New Navy Argonaut class Supply & Support Submarines:

Like any truly effective navy, the New Navy requires support and supply vessels. Before the coming of the Rifts, the United States Navy used large surface vessels to keep their submarine forces supplied and supported. Unfortunately, virtually every support vessel of the United States Navy was destroyed and the ocean surface has become far more dangerous than it had ever been. This forced the New Navy to develop submarines to fulfill the roles that were previously done by surface vessels. The Argonaut class is actually two designs that use the same basic hull with one acting as a supply and cargo vessel and the other design acting as a support submarine. These designs were only developed after the coming of the Rifts and were two of only a small number of post Rifts New Navy designs. In most cases, the old United States Navy designs have been found to be superior to anything operating on Rifts Earth and as such there has been little impetus for new designs. The concept is not completely original. There had been some conversions of attack submarines to carry a limited amount of cargo previously and Germany had produced a cargo submarine in World War One and a Support submarine known as 'Milch Cow' during World War Two. These 'Milch Cow' submarines enabled German combatant submarines to operate for twice as long as they could otherwise. These Wold War Two support submarines have given the Argonaut its nickname. Both the crew of the support submarine and other submarine crews affectionately call the Argonaut class "Milch Cow". It is thought that the New German Republic Navy will have to develop their own submersible support vessel for their submarines operating far from their home ports.

The New Navy operates thirty-eight of these vessels and are constructing ten more of the cargo and supply vessels in the interest of increased trade with allied powers. There is a total of thirty vessels of the cargo and supply variant and they can often been found operating in groups escorted by an attack submarine in a similar fashion to old pre-rifts surface convoys. Two can usually be found with each battle group to carry supplies to support the combatant submarines. There is a total of eight support submarines in service in the New Navy with one normally operating with each battle group.

The Post Rifts 'Milch Cow' is one of the largest submarines every put into service although it although it is dwarfed by such classes as the Triax Submersible Carriers and the New Navy Submersible Carrier 'USS Ticonderoga.' The Argonaut is actually slightly larger than a late Twentieth Century Russian Typhoon class ballistic missile submarine. These ships are built to have the maximum possible space for either cargo or support equipment and much has been sacrificed for this. A smaller power plant was installed and the support submarine is capable of only 20 knots compared to 35 or greater knots for other designs. It was decided that the vessel need to carry some weaponry because there was too great a chance for the vessel to get into dangerous situations for the vessel not to be armed. The weaponry is limited and the weapon systems were reduced to one laser cannon turret and four torpedo tubes with a relatively small number of torpedoes. No missile launchers are mounted on the design unlike most other submarines operated by the New Navy. As well, the towed array sonar was deleted to increase space available although hull sonar is retained. The one feature that the designers were unwilling to sacrifice was the various noise reducing features and the Argonaut class submarines are as quiet as any New Navy fast attack design. The cargo section / support section is in front of the main sail of the vessel. To reduce construction and development costs, the Argonaut class uses the same components as other New Navy submarine classed when possible. The submarines carry large amounts of automation to reduce crew requirements.

When designing the vessel, one of the original considerations was to build one ship design to fill both roles but this was soon rejected. A ship that fulfilled both roles would have the problem that it would not be as good at either role than a specialized vessel would be. Instead, the New Navy developed two vessel designs that use the same basic hull design. The more numerous cargo design has a large cargo hold which can carry up to ten thousand tons of cargo. Industrial materials, food supplies, and ordnance can be carried to resupply other vessels or transported between bases. All cargo transfers are done on the surface of the water unless the vessel is inside of a base and has two retractable cargo cranes for this purpose. The tender and support vessel has a greatly reduced cargo carrying capacity and replaces the cargo space with machine shops and a medical deck. The vessel carries mostly repair parts in its limited cargo holds, although it also carries a small amount of ordnance. Each section is far more compact that they would be on a tender which was also a surface ship. In spite of this, the repair sections are capable of most repairs on other submarines. The vessel has two cargo cranes to bring parts back and forth. The ship carries 120 technicians assigned to the repair section. The medical deck is capable of most medical emergency and has two small but efficient operating rooms. The support version also has space for up to four hundred patients. The medical section is staffed by 8 doctors, 8 nurses, and 44 medical technicians. While transfer of equipment and patients is done on the surface, most work is done while the vessel is underwater. This is because the ship is far more stable while it is underwater.

