NSC "R-Class" Battlecruiser
NSC Renown CS-101
NSC Repulse CS-102
Above: Coat of Arms of the 2030's NSC Renown Class,
derived from a similar pattern belonging to the British R-class Battlecruiser HMS Renown from 1916-1948
R-Class Submarine Battlecruiser
Miles & Carpenter, Portsmouth, U.K.
Estimated Construction Cost:
Approximately 8.7 Billion USD (equivalent) per unit
Renown - 2032
Repulse - 2033
Renown CS-101 - December 2034
Repulse CS-102 - November 2035
Renown CS-101 - January 2035
Repulse CS-102 - January 2036
Length: 230 meters (754.6 feet)
Beam: 58 meters (190.3 feet)
Height: 23 meters (75.4 feet)
Titanium double hull supported by a reinforced composite steel frame, hull covered by an NSC Type-2 bioskin and ceramic armour.
A vessel that came as a "first" for the NSC in the global race for large "battlecruiser" class submersibles, the R-class were among the first warhips in the NSC fleet to be designed with organic hull skin technology in mind. For decades, bioskin technology has been a science that has been tightly controlled by the United Earth Oceans fleet, and the science that creates it is not well understood outside this organization.
The North Sea Confederation spent nearly a decade developing their own bioskin technology based on what little could be learnt from the UEO's seaQuest DSV. The UEO ship was so advanced that it was practically assured that while some progress towards creating their own native bioskins could be made, it would ultimately be inferior to the genetically-engineered, highly advanced material used in UEO submarine hull construction. Nevertheless, the bioskins that go in to North Sea Confederation vessels are a significant step forward for Europe's navies.
Like the UEO's hullskin technology, the NSC's equivalent is genetically engineered, and without the pioneering DNA sequencing techniques of the UEO, the NSC drew heavily on marine life as their primary source of information and research. Unsurprisingly, NSC bioskins now have more in common with the flesh of a Shark or Dolphin than they do with the UEO's multi-layered, genetically-unique organic 'lattice' design.
The effects and advantages of this type of bioskin are diverse. The skin is not smooth, and is covered in many almost microscopic cells that create vorticies in the water surrounding a ship at speed, much like the skin of sharks. This has the cumulative result of reducing drag at high speeds, and protects the hull from the effects of cavitation. Additionally, the skin is sound-attenuating in much the same fashion as acoustic tiles used in earlier vessels, helping to reduce the visibility of the submarine through typical sonar-based sensors.
Despite these advantages, the skin does not share the same remarkable regenerative traits of UEO-designed bioskins. While the bioskins of UEO warships are designed to rapidly regrow in the event of a hull breach to protect the ship until more permament repairs can be made, (and does so with a minimal of scarring and lasting damage) North Sea Confederation bioskins such as this Type 2 grow only at a 'standard' rate of what might be expected from normal flesh. (And is thus almost useless as a damage control measure.) A side-effect of this is that NSC bioskins tend to damage fairly easily when exposed to marine evironments - barnacles and weapons fire alike mean that the skins develop callous, uneven surfaces that have to be periodically re-grafted if the ship is to remain at peak performance.
Greater than 10,000 feet.
1 Rolls Royce PFR-3 Fusion Reactor, powering 4 Rolls Royce Lyon advanced aqua-return drives.
Maximum: 115 knots
IBM VII-B Neural Network
The IBM-VII series neural cores have been in operation aboard UEO submarines since the early 2030's. The VII-B was an upgrade to this core made in 2035, and following suit from the UEO Defiance class strike cruisers, the NSC opted to use the same core in their own heavy submarine combatant. Operating with a fully-integrated Linux-based OS developed specifically to the class's specifactions, the system is believed to be up to 10 times more effective than the latest generation fiber-optic systems used in the civilian market, and many times faster.
The information systems are wired throughout the ship in bundled bio-gel conduits. Each 'bundle' consists of several thousand 'strands' of artificially manufactured 'nerve' wiring that is stimulated and insulated by the gel within the conduits. The computer core memory banks have a capacity in the area of nearly 1 petabyte of information storage (1 Petabyte equals approximately 1 million gigabytes)
Neural network technology is controlled by the UEO's bioengineering corps; a division of the Military Science Bureau. The VII-Bs found aboard NSC vessels are maintained under contract by BAe systems in the United Kingdom.
