by Pieter Thomassen and Tim Wing, with Peter Walker
The Daedalus-class Assault Landing Vessel was a ship designed and built in the early 2000’s, after the crash of the SDF-1 Macross. The Daedalus-class was originally meant to be an all-environment amphibious assault ship, capable of deploying UN Spacy troops on both the surface of the Earth and in space. In its final fitment, the Daedalus-class was propelled by 30 RRG TAG-03 anti-gravity pods. However, due to the difficulty in manufacturing these units, and the ship’s demonstrated vulnerability in combat engagements in space, only three ships were completed to this specification. All other ships of the Daedalus-class were completed as nuclear powered Semi-Submersible Assault Landing Vessels. Eight ships of the Daedalus-class survived the 1st Robotech War and three remained in service by the beginning of the 2nd Robotech War.
- Name: Daedalus-class
- Builders: Newport News Shipbuilding Company
- Operators: UN Spacy, UEDF Navy
- In commission: 3 April 2006
- Planned: 14
- Completed: 3 to full specification / 11 overall
- Type: Submersible Assault Landing Vessel (SLV)
- Displacement: 240,000 tons.
- Length: Overall: 488 meters
- Propulsion (SLV-114-124): 3 Rolls-Royce PWR-8 or General Electric D19W nuclear fission reactors, Westinghouse CE-1 MHD engines; 370 MW (500,000 shp)
- Speed: 40 knots (75 km/h)
- Range: Unlimited distance; 20-25 years
- Complement (2010): Ship’s company: 1,200
- Air group and troops (2010): 2,725
- Mecha (2010): 94 Destroids, (up to) 96 Helicopters
The Daedalus-class was the UN Spacy’s attempt at a multi-purpose surface naval and space ship. The plan was for a ship that could keep up to a heavy armor brigade embarked, and be able to deploy them anywhere on earth or be able to transport them to fight on Mars or the Moon. Alternately, the ship could have embarked space fighters or Veritechs, and acted Aerospacecraft Carrier. Early in the 1st Robotech War, the Daedalus-class was shown to poorly designed for space combat and as a result only the first three ships were completed with full space capabilities. All ships that followed received conventional nuclear power and were used in the UN Spacy’s (and later the UEDF’s) surface navy.
The Daedalus class was shaped much like the Wasp- and Tarawa-class landing ships as built for the pre-unification US Navy. The vessels had a rectangular upper deck and hull on top of a standard ship hull. This enabled the Daedalus-class to have a more efficient pressure hull than the Prometheus-class, which was based on a traditional flat-top aircraft carrier design. As a result, the Daedalus-class had superior flight and underwater performance in comparison with the Prometheus-class.
The ship was topped by a full length flat deck, with only two very small conning towers on top of from it. At the bow this deck angles into a 60 degree descent towards the waterline. This sloping deck could be opened upwards, enabling the mecha landing ramp to be extended to the ground and mecha to be marched from the insides of the ship to their objectives. The hull also featured two retractable side ports amidships. These ports were useless in a beach landing operation, but served as the main access to the mecha hangars while in port.
The internals of the vessel were much like any other naval vessel, with one exception. The upper 36 meters of the forward two-thirds of the vessel formed a giant mecha hangar. This hangar was divided by bulkheads and decks into a two level mecha garage, but in terms of its pressure hull, was a single compartment. This gigantic hangar housed the destroids of the vessel. The bay opened directly on the forward mecha landing ramp and the side ports. A removable ramp connected the upper part of the bay with the lower part, enabling mecha to navigate the hangar under their own power. The upper deck was suited for helicopter and VTOL operations.
Below these were man-sized decks housing crew, armories, magazines, workshops and all the rest needed to keep up to 3,000 men in fighting shape for a deployment length of up to 12 months. They also included the engineering spaces. In the case of the first three ships, the UES Daedalus, the UES Liberator and the UES Targus, a large portion of the ships engineering section was taken up by 30 anti-gravity pods and the ships reflex furnaces. Below this were large storage tanks for the ships reaction mass for operation in space. On all ships that followed the first three, fission reactors were used rather than Reflex furnaces and the reaction mass tanks were used to hold sea-water as ballast. The entire side protection system against torpedo hits doubled as a ballast tank. All this tankage was needed to overcome the enormous flotation ability inherent in so large a vessel.
The armament installed on these vessels was less capable than that onboard the Prometheus carriers, and ships’ losses were higher as a result. One of the primary design flaws of the ship was the fact that it carried no anti-space ship missiles. In space combat, it had to rely on Oberth-class escorts.
As submarines these ships were hampered by their assault design, and their speed was a fraction of what nuclear submarines could make. In addition, there was no way these ships could run silently, and therefore no silencing measures were seriously considered. Hence, in a conflict with Earth navies the class would be one large target for the opponents’ submarines, or would need an entire flotilla of attack submarines as escort. It was thought however, that space borne invaders would not have the necessary sonar expertise to track these noisy vessels. This assumption proved to be correct.
