In mid 112PA, a Horune Strike Ship entered the territorial waters of Wa-Daisho and attacked a merchant vessel returning to it's port in Water Point Preserve. The vessel under attack, a 500' lightly armed freighter called the Blackshark, called for immediate assistance from Wa-Daisho's Navy. Normally, one or both of the two Triton Class Patrol Boats, then in service, would have responded to such general calls for assistance. On this particular afternoon however, they were occupied at the northern end of the island, escorting a pair of armed freighters into Wa-Daisho's territorial waters. Thus all they could muster was six Catfish Assault Watercraft, under the air support of four Fighting Falcons. The combat when it began was absolute, and terrible. No one in Wa-Daisho had ever before encountered a Horune Strike Ship, so no one had any idea of just how badly this force was outclassed. In the first few seconds of combat four of the six Catfishes were blown from the water, and three Fighting Falcons were downed before Wa-Daisho's forces pulled back - helpless to provide any real assistance to the Blackshark. All they were able to do, was stand back, and watch as the crew of the Blackshark was captured, and the ship was sunk.
This failure to protect the freighter from Water Point, left a very strong impression on the people of Wa-Daisho, and thus increased pressure on the Republican Council to do something to prevent another disaster like this from ever happening again. Thus the groundwork for a new patrol craft was laid down.
By late 112PA, a design had been drawn up and an acceptable budget for the cost of production was accounted for - while also using all available resources. The new vessels of this class would be 220-foot (67.06m.) long patrol ships powered by four massive water jet thruster systems. They would be armed with two turrets, with twin rapid-fire 40-mm cannons, and a medium range missile launcher in each turret. A pair of depth charge launchers at the aft of the vessel, a quartet of torpedo tubes in the front of the vessel, and a quartet of rail gun anti-aircraft batteries distributed along the superstructure of the vessel completed its devastating armament. Its armor would be heavier than anything then found moored anywhere on the West Coast of North America. It was believed that with these systems and impressive features, that this class of vessel could be a deterrent for even the massive Horune Whale Ships. These new vessels would be known as Blackshark Class Patrol Boats, in honor of the vessel lost south of Wa-Daisho earlier in the year.
In November of 113PA, the first two Blacksharks were commissioned - the WDS Sea Wolf, and the WDS Triton before the entire Republican Council, as well as visiting dignitaries from Water Point Preserve. The daughter of one of the crewmen lost to the Horune during the attack on the Blackshark, was the one who was permitted to break the bottle over the bow of the vessel - in honor of her father, and those who were lost in that tragedy.
On February 7th, 114PA the WDS Sea Wolf received a report of an odd trident shape having been seen looming under the water, in the southern territorial waters of Wa-Daisho, by a transport aircraft heading south. Stories had already reached Wa-Daisho relating to the Red Trident Attack Submarines used by the Naut'yll, but none had ever been seen in this part of the world. Thus, this report was taken very seriously and the WDS Sea Wolf quickly embarked towards the location reported. It wasn't long before the Sea Wolf found itself under attack by not one, but TWO Red Trident Attack Submarines! Although the situation seemed dire to begin with the combat quickly turned to the Sea Wolf's advantage. In the end of the ten-minute long engagement, one of the Red Tridents was sunk, and the other, although heavily damaged, submerged, and was last seen heading south as fast as it could. On the other hand, only minor damage had been inflicted to the WDS Sea Wolf! It was seen as the first sea battle victory, which came as the result of the Blackshark class patrol boats.
Since this first battle, the Sea Wolf and the Triton have seen several skirmishes, as have the other Blackshark class patrol boats that have joined them since. The first and only Blackshark ever lost however was one, which served with the Allied Naval Fleet, which was lost during the Battle of St. Lawrence.
As of February of 118PA, 6 WDS Type 13 Blacksharks serve in the Sea Borne Patrol Company of Wa-Daisho's Navy. An additional number serve with the Allied Naval Fleet.
Model Types: Although produced from 113PA clear into the end of the decade, all those produced are called Type 13s.
Wa-Daisho Shipyards 4 - W.D.S. 3 Sea Wolf (Commissioned November 1, 113PA).
Wa-Daisho Shipyards 5 - W.D.S. 4 Triton (Commissioned November 10, 113PA).
Wa-Daisho Shipyards 10 - W.D.S. 5 Sokus (Commissioned April 2, 115PA).