Internal: Hypersonar; active and passive sensor suites
Effective Range : Approximately 100 nautical miles
External Sensors: Stingray UCAVs, towed passive sonar array
(Range dependant on ocean condtions)
20 24-inch forwards firing tubes (fwd & midships)
6 ‘Thunderbolt Mk2’ Long Range Particle Lasers (Forward & midships)
4 ‘Lightning Mk2’ Medium Range Particle Lasers (Forward & midships)
2 variable weapons bays (Forward)
SeaShadow cruise missiles can be launched from the weapons bays
6 ‘Gatekeeper’ Mk3 PDL turret (at launch, refitted to Mk.4 in 2041)
Limited stocks of Hedgehog Anti-fighter torpedoes
ECM Packages and Noise Makers
Faced with very different needs than the combined fleets of the United Earth Oceans and Macronesia; the North Sea Confederation took a notably different path in the field of weapons development. The staple weapons-of-choice for the UEO have typically always been high numbers of rapid-firing torpedoes complemented by a range of medium-laser systems. Meanwhile, the Alliance typically devoted much of their time and resources to the development of more exotic core-weapons systems such as particle-decelerating subduction rifles.
The North Sea Confederation, on the other hand, pursued far more conventional tactics. To ensure joint-operability between all of its member states and allies, and to increase the odds of being able to match the super-subs of other confederations (most notably, seaQuest DSV) the choice of large, 24-inch torpedo tubes was made shortly after the Third World War. Over time, virtually all NSC munitions were built to fit these tubes, and as a result the latest NSC weapons have a considerably larger warhead and longer range than their 21-inch counterparts (as commonly used by the UEO and Macronesia.)
This choice comes at a cost. Larger weapons have resulted in understandably smaller load-outs and longer reload times that have made rapid-cycling systems such as the UEO RAFIT battery difficult to implement. (Notably, the use of retractable sleeves inside the torpedo tubes allows NSC warships to use smaller munitions where necessary.)
On the face of it, this would have seemed to put the NSC fleet at a significant disadvantage in terms of raw firepower, but has rather led to unique innovations that have gone some way to equalizing the apparent gap. (In some cases even giving the NSC fleet the advantage through providing a level of versatility that other vessels lack.) North Sea Confederation warships are commonly equipped with purpose-built weapons bays that house either a single eight-tube rotary launcher (similar to the UEO RAFIT system) or a larger, fourteen-round torpedo rack. These bays are fully capable of launching any NSC 24-inch munitions, including SM-14/AF ‘Hedgehog’ anti-fighter torpedoes, SM-9/ASW ‘Lionfish’ torpedoes, Stingray UCUVs or even SSC-30 Sea Shadow Cruise Missiles.
Additionally, North Sea Confederation vessels do not typically rely on Intercept torpedoes as their primary method of self-defence, allowing much more of the torpedo armament to be allocated towards offensive duties. During the mid-2020s, when the subfighter was proving to be a controversial subject with the MoD, these vessels were being equipped with small laser systems that the NSC found could be adapted to fit within an automated defence turret that was coupled to a similarly small fighter-derived combat hypersonar. This resulted in the creation of the NSC’s first Point Defence Laser system – a system which has evolved in to the current Mark IV “Gatekeeper” PDL. As of 2037, this weapon was considered the supreme ship defence system.
Finally, the NSC inherited many laser technologies from the UEO, and natively developed their own arsenal of anti-submarine directed-energy weapons systems. The “Thunderbolt” MkIII is considered roughly equivalent to the UEO SLR-81, while the Lightning MkIII is considered equal to the SMR-72. Like most ship-borne laser systems, these are primarily used as close-quarters anti-ship weapons, with anti-fighter duties being relegated to the purpose-built Gatekeeper PDLs.