In 2024, three of the five surviving members of this class were converted into Semi-Submersible Landing Helicopter Ships. With this conversion, internal spaces were improved for handling a greater number of conventional combat vehicles and the smaller Battloids used by the UEDF. In practice, these ships usually carried a UEDF Naval Division Naval Infantry Regiment or a Tactical Corps Mechanized Infantry Regiment. Alternately, these ships were often used as forward deployed “pre-positioned stocks” for contingency operations or as command ships. When acting as a command ship, the mecha complement was drastically lowered. The other two surviving vessels were moth-balled and served as parts suppliers for the operational craft.
The Daedalus-class was developed in parallel with the Prometheus-class of submersible aircraft carriers, but unlike that class, the Daedalus was intended to land destroid forces directly over a beach or on a planet’s surface. The origins of this concept date back to the question put to military staffs on how to ensure that sufficient armed forces survived a possible alien attack to carry out a counter offensive against the aliens. The answer was that the best way for armed forces to survive would be to be invisible from orbit: hence, the submersible nature of the Daedalus. After such an attack, the troops would be available to fight both on Earth and in space. An additional consideration was the fact that in the early years of the UN Spacy, its charter stated that it was specifically meant to act as a “space” fighting force, therefore any major procurement had to have a space borne mission.
The Daedalus-class was an object of antipathy for carrier officers, who found the concept of a large, vulnerable over-the-beach landing ship to be several decades out of date with modern amphibious thinking, which now emphasized standing off the beach and mobile assaults on lesser defended areas. In addition, the Daedalus class would be of very limited utility in a fight with the aliens and the class pulled budgets and yards from the construction of more versatile Prometheus-class carriers. Conversely, Marine and Army commanders defended the existence of the class, pointing out that Destroids, the most effective ground based counters against Zentraedi battlepods at that time envisaged, could not be easily transported to shore using smaller landing craft and helicopters. History proved that both classes were of very limited utility against space invaders, but that the effort put into the Daedalus class might indeed have been better placed in more Prometheus hulls. As a result of the various in-service fights, the number of Daedalus hulls was limited and no more were ordered, with the yards ordered to switch to Prometheus vessels after 2013.
In space, the class proved to be an even greater failure. At the beginning of the 1st Robotech war, only three Daedalus-class ships were fully fitted with their space propulsion systems. These ships, and their sister Prometheus-class carriers, were easily destroyed in orbit while rendezvousing with the SDF-1 Macross. Two of the three ships were lost, with only the UES Daedalus surviving to be later conjoined to the SDF-1. The Daedalus was present at Macross Island and attending the launch festivities on that day. The ship was included in the SDF-1 spacefold and gave excellent service after that, but no longer as a seagoing vessel. With her engines were removed and her hull reinforced, the Daedalus served as the SDF-1’s primary Destroid hanger. The upper deck also served as a civilian area when the SDF-1 was on Earth and not on high standby.
Eight other ships survived the Holocaust, and were used by the UN Spacy and UEDF as troop carriers. Three uncompleted sister ships were destroyed in the yards or scrapped before launching after the war. Their lesser armament and mecha operations led to less charmed lives than the Prometheus class, though. The Agamemnon was attacked by Fighter pods off the Brazilian coast just when a Seraum Awhaug (MPA-5 Moloch) missile salvo occupied the defenses. The combat air patrol managed to destroy enough malcontent Fighter Pods to keep the ship from sinking, but the damage was so heavy that the hull was scrapped at Oslo two years later. Ajax and Ulysses succumbed to a Quel Quallie squadron off the Peruvian coast and a Regult/Glaug force on the Jamaican beach during attempted landing operations. After these debacles, no more Daedalus-class ships were used as amphibious assault ships without a Prometheus escort.
The other vessels, now numbering only five, survived the uprisings. After the last large REF deployments the class was to be retired from service and scrapped. However, a new tasking was found for some of these large and relatively new hulls. Three of the class, Orion, Achilles and Jason, were converted into Semi-Submersible Landing Helicopter Ships (SLHS) for the UEDF Navy. Mecha handling areas were overhauled to accommodate the sort of mixed conventional and Battloid formations used by the UEDF. Rather than landing these forces directly on the beach, the Daedalus-class would release amphibious forces from a stand-off distance in the same fashion as a pre-Robotech War amphibious assault ship. The two remaining ships, Iphigenia and Perseus, were relegated to reserve status in Newport News, and provided many of the parts required to keep the other three ships operational.
