U.S. FFGN-235 Francis Darcey Nuclear Missile Frigate:

In the dangerous years before the coming of the Rifts, there was a need for small combatants as well as larger combatants. This included both Frigates and Destroyers for the United States Navy. As for Frigates, the older Tomlinson class frigates were becoming badly outdated and most were being slowly phased out of service although some were kept in reserve. The Darcey class had many clear advantages when compared to the older guided missile frigates. Their superstructure was designed for stealth, they had a radar system similar to the larger Aegis system, and could carry more missiles. In many respects the class looks much like the late twentieth century French Lafayette class frigate. Some initial designs for the ship would have been on a trimaran hull design but it was eventually constructed as a single hull design to simplify production. A trimaran design was being developed at the time of the rifts to replace the Darcey class frigate but the new vessel was never laid down. The ship is in many between a frigate and destroyer in both size and firepower.

The ships are named for historic officers and enlisted personnel of the United States Navy and other historic individuals such as Secretaries of Defense and friendly Prime Ministers. Many were named for admirals and captains. This follows the standard naming conventions for destroyers and frigates since the first destroyer was commissioned. Commander Francis Darcey was the commanding officer of the USS Bunker Hill, a Ticonderoga class cruiser, during the 2012 war with India. Most of the United States Navy was out of position and she ended having to engage an Indian Carrier Battle group with the cruiser and two frigates as escorts. She won although one of her escorts was sunk and the other was badly damaged.

These ships were produced in large numbers and there are even a few know to have survived damaged in various locations around Rifts Earth. Since the hull was constructed with high strength ceramics and composites, these ships do not rust away like many Pre-Rifts ships have. It is likely that the Coalition has found some examples of these frigates and may have their shipyards produce a modified version of the Darcey class instead of the James Bay class destroyer. One of the only reasons they may not is for the time needed to retool and rumors that Free Quebec may be producing a New German Republic ship design.

While the hull is a single hull and not a tri-hull, it is of a wide beam and is fitted with hull stabilizers for a smoother ride. This makes for a surprisingly seaworthy frigate. The superstructure and hull are constructed from strong composites and ceramics that can take incredible abuse and with the angle of the ship’s superstructure gives excellent stealth. Propulsion was originally planned to be conventional gas turbine engines but with the invention of fusion aircraft engines, modified fusion aircraft engines were fitted to the ship in place of Gas Turbines during production. Like the Gas Turbine ships that she is based on, the Darcey has variable pitch propellers that make it more maneuverable and able to go from full speed to full reverse very rapidly. The Darcey class Frigate has a special bubble masking system that both masks the hull and propellers to enable the ship to operate quietly. The ship has a radar system that is based off of the Aegis radar system although it is smaller and slightly less capable than the systems carried on larger ships. Since one of the missions of the ship is submarine hunting, it has an excellent sonar system with a towed array.

The ship much lighter armed than the Delaware class cruiser constructed around the same time but the Darcey is still well armed and is quite capable of protecting itself in most situations. It was originally intended that the ship would carry a light weight standard cannon (either a 5 inch or 3 inch gun) but this was replaced by a powerful rail gun before construction began. This rail gun primarily fires high velocity solid projectiles but may also fire explosive rounds. This rail gun is fitted in front of both the superstructure and the ships missile launchers. The missile launchers are a vertical launch system fitted on a raised deck behind the rail gun and in front of the ships. This launcher is the same 96 cell system as is carried on the Delaware class missile cruiser but the Darcey only carries one unit where the Delaware class cruiser carries two of these vertical launch systems. Each cell can carry one long range missile or two medium range missiles. Normally these launchers carried several anti-submarine missiles. The ship carries two combination short range missile launcher and rail gun systems for point defense. Normally the missiles are fired first at incoming missiles and the rail guns attempt to destroy any that leak through or when the short range missile launchers run out of missiles. The ship has torpedo tubes on either side for use against submarines and has anti-missile chaff to confuse remaining incoming missiles.

The ships is designed with a moderate crew and is fairly comfortable due to the ship having a fair amount of automation. Like most frigates, the Darcey does not carry any marines but does have body armor and weapons for the ships crew if needed to prevent boarding. The ship has hanger space to carry two helicopters or other VTOL aircraft.

Model Type: FFGN-235 class Frigate
Vehicle Type: Ocean, Guided Missile Frigate
Crew: 110; 10 officers, 15 Chief Petty officers, and 85 enlisted (Has a high degree of automation)
Troops: 8 Helicopter Pilots or VTOL Pilots.

