U.S. FFN-1108 Richard E. Byrd class Nuclear Frigate:
The United States Navy and United States government leaders have never shown a consistent opinion on frigates. At times, the small combatant vessels are seen as too small to fulfill the roles that they would be expected to perform and that destroyers were a better investment. At other times, they are seen as cheaper alternatives to larger destroyers and are more expendable. The view that frigates were cheaper alternatives to destroyers was the opinion of the executive branch when the revolution of super strong composites and alloys made virtually every existing military designs obsolete. The leaders of the Navy and some in congress preferred the idea of large destroyers over frigates but not enough support was available to override the president and his defense secretary's opinion. A temporary solution to the mass obsolescence of vessels was to refit the existing vessels with new armor materials but it was considered strictly by most navy leaders so programs for new vessels were a priority. Frigates were a good solution due to being quick to complete and were relatively expensive. With the support of both Congress and the President, a large class of frigates was authorized which later became the Richard E Byrd class. The original plan was for around sixty of these frigates to be constructed but this was later reduced to thirty-eight frigates when the navy was able to get support for larger destroyer type vessels. Later, this class was further reduced down to only sixteen and instead a dozen additional Rosette class destroyers were authorized. Most of the frigates were built in small yards while the larger yards concentrated on cruiser and destroyer classes. An interesting note is that even though the Richard E. Byrd class has considerable missile capability, they are not considered guided missile frigates but are instead considered conventional frigates.
Even though the Richard E. Byrd class was very minimalist in design, they remained in service even when many newer vessels entered service. The frigates were considered very useful and released newer vessels to preform what was seen as more important roles. Before the revolution in super strong materials, combat vessels were normally expected to remain in service for thirty years. With the new materials, this was tripled to around ninety years and many vessels using the new composites and alloys show little sign of wear even up to the present time. The Richard E. Byrd class often performed the odd jobs that required a capable combatant vessel but did not require a more powerful ship. As well, these ships were often used in roles that the Navy did not want to risk a large and more expensive vessel. Jobs performed by the frigates included the escorting of small convoys and patrolling restricted and potentially hostile waters. In many cases, a frigate patrolling hostile waters would have an additional vessel or even a task force supporting them outside of the danger zone. If the frigate is attacked, the supporting ship or ships would strike against the attackers. While acting as bait, several of the frigates were attacked. No Richard E. Byrd class frigates were sunk while preforming this mission but several were damaged including one which was hit by a cruise missile and one which struck a heavy mine. Both the Eve Castleman (FF-1115) and Barry Solomon (FF-1121) needed extensive repairs and were selected as test vessels for new systems while being rebuilt. As the Francis Darcey class guided missile frigates entered service, all but the two refitted vessels of the older frigate class were assigned to the Naval Reserve Force with a composite active and reserve crews. Still, the Rich E. Byrd class frigates were often deployed overseas and performed all the roles they did before being assigned to the Naval Reserve Force. Even though the Navy was initially against the idea of the frigates, they had no plans to remove them from service and a smaller alternative to the Francis Darcey class were being considered just before the coming of the Rifts. These ships were often home ported in smaller ports which were more likely to survive the coming of the Rifts.
Unlike the Rosette class destroyer and similar cruiser classes, the Richard E Byrd class has a clipper style bow for better sea keeping. To further improve the frigate's sea keeping, it was designed with a relatively broad beam and was fitted with stabilizers. Like most naval designs being designed at the time of the Byrd class, the frigate was designed with a reduced radar cross signature which was further improved with the use of composites for the hull and superstructure. In addition, the hull was designed to produce very low noise and has a bubble masking system to further reduce the chance of the frigate being detected by sonar. The advantages of the new super strong materials were manifold. One of the most obvious was that the frigates could withstand far greater damage than could previously be imagined for a vessel it's sized. In addition wear due to normal operation is minimized and corrosion was likewise reduced. As a result, the likelihood of these ships surviving the coming of the Rifts and to the present time is actually quite high. Power was originally produced by two gas turbine engines which produced over twice the power of the engines used in the Oliver Hazard Perry, which were produced in large numbers several decades previously but had all been retired by the time that the Byrd class entered service. The ships used two variable pitched propellers which used electrical transmission to drive them. All previous American frigate classes used a single propeller. The powerful gas turbines gave the frigate a top speed of more than thirty-two knots. The whole class was later refitted by fusion turbine engines which gave the Byrd class frigates virtually unlimited range and increased the top speed by three knots.
