation for the vessel is incorrect. It is believed that this is due to the fact that the United States Navy kept all information possible secret about the class. Some information is accurate such as the number of marines and fighters carried on board but this is the exception not the rule.

While the Trident is classified by most to be a submersible carrier, a better description would be that of a submersible escort carrier. It has a relatively small air group and carries only twelve small Manta-Ray fighter / mini-submersibles. Still, the vessel is an incredible design and carries a relatively decent air group. In addition to the fighters, the vessel carries 40 Semper Fi power armors.

The Trident class is not the largest submarines in the world but is still considered huge. It is just a bit smaller than the Francis Scott Key class ballistic submarines and is larger than a late twentieth century Ohio class ballistic missile submarine. Unlike most artist conceptions of the design, the Trident is hydrodynamic with none of the features shown in most drawing that would cause drag. It is considered one of the quietest submarine designs in the world and is considered one of the most advanced submarine designs in the world.

Like most advanced submarines, stealth is the most important feature of the vessel. The vessel is fitted with a pump jet propulsion system along with a variety of engine quieting systems to reduce the vessel’s noise in the water. To further increase this, the vessel is covered by sound absorbing materials. All weapon systems and fighter bays are designed to either retract or are covered to reduce any drag that they would cause. Sensor systems are very advanced to enable the submersible escort carrier to be able to detect other submarines to allow the vessel to launch its aircraft without being disturbed by enemy submarines.

An interesting feature is the mounting of a rotating active phased array radar system. This is carried due to the fact that the submarine is expected to often operate on the surface due to aircraft operations. The system is considered useful both for controlling missiles to intercept attacks from the air but also is used for aircraft control. As an active phased array, it is harder to detect than it might otherwise be due to frequency jumping.

Weapon systems are similar to those carried in most late Twenty-First Century submarines although the vessels contain a few new systems which are rumored to be for testing before being mounted in the Ticonderoga class submersible carrier (which is many times larger than the Trident class.) The Trident mounts four torpedo tubes forward and two torpedo tubes aft. The reversion to rear torpedo tubes is for defensive purposes against torpedoes fired against the rear of the vessel.

The vessel also carries four cruise missile launchers for use against ground targets and four long range missile launchers against both air targets and ground targets. The cruise missile launchers are mounted on either side of the sail / superstructure near the forward part. The long range missile launchers are mounted behind the sail / superstructure but before the fusion power plants.

For energy weaponry, the vessel has four retractable energy mounts with two on the forward part of the superstructure and two on the after part of the superstructure. Two mounts are the same laser mount designs that were first mounted in the Swordfish class attack submarines but two are a new heavy ion pulse cannon only mounted in this class. They are lower powered versions of the same cannons that are carried on the Ticonderoga class submersible carrier. Contrary to some sources, the Trident class does not carry depth charges.

The vessels carry a large amount of automation to reduce crew but the crew is much larger than the 24 normally listed. The submarine can operate on a skeleton crew of 24 but actually requires a crew of 144 if it is to operate for a long period of time. Much of the reason why these submarines require such a comparatively large crew is due to the operation and support of the Manta-Ray submersable fighter.

The fighter launch system is a bit different than it is listed in most previous sources of information. The fighters simply launch from the bays when the vessel is on the surface using powerful electromagnetic catapults. The often quoted ability of the vessel to launch four fighters in a minute is on the surface. Each launch requires about thirty seconds to lock a fighter on the catapult and then accelerate the fighter along the launch rails.

Launching underwater requires more time, about two minutes per launch with two able to be launched at a time. This is because the hangars have to be evacuated of air and the fighters have to be moved into the launch area while flooded. The submersible carrier does not have enough air to be wasted on launches and it is stored in tanks after the hangar has been flooded. To be retrieved, the fighters must land where the launch rails are located and then are dragged back into the landing bay / hangar.

Authors Notes: The Author suggests using this writeup in the place of the Trident class submarine in Rifts: Underseas. The amount of crew seems far to small compared to the needs of the vessel, carries more reloads of missiles than seem practical, and vessel size seems to be too small to operate fighters effectively.

In addition 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: SSVN-22.

Class: Ocean, Light Submersible Carrier.

Crew: 144, 14 Officers, 18 Chief Petty Officers, and 112 Enlisted (Has a high degree of automation.)

Troop Capacity: 60 total; 20 Manta-Ray pilots and 40 Marines.

Robots, Power Armors, and Vehicles:

Power Armor Compliment:



APA-15 “Semper Fi” Power Armors.

Fighter/Aircraft Compliment:



Manta-Ray Submarines / Jet Fighters.

M.D.C. by Location:


[1] Sail mounted SPX-2S Active Phased Array Radar System (sail):



533 mm (21 inch) Torpedo Tubes (6, 4 front sides, 2 rear sides):

150 each.


Long Range Vertical Launch Missile Batteries (4, aft of sail):

250 each.


Cruise Vertical Launch Missile Batteries (4, 2 each side of sail):

300 each.


Retractable Ion Pulse Cannon Turrets (2, forward / aft of sail):

400 each.


Retractable Blue-Green Laser Cannon Mounts (2, forward / aft part of sail):

200 each.


Manta-Ray Launch Bays (2):

500 each.


Main Sail:



[2] Bow Planes (2):

200 each.


[3] Pump Jet Propulsor (1):



[4] Main Body:



[1] Destroying the SPX-2S rotating phased array radar panel will destroy the vessel’s main fire control systems against air target but the vessel has backup systems with a shorter range (Equal to robot vehicle sensors.) Note that the submarine does not need to surface in order to use the radar system but only the radar had to be brought above the surface.