1 Dorsal hanger capable of docking 1 Dakota-class heavy shuttle.
The Renown Class follows long standing NSC principles whereby all strike and defence capabilities are performed by shipborne systems alone. Consequently the Renown class has limited EVA capabilities. The hanger is not a fully functioning hanger as on a proper carrier, it is instead just a place for a launch to dock without being external to the cruiser. In all other respects, this hangar functions as a two-stage airlock. This hangar was not installed until a refit in 2040.
Approximately 300 (Includes approximately 50 officers and 250 enlisted.)
Development history and class background...
The history of the R-Class Battlecruiser has roots in the long running NSC FDSV program. It began in 2013 with the launch of the NORPAC's newest and deadliest submarine, the seaQuest. This vessel was large, fast, deep diving, and carried the heaviest war load of any submarine on the planet. As could be expected, the launch of this new class of submarine resulted in a rush for all the other confederations to produce an equivalent. Ultimately, none succeeded.
The NSC first started to bridge the technological gap by rapidly producing a series of modern, multi-role submarines. They had nowhere near the capabilities of the seaQuest but went some way to ensuring the NSC did not fall hopelessly behind next to the other major confederations. For a considerable time thereafter, the NSC relied primarily on the Taranto class SSGN to defend their waters. In parallel with this, research was started into the technologies required to produce a seaQuest equivalent, although nothing would result from this for nearly thirty years.
In 2017 the UEO charter was formally ratified. Many of the world’s nations were united under a single flag, and technology was shared in return. The NSC was one of the first to sign, and would remain a strong (if demanding) supporter for many years to come. In truth, the NSC still feared the technological gap that they had with the North Pacific Confederation, and despite the unfied command of the combined UEO military, the NSC continued to maintain their own weapons development programs.
Over time technologies filtered from the UEO into NSC vessels, and the Taranto and FDSV (Future Deep Submergence Vessel) both benefited and were steadily upgraded and refit with new systems. What they did not benefit from was the perceived necessity for disarmament treaties, and the NSC Parliament subsequently slashed the military budget in favour of community services that would expand undersea colonisation to deal with population growth. As a result, the FDSV program was put on indefinite hold.
For several years, the world prospered until 2022, when the UEO flagship - seaQuest - disappeared. With the peacekeeping giant gone, harmony started to break down. A power vacuum was in effect, and although something would eventually fill the void, it was over a decade away. The sideffect of this was the continuation of the NSC FDSV program.
With technology miniaturisation and improvements in material strength, the introduction of the subfighter in to the NSC fleet should have been a clear and obvious step. However, the NSC Ministry of Defence (MoD) was formed largely of career Navy personnel with bias towards more 'traditional' concepts of submarine warfare. For this reason, work on the FDSV continued without the inclusion of substantial EVA assets.
In 2029 the NSC was attacked by several weapons of mass destruction, and the subsequent inquest in to the tragedies revealed glaring holes in the NSC's intelligence services. The rapid introduction of ruthless new orders and mandates for the NSC's intelligence community didn't take long to produce results, and after investigation of the Macronesian Alliance, it was discovered that the wayward confederation was in a state of massive rearmament with new sea-floor bases, warsubs and fleets of subfighters being the cornerstones of the program.
When confronted with this evidence, the MoD took a hard look at their own convictions and reconsidered the subfighter threat. Although they didn't agree that the subfighter was the 'silver bullet' that other nations (rightly) believed, they conceded that in significant numbers the subfighter could pose a serious threat. The decision was made to shelve the fighterless FDSV, and reallocate the funds to counter the threat of the subfighter. It was from this decision that the Gatekeeper PDL turret would emerge, as well as the Indomitable class escort carrier.
However, the new fighter based solutions were still years away, and would take time to build up to significant levels. It still did not alter the fact that the Macronesians had a large force, and that it seemed clear to the NSC command that President Bourne wanted to use it. The decision was made to bolster the NSC fleet with three new heavy cruisers. These vessels would be built using a combination of established technology and innovative design. They would be large enough to provide the construction skills needed for producing the newer classes (and sizes) of warship seen around the world, as well as being cheap enough to allow production without a significant increase to the military budget.