Most of the larger combat vessels being designed by the United States Navy at the time of the Richard E. Byrd class were designed with multiple, usually four, phased array radar system. The systems were considered too large and costly for a low cost frigate design. Instead, a single rotating phased array radar system was developed for the frigate. The system is similar to the Samson system which the British used on their Daring class cruiser. The American system was smaller but did not have the ability to track as many targets and had a shorter range. Tracking is about equal to that of the old SPY-1 radar system. Even though the system is both a search and fire control radar, its designation of SPS-88 is that of a search radar system. A multi-purpose radar system should be either designated SPY or SPQ. The two damaged frigates were upgraded with the SPX-1A Radar replacing the older radar system. The ships were used to evaluate the system but was not replaced when evaluation was completed and the two frigates were the old two to remain in active forces until the coming of the Rifts. The SPX-1A system is also a single rotating phased array radar system and should have been designated SPY or SPQ as well. The system has a much greater tracking ability than the SPS-88 system and was much longer ranged. In addition to the radar systems, the frigate mounts an advanced hull sonar and an advanced towed array system. One of the primary missions envisioned in the design of the frigate was anti-submarine warfare and powerful sonar systems were needed to perform in this role. A variety of other sensor systems are carried on the frigate including powerful jamming systems.
The weapon suite of the frigate is basic and already developed systems were used for lower development cost. Still, the weapon's array is quite effective. For the main cannon, a rapid fire 76 mm is mounted on the bow. While the design of the cannon was around sixty years old when the Richard E. Byrd class was designed, it was still considered quite effective. The cannon had been mounted on the Perry class frigate as well as several Coast Guard cutter designs. Even after the Richard E. Byrd class frigate was completed, the same type of gun was mounted on the Hazzard class trimaran cutter and salvaged 76 mm cannons have been mounted in post Rifts vessels. As well, similar 76-mm cannons have been mounted on classes around the world up to the coming of the Rifts. Behind the 76-mm cannon, the frigate mounted a MK 41 vertical launch missile system on a raised platform. The launcher contains thirty-two cells and is strategic length and can use a vast array of different missiles. The launcher can mount one cruise missile, two long range missiles, or four medium range missiles. The normal multi-mission load-out is four cruise missiles, sixteen anti-submarine rocket boosted torpedoes (long range missiles), sixteen normal long range missiles, and forty-eight medium range missiles. This loaded can vary by mission. For shore bombardment and anti-ship roles, sixteen cruise missiles and sixty-four medium range missiles. For anti-submarine escort roles and submarine hunting roles, thirty-two rocket launched torpedoes (long range missiles) and sixty-four medium range missiles. For inner point defense, originally two RAM (Rolling Airframe Missile) launchers were mounted on either side of the superstructure. These were replaced by combination point defense mounts which combine a long range rapid fire rail gun with a short range missile launcher. Like most American, and NATO, ships designed for anti-submarine warfare, the Richard E. Byrd class frigate mounts medium size quad torpedo tubes on either side of the superstructure near the rear.
To reduce crew requirements, considerable automation is utilized. The frigates were considered more expendable than other classes and one of the design features was small crews to minimize the loss of life if a frigate was destroyed. While the old Perry class frigate required a crew of between 215 and 235, the Richard E. Byrd class have a crew of only 105. A fringe benefit of the small crew size is that crew berthing is very comfortable and spacious for a frigate. Originally, the frigate was not planned with a hanger. It was seen that the number of hanger spaces available on other vessels was seen as compensating for the frigate's lack of a hanger. Only a helicopter pad was planned for the frigate. When designing the frigate, it was found that there was enough space for a single place hanger and it was integrated into the design. For short periods of time, a second aircraft can be carried on the flight deck. The ship does not have the ability to carry troops and has no facilities for flag personnel.