Robots, Power Armors, and Vehicles:

2Helicopters or other VTOL Aircraft

M.D.C. by location:

[1] Phase Array Radar Panels (4, Superstructure):200 each
100 mm Heavy Rail Gun Turret (1, Forward):300 each
Mk 44 Combination Anti-Missile Defense System (2, Superstructure):200 each
Mk 59 VLS Missile Launchers (1, Forward):750 each
Torpedo Launchers (2, sides):50 each
Chaff Launcher (2, Superstructure):10 each
Hanger (Aft):400
[2] Main Body:1,500

[1] Destroying Phased Array radar panels will destroy the ship’s fire control systems but guns have backup systems and panels can compensate for each other.
[2] 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: 52 mph (45 knots/ 83 kph)
Maximum Effective Range: 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:
Length: 442 feet (134.7 meters)
Draft: 18.5 feet (5.6 meters)
Width: 54 feet (16.5 meters)
Displacement: 3,250 tons standard and 3,825 tons fully loaded
Cargo: 200 tons of nonessential equipment and supplies. 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.
Power System: Nuclear Reactors, average life span is 20 years
Market Cost: Not for Sale but if found on the black market would probably cost 300 million credits.


  1. Hyper Velocity 100 mm Heavy Rail Gun (1): Main weapon which is mounted in turret in front of the ship. The rail gun has better range than comparable sized standard cannons, inflicts greater damage to armored targets, and has a higher payload due to no storage of propellant charges. This rail gun normally fires a solid dart of ultra dense high strength materials that does massive damage to targets that it hits but can also use explosive warheads for softer targets and against aircraft. The rail gun turret can rotate 360 and can tilt up to 90 degrees and is useful against both ground and air targets although using solid slug rounds, the cannon has -2 to strike fast moving targets such as aircraft, missiles, and flying power armors. The weapon system is also gyro-stabilized and has an advanced fire control computer.
    Maximum Effective Range: 15 miles (24.1 km)
    Mega Damage: A single round does 5D6x10+20 M.D.C. (optional rule is that cannon gets a critical on a natural 18, 19, or 20 due to its high penetration). Can use Standard High Explosive rounds that do 1D4x10 with a blast radius of 16 feet. High Explosive Armor Piercing does 2D4x10 with a blast radius of 8 ft.
    Rate of Fire:Maximum of four per melee.
    Payload: 400 rounds.
  2. Two (2) Mk 44 "Sea Sabre" Combination Anti-Missile Defense Systems: One system is in the rear of the superstructure just before the helicopter hanger and the other is on the front of the superstructure just after the bridge. 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 bursts). 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.
  3. MK 59 Vertical Launch Missile Launcher (1): Launching cells are located forward behind the 100 mm rail gun mount on a raised deck. 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 since the missiles are smaller they have a reload system that reloads from under the launcher and can reload within 15 seconds. The launcher have a total of 96 individual cells and is eight missile cells longs by twelve cells wide. The launcher can fire up to half its total payload per melee. The launcher can use a vast variety of missiles including surface skimming missiles and rocket propelled torpedoes (See revised Rifts torpedoes for details.) Each cell can carry one long range missile or two medium range missile. 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.
    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), sixteen (16), thirty-two (32), or 48 missiles for the whole launcher per melee. Missile cells are automatically reloaded and are ready to fire next melee.
    Payload: 96 missile cells in launcher with reload systems for each cell (one reload each cell). One long range missile or two medium range missiles may be carried per cell but reload must be the same load out as well. The ship will often carry 24 cells with two medium range missiles each and the other cells loaded with one long range missile each.
  4. Two (2) Medium Torpedo Launchers: Mainly design for anti-submarine warfare but can be used against surface targets. There is one launcher on each side of the ship with four tubes each. The tubes have an automatic reloading system and can be fired quickly. The ships carries a total of 60 torpedoes for reloads. By Medium torpedo warhead type.
    Maximum Effective Range: 20 miles (32 km)
    Mega Damage: By Medium torpedo warhead type (See revised Rifts torpedoes for details.)
    Rate of Fire: Can fire torpedoes one at a time or in volleys of two (2) or four (4) torpedoes per side, launcher can fire a maximum of two volleys per melee each launcher
    Payload: Has 60 torpedoes for reloads
  5. Chaff Launcher (2): Located on the superstructure of the ship, they are designed to confuse incoming missiles. Both launchers must be operated or effects will be reduced. Reduce effects of launchers by 50% per launcher not used. Rifts Earth decoy 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 48
  6. 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 submarine 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:

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Image drawn and copyrighted by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, & 2009, Kitsune. All rights reserved.