UEO Defender class Fast Attack Submarine
Defender class Attack Submarine (SSN)
Approximately 2.8 billion USD per unit
Defender SSN-251 - 2029
Defender SSN-251 - 2030
Defender SSN-251 - 2031
Length: 160.0m (524.9 feet)
Beam: 32.0m (105.0 feet)
Height: 30.0m (98.4 feet)
Approximately 20,210 tonnes
Double layered semi-organic pliant self-regenerating 3rd Generation Bioskin covering a titanium double hull supported by a reinforced, composite steel frame
Anechoic, genetic hullskin developed as an acoustics countermeasure. The genetically-engineered material - a living organism by any other definition - covers the exterior of the hull as two layers, each approximately three and a half inches thick. Both layers are highly tensile, densely composed structures which absorb and distort active acoustic signals such as sonar pings, thereby drastically reducing the effectiveness of sonar equipment directed at the vessel.
Secondly, the bioskin attenuates sounds emitted from the submarine - especially from engine machinery. This substantially reduces the passive sonar visibility of the submarine, rendering it effectively stealth to passive detection at extended ranges.
Thirdly, the bioskin possesses self-regenerating properties that enable it to seal any external breaches to the pressure hull. Being a third-generation skin, the enhanced genetic properties allow a rate of regeneration which can completely seal a compromising hull-breach up to 50 feet wide in just less than 30 minutes, allowing the internal compartments to be isolated, sealed and then siphoned of water to allow extensive internal repairs to otherwise crippling damage without the need for a drydock or harbour facility.
The genetic composition of the hull skin is one of the most classified and tightly controlled secrets in the UEO Navy's bioengineering corps. The degree of effectiveness of the technology is unparalleled by any other navy in the world, and it is reported that the technology has helped in reducing the sonar signature of UEO submarines by up to 85 or 90 percent.
Greater than 10,000 feet
1 Lockheed Naval Systems Tokomak fusion reactor powering 4 aqua-return propulsion drives
Maximum: 140 knots
Standard Cruising: 120-130 knots
IBM VI-A Combat AI Central Processing Core
(Flight II boats make use of the type V-B central processing core)
The IBM-VI is the 'standard' for small boat systems within the UEO. A fiber optic computer system, it is much faster than silicon processors, and shares many physical similarites to high-end civilian computers. The computer's primary advantage over civilian systems is found in its software - the IBM-VI cores aboard Defender class SSNs make use of a limited AI which aids in processor management and resource allocation, streamlining ship operations and allowing the crew to focus on other tasks rather than maintaining computer systems.
The IBM-VI Fiber Optic core is considered a low-end computer in the military. They are relatively cheap and easy to maintain - one of the few advantages they have over the neural circuitry of next-generation systems found aboard larger, more advanced ships.
Later boats of the class have been built with the newer IBM type VII core; a smaller version of the type carried aboard the larger Defiance class cruisers. It offers faster processing speed, greater integrated systems management capability and better compatibility with current generation military networks.
Internal: Hypersonar; active and passive sensor suites
Effective Range : Approximately 90 nautical miles (est.)
Hypersonar technology relies on a combination of 'traditional' acoustic monitoring equipment such as active and passive sonar, and laser-based range finding, it stands for Hypersonic Navigation and Ranging; as the name implies, it uses faster-than-sound technology to detect shipping, map terrain and aid in navigation. The Defender class mounts a total of 3 hypersonar arrays mounted bow, stern, and midships, with an additional towed array providing coverage of its rear quarters.
Operating passively, hypersonar sensors are able to work in conjunction with the ship's computer to use repeated, low-band particle beams to build up a 3D picture of the environment while an integrated passive array intelligently detects and identifies acoustic signatures within that environment. This is the preferred method of operation, as it maintains complete stealth capability for the submarine while still providing at least a marginal picture of the environment around the vessel - while there is no guarantee that a submarine will be detected by the passive components of the array, the laser array ensures that even if targets cannot be identified, they will be detected, ranged and targetted. Only next-generation active camouflage systems employed by Macronesian vessels have the capacity to evade passive hypersonar entirely.
Used actively, hypersonar becomes a double edged, but ultimately infallible sword - First sweeping the area with a high-sensitivity laser array to gather preliminary data, the ship's computer then isolates targets of opportunity which are then battered with a series of uni-directional audio pings, the system literally bounces sound waves off specific solid objects in the water repeatedly and reflects them back to the array, with each ping building up an incredibly detailed picture of the target in real time. The only draw back to this system is that the target being 'illuminated' will also have access to the same information - active acoustics work both ways.
Nonetheless, the system is a marked improvement over first-generation active sonar technology used throughout the later part of the 20th century where a single ping could be detected by any submarine in the area. The new directed-array used in hypersonars will limit the 'saturation' of the ping to one specific vector, thus maintaining the submarine's stealth against any other target in the area. Only a sophisticated inter-ship battle network (Such as the encrypted, globe-spanning communications system used by the UEO military) would be able to make use of another ship's sensor information in real time, and forces which do posess such communications ability are very rare; most certainly, the Battlenet has been one of the UEO's major advantages over the Macronesian navy's own (and significantly less advanced) command and control network.