Model Type: FFN-1108 class Frigate
Vehicle Type: Ocean, General Purpose Frigate
Crew: 105; 9 officers, 14 Chief Petty officers, and 82 enlisted (Has a high degree of automation)
Troops: 4 Helicopter Pilots or VTOL Pilots.
Robots, Power Armors, and Vehicles:
|1||Helicopters or other VTOL Aircraft|
M.D.C. by location:
| SPS-88 Active Phased Array Radar System (Most of class):||160|
| SPX-1A Active Phased Array Radar System (Two frigates):||200|
|3 inch (76-mm)/62-cal DP Mk 75 (1, Forward):||180|
|Mk 41 32 Cell Vertical Missile Launchers (1, Forward):||220 each|
|Mk 44 Combination Anti-Missile Defense System (2, Superstructure):||200 each|
|Torpedo Launchers (2, sides):||40 each|
|Chaff Launcher (2, Superstructure):||10 each|
|VTOL Pad (Aft):||200|
| Main Body:||1,000|
 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)
 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: 40.8 mph (35.5 knots/ 65.8 kph)
Maximum Effective Range: Unlimited due to fusion engines (needs to refuel every 20 years and requires maintenance as well). Ship carries about four months of supplies on board.
Length: 418 feet (127.4 meters)
Draft: 23.5 feet (7.2 meters)
Width: 48.2 feet (14.7 meters)
Displacement: 3,120 tons standard and 3,850 tons fully loaded
Cargo: 80 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 180 million credits.
- One (1) 3 inch (76-mm) 62-cal DP Mk 75 Naval Gun: The ship mounts a rapid fire three inch gun mount forward of the superstructure and missile launchers. These mounts were reinforced before being mounted on the Hazard class cutters and come from older Perry and Bear class vessels. The main weaknesses of the gun are its relatively short range and the fact it cannot use rocket assisted projectiles. The gun was carried on many ship classes around the world until well into the twenty first century. The guns can be used against other ships, ground targets, aircraft, and even missiles. Theses guns were among the smallest that could use a proximity fuse for their warheads.
- Two (2) Mk 44 "Sea Sabre" Combination Anti-Missile Defense Systems: One system is mounted on either side of the superstructure and replace RAM (Rolling Airframe Missile) launchers. 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.
- MK-41 Strategic 32 Cell Vertical Launch Missile Launcher (1): The thirty-two cell launcher is mounted behind the 76 mm cannon on a slightly raised platform. These are the longer strategic version of the missile launcher and can carry the longer cruise missile. From the beginning, the launchers have been found to be very flexible and adaptable. The launcher was originally design for the Tomahawk and Standard SM-2 Missile. On Rifts Earth, the launchers have been adapted to hold one cruise missile, two long range missiles, or four medium range missiles per cell. Cruise missiles are usually used against hardened fixed targets, long range missiles are normally used against aircraft and other large targets, and medium range missiles are normally used against closer targets such as incoming missiles. Anti-Submarine rocket launched torpedoes are also can be fired from the launcher (See Revised Rifts Torpedoes).
- 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 64 torpedoes for reloads. For the most part torpedo warheads are equal to medium range missile warheads.
- 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: 4.9 miles (4.3 nautical miles/8.0 km) for standard projectiles
Mega-Damage: High Explosive: 1D4x10 MDC with 10 ft (3 m) blast radius per single shot and 3D4x10 MDC with 20 ft (6.1 m) blast radius for three round burst. High Explosive Armor Piercing: 1D6x10 MDC with 4 ft (1.2 m) blast radius per single shot and 3D6x10 MDC with 8 ft blast radius for three round burst. Plasma: 2D4x10 MDC with 12 ft (3.7 m) blast radius per single shot and 6D4x10 MDC with 25 ft (7.6 m) blast radius for three round burst.
