U.S. AKRN-345 William R. Connolly class Fast Vehicle Cargo Ship:

While the US Army had an incredible arsenal at its disposal, they vehicles and supplies necessary to fight a war on foreign soil were not self-deployable. They had to be transported to locations around the world by other means before they could bring the fight to the enemy. In the early twenty-first century the Algol class transport ships were beginning to show their age. Their General Electric steam turbine engines had seen better days and were becoming more and more difficult to maintain. However, during the 2012 war with India, the eight Algol class ships gave a good account of themselves, transporting the entire 1st Calvary Division and 3rd Infantry Division to the combat zone. However, that was their last hooray. While they were unloading, two of the ships were sunk by Indian air strikes, two others ran aground while maneuvering in close to shore to unload, and  one other sustained a massive engine failure in port. The US Army was without the fast transport it required to meet the US's global commitment. They placed heavy pressure on the US Navy for immediate replacements. The Navy pointed out that the Bob Hope, Maersk, AmSea, and Watson class ships were just as capable of moving heavy loads, though at a much slower pace, and the president and congress agreed. It was almost twenty years later, when the slower RO/RO ships had reached the end of their careers that funding became available for a new class to fast transport ships.

These purpose built high-speed ships had approximately 200,000 square feet of vehicle space, and  were designed to carry up to 200 M-1A7 MBTs or up to 650 HMMWVs. The were designed around the highly successful RO/RO (Roll-On/Roll-Off) ships of the late twentieth century. Alternately, the vessels were capable of carrying 25,000 tons of equipment. Each had roll-on/roll-off ramps port and starboard for easier loading and unloading as well as a pair of 70-ton cranes. The ships were originally fitted with four new generation gas turbines that could drive the ship up to 33 knots. Later these engines were replaced by fusion turbines that increased top speed to 35 knots. In a surprising move, they were fitted with variable pitch propellers for greater maneuverability in port facilities. There was never any thought to try to make the ships stealthy in any way, as the cost would have been prohibitively expensive and made the ships unavailable for too long a time.

The revolutionary new super-strong alloys and composites were being incorporated into the new Concord class cruisers, and under heavy pressure from Congress, the new ships would be constructed from the keel up with these materials. In addition, the Navy decided that the new class of fast vehicle transports would not suffer the same fate as the Algols. Two RAM  missile launchers and a single Phalanx CIWS were carried to defend against incoming missiles. These were replaced with combination missile and rail gun defense systems later in the ships' service lives. There was some consideration of installing a system to launch medium range missiles while the engines were being replaced, but this idea was discarded due to the cost. The ship carried the bare minimum of sensors, but there were plans to upgrade them in the early 22nd century. The class was fitted with a reasonably capable surface search radar system using a single array radar system. This same system was to be close to those carried on the Cape Lobos Amphibious Vessel and the Hazard class Coast Guard vessel. The ship were fitted with towed decoys to protect against torpedoes and chaff launchers to attempt to deceive missiles just before the coming of the Rifts.

Eventually twelve ships were built to meet the Army's increased demand for transport. They were named for decorated Army personnel who gave their lives in the line of duty. SSGT. William R. Connolly took command of the remains of his tank battalion after all the officers were killed during the brief war with India in 2012. He successfully halted an offensive flank attack by superior Indian mechanized forces thus giving the American spearhead the chance to turn and destroy the entire force. He was posthumously the Medal of Honor for his actions.

Like the Yosemite class Dry Cargo Vessels, the Connolly class were expected to get caught in combat areas and that the ships are armed, the vessels of the class were crewed by a mix of Naval Personnel and Merchant Marines. Also due to the fact that the ships might be called on to carry nuclear weapons, there was space set aside for carrying a compliment of marines. The policy of surface vessels not carrying nuclear warheads had been rescinded and the vessels had to equipped for the possibility. In addition, the vessel is designed with a hanger for cargo aircraft. These are used to carry cargo to vessels the ship is supporting. Usually a single Kingfisher VTOL aircraft are carried although originally nuclear converted Osprey VSTOL were used.

Model Type: AKRN-345 (SL-15) SSGT. William R. Connolly class Fast Vehicle Cargo Ship
Vehicle Type: Ocean, Auxiliary (Fast Vehicle Cargo Ship)
Crew: 66 total; 18 military (2 officers, 1 chief petty officer, 15 enlisted) and 48 civilian. [Has a high degree of automation]
Troops: 4 Kingfisher Crew members, 6 Power Armor Pilots, and up to 20 troops for protection of special cargo.

