by Pieter Thomassen, with Peter Walker
edited by Tim Wing
- Prometheus-class reference file
- Prometheus-class gallery
Designation: Prometheus-class Submersible Aircraft Carrier (CVS)
Names and disposition:
- CVS-101 UES Prometheus, Commissioned 2005 (NNS), Operational loss at Macross Island, 2009.
- CVS-102 UES Heracles, Commissioned 2005 (VSEL), Destroyed at Newport News in Zentraedi holocaust, 2011.
- CVS-103 UES Vulcan, Commissioned 2006 (DCN), Sunk in the Skaggerak during 2nd Robotech War, 2030.
- CVS-104 UES Neptune, Commissioned 2006 (NNS), Sunk in the Atlantic in Zentraedi holocaust, 2011.
- CVS-105 UES Ceres, Commissioned 2007 (DCN), Sunk in the White Sea during Invid Invasion, 2031.
- CVS-106 UES Phoebe, Commissioned 2007 (NNS), Missing and presumed lost in the Pacific Ocean, ca. 2031.
- CVS-107 UES Chronos, Commissioned 2008 (VSEL), Sunk in the South Atlantic, 2016.
- CVS-108 UES Hyperion, Commissioned 2008 (DCN), Sunk in the Indian Ocean during 2nd Robotech War, 2029.
- CVS-109 UES Demeter, Commissioned 2008 (VSEL), Abandoned by the UEDF Naval Division 2031, commissioned in the European Navy 2044, demilitarized in 2048 and in use as a museum ship.
- CVS-110 UES Bacchus, Commissioned 2014 (NNS), Sunk off the California coast during 2nd Robotech War, 2030.
- CVS-111 UES Pluto, Commissioned 2015 (NNS), Sunk in the Caribbean Sea during the Invid Invasion, 2031.
- CVS-112 UES Uranus, Commissioned 2016 (NNS), Scrapped after 2nd Robotech War, 2031.
- CVS-113 UES Persephone, Scrapped on the building way, 2018 (DCN).
- CVS-114 UES Cerberus, Scrapped on the building way, 2018 (DCN).
These ships were built by the Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS, Newport News, USA), Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Limited (VSEL, Barrow-in-Furness, UK), and DCN (Brest, France) shipyards. Rotterdam Dockyard Company (Rotterdam, Netherlands) and Kobe Works (Kobe, Japan) were building ships of this class as well, but never completed one before their construction.
- Ships’ crew (2,700 men),
- Air Group (2,200 men),
- Marine reinforced company (230 men),
- Life support limits are for a full combat complement and about 1,750 supernumaries (6,880 men total).
- Length: 512 meters (over-all).
- Height: 70 meters
- Beam: 91 meters (hull), 148 meters (flight deck at widest point)
- Standard Displacement: 456,000 tons
- Fully-loaded Displacement: 511,280 tons
- Main power system: 4 x Rolls-Royce PWR-8 or General Electric D19W nuclear fission reactors with a rated power of 184 MW each.
- Propulsion Systems: 8 x Westinghouse CE-1 MHD steam turbines mounted in four 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 is 385 MW (520,000 SHP).
Endurance and mobility limits:
The dry stores endurance is 3 months maximum; after that, the Prometheus’ need to restock, most commonly from an underway replenishment ship. Potable water and oxygen can be obtained from the surrounding ocean.
The effective core life of the fission reactors is 25 years.
The maximum speed is 35 knots surfaced and 16 knots submerged. The maximum diving depth is 160 meters operationally, and 300 meters in an emergency. Crush depth is approximately 400 meters.
The mecha consumables supplies (mainly missiles) are extensive; the Prometheus is able to sustain continuous combat operations for over 30 days.
The missile magazines for the ship’s own launchers are typically empty after 2 major assaults.
The magazine for the ship’s torpedo tubes can store 88 large weapons such as heavyweight torpedoes or cruise missiles. Two mines or Derringer-D anti-ship missiles can be carried instead of one large weapon. The total capacity (including weapons in the tubes) is 96 full-sized weapons.
A typical loadout (ca. 2014) was 68 BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles and 28 Mk48 mod 8 VADCAP torpedoes.
- 20 mm CIWS Vulcan Phalanx (4): The Phalanx CIWS is a close-in weapon system for defense against anti-ship missiles. It was designed and manufactured by the General Dynamics Corporation, Pomona Division. The Phalanx consists of a radar-guided 20 mm Gatling gun mounted on a swiveling base. It fires High-Explosive Incendiary Tracer, Self-Destructing (HEIT-SD) 20x102mm rounds at 4,500 rounds per minute.