During the Second Robotech War the Orion was caught on the surface by Tirolian forces and destroyed by a Bioroid and Roil assault corvette strike force north of the Falkland Islands. The Jason was sunk near Diego Garcia during the Invid Invasion, and the Achilles disappeared in the Pacific at that time, together with the Prometheus-class carrier Phoebe. Both ships have been listed as missing, presumed destroyed, and it is hoped their fate will be disclosed when the surviving Invid archives are opened to human researchers.
SLV-111 through 113
The first three ships of the class had four SPR-2 protoculture fueled Reflex furnaces with a rated output of 53 Terawatts each as their main power systems. The furnaces could operate for fifteen minutes at maximum power before overheat initiates auto-shutdown. The maneuvering thrusters consisted of eight FATT-X1 fusion-plasma reaction thrusters clusters with steerable nozzles. Four were located at the aft edges of the vessel, four others were located around the bow. The anti-gravity system was a set of 30 earth built RRG TAG-03 anti-gravity pods. These pods were temperamental and difficult to produce. The difficulty in their production was the main reason why only three ships had been completed to specification by the time of the SDF-1’s launch. The main engines were two RRG FuRT-02X Fusion-Plasma Reaction Thrusters with protoculture energizer mounted in the rear of the hull. The Daedalus-class had atmospheric capabilities through its anti-gravity systems and reaction engines. The hull could not support the ship’s weight on the Earth’s surface and had to landed in a body of water. The ship could be landed directly on the surface of lower gravity planets such as Mars.
SLV-114 through 124
The remaining conventional vessels were powered by either three Rolls-Royce PWR-8 or General Electric D19W nuclear fission reactors with a rated power of 184 MW each. These reactors produced steam to power the four Westinghouse CE-1 MHD engines mounted in two pairs at the lower stern of the ship, with the exhausts surrounded by a heavy shroud for impact protection and infra-red signature reduction. The total effective propulsive power was 370 MW (500,000 SHP).
Endurance and mobility limits
The dry stores of the Daedalus-class allowed an endurance of three months maximum; after that, the Daedalus’s would need to restock, most commonly from an underway replenishment ship. Potable water and oxygen could be obtained from the surrounding ocean. The mecha consumables supplies (missiles and cannon rounds) were reasonably large and the Daedalus was able to sustain continuous combat operations for about 14 days. The magazine for the ship’s torpedo tubes could store 88 large weapons such as heavyweight torpedoes or cruise missiles. Two mines (never carried operationally) or Derringer-D anti-ship missiles could be carried instead of one large weapon. The total capacity (including weapons in the tubes) was 96 full sized weapons. A typical loadout (ca. 2014) was 68 BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles and 28 Mk48 mod 8 VADCAP torpedoes.
The maximum surface speed was 40 knots surfaced and 17 knots submerged. The maximum diving depth was 250 meters operationally, and 300 meters in an emergency.
SLV-111 through 113
The Reflex furnace could function for about 30 years at normal usage levels before an energizer rebuild was necessary. At full power, the main propulsion systems could produce up to 4.20 Giganewtons of thrust at a minimal reaction mass efficiency profile, or as little as 193 Meganewtons of thrust at a maximum efficiency setting. At lower power levels, these thrusts were commensurately smaller. At full power, the Daedalus-class could achieve a maximum delta-v of 115 kps at the cruising acceleration of 0.1 gees, a maximum delta-v of 23.1 kps at the battle acceleration of 1.0 gees, and a delta-v of at most 15.7 kps at the flank acceleration of 1.5 gees. At lower power levels, these ranges were commensurately smaller.
SLV-117 through 124
The effective core life of the fission reactors was 25 years before a reactor refueling was required.
For defense against anti-ship missiles and aircraft on the surface and in space, the Daedalus-class had six Bofors RLT-2B twin barreled laser pop-up turrets. The RLT-2bs were fast-firing close-in weapon systems. When inactive they were hidden under the deck. Each turret could fire a 15 MJ pulse of laser energy every 3.75 seconds (in anti-surface mode), or 300 kJ pulses at 800 rounds/minute (anti-missile defense mode). There was no on-mount crew.
The Daedalus-class also had 12 Soleviev QRB-12 missile bins. The QRB-12 was a flush mounted bin for quick-reaction anti-mecha/anti-missile missiles. Each bin contained eight high-explosive, short range (maximum 3.2 km) Mach 3.0 combined IIR/passive laser homing Lockheed Rapier missiles. There were eight reloads for each bin, giving a total of 960 Rapier missiles.
For surface warfare, the Daedalus-class had eight Mk82 760mm torpedo tubes. They were a conventional, albeit large, type of torpedo tube. These could fire a large variety of weapons. Weapons with a diameter of less than 760mm could be fired by using liners in the tubes. The weapons used were most often Honeywell Mk48 VADCAP 533mm multi-purpose torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles such as the BGM-109R. However, older torpedoes and Derringer-D anti-ship missiles could also be fired.