[2] Destroying the submarine’s bow 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.

[3] Destroying the submarine’s pump jet propulsor causes serious problems. The submarine will no longer be able to use forward momentum and the bow planes to keep the submarine level. It is recommended that ballast tanks are immediately blown so submarine comes to the surface.

[4] 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.


Water Surface: 40 knots (73.6 km/46 mph).

Underwater: 40 knots (73.6 km/46 mph).

Maximum Depth: 2.5 miles (4 km).

Range: Effectively Unlimited due to fusion engines (needs to refuel every 20 years and requires maintenance as well). The vessel carries 12 months of supplies on board.

Statistical Data:

Height:  50 feet (15.2 meters) not including periscopes and antenna.

Width:   65 feet (19.8 meters).

Length:  560 feet (170.7 meters).

Displacement: 17,200 tons surfaced and 19,400 tons submerged.

Cargo: Submarine is very cramped, 60 tons (54.4 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: Nuclear fusion; average energy life of 20 years. Normally refuels every 10 years.

Black Market Cost: Not for sale; many nations and organizations would pay hundreds of millions to billions of credits for a new and undamaged Trident class submersible escort carrier. Cost does not include embarked craft and power armors.

Weapon Systems

  1. Two (2) Retractable Ion Pulse Cannons: One cannon is mounted forward of the submarine’s sail and the other is mounted behind the submarine’s sail. Experimental system mounted in the Trident class and are larger than the laser cannons but are still fully retractable under concealing deck plates so that they do not disrupt water flow at high speeds. The weapons have a variety of purposes and can be used against other ships, aircraft, missiles, and even torpedoes.

    Maximum Effective Range: In Atmosphere: 2 miles (3.2 km) Under Water: 1 mile (1.6 km)

    Mega-Damage: Each cannon inflicts 4D6x10 M.D.C. per blast.

    Rate of Fire: Each has two (2) times per melee round.

    Payload: Effectively Unlimited.

  2. Two (2) Retractable Blue Green Laser Cannon Mounts: These cannons are mounted in front of the main sail and behind the main sail both above the ion pulse cannons and fully retractable under concealing deck plates so that they do not disrupt water flow at high speeds. Smaller than the Ion cannons, they are considered useful both underwater and on the surface. As a blue-green laser, they have a greater range underwater than they would otherwise. The weapon system is used mainly as close defense against torpedoes underwater and against aircraft when on the surface.

    Maximum Effective Range: In Atmosphere: 2 miles (3.2 km). Under Water: 1 mile (1.6 km).

    Mega-Damage: Each cannon inflicts 2D4x10 M.D.C. per blast.

    Rate of Fire: Each has four (4) attacks per melee round.

    Payload: Effectively Unlimited.

  3. Six (6) 533 mm Heavy Torpedo Tubes: On each side of the submarine forward of the main sail but behind the bow are two torpedo tubes and there is a single tube on each side of the hull on either side of the stern of the submarine. 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 theoretically fire missiles (long or cruise) in special canisters and rocket boosted ASW torpedoes. As far as is known, missiles have never been carried aboard the Trident class in this manner. Submarine carries seventy-two reloads for torpedoes (in addition to six torpedoes in the tubes) and can theoretically carry up to one hundred and forty-four 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 theoretically 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), or four (4), or six (6) heavy torpedoes. Reloading takes one full melee round.

    Payload: Six (6) heavy torpedoes total [Has seventy-two (72) additional heavy torpedoes for reloads.]

  4. Four (4) Cruise Vertical Launch Missile Batteries: These are mounted with two on either side of the sail and are located outside of the main pressure hull. With a limited payload, they are considered extremely powerful but of limited effectiveness with long range missiles being more flexible and inflicting almost comparable damage. Cruise missiles have minuses to hit small targets although the system can engage more than one target simultaneously. Missiles can be fired while the submarine is underwater with a maximum depth of around 150 feet (45.7 meters.)

    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), three (3), or four (4) cruise missiles per melee round and can be fired at multiple target at the same time.

    Payload: Two (2) cruise missiles per launcher for eight (8) cruise missiles. Submarine does not carry any additional cruise missiles for reloads.

  5. Four (4) Long Range Vertical Launch Missile Batteries: All four launchers are located behind the main sail. As with the cruise missile batteries, the long range missile batteries are located outside of the pressure hull. While developed mainly to engage surface and land targets, the system is also effective at engaging aircraft. Anti-Submarine rocket launched torpedoes also can be fired from the launchers (See revised Rifts torpedoes for details.) Designed to be able to engage one than one target at the same time. Long range missile batteries can be used on the surface or fired while the submarine is underwater with a maximum depth of around 150 feet (45.7 meters.)

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

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

    Rate of Fire: Can fire long range missiles one at a time or volleys of two (2), four (4), or eight (8) long range missiles per launcher per melee round. Maximum total between launchers is thirty-two (32) long range missiles per melee round and can be fired at multiple target at the same time.

    Payload: Thirty-two (32) long range missiles per launcher for a total of one hundred and twenty-eight (128) long range missiles.

  6. Eight (8) Advanced Decoy Drones: The submarine carries eight 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: Eight (8) decoy drones.

  7. 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 submersible escort carrier 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) & Mischa (E-Mail Mischa). Click on line drawing for a better view.

Mischa has no art home page at present but many other items on my site.

Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

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