Wa-Daisho Shipyards 11 - W.D.S. 6 Poseidon (Commissioned May 3, 115PA).
Akersley Shipyards 11 - J.N.F. 15 Date (Commissioned April 1, 115PA).
Akersley Shipyards 12 - J.N.F. 16 Akersley (Commissioned April 18, 115PA - was sunk on September 23, 116PA).
Wa-Daisho Shipyards 20 - W.D.S. 7 Kraken (Commissioned March 15, 116PA).
Wa-Daisho Shipyards 21 - W.D.S. 8 Serpent (Commissioned March 30, 116PA).
Wa-Daisho Shipyards 30 - J.N.F. 27 Ripley (Commissioned July 1, 117PA).
Wa-Daisho Shipyards 35 - A.N.F. 28 Akersley II (Will be Commissioned in December 1, 118PA).
Class: Patrol Ship.
Crew: 24; Pilot, Copilot, 2 Sensors Operators, a Communications Technician, 8 engineers, 8 gunners, 2 medics, and a commanding officer - typically a Lieutenant. Note that it can accommodate up to 50 passengers in an emergency, and has a brig on board that can accommodate an additional ten more.
M.D.C. by Location:
Main Turrets (2) - 300 each.
Rain Gun Batteries (4) - 150 each.
*Heavy Torpedo Tubes (4) - 200 each.
Depth Charge Launchers (2) - 250 each.
**Superstructure - 1,650.
***Radome - 550.
****Radio Mast - 200.
*****Main Body - 4,200.
* Destroying one of the torpedo tubes, will result in water spewing into the forward chamber that particular tube is located within. Therefore destroying one on the right side, will disable both of the tubes on that side of the bow. Destroying one on both sides, will disable all torpedo tubes, until repairs may be effected.The water will NOT go beyond these areas of the ship however, because of the water tight seals between different chambers. Note that the loading systems of the torpedo tubes are automated, and are overseen by video cameras, leading to the gunner's console deep within the ship.
** Depleting the M.D.C. of the superstructure, means that the portions of the ship above the hull are in tatters, the windows of the bridge are smashed out, and the armor protection is no longer definite. For every additional blast fired into the superstructure, it has a 01-10% chance of hitting one of the crew members, 11-30% of disabling communications or sensory systems, 31-50% of disabling one of the Rail Gun Batteries turret system, or 51-00% of hitting nothing, just punching holes in the already devastated superstructure.
*** Destroying the Radome will knock out all radar.
**** Destroying the Radio Mast will knock out the primary Radio system, but a secondary system with a 500 mile range will continue to provide immediate area communications.
***** Depleting the MDC of the main body means that the Blackshark's hull is in tatters, and is sinking! It will take 2D4x10 minutes to sink, -10 minutes for every 100 M.D.C. done over the maximum M.D.C. of the Hull. The fastest it can disappear under the waves completely is in 5 minutes.
Maximum Speed: 42 mph (36 knots).
Maximum Effective Range: Effectively Unlimited, thanks to the nuclear power supply - but is limited by the needs of it's crew. It does have bunks on board for all 24 members of it's crew, as well as a medical station, a kitchen, and enough food for up to two months at sea. Those in service with the Sea Borne Patrol Company of Wa-Daisho rarely stay out to sea for more than a week at a time. Those in service with the J.N.F./A.N.F. have been known to be at sea for up to six months at a time, provided that they must be occasionally resupplied from supply ships.
Weight: 720 tons.
Cargo: Carries enough rations, water, medical equipment, and similar to keep the crew for up to two months. Also, stowed away is a pair of small S-Mart Arlis, single man, modular helicopters used for recon and courier work. (One of the Engineers usually seconds as a pilot for this aircraft.) Additionally, up to 50 tons of equipment may be carried, distributed throughout the vessel, if necessary.
Power System: Nuclear, average energy life of 15 years.
Market Cost: Not readily available. At this time there are only nine of these vessels in existence, six in Wa-Daisho's own sea borne patrol company, and the remaining three being in the Allied Naval Fleet. It is conceivable however that Wa-Daisho MAY be willing to produce one to four of these vessels for a close ally, provided that the trade arrangements were extremely favorable.