[Authors Note: While Rifts: Underseas indicates that the New Navy operates only the USS Ticonderoga, Trident class Submersible Carriers, and Stingray and Sea Dragon class submarines, this writeup (and other new Navy Submarine designs) is designed to give the New Navy a larger variety of submarine classes.

Model Type: SSAN-01
Class: Submersible Auxiliary Support Vessel.

Crew:Supply Version:64; 6 Officers, 8 Chief Petty Officers, and 40 Enlisted
Support Version:244; 32 Officers, 20 Chief Petty Officers, and 192 Enlisted

M.D.C. by Location:

Retractable Laser Cannon Turret (1):200
Torpedo Tubes (4 in front):150 each
Cargo Hatches (4):400 each
Cargo Cranes (2):100 each
[1] Bow Planes (2):200 each
[2] Pump Jet Propulsor (1):500
Main Sail:800
[3] Main Body:2,800

[1] Destroying the submarines 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 piloting rolls.
[2] Destroying the submarines Pump Jet Propulsor causes serious problem. 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 takes are immediately blown so submarine comes to surface.
[3] 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: 20 knots (23 mph/ 37.1 kph)
Underwater: 20 knots (23 mph/ 37.1 kph)
Maximum Depth: 1.5 miles (2.4 km)
Maximum Effective 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 for the crew on board.

Statistical Data:
Height: 39.4 feet (12 meters)
Width: 82 feet (25 meters)
Length: 590.5 feet (180 meters)
Displacement: 35,500 tons
Cargo: Supply Version: 10,000 tons of cargo. Support Version: 2,000 tons of cargo
Cargo does not include crew supplies. Each enlisted crew member has a small locker for personal items and uniforms. Ships officers have more space for personal items.
Power System: Nuclear; average energy life of 20 years. Normally refuels every 10 years
Market Cost: Not for sale; many nations and organizations would pay hundreds of millions to billions of credits for a new and undamaged Argonaut class Support / Supply Submarine.

Weapon Systems:

  1. Laser Cannon Turrets (1): This cannon is mounted in front of the main sail and fully retractable under concealing deck plates so that they do not disrupt water flow at high speeds and are useful both underwater and on the surface. The weapon system is used mainly as close defense 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: Cannon inflicts 2D4x10 M.D.C.
    Rate of Fire: 4 Times per melee.
    Payload: Effectively Unlimited.
  2. Heavy Torpedo Tubes (4): The ship is designed to carry torpedoes as it main weaponry. While smaller torpedoes can be fitted as well, the New Navy mostly carries heavy torpedoes that inflict maximum damage. Four torpedo tubes are mounted in the front of the sub.
    Maximum Effective Range: 40 miles (64 km)
    Mega-Damage: By Heavy torpedo warhead type (See revised Rifts torpedoes for details.)
    Rate of Fire: Each tube can fire once per melee round
    Payload: 24 total: The New Navy subs normally carry the heaviest warheads available
  3. Noisemakers: The submarine carries noisemakers to decoy torpedoes. These noisemakers are similar to those used by Coalition submarines. The noisemakers are launched from the middle of the submarine.
    Effect: 50% of decoying normal torpedoes and 20% of decoying smart torpedoes.
    Rate of Fire: 2 at a time (Can be reloaded in one melee)
    Payload: 20 Noisemakers

Special Systems:

The submersible troop transport has all systems standard on a robot vehicle plus the following special features:

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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 2001, Kitsune. All rights reserved.