Golden Age Weaponsmiths Escort Carriers:
Golden Age Weaponsmiths has taken several medium to large sized cargo ships (both pre rifts and modern constructions), removed the superstructure, and outfitted them with flight decks and a small superstructure, and turned them into escort carriers. In the case of intact Pre-Rifts vessels, they also reinforce the hulls with M.D.C. materials so that the ships are more survivable in the dangerous world of the Rifts. Several of the smaller navies (including Columbia who has purchased one of each design role) and pirates have purchased these ships from Golden Age and have converted a few themselves from cargo ships that they either found, purchased, or captured themselves. Some governments have also considered constructing some conversions themselves.
The Escort Carriers Cargo ship conversions are close in appearance to both a World War 2 United States Escort Carriers and late Twentieth Century American Iwo Jima class LPH. The reason for the ships looking close in appearance is that both of these older designs were designed using Merchant ship hull designs as a basis or they themselves were converted from cargo vessels. Compared to these older ship designs though, they require far less crews and have a large amount of automation. Depending on materials on hand and the desires of the purchaser, the size of the carrier's superstructure can vary from being good sized to being very tiny depending on equipment carried. These ships do not have an angled flight deck like most of the modern super carriers do because that would require too much reconstructing. Some versions of this ship have a ski jump to allow STOL fighters to take off and will have arresting gear as well to allow non VTOL aircraft to land. The addition of this equipment reduces the number of aircraft that can be carried by about four aircraft though.
The average speed of the vessels is around 25 knots. Slower vessels have not been considered for conversion due to the disadvantages of the slower speed and merchant ships faster than 25 knots are very rare. So far, the only propulsion systems of the ships converted to escort carriers have been either nuclear or diesel. Nuclear powered vessels (which several have been converted to) have a much greater endurance but the purchase cost of diesel powered vessels is much less expensive.
There are two different roles in service for this ship design. One is used as a light aircraft carrier and the other is used as an amphibious assault carrier. A version that carries primarily aircraft will carry a maximum of 32 aircraft and 80 power armors to back up the fighters. Some carrier conversions might be able to carry up to 6 more aircraft if the merchant ship design was larger than normal before being converted. An amphibious assault version of this carrier would usually only carry about 22 aircraft but will carry up to 200 power armors. Smaller hulls are not considered effective because number of aircraft that could be carried would be too small.
Most escort carriers will only operate VSTOL (Very Short Take Off and Landing) and VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing) aircraft. These include medium helicopters (Including attack types), sky cycles, some new fighter types, and refitted pre-rifts VTOL aircraft such as the AV-8B Harrier and Osprey. Large helicopters and fighters (no large bombers like the Aircastle bomber) take the spake required for two normal sized fighters. Sky cycles can normally be carried at the rate of four for each medium sized aircraft. With the Addition of a Ski jump the ship can operate many STOL aircraft as well. Some older and smaller aircraft can use this carrier as well because they were designed to be launched and to land on ships of this size. An example of this is the World War II Corsair which could operate off of ships this size.
The actual weaponry on the ship is variable on the desires of the person or group wishing to purchase the ship and will reduce the number of aircraft or power armors and costing a little extra. Normally, the ships are only lightly armed and rely mostly on aircraft or power armors for the ship’s defenses and offensive punch capability. As well, these ships are usually escorted by a few modified Pre-Rifts warships or modern warships for added protection.
Each light weapon system reduces the number of aircraft by 1 or by 10 power armors. Light weapon systems include high capacity short range missile launchers, eight shot medium range missile launchers, and automatic missile defense gun systems.
Each heavy weapon system will reduce the ship’s aircraft compliment by 2 or by 20 power armors. These can include a five inch gun mount (copied from several pre-rifts ship designs) and eight cell long range missile launchers. No larger weapons systems have been fitted to the ship design at this time.
Like Weapon systems, communication and sensor systems are variable based on the purchasers desires. The vessels comes with a basic communication package (equal to a robot vehicle), basic radar (Equal to a robot vehicle), and ESM for radar detection if not replaced or augmented by better systems.
Model Type: GAW CVE-1 Class
Vehicle Type: Escort Carrier or Amphibious Assault Carrier.
Troops: 100 on Escort Carrier or 1000 Amphibious Assault Carriers.