1. Main Turrets (2): Each of these heavily armored turrets contain two, rapid fire 40 mm cannons, and a medium range missile launcher in an exaggerated lip over top of the cannons. The guns themselves are quite devastating, nearly equal in stopping power to the heaviest cannons used by the CS Fleet!! Both cannons, and missiles are primarily intended for use in destruction of enemy warships, but both can be used as defensive weapons if the situation warrants it. The missile launchers were also added, as anti-aircraft batteries as well - to take out dangerous, high flying aircraft, that do not respond to warning shots, or to radio hailing. Each turret is manned by two gunners, one that accepts the data from a sensors operator, and designates targets for the cannons and missile launcher, while the other uses this information, takes aim at the intended targets, and does the actual fighting. (Having two to take on this task, makes it easier for both involved - normally a turret with one man, manning it would have to seek out a target, and fire it, therefore having only his normal number of attacks. Having someone there, to assign his targets, and plot them out on the combat computer, makes aiming, and targeting itself much easier - to show this in actual combat combine the number of attacks from both gunners to give a total number of attacks.)
Primary Purpose: Cannon: Anti-Warship.
Secondary Purpose: Cannon: Anti-Sea Monster.
Primary Purpose: Missiles: Anti-Warship.
Secondary Purpose: Missiles: Anti-Aircraft.
Mega-Damage: The cannons inflict a whopping 3D6x10+20 M.D. on a ten shell burst of Armor Piercing Cannon Shells from one cannon. Typically however, both cannons are fired at a target inflicting an incredible 1D4x100 M.D.! The missiles vary with the type being used, but typically is outfitted with armor piercing or plasma missiles.
Blast Radius: Armor Piercing cannon shells, focus the blast, thus the blast radius is a meager 12' in diameter - with both cannons firing at the same target however, the blast radius increases to 16' in diameter. The missiles vary with missile type.
Rate of Fire: The cannons are designed exclusively as burst weapons. The missiles can be fired in a sequence of 1, 2, 5, or 10 missiles at a time!
Maximum Effective Range: 12,000' for the cannon, varies for the missile types.
Payload: Each gun has a separate magazine below deck, which holds 3,500 cannon shells, or 350 bursts. An additional 6,000 shells are stored in crates in the armory as well, which can be distributed among the guns in the event of an emergency situation. Each turret's missile launcher contains 10 medium range missiles. However 80 missiles are carried in reserve, in the armory. It takes the Engineering Squad five minutes to reload all ten missiles into a launcher. It is rather simple to do so, because of the lift system used to lift the missiles from below deck - to the deck, where it takes two engineers to heft each missile into the launch tube.
Weapon Bonus: The cannons are installed with a specialized system known as 'weapon stabilization', meaning that as the boat pitches, yaws, and rolls, the guns will retain their aim on the target making it MUCH easier to target an enemy vessel providing a +2 to strike, in addition to any other bonuses applicable. Note that the missiles do not receive this bonus, but do attain their own special guidance bonus of +3 as listed in the Main RIFTS Book.
2. Heavy Torpedo Tubes (4): In the bow of the vessel, are a quartet of long range torpedo tubes used in combat against enemy warships. They are manned by a single gunner, who uses data from both a sensors operator, and an optical targeting feed he receives from the bow of the ship to assist in aiming. It is interesting to note that there is NO loading crew for loading these torpedoes one by one, rather, instead, they use a specialized automated loading system that allows for much faster combat time than conventional torpedo armed vessels. This does have the drawback of being more difficult to reload, once the payload has been exhausted.
Primary Purpose: Anti-Warship.
Secondary Purpose: Anti-Sea Monster.
Mega-Damage: Uses Heavy High Explosive torpedoes. See page 117 of RIFTS Mercenaries for details.
Blast Radius: 20' Blast Radius.
Rate of Fire: Each tube can fire up to four torpedoes each melee, and as many as four torpedoes may be fired in an attack - so long as four torpedoes per each tube is not exceeded.
Maximum Effective Range: See page 117 of RIFTS Mercenaries for details.
Payload: Each tube has a separate magazine of 20 torpedoes. Additionally, 40 torpedoes are stored in the armory for use in emergency situations. It takes the Engineering Squad ten minutes to reload one of the torpedo magazines with five torpedoes due to the complicated loading mechanisms.