Rate of Fire: Equal to gunners Hand to Hand (Three round bursts count as one attack).
Payload: 320 rounds. Ship normally carries usually carries 120 High Explosive, 120 High Explosive Armor Piercing, and 80 Plasma.
Maximum Effective Range: Rail Guns: 11,000 feet (2 miles / 3.2 km). Short Range Missiles: As per short range missile type (Go to Revised bomb and missile table).
Mega Damage: Rail Guns: 3D4x10 MD per burst of 40 rounds (Can only fire bursts). Short Range Missiles: As per short range missile type (Go to Revised bomb and missile table).
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.
Maximum Effective Range: As per cruise, long range, or medium range missile type (Go to Revised bomb and missile table).
Mega Damage: As per cruise, long range, or medium range missile type (Go to Revised bomb and missile table).
Rate of Fire: One at a time or in volley of 2, 4, or 16 per melee and can be fired at multiple targets at the same time.
Payload: 32 missile cells in VLS launcher (Can carry a total of 64 long range missiles). One cruise missile, two long range missiles, or four medium range missiles may be carried per cell. Ship carries no reloads.
Maximum Effective Range: 20 miles (32 km)
Mega Damage: By Medium torpedo warhead type (See Revised Rifts Torpedoes).
Rate of Fire: One at a time or in volleys of 2 or 4 per side, launcher can fire a maximum of two volleys per melee each launcher
Payload: Has 64 torpedoes for reloads.
Maximum Effective Range: Around Ship
Mega Damage: None
- 01-35 Missile or Missile volley detonates in chaff
36-60 Missile or Missile volley loses track of target, may lock onto another target
61-00 No Effect; Missile Still on target
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.
The ship has all systems standard on a robot vehicle plus the following special features:
- SPS-88 Phased Array Radar System: This system is carried on most frigates of the Richard E. Byrd class frigate. Unlike systems carried by most larger naval vessels, the radar system is comprised of a single array on top of the main mast. This system is smaller, lighter, and requires less power than a system of fixed panels. If allowed by the horizon, the system can track out to 160 nautical miles (184.2 miles / 296.5 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.
- SPX-1A Phased Array Radar System: This system is carried on the USS Eve Castleman (FF-1115) and USS Barry Solomon (FF-1121) frigates only. Unlike systems carried by most larger naval vessels, the radar system is comprised of a single array on top of the main mast. This system is smaller, lighter, and requires less power than a system of fixed panels. If allowed by the horizon, the system can track out to 400 miles (644 km) and can simultaneously track and identify up to 576 targets at one time. The system controls missile launched from the long range missile launchers and the system can track and guide each individual missile to an individual target for up to 144 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. The system gives a +10% to read sensory rolls, +2 on initiative, and +1 to strike.
- Advanced Hull Sonar: Mounted under the bow of the ship. Range of 25 miles (21.7 nautical miles / 40.2 km). This hull sonar system has both a passive and active system built in. Sonar system can track up to 32 targets at one time
- Advanced Towed Array Sonar System: The system is basically a long and very sensitive sonar system carried behind the ship on a long cable. Range of 100 miles (86.9 nautical miles / 160.9 km). This towed array sonar system has both a passive and active system built in. Sonar system can track up to 64 targets at one time.
- Sonar Masking System: The ship uses water bubbles to form a barrier against sonar as well as a shrouded propellor and sound absorbing materials. Gives a -20% penalty to any Read Sensory Instrument rolls to detect this ship using sonar.
- Radar Defeating Profile & Radar Absorbing Materials: The ship superstructure is designed so that the radar profile of the ship is reduced and the ship is covered with radar absorbing materials. Because of this, attempts to detect the ship using radar are made with a -20% penalty to read sensor rolls when attempting to detect this ship. Go to General Detection Penalties for more information on penalties and bonuses to use with stealth.
- Combination Radar Detectors and Active Jamming System: 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.
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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).
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