Power Armors and Vehicles:
|80||80||Flying Power Armors|
|32||36||Fighters or Other Aircraft|
|200||240||Flying Power Armors|
|22||24||Fighters or Other Aircraft|
M.D.C. by Location:
| Exterior Elevators (2):||150 each|
| Flight Deck:||500 or 700|
|Hanger Doors (4):||100 each|
|Outer Hull (per 80 ft area):||30|
| Command Tower:||600|
| Phalanx CIWS Vulcan Cannon:||100 each|
| Medium Range Missile Launchers:||200 each|
| Short Range Missile Launchers:||150 each|
| MK 45 Single Barrel Five Inch (127 mm) Naval Gun:||250 each|
| Vertical Launch Launchers:||300 each|
| Medium Range Radar:||200|
| SPS-49 Search Radar Tower:||400|
| Phase Array Radar Panels (4):||300 each panel|
| Main Body:||1,500 or 2,000|
 If both elevators are destroyed, no aircraft can be moved from the hangers to the flight deck, meaning that only power armors and robot fighters (such as the Dragonwing or Kittani Robot Fighter) can leave the hanger.
 If the flight deck is destroyed, only VTOL aircraft can be launched or land. VTOL aircraft are at -15% to piloting. Robot Fighters. Such as the Dragonwing or Kittani Robot Fighters can launch or land without penalty.
 If command tower is destroyed, all main sensors (Missile launchers fire control remain) and communication will be lost. The ship can still be piloted from engineering.
 Optional weapon and communication systems. Sensor systems are normally considered to be mounted on or next to the ship’s bridge.
 Destroying the main body causes the ship to lose structural integrity, causing the ship to sink. There are enough life preservers and inflatable life boats to accommodate everyone on the ship. Medium sized cargo ship conversions have 1,500 M.D.C. and large cargo vessel conversions have 2,000 M.D.C.
On Water: 27 mph (25 Knots/ 46.3 kph), normal cruising speed is 17.3 mph (15 knots / 27.8 kph)
Maximum Effective Range: Effectively unlimited if nuclear (needs to refuel every 10 years and requires regular maintenance as well), 10,000 miles (8690 nm/16093 km) if Diesel at 15 knots. For Diesel, reduce range by half is traveling at 20 knots and by three quarters if traveling at 25 knots.
Statistical Data (Sizes are approximate and are based on the converted
Draft: Medium: 28 feet (8.5 meters). Large: 30 feet (9.1 meters)
Width: Medium: 85 feet (25.9 meters) at waterline and 106 feet (32.3 m) at flight deck level. Large: 90 feet (27.4 meters) at waterline and 115 feet (35.1 m) at flight deck level.
Length: Medium: 562 feet (171.3 meters) at waterline and 604 feet (184.1 m) at flight deck level. Large: 650 feet (198.1 meters) at waterline and 720 feet (219.5 m) at flight deck level.
Displacement: Medium: 23,000 tons. Large: 30,000 tons
Power Source: Nuclear with 10 year life span or Diesel.
Cargo Capacity: Medium: 5,000 tons of additional weapons and equipment Large: 7,500 tons of additional weapons and equipment. Each enlisted crew member has a small locker for personal items and uniforms. Ships officers have more space for personal items. Most of the ship’s spaces are taken up by extra ammo, armor, troops, weapons, and engines and often the extra cargo space is used for additional ammo as well.
Black Market Cost: Medium sized Diesel versions cost 20 million credits and Nuclear versions cost 60 million credits. Add 10 million for larger vessel and various equipment cost additional.
- Light Weapon System: These weapon systems will reduce the capacity of the carrier by one fighter or ten power armors each. Light weapon systems are usually mounted on platform mounts besides the ships flight deck or are mounted on the ship’s superstructure. Normally, the ships will carry three to four reloads for the weapon system.
- MK 15 Phalanx Block II 20 mm Autocannons: These weapons are simply the standard pre-rifts phalanx system that is using Ramjet rounds instead of standard slugs. The weapon systems are still quite effective at destroying incoming missiles and are fully automated. The weapons can be used on surface targets as well as against missiles and aircraft. Each autocannon can fire on automatic at up to six targets per melee (Has +3 to strike missiles and +2 to strike aircraft).
- Phalanx Laser CIWS Vulcan Cannon: This weapon system is Vulcan laser from the iron hammer battle tank and use a copy of the fire control from the pre-rifts US Navy CIWS and is more expensive than the Standard Phalanx. The laser system can fire on automatic at up to six targets per melee (Has +3 to strike missile and +2 to strike aircraft). The system has a 360 degree rotation and can elevate up to 90 degrees to fire at targets directly overhead.