Robots, Power Armors, and Vehicles:
Power Armors:

4Semper Fi Power Armors (Has Flight Packs)
Aircraft Compliment:
1EV-84A General Cargo / Search and Rescue
Tanks and Other Vehicles (in storage):
200 M-7A1 "Jackson" MBTs, M-21 "Schwarzkoph" hover tank, or M-22 "Mackintosh" Tank Destroyer  (or)
300 M-8A1 Maverick" IFV, M-9 "Morgan" Missile Vehicle, or M-10 "Galahad" Self-Propelled Howitzer  (or)
150M-15 "Longworth" Glitterboy Transport or M-16 "Sheridan II" Troop Transport (or)
600HMMWV or M-4044 "Sand Rat" Hover Jeep

Usually an appropriate mix of vehicles will be carried so that the lose of any one ship will not result in critical losses in vital equipment. One possible mix would include:
50 M-7A1 "Jackson" MBTs, M-21 "Schwarzkoph" hover tank, or M-22 "Mackintosh" Tank Destroyer
75 M-8A1 Maverick" IFV, M-9 "Morgan" Missile Vehicle, or M-10 "Galahad" Self-Propelled Howitzer
37M-15 "Longworth" Glitterboy Transport or M-16 "Sheridan II" Troop Transport
150HMMWV or M-4044 "Sand Rat" Hover Jeep

M.D.C. by location:

Hanger (Aft):500
[1] Rear Flight Deck500
[2] Main Bridge / Superstructure:850
[3] SPX-1A Active Phased Array Radar System:200
Roll-On/Roll-Off ramps (2, one of each side of the rear)750 each
Vehicle Cranes (2, center)500 each
Mk 44 Combination Anti-Missile Defense System (4, Sides):200 each
Chaff Launchers (4, Superstructure):10 each
[4] Main Body:5,200

[1] If the flight deck is destroyed, no aircraft can be launched or land.
[2] 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.
[3] Destroying the Phase 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)
[4] 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.

Surface: 40.3 mph (35 knots/ 64.8 kph)
Maximum Effective Range: Unlimited due to fusion engines (needs to refuel every 20 years and requires maintenance as well). Ship normally carries 2 months of supplies on board.

Statistical Data:
Length: 946 feet (288.5 meters)
Draft: 37 feet (11.5 meters) fully loaded
Width: 105 feet (32 meters)
Displacement: 31,000 tons empty and 59,700 tons fully loaded
Cargo: 25,000 tons if not carrying vehicles. Each enlisted crew member has a small locker for personal items and uniforms. Ships officers have more space for personal items.
Power System: 4 Fusion Reactors, average life span is 20 years
Market Cost: Not for Sale but costs around 300 million credits to construct. If found and sold on the black market would probably cost 1 to 2 billion credits.


  1. Three (3) Mk 44 "Sea Sabre" Combination Anti-Missile Defense Systems: One is mounted on the front of the superstructure and two others are mounted to either side of the rear 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 systems. The short range missile launchers can target up four targets and can fire a volley up to twice per melee. 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 missile and +2 to strike aircraft). The rail gun is very similar to those carried on the Sea King Cruiser and it is likely that the Sea Kings 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 MD per burst of 40 rounds (Can only fire burst). Short Range Missiles: As per short range missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Rate of Fire: Rail Guns: 6 attacks per melee. Short Range Missiles: 2 attacks per melee, can fire one at a time or in volleys of two or four.
    Payload: Rail Guns: 8000 rounds (200 burst) each. Short Range Missiles: 16 short range missiles each.
  2. Chaff Launcher (4): 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. Reduce effects of launchers by 50% per launcher not used. Rifts Earth decoys systems are assumed to not operate on Phase World missiles due to technological difference. Reduce effects by 20% against smart missiles (Add +20% to rolls for smart missiles.)
    Maximum Effective Range: Around Ship
    Mega Damage: None
      01-35 - Enemy missile or missile volley detonates in chaff cloud - Missiles are all destroyed.
      36-60 - Enemy missile or missile volley loses track of real target and veers away in wrong direction (May lock onto another target.)
      61-00 - No effect, enemy missile or missile volley is still on target.
    Payload: 24 each for a total of 96
  3. Advanced Towed Decoys (4): 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 amphibious vessel using a cable. If decoys are not destroyed, they can be recovered and repaired. Rifts Earth decoy systems are assumed to not operate against Phase World weapons due to technological difference.
    M.D.C.: 20
    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 the decoy has a 25% chance of fooling advanced military sonars (Like those of the New Navy and Triax) and smart torpedoes.
    Maximum Effective Range: Not Applicable
    Rate of Fire: One can be deployed at a time and requires 2 minutes to deploy (Reel Out) another decoy
    Payload: 4 Decoys

Special Systems:
The ship has all systems standard on a robot vehicle plus the following special features:

[ Altarian 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, Iron Heart Armaments TM, Kankoran TM, Kittani 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, 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. ]

Writeup by Kamikazi (co366thaw@hotmail.com).

Copyright © 2002, Kamikazi. All rights reserved.