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U.S. SSBN-22 Francis Scott Key class Ballistic Missile Submarine:

With the coming of the Golden Age, it was earnestly hoped that Ballistic Missile submarines were a weapon of the past. The United States kept a few of their Ohio class ballistic missile submarines in mothballs but otherwise it was considered that fast attack submarines armed with Nuclear long range and cruise missiles could do much the same job. Unfortunately, all hopes of peace were shattered in the last twenty years of the Twenty-First Century. The politicians and navy leaders decided that there was no choice but too built a new ballistic missile submarine class to reestablish a credible deterrent. While ballistic missile defense systems existed, most could be overwhelmed with a large enough number of missiles. Like previous ballistic classes, the Francis Scott Key were designed to hide until they are ordered to fire missiles.

The Francis Scott Key class ballistic missile submarines were the largest submarine class built to that date and massed about 35,000 tons which is approximately the same size as a Russian Typhoon class submarine. Unlike the Typhoon class, the missiles were carried behind the submarines sail. Each submarine carried 32 ballistic missiles compared to the Ohio carrying 24 ballistic missiles. The class was named after a variety of significant Americans other than presidents. The class was designed quickly and cut into the budgets for several other Naval projects. Eventual planned production of the new ballistic submarine class was more than thirty but only twelve were completed before the coming of the Rifts. It is thought that when the Rifts came, many non American submarine captains thought that the United States had launched a ballistic missile strike and they went after any American Ballistic Missile Submarine they could find. Whatever the reason, only a total of four of the submarines survived to rendevous with the rest of the surviving American submarine forces. The New Navy retains these four submarines but has not built any additional ballistic missile submarines. They operate them near their bases as a last ditch defense and they are usually escorted by two fast attack submarines as protection.

These submarines were built as large as they were for two reasons. First was to give the submarine as much space between the outer hull and internal systems to reduce noise as much as possible. Second was the larger capacity of ballistic missiles. The Thunder Bird class ballistic missile is more advanced than the previous trident ballistic missile and can range on virtually any target on the planet and each ballistic missile carries sixteen nuclear warheads. This gives a total of 512 nuclear warheads and the submarine is capable of leveling a nation by itself. In addition to ballistic missiles, the Key class carries four torpedo tubes and two laser mounts for submarine defense. The ballistic missile submarine also carry torpedo decoys and noisemakers to attempt to trick incoming torpedoes. The submarine carries both an advanced towed array and hull sonar.

It was decided that two reactors would be used. Otherwise, it would have been needed to develop an all new submarine reactor and that would have delayed production more than was desired. This class was the first since the Triton class submarine was scrapped in the late Twentieth Century. Both fusion reactors drove electrical power to a simple shaft and ultra quiet pump jet propulsor. In addition to the propulsor, the submarine is covered with sonar defeating coating.

These submarines were designed to be as low maintenance as possible so that they could be operated by small crews and spend more time deployed. The total crew is only about 100 with 10 officers. While in United States Navy service, each submarine had two crews but the surviving submarine only have one crew in the New Navy.

[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: SSBN-22
Class: Strategic Ballistic Submarine
Crew: 98; 10 Officers, 12 Chief Petty Officers, and 76 Enlisted (Has a high degree of automation)

M.D.C. by Location:

Retractable Laser Cannon Turrets (2):200 each
Torpedo Tubes (4 in front):150 each
Ballistic Missile Launchers (32, Behind Main Sail of Submarine):100 each
[1] Bow Planes (2):200 each
[2] Pump Jet Propulsor (1):500
Main Sail:1,200
[3] Main Body:4,200

[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: 28 knots (32 mph/ 51.9 kph)
Underwater: 33 knots (38 mph/ 61.2 kph)
Maximum Depth: 2.5 miles (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: 36.1 feet (11 meters)
Width: 80.4 feet (24.5 meters)
Length: 583.4 feet (178 meters)
Displacement: 34,600 tons
Cargo: 80 tons of nonessential equipment and supplies (normally used for equipment for marines). 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 the ballistic missiles.
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 tens of billions of credits for a new and undamaged Francis Scott Key class Submarine. Each Ballistic Missile could probably cost over 500 million each.

Weapon Systems:

  1. Laser Cannon Turrets (2): These cannons are mounted in front of the main sail and behind 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 systems are 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: Each 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 defensive 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: 32 total: The New Navy subs normally carry the heaviest warheads available.
  3. Thirty Two (32) Thunder Bird A-4 Strategic Ballistic Missiles: Behind the submarine's superstructure are three rows of ballistic missiles. The outer rows have eleven missiles each and the inner row has ten missiles and is staggered with the outer row of missiles. These missiles make the Francis Scott Key class virtually the most dangerous ship classes on Rifts Earth. Missiles can be launched at depths up to 600 feet (182.9). Missiles have a range of 12,000 nautical miles but essentially enter a low orbit to do so they would probably be destroyed either by the debris rings or by defense satellites. Missiles can be launched at targets less than 1,000 nautical miles without entering a ballistic trajectory. Each missile has 16 warheads that are each the equivalent of a nuclear long range missile warhead. The missiles can hit targets up to 120 nautical miles (193.1 km) away from where the missile breaks into its multiple warheads and can target multiple targets. Each warhead has independent guidance and is considered a smart missile.
    Maximum Effective Range: 13,809.4 miles (12,000 nautical miles / 22,224 km ) but must be launched ballistically, 1,150.8 miles (1,000 nautical miles /1,852 km) with missiles being launched sub ballistically. Missile warheads can hit targets withing a 138.2 miles (120 nautical miles /222.4 km) of where the missile breaks into sixteen warheads.
    Mega Damage: Each missile have 16 warheads which each are equal to a nuclear long range missile warhead (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), or six (6) missiles and can be fired at multiple targets at the same time.
    Payload: 32 Thunder Bird Ballistic missiles total. Submarine carries no reloads
  4. Advanced Decoys (8): The submarine carries eight advance decoy drones. They are small automated vehicles that create a false sonar image designed to mimic the submarine's sonar signature. It has a small propulsion system that can simulate movement (has a top speed of 10 knots) and maneuvers. 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.
    Decoys have a duration of 30 minutes (120 melee rounds)
    Maximum Effective Range: Not Applicable
    Rate of Fire: Ship can launch one drone per melee.
    Payload: 8 Decoys.
  5. 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: two at a time (Can be reloaded in one melee)
    Payload: 20 Noisemakers.

Special Systems:

The submarine 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 © 2001, 2002, & 2003, Kitsune. All rights reserved.