- Medium Range Missile Launchers (8 medium range missiles): Weapon system is a fairly simple box style launcher is designed to give the ship a longer range missile defense other than fighters and power armors without taking a large amount of ship’s space. Each launcher operates independently and can lock onto multiple targets simultaneously. If the ship carries reloads, they will be reloaded manually.
- Short Range Missile Launching Systems (24 short range missiles): Each launcher has a 24 Short Range Missiles and in many ways is similar to the Pre-Rifts RAM point defense missile launcher. This missile mounts main purpose is for inner anti-missile point defense. Short Range Missiles are usually a mixture of 50% Armor Piercing and 50% Plasma. Each launcher operates independently and can lock onto multiple targets simultaneously. If the ship carries reloads, they will be reloaded manually.
- Heavy Weapon Systems: These weapon systems will reduce the capacity of the carrier by two fighters or by twenty power armors each. These heavy weapon systems may be mounted on supports beside the ships flight deck but are often mounted next to the ship’s superstructure as well.
- MK 45 Single Barrel Five Inch (127 mm) Naval Gun: The gun is very reliable although it fires at a relatively slow rate (20 rounds per minute). The gun was carried on many ship classes until well into the twenty first century. The guns can be used against other ships, against ground targets, and against aircraft. The five inch guns can also use rocket assisted projectiles for extended range.
- Vertical Launch Launchers: Each mount has 40 cells with provisions for missiles in an 8 long by 5 wide cell configuration. The launcher may launch on multiple targets each. 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 has a reload system that reloads from under the launcher and can reload within 15 seconds. Each cell can carry one long range missile or two medium range missiles. 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. The launcher can use a vast variety of missiles including surface skimming missiles and rocket propelled torpedoes (See revised Rifts torpedoes for details.) Long range missiles are normally used against large targets and aircraft / missiles.
Maximum Effective Range: 5,000 feet (1,524 meters)
Mega-Damage: 2D6x10 for a burst of 60 round (2D4 for each round but gun always fires in bursts).
Rate of Fire: Six bursts per melee for each mount (Has +3 to strike missiles and +2 to strike aircraft).
Payload: 600 rounds (10 bursts) each. Autocannon requires 2 minutes (8 melees) to reload by properly trained personnel (Double for untrained crews).
Maximum Effective Range: 4000 feet (1212 m)
Mega-Damage: 3D4x10 MD (burst)
Rate of Fire: 6 Attacks per melee (Has +3 to strike missile and +2 to strike aircraft)
Payload: Effectively Unlimited
Maximum Effective Range: As per medium range missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
Mega-Damage: As per 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) or four (4) missiles.
Payload: each launcher carries 8 medium range missiles.
Maximum Effective Range: As per short range missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
Mega-Damage: As per short 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), six (6), or twelve (12) missiles (Each launcher operates independently.)
Payload: 24 missiles each launcher.
Maximum Effective Range: 12 miles (10.4 nautical miles/19.3 km) for standard projectiles, 20 miles (17.4 nautical miles/32.2 km) for rocket propelled rounds.
Mega-Damage: Standard Projectiles: 2D6x10 to a blast radius of 25 ft (7.7 m) for High Explosive, 3D6x10 to a blast radius of 6 ft (2 m) for High Explosive Armor Piercing, and 4D6x10 to a blast radius of 25 ft (7.7 m) for Plasma. Rocket projectiles: 2D4x10 to a blast radius of 20 ft (6.1 m) for High Explosive, 2D6x10 to a blast radius of 4 ft (1.2 m) for High Explosive Armor Piercing, and 3D6x10 to a blast radius of 20 ft (6.1 m) for Plasma. Use the statistics for 105 mm artillery warheads (Go to Battlefield Artillery for Rifts for more information - standard or rocket assisted as appropriate).
Rate of Fire: Five shots per cannon per melee.
Payload: 200 rounds.
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), or twenty (20) missiles per launcher per melee and can be fired at multiple targets at the same time. Missile cells are automatically reloaded and are ready to fire next melee.
Payload: 40 missile cells in the launcher. One long range missile or two medium range missiles may be carried per cell. The ship will often carry 8 cells in each launcher (32 cells total) with two medium range missiles each and the other cells loaded with one long range missile each.