UN Spacy, 2010
- Ships’ crew (1,200 officers and enlisted)
- Air Group (225 aviators and support crew)
- Marine Regiment (2,500 Marines)
- Life support limits are for a full combat complement and about 700 supernumeraries (4,625 men total)
UEDF Navy, 2028 (post-refit)
- Ships’ crew (1,660 officers and enlisted)
- Air Group (300 aviators and support crew)
- Combat Troops (2,000 Soldiers)
- Life support limits are for a full combat complement and about 650 supernumeraries (2850 men total).
- Length: 488 meters (over all)
- Height: 74 meters (over all)
- Width: 60 meters (over all)
- Mass: 268,000 metric tons, operational
- Fuel Mass: 32,450 metric tons (typical)
- Displacement surfaced: 240,000 tons.
- Displacement submerged: 345,000 tons.
- See Naval air group compositions for a detailed summation.
(UN Spacy, 2010):
(UN Spacy, 2015):
- One UN Spacy Armor Regiment
- One UEDF Naval Division Naval Infantry Regiment or one UEDF Tactical Corps Mechanized Infantry Regiment.
Names and disposition:
- SLV-111 Daedalus, Commissioned 2005 (IS), Operational loss at Macross Island, 2009
- AX/T-112 Yamato, Commissioned 2006 (NNS), Destroyed 2009 in Earth orbit
- AX/T-113 Liberator, Commissioned 2006 (RDY), Destroyed 2009 in Earth orbit
- AX/T-114 Tardis, Commissioned 2006 (KW), Destroyed 2009 in Earth orbit
- AX/T-115 Arcadia, Commissioned 2007 (NNS), Destroyed 2009 in Earth orbit
- AX/T-116 Thunderbird, Commissioned 2007 (VSEL), Destroyed 2009 in Earth orbit
- SLV-117 Perseus, Commissioned 2008 (IS), In reserve 2024, scrapped 2047
- SLV-118 Ajax, Commissioned 2008 (RDY), Sunk in the Pacific, 2019
- SCC-119 Orion, Commissioned 2008 (KW), Sunk in the South Atlantic during the 2nd Robotech War, 2029
- SLV-120 Iphigenia, Commissioned 2009 (RDY), In reserve 2024, scrapped 2047
- SLV-121 Ulysses, Commissioned 2009 (KW), Sunk in the Caribbean Sea, 2017
- SCC-122 Achilles, Commissioned 2010 (NSMW), Missing and presumed destroyed in the Pacific Ocean, 2033
- SCC-123 Jason, Commissioned 2010 (NSMW), Sunk near Diego Garcia, 2031
- SLV-124 Agamemnon, Commissioned 2011 (IS), Constructional total loss, Atlantic Ocean 2015, scrapped 2016-2017
- SLV-125 Argonaut, (IS), Scrapped on the building way, 2013
- SLV-126 Apollo, (KW), Destroyed on the building way in the Zentraedi Holocaust
- SLV-127 Artemis, (KW), Destroyed on the building way in the Zentraedi Holocaust
Only AX/T-112 through 116 were completed to specification, with functional space propulsion systems. All other ships of this class were configured as conventional nuclear powered amphibious landing ships.
These ships were built by the Ingalls Shipbuilding (IS, Pascagoula, USA), Rotterdam Dockyard Company (RDY, Rotterdam, Netherlands), Kobe Works (KW, Kobe, Japan) and Nagasaki Shipyard & Machinery Works (NSMW, Nagasaki, Japan) shipyards.
Robotech (R) is the property of Harmony Gold. The Super Dimension Fortress Macross (R) is the property of Big West Advertising and Studio Nue. This document is in no way intended to infringe upon their rights.
Original artwork by: Shoji Kawamori, Miyatake Kazutaka, Haruhiko Mikimoto and Hidetaka Tenjin.
Acknowledgement is extended to the work of Egan Loo and the Macross Compendium. Egan Loo is given all credit for all quotes and paraphrasing of the Macross Compendium that has been utilized on Robotech Illustrated.
Images Courtesy of Chad Wilson (Marchly) and the Macross Mecha Manual. Chad Wilson is given all credit for all images from the Macross Mecha Manual that have been utilized on Robotech Illustrated.
Acknowledgement is also extended to Peter Walker, Pieter Thomassen and Robert Morgenstern of the unofficial Robotech Reference Guide. Peter Walker, Pieter Thomassen and Robert Morgenstern are given credit for all quotes and paraphrasing of the unofficial Robotech Reference Guide that has been utilized on Robotech Illustrated.
Content by Tim Wing, Pieter Thomassen, with Peter Walker and Rob Morgenstern
Copyright © 2015 Tim Wing; 2002, 1998, 1997, 1995 Robert Morgenstern, Pieter Thomassen, Peter Walker