3. Rail Gun Anti-Aircraft Batteries (4): Distributed around the superstructure is a quartet of turrets containing gatling-like, rail guns. These guns are primarily designed to destroy missiles, but also second as anti-aircraft guns to engage 'low flying' aircraft. They do have a full range of motion, and can ALMOST angle the barrels far enough to hit the deck of the ship. Theoretically then, these guns could also be used to hit ships close by as well - but usually are reserved for their intended purposes. They are manned by two different gunners - the two forward batteries are controlled electronically, by a man on the bridge who has access to his own personal readout from the radar, and an optical feed in both turrets. He switches back from the port and starboard turrets, as per whichever one would be most optimal in shooting at desired targets. The two towards the stern, is operated by a second gunner, located further back towards engineering, who has the same set up for his two turrets as the gunner on the bridge.
Primary Purpose: Defense.
Secondary Purpose: Anti-Aircraft.
Mega-Damage: 2D4x10 M.D. per 60 round burst.
Rate of Fire: This is exclusively a burst weapon, that is operated by the appropriate gunner.
Maximum Effective Range: 11,000'.
Payload: Each turret has a 6,000 round drum, equaling a total of 100 bursts per gun. No reload drums are retained within the armory, and must be reloaded at port.
4. Depth Charge Launchers (2): These rear mounted weapons are designed to give some measure of protection, and offensive ability against submersibles and underwater sea monsters. It is manned by a single gunner on the bridge, who's sole purpose is to attain information from a sensors operator, and to fire the depth charges when a target is within range.
Primary Purpose: Anti-Submersible.
Secondary Purpose: Anti-Sea Monster.
Mega-Damage: 2D4x10 M.D. per explosive cannister.
Blast Radius: 60' blast radius, plus another 15' per cannister launched!
Rate of Fire: Each launcher can fire up to 5 at a time, AND both launchers may fire simultaneously!
Maximum Effective Range: The depth charges may be flung as far as 60' off the stern, from the launching system, but the depth charges themselves may be programmed to explode anywhere from 100'-10,000' underwater.
Payload: 20 depth charges in each launcher. No extra depth charges are retained within the armory, and must be reloaded at port.
5. Systems of Note: The Blackshark utilizes several systems to assist it in it's duties. This vessel is completely environmental, with environmental control controlled, protection from heat & radiation, and can draw oxygen straight from the waters surrounding it using electronic gills in the electromagnetic turbines!
1. Programmed Terrain Navigational Aid: All of the waters within a 100-mile (160km.) radius of Wa-Daisho and Kyatashiro have been mapped out, and programmed into these systems - and provide the Lieutenant in command, with a Navigation skill equivalent of 80%. In the alternative a bonus of +20% to any existing skill roll, may be made, whichever is higher.
2. Advanced Radar & Tracking System: 55 mile range, and can track up to 150 targets both in the air or otherwise. This system is contained in the radome - thus if it is destroyed, so too is this system.
3. Advanced Sonar & Tracking System: A special imaging sonar is used, that will literally draw a picture of what is seen below the vessel. This imaging sonar is only good for 10 miles. This sonar system can literally give the sensors operator a birds eye view of EVERYTHING in that radius. A lower resolution long-range sonar unit can detect anything larger than 15' in length, for a maximum of 50 miles, and can track up to 75 targets.
4. Integrated Combat Computer: The sensors operators, can relay information to the Heads Up Display console used by each gunner, applicable to the gunner's weapons uses. This use of information, combined with the H.U.D. system for each of the gunners provides the gunners each with a +2 to strike on all of their attacks.
5. Radio Communications: The Blackshark's radio has a 175 mile broadcast range, but with redirection of the radio signals to effect atmospheric bounce, the Blackshark may attain a fairly consistent directional range of 1,750 miles! This permits the Blackshark to escort vessels well outside of Wa-Daisho's territorial waters, if necessary - and also permits the Blackshark to communicate with vessels far outside of the territory, to try to draw some conclusion of hostility level. Note that this system is attached to the radio mast, thus if it is destroyed so too is this system. A second, backup radio is also carried, that has a broadcast range of 50 miles, for just such an event.
6. Sonic Underwater Communications Device: 25 mile range. This is a special radio system currently only deployed by the affiliated navies of the Alliance. (Wa-Daisho Navy, JNF/ANF, & Kyatashiro Imperial Navy.) It is a speaker and detection system that emits a series of high frequency tones, that send vibrations through the water, which may be detected, and translated by similarly equipped vessels. This allows communications to take place between vessels which are underwater, and those on the surface of the water. The reason for the design of this system, is because radio waves simply will not pass through water, so a sonic system had to be developed for up to the minute communications.