This was essentially a revision and redress of the FDSV program. Over a period of several months, the program was streamlined, with any unessential systems removed, and any complex system requiring research being dropped. The resulting "R-Class" was easily accepted as being fit for the simple purpose, and construction begun mere weeks after the plans were tendered to the MoD.
As is usual with new ventures, there were problems and delays. Some of them were political, many were financial, and opinions were wavering about whether or not to proceed with all three vessels. The tipping point occurred in 2032 as - in a surprise move - the UEO recommissioned the seaQuest. Not much was known by the NSC about this decision, indeed all that NSIS discovered was the ludicrous statement about being found in a cornfield! Regardless of the truth, the reappearence of the seaQuest had gone some way to tipping the balance of power back in the UEO's favour. This was all the excuse that was needed, and by the end of the month the third R-Class was cancelled, freeing up funds for other purposes.
In January 2035, the Renown carried a full compliment of weapons system to sea for the first time. Her weapons fit included an early version of the Mk3 Gatekeeper point defence lasers, and the first tests proved less than promising. However several hastily made software patches combined with a few minor alterations to the power grids brought them to a satisfactory condition. These upgrades were incorporated in all later production Gatekeepers, including those of the Repulse, which was commissioned in January 2036.
More recently, since the outbreak of the UEO-Alliance war, these ships have been at the front of many NSC operations. On the 18th July 2041, the NSC Renown was escorting a relief convoy to aid the UEO. The convoy was attacked by a single squadron of Macronesian Broadswords, and this trial by fire tellingly revealed just how efefctive the latest generations of subfighters really were. Electrical problems aboard Renown meant that her PDL grid could not be brought online, and she paid a heavy price.
An inquiry in to this encounter read the incident as follows.
At 01:32 the Renown detected a squadron of fighters emerging from the Shetland Trench. These were identified as hostile from the approach profile, and later identified as Macronesian SA-33 Broadsword fighters. Lacking a fighter escort, the Renown had been equipped with Hedgehog anti-fighter munitions. The Renown opened her starboard weapons bay, and the rotary launcher discharged two Hedgehogs at long range towards the incoming fighters. Hedgehog separation was successful, but all submunitions missed their targets due to evasive manoeuvring by the Broadswords. At 01:36, several of the Broadswords released anti-ship torpedoes at the Renown. Due to the proximity of the torpedoes to each other, the PDLs could not make a decision regarding target priority, and failed to engage either target. Three of the torpedoes struck the dreadnought, one damaging the number three engine, with two more striking the vessel amidships, opening up sections of decks two and three to massive floording. The Renown attempted evasive manoeuvres, although the loss of the number three engine resulted in a slight roll to port. A fourth Macronesian projectile at this time entered the forward weapons bay and exploded, but did not detonate the remaining six torpedoes on the rotary launcher. This explosion caused massive shock damage to the Renown, causing the overload of the entire electrical system, crippling the dreadnought. (Had the forward magazine detonated, it is highly likely that the ship would have been lost almost instantly.)
- From the Board of Inquiry for the Attack on NSC Renown, 2041.
The crippling of an NSC ship of-the line inflamed the general population to such an extent that it was considered inappropriate to negotiate with those responsible. It was this event more than anything else that caused the NSC to enter the war.
One week later when the findings of the Renown Investigation Board were made public, two things happened: Three members of the NSC Security Council resigned, citing personal reasons, and the Repulse was recalled from a Show-the-Flag mission in the Mediterranean and spent three weeks in drydock where additional armour plating was installed, along with an extensive refit of the PDL system.
With more tubes and lasers than a Flight I Reverence, the Renown class was a vessel to be feared, and it would remain the most heavily armed submarine in the NSC fleet until the commissioning of newer Vanquisher class dreadnoughts.
Joseph James Ward served aboard the Battlecruiser HMS Renown between the years of 1944 and 1945. He was the last in a long line of the Author's family to serve in the Royal Navy.
Thus this page is dedicated to the officers and crew of the HMS Renown and her sistership, HMS Repulse, many of whom gave up their lives during the Second World War.