Sensor, Communication, and Other Equipment:
The ship comes standard with only very basic systems but more advanced systems may be added at extra cost and reduction in the amount of aircraft or power armor capacity in some cases. No Escort Carriers have been fitted with sonar or any noise reduction features. The standard vessel comes with generic radar (equal to robot vehicles), communication systems (equal to robot vehicles), and basic ESM (detect another radar system at 125% of the range of the transmitting radar):
- Medium Range Radar: Standard Radar Unit from out of main Rifts book. The system is used primarily to track aircraft for take off and landings. Radar system has a 100 mile (160.9 km) range. This system does not reduce the number of fighters or power armors for the ship
- SPS-49 Radar: Copy of long range air search radar system. Radar system has a range of 445 nautical miles (512.1 miles / 824.1 km). Radar system can track up to 128 targets simultaneously. This radar system and support equipment is fairly large and reduces ship’s ability to carry 1 aircraft or 10 power armors.
- SPY-1D+ Phased Array Radar: Powerful and flexible pre-rifts radar system that is comprised of four panels that each emit radar waves. Less advanced than the phased radar system fitted on the Coalition ships but still powerful. If allowed by the horizon, the system can track out to 175 nautical miles (201.4 miles / 324.1 km) and can simultaneously track and identify up to 288 targets at one time. The system controls missile launched from the long range missile launchers and the system track and guide each individual missile to a individual target for up to 96 targets. If a target is eliminated, missiles are automatically guided to a new target. The system can also control missiles launched from other linked vessels as well and can also act as fire control for gun mounts. This system is cumbersome and requires a large superstructure. Because of this, the system and support equipment costs the ship the ability to carry 2 aircraft or 20 power armors as well as being expensive.
- Advanced Communication Package: Give the ships the ability of multi-direction communication of 800 miles (1290 km) as well as direction communication out to 500 miles (800 km) to up to 20 individual targets. The system also has 20 laser/microwave communication systems that are only limited by line of sight (Range of about 100,000 miles (161,000 km). This communication system and support equipment is fairly large and reduces ships ability to carry 1 aircraft or 10 power armors.
- Advanced Integrated Electronic Warfare System (AIEWS): Combination of radar detection system (ESM) and an active jamming system. The system can detect another radar system at 125% of the range of the transmitting radar. In jamming mode, causes -25% to detection but when it is active, other vehicles/ bases can detect that it is jamming, and some missiles will home in on jamming signals. Jamming also causes a -4 penalty to all radar guided weapons. This system does not reduce the number of fighters or power armors for the ship
- Ski Jump Ramp: Usually about 12 to 15 degrees and is on the bow of the vessel. Allows for the taking off of STOL (Short Take Off and Landing) aircraft but is of limited utility without flight deck arresting gear. This costs the ship the ability to carry 2 aircraft or 20 power armors. This also increase the ships displacement by about 1,000 tons
- Flight Deck Arresting Gear: A bunch of cables that allows for the landing of aircraft with tail hooks for flight deck landings but in most cases the aircraft will also require a Ski Jump ramp to take off. This costs the ship the ability to carry 2 aircraft or 20 power armors.
|Component / System:||Price (Credits):|
|Basic Vessel (Diesel)||20,000,000|
|Basic Vessel (Nuclear)||60,000,000|
|MK 15 Phalanx Block II 20 mm Autocannons||200,000 each|
|Phalanx Laser CIWS Vulcan Cannon||550,000 each|
|Medium Range Missile Launchers (8 medium range missile capacity)||2,000,000 each|
|Short Range Missile Launchers (24 short range missile capacity):||800,000 each|
|MK 45 Single Barrel Five Inch (127 mm) Naval Gun||500,000 each|
|Vertical Launch Launchers (40 long range missile capacity)||10,000,000 each|
|Medium Range Radar (100 mile / 160.9 km range)||25,000|
|SPS-49 Radar (445 nm /512.1 miles / 824.1 km / track 32 targets).||8,000,000|
|SPY-1D+ Phased Array Radar (175 nautical miles / 201.4 miles / 324.1 km)||25,000,000|
|Advanced Communication System||2,500,000|
|Advanced Integrated Electronic Warfare System (AIEWS)||1,200,000|
|Ski Jump Ramp||1,500,000|
|Flight Deck Arresting Gear||2,000,000|
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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).
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