U.S. JHSV-21 Vigilant class Joint High Speed Vessel:

In the first few decades of the Twenty-First Century, there were a number of hot spots which required small scale interventions. There were not so much need for major amphibious operations but landing relatively small forces ashore. Even so, the military forces required in these interventions were larger than one could practically carry aboard small aircraft.

As a result, the Spearhead class joint high speed vessel was originally developed with the first one entering service in the year Twenty-Twelve. These relatively small catamaran vessels were extremely fast, able to reach speeds of over forty knots per hour with the only escorts able to keep up being the Litoral Combat Ships. Able to carry over three hundred troops for a short time and six hundred tons of cargo, these vessels were perfect for responding to hot spots around the globe. One concern however was that these vessels ride extremely roughly in heavy seas.

With the revolution in high strength composites and alloys, the warships of the navies of the world became obsolete virtually overnight. In some cases, these warships were extensively rebuilt while in other cases these warships were replaced with new vessels. In many cases, these new designs were simply modified versions of the previous vessels using the new materials.

Instead of rebuilding the Spearhead class vessels, it was decided to build a new class of joint high speed vessels. These new vessels became the Vigilant class with a total of twenty planned initially. If anything, with the reformation of the Soviet Union, hot spots around the world were becoming more common not less common. The design initially was little changed from the previous design although slightly improved engines which were more fuel efficient replaced the original diesel engines.

Soon after the revolution in advanced alloys and composites came a second revolution in power generation in the form of compact fusion systems. They gave far greater power while also giving virtually unlimited endurance. Initially they were too large to fit in tanks or armored vehicles but they were compact enough to replace aircraft engines and replace the power plants of naval vessels. Instead of replacing what were in many cases virtually new vessels, many ships were modified to replace the original engines with these fusion plants.

It was decided to modify the new Vigilant class in a similar manner. The original four diesel engines were replaced with a pair of fusion plants similar to what was mounted in many aircraft. In addition to having virtually unlimited endurance, the two fusion plants produced far greater power, around sixty thousand horsepower. The more powerful fusion plant enabled these vessels to reach speeds up to forty-six knots.

When built, these ships were originally armed with four 50 caliber mounts only in addition to whatever small arms which the troops might be carrying. The interim solution was to replace the original bullets with ramjet type round in order to keep them effective. Eventually the machine guns were replaced by rail guns but there was still an issue of missile strikes against the vessels.

Due to the concern about missile attacks, it was decided to mount a pair of Mk 44 “Sea Sabre” missile defense systems. This automated mount combines a short range fire control radar, a powerful rail gun, and short range missile launchers. Even so, the weapon system is only designed for self defense of the vessel although the rail gun is useful for engaging small craft as well. At the same time, a more effective radar replaced the original surface search only radar. Removed from retired patrol vessels,

Later in service, the standard troop and vehicle compliment was often replaced in part with power armors. Due to lack of Semper Fi power armors, this compliment was often older SAMAS power armors. A normal compliment might include thirty to sixty power armors depending on mission/role. Might in some cases carry Glitter Boy armors as well.

Unlike previous generations of naval vessels, these new composites and alloys made these ships virtually immune to the rigors of the environment including corrosion. Due to the utility of these vessels, the Navy had no plans on retiring an of them. Still, a number were maintained in an inactive reserve status. Even so, several still remained active up until the coming of the Rifts. What happened to the vessels after the coming of the Rifts is unknown however it is quite likely several might have survived.

Model Type: Upgraded JHSV-21.

Class: Joint High Speed Vessel.

Crew: 42 (Often operated by a crew of 22.)

Troops: 104 (Long Term) or 312 (Short Term.) Troop compliment often includes 30 to 60 power armor pilots and 4 Helicopter Pilots or VTOL Pilots / Crew.

Robots, Power Armors, and Vehicles (Standard):

Power Armors:



PA-04A SAMAS Power Armors (60 normal maximum.)

Fighter/Aircraft Compliment:



Helicopters or other VTOL Aircraft.

Tanks & Other Vehicles:



USA-M-7 Jackson Main Battle Tank.



USA-M-8 Maverick Infantry Fighting Vehicle.



USA-M-9 Morgan Missile Vehicles.

M.D.C. by location:


[1] Rear Flight Deck:



Rear Vehicle Doors:



[2] Main Bridge / Superstructure:



[3] EADS 3D TRS-16 (SPS-75) Active Phased Array Radar System:



Mk 44 Combination Anti-Missile Defense System (2):

200 each.


USA-M31 Medium Defense Rail Guns (4):

10 each.


Chaff Launchers (2):

10 each.


[4] Main Body:



[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 phased 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 destroys propulsion and power systems, disabling the ship. The ship is fitted with advanced polymer armors that allow the ship to withstand up to -200 M.D.C. before losing structural integrity and sinking. There are enough life preservers and inflatable life boats to accommodate everyone on the ship including marines.


Surface: 52.9 mph (46 knots/ 85.2 kph).

Range: Unlimited due to fusion engines (needs to refuel every 20 years and requires maintenance as well). Ship carries two months of supplies on board for a long term troop load or two weeks for a short term troop load.

Statistical Data:

Length:  337 feet 11 inches (103.0 meters).

Draft:    12 feet 7 inches (3.83 meters).

Width:   93 feet 6 inches (28.5 meters).

Displacement: 1,680 tons standard and 2,480 tons fully loaded.

Cargo: 600 tons (544.3 metric tons) of non essential equipment and supplies. Each enlisted crew member has a small locker for personal items and uniforms. Ship’s 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: Originally conventional diesel turbine propulsion, converted to two nuclear reactors with an average life span of 20 years.

Market Cost: Not for sale but if found on the black market would probably cost 60 million or more credits.


  1. Four (4) USA-M31 Medium Defense Rail Guns: These weapons are mounted with two on either side of the vessel for defense against small boats and similar roles. Originally M2HB .50 Caliber Machine Guns were fitted in these locations. These rail gun mounts were identical to those carried on the SAMAS power armor. The rail gun has fewer bursts and is heavier but the rail gun inflicts more damage than the post Rifts C-40R.

    Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,200 meters).

    Mega-Damage: A burst of 40 rounds inflicts 1D6x10.

    Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of gunner (usually 4 or 5).

    Payload: Each has a 4,000 round magazine for 100 bursts.

  2. Two (2) Mk 44 “Sea Sabre” Combination Anti-Missile Defense Systems: These weapon mounts are located on the sides of the vessel around midships. 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: Six (6) attacks per melee. Short Range Missiles: Two (2) attacks per melee, can fire short range missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2) or four (4) short rage missiles.

    Payload: Rail Guns: 8,000 rounds (200 burst) each. Short Range Missiles: Sixteen (16) short range missiles each.

  3. Two (2) Chaff Launcher: 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.)

    Range: Around Ship.

    Mega Damage: None.

      01-35 Missile or Missile volley detonates in chaff.

      36-60 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.

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 Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 2015, Kitsune. All rights reserved.