Combining active hypersonar on a single ship with such a network between a taskforce would enable an entire battlegroup to receive real-time and incredibly detailed target information without revealing their locations.
9 21-inch torpedo tubes (mounted bows)
3 SMR-71 Medium Range Plasma Pulse Particle Lasers (mounted bows & midships)
10 Pathfinder II Hypersonic Cruise Missile VLS tubes (Conventional payload) (mounted stern)
Mark IX and X Intercept Torpedoes
ECM Packages and Noise Makers
The Defender class SSN is the latest in a long line of SSNs deployed by the UEO Navy. In 2018, the principle class of the UEO's submarine force was the US Navy-built Viriginia. In the 2020s, the new Trident and Titan classes consolidated on the Virginia's design strengths, offering two submarines which offered very different capabilities - One as a light weight carrier, and the other as a medium fast attack submarine.
Developed in the late 2020s and brought in to service in 2030, the Defender class was developed as a heavy attack submarine to better complement the Trident class, as the Titans had been built in only low numbers, and would soon be replaced by the much larger Poseidon carriers.
Accordingly, the Defender is armed with more weaponry than any other SSN built by any navy to date. It's nine torpedo tubes, 3 heavy laser batteries and 10 VLS tubes make it a considerable force to contend with on the UEO's frontier, where pirate and mercenary raiders rely on the speed of their small corvettes to evade larger naval units like the Defiance. Like other submarines built after 2020, the Defender features a fully automated self-loading torpedo system which allows it to provide a rate of fire better than fifteen rounds per minute from each tube.
The 10 VLS tubes mounted just aft of the submarine's bridge provide the Defiance with the ability to support littoral operations, making it a preferred platform for special forces deployment from both Navy Special Forces (NSF) and Marine Force Recon. (MFR) Each missile tube is autoloading, and supports the Pathfinder 1 and Pathfinder 2 conventional hypersonic cruise missiles which have maximum speeds exceeding Mach 7, and can be armed with a variety of non-nuclear warheads including cluster munitions, deep-penetrating bunker busters, high explosive, plasma and EMP.
Fully loaded, The ship's torpedo rooms can hold a total of 70 21-inch torpedoes, while the missile room stores 30 Pathfinder missiles (with an additional 10 already in the launch silos)
Negligible; air locks can support 2 externally-docked shuttles midships.
144 (Includes 31 officers and 113 crew)
Development history and class background...
In the mid 2020s when Macronesia was in its earliest days of formation, and the Orion class SSN made its first appearance, the UEO realised early-on that it would most likely lose its technological advantage on the waves should Macronesia continue its deadly arms build up. The Defender class SSN was a pre-emptive measure by the UEO to stay just a few steps ahead at a time when tensions had never been higher.
While the Trident class less than 10 years old was a very capable submarine, its core technologies came from an age-gone-by, and it was fairly obvious to all concerned that something newer - utilizing updated and improved technology would be needed over the coming years. Improvements to the Flight 2 and 3 Tridents did much to improve their capabilities, but refits could only be taken so far.
The Defender class was built and designed on-the-fly; a very unusual move considering the typically long development processes of designing and building submarines in the past. Nevertheless, by 2031, the first of the new SSNs would join the fleet and reign as one of the most lethal attack submarines the world had ever seen. Well armed, protected and using the newest technologies available, it was a force to be reckoned with.
During the early-to-mid 2020s, UEO submarine design leaned heavily towards very conceptual and experimental designs often inspired by living creatures that dwelled beneath the sea. For a vessel designed for science and exploration, it was a fine philosophy, but for a warship such as the Defender - especially one that had to be built to a rapid budget of time - most commanders agreed that it was simply not feasible. As a result, submarine design took a backward step, and while not the prettiest of things ever created, the Defender was nonetheless rugged, durable, efficient, fast and very effective at what it did. Like the Trident class before it, it features the characteristic cigar-inspired hull form of conventional attack submarines, and lacks a dorsal sail', making it, overall, a very streamlined design.
The Defender was the first full-production UEO submarine to be designed with a Fusion reactor in mind, and its size is abnormally large for a fast attack submarine, coming close to the length and weight of the larger Defiance class Strike Cruisers. As fortune would have it, the Defender would be the benchmark for which all submarines designed and built over the next decade would be measured against. The Defender is more expensive than the Trident, and is nearly 3 times the price of Macronesia's Orion class SSNs, but its capacity to match the other two submarines at this offset more than makes up for the price tag.
The Defender class is armed with 9 auto-loading 21-inch torpedo tubes which are now the set-standard for any UEO submarine of this weight class, and are capable of firing the latest generations of plasma torpedoes and torpedo intercepts without any modifications to their existing systems. The class features an elaborate set of sonar suites (which have been upgraded several times since their initial introduction in 2031) and their fire control systems and computer cores are durable and easy to maintain.
The UEO completed the last of the Trident class SSNs in the year 2040 the UEO Norman Scott was the last of this class to be produced. The Defender class is to continue to replace the Trident on the shipyards of the UEO's production lines, and since 2031, over 80 Defenders have been produced, with war losses likely to see this number increase.