In November of 106PA Nyan Tamya made purchase of five IHA Black Eels and two IHA Triton Class Patrol Boats, exclusively for the Tenzan Elite to use, in escorting the freighters en route to the southern tip of Vancouver Island, the site of later existing Wa-Daisho. This tiny, seven vessel fleet, proved to be more than a match for everything that they encountered during their long trek around the 'horn'. After the month long trip to Vancouver, the vessels were used again in the task of securing the lower fifty klicks of the island. They were instrumental in defeating a small pirate outfit that had made a base of operations on the western coast of the island.
These five original Black Eels were retained on strength, and the following year an additional 20 Black Eels were purchased, and flown from Iron Heart Armaments to Wa-Daisho via transport aircraft. About the time that the additional Black Eels were arriving, many of the troops had come to know the Black Eel as Catfish, because of the flat curving forward portion of the vessel being so much larger than the aft end of it - and so it was officially dubbed the Catfish. During this time span, with the original two Triton Class Patrol Boats, these vessels served Wa-Daisho patrolling the waters around the main city, investigating possibly hostile vessels, and destroying sea monsters whenever necessary. These twenty five Catfish soldiered on through the years, even as the number gradually dwindled. In 113PA alone, five Catfish were destroyed - four in a single, futile, conflict against a Horune Strike Ship.
In 113PA, the Catfish equipped units were reinforced with the superb S-Mart produced Katana Gun Boats. It became quite apparent that the remaining Black Eel's days in Wa-Daisho's Navy, were numbered. To make the most use out of the watercraft though, it was decided that an overhaul, and modification of the design would have to be made. The overhaul would mean a complete turbine reconstruction - and would see the replacement of several components that were now well worn with seven years of use. Patched armor plating would be completely stripped, and a bonded composite of ceraphite and merctite plating would replace the old titanium-aluminum backed high temp forged ceramic armor commonly used by Iron Heart Armaments. It was heavier, but provided more protection. The pilots position was completely stripped and replaced with a robot vehicle-like set of controls, with the radar display, sonar display, rudder control, throttle control, damage control, weapons, targeting, and all read outs at his fingertips. The Navigators position was stripped, the gunner's equipment was stripped, and the mechanic's bay was modified to accommodate a larger payload of munitions. The combat control computer was completely replaced with a more modern system that was much less 'mickey-mouse' as they called the Iron Heart Armaments system. One of the main weaknesses of the Black Eel, was the volatility of it's torpedo load - minor damage to the torpedo bay would result in the entire watercraft going up, sometimes taking other vessels with it. This new system armed the torpedoes in it's bay a split second before it was fired - this prevented any more than minor SDC damage being inflicted by the fuels used in the missiles, instead of the warheads themselves 'cooking off'.
These modifications resulted in a few months worth of work - but the results paid off. They served loyally until May 12, 117PA when they were retired from Wa-Daisho's Navy - fully replaced by the S-Mart Katana Gun Boat in the task of patrol and interception of potentially dangerous vessels. Nine of these vessels were handed over to the Republican Transport Services for escort of cargo vessels, and hovercraft, transporting goods between the city of Wa-Daisho and the towns further north on the island. The last Catfish, was the last of the original five that accompanied the Tenzan Elite to Vancouver, and was retained for posterity as a museum exhibit.
For information regarding the Iron Heart Armaments Black Eel Torpedo Boat as it was used by Wa-Daisho's Navy between 106PA and 113PA, please refer to pages 117 and 118 of the RIFTS Mercenaries Book. For information regarding the Iron Heart Armaments Black Eel, as modified by the Republican Shipyards, refer to the statistics below;
Model Type: IHA/RS Type 6/13 Catfish.
Class: Torpedo/Patrol Boat.
Crew: 1; The pilot operates everything on board.
M.D.C. by Location:
RFFC Turret - 80.
Reinforced Pilots Compartment - 150.
Depth Charge Launcher - 75.
*Torpedo Bay - 150.
**Main Body - 175.
* The Torpedo bay of the original Black Eel was a severe weak spot. If the Torpedo bay was destroyed on the old version, and damage had been inflicted to one of the torpedoes in the bay, it would have detonated the entire mess of torpedoes!! A new combat control computer allows the pilot to have more control over when the torpedoes were armed, which prevents this new version's torpedoes warheads from exploding in chain reactions. Now if damage is inflicted to the torpedoes within, all it does is cook off the fuel in the torpedo inflicting about 1D6MD to the vessel. A sizable difference in version strength and weakness.
** Depleting the MDC of the main body means that the Catfish's hull is in tatters, and is sinking! It will take 1D4+2 minutes to sink, -1 minute for every MD point done over the maximum MDC of the Hull. The fastest it can disappear under the waves completely is in 1 melee.
Maximum Speed: The added weight and shift in weight distribution has slowed the vessel from it's previously impressive speed of 70 mph to a ponderous 55 mph.
Maximum Range: The special order electric turbines can drive the Black Eel to a maximum range of 600 miles, but is never typically deployed more than twenty miles out to sea.
See Page 118 of RIFTS Mercenaries, with the following exceptions.
Weight: 4.6 tons.
Power System: Electric.
Black Market Cost: Not Available.
1. Heavy Torpedo Tube: This centrally mounted torpedo tube is the main weapon system of the Catfish Torpedo Boat. It is used to disable and destroy any kind of surface vessel that might pose a threat to it, or vessels under Wa-Daisho's protection. Although wonderful in use against most vessels on sneak attacks, it is sadly quite poor in performance against enemy vessels that are anticipating an attack.
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'.
Rate of Fire: Can fire up to two torpedoes per melee round, due to it's auto loading system.
Maximum Effective Range: See page 117 of RIFTS Mercenaries for details.
Payload: 8 Heavy High Explosive Torpedoes.
2. RFFC Turret: In the location of the old gun mount, is a domed remote control turret, outfitted with a Republican Industries Type 13 Rapid Fire Field Cannon. It can angle down almost ten degrees, and up 90 degrees, and can swivel 360 degrees around. It is a secondary weapon on this purpose built torpedo boat.
Primary Purpose: Anti-Sea Monster
Secondary Purpose: Defense.
Mega-Damage: 2D4x10 MD on a dual shell burst.
Rate of Fire: Dual Shell Bursts.
Maximum Effective Range: 2,000'.
Payload: 60 shells, for 30 dual shell bursts.
3. Depth Charge Launcher: This weapon system is identical to the one so equipped on the original Black Eel. See page 118 of RIFTS Mercenaries for details.
4. Systems of Note: The Catfish is fully environmentally protected, with full environmental control, heat & radiation shielding, and an independant 10 hour oxygen supply.
1. Radar & Tracking System: The radar system on board of the Catfish has a 25 mile range, and can track up to 50 targets simultaneously.
2. Sonar & Tracking Unit: The sonar system on board of the Catfish is only a small, light unit, capable of active sonar scans out to a 20 mile range, and can track up to 50 targets simultaneously with it. Passive sonar can hear loud noises such as explosions at a much longer range, but cannot pinpoint the exact location of the sounds - just a general direction.
3. Military Radio: The radio transmitter can broadcast signals up to 50 miles, but by redirecting the antenna, it can effect atmospheric bounce and be capable of up to a 500 mile directional range.
4. Sonic Underwater Communications Device: 15 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 inaudible to even whales, 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.