- Mark 41 Vertical Launching System (3): The Mark 41 Vertical Launching System (Mk 41 VLS) is a shipborne missile canister launching system which provides a rapid-fire launch capability against hostile threats. Each launcher has ten tubes and can fire a variety of missiles to include but not limited to the RIM-66 Standard, RIM-67 Standard, RIM-161 Standard Missile 3, RIM-174 Standard ERAM, Tomahawk, RUM-139 VL-ASROC, RIM-7 Sea Sparrow, and RIM-162 ESSM.
- Bofors RLT-2 twin barreled laser turrets (12): A fast-firing close-in weapon system. Each turret can fire a 15 MJ pulse of laser energy every 3.75 seconds (in anti-ship mode), or 300 kJ pulses at 800 rounds/minute (anti-missile defense mode). There is no on-mount crew. MLB-10 Warhawk Launcher
- Raytheon MLB-10 missile launchers (12): A ‘pepperbox’ missile launcher with 10 missiles ready to fire and another 30 missiles in the magazines for each launcher. The system fires Hughes Warhawk surface-to-air missiles. The launchers line the deck edge. Typically, each Prometheus carried 460 conventional and 20 nuclear Warhawk missiles.
- Soleviev QRB-12 missile bins (12): A flush mounted bin for quick-reaction anti-mecha missiles. Each bin contains 8 high-explosive, short range (maximum 3.2 km) Mach 3.0 combined IIR/passive laser homing Lockheed Rapier missiles. There are eight reloads for each bin, giving a total of 960 homing Rapier missiles.
- Mk82 760mm torpedo tubes (8): Conventional albeit large torpedo tubes. These can fire a large variety of weapons. Weapons with a diameter of less than 760mm can be fired by using liners in the tubes. The weapons used are 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 can also be fired.
Air Group and Mecha Complement:
See Naval air group compositions for a detailed summation. The hangar could accommodate approximately 180 aircraft, Veritechs and helicopters.
For obvious reasons, a deck park system could not be used on these carriers. Should such a park be used, the Prometheus would be able to operate over 450 planes and helicopters (until such time as the ship submerged).
However, this number could not be used effectively; the number of catapults, aircraft ground crew and the single landing deck limited the effective air group to at best 200 aircraft.
UN Spacy (2009):
- 7 x squadrons of VF-1 Valkyrie Veritech fighters (84 total),
- 1 x squadron of F-203 Dragon II multi-role fighters (12 total),
- 2 x squadrons of A-12 Avenger attack aircraft (24 total),
- 1 x squadron of ES-12 Stalker AEW/in-flight refueling planes (12 total),
- 1 x squadron of ES-11 Cat’s Eye air-borne early warning aircraft (4 total),
- 1 x reinforced composite squadron of S-12 Avenger ASW planes and SH-62 Sean Sergeant ASW helicopters (16 total),
- 3 x squadrons of QF-3000 Ghost drone fighter interceptors (36 total).
UEDF Naval Division (2029):
- 3 x squadrons of VF/A-8 Sea Logan Veritech fighters (36 total),
- 4 x squadron of F-110 Falcon II fighters (48 total),
- 3 x squadrons of A-16 Executioner attack aircraft (36 total),
- 1 x composite squadron of EH/R-15 Phantom III AEW planes and VR-1 Valkyrie AEW Veritechs (12 total),
- 1 x composite squadron of VEFR-1 Valkyrie AEW Veritechs and ES-11 Cat’s Eye air-borne early warning aircraft (8 total),
- 1 x squadron of SH/R-15 Phantom III ASW planes (12 total)
The Prometheus-class was originally designed to be a space capable aircraft carrier. The ship would have been propelled by a combination of anti-gravity pods and reaction thrusters mounted in the stern. No Prometheus-class ships were ever completed to this standard, all having been built as submersible aircraft carriers with the intent of being refit to space capable status at a later date. As such, the ships had all the systems needed to operate in space (as demonstrated by the UES Prometheus during the First Robotech War) to include the ability to dock with the SDF-1 UES Macross. Many analysts posit that the UN Spacy never intended to upgrade the Prometheus-class and Daedalus-class to full space operability, theorizing that the “space capability” was only written into the design requirements to justify the UN Space Agency’s acquisition of surface naval vessels.
The Prometheus-class resembled a conventional carrier from the outside, although one of a size never before seen. The interior was very different due to the submersible design and mecha hangars. The upper decks in the hull were built to accommodate the largest of battloid mecha, and were thus 14.5 meters high. These two decks accounted for almost half the vessel’s hull height. There were twelve mecha-sized elevators serving these and the top deck.
Below these were normal sized decks housing crew, armories, magazines, workshops and all the rest needed to keep an air-group of over 2,200 pilots and maintainers in fighting shape for a deployment length of up to 12 months. They also included the engineering spaces. Fission reactors were used rather than Reflex furnaces, because at the time of design, these latter were only limited available. These reactors were to be replaced at a later date with Reflex furnaces once the ships were upgraded to full space capable status, but this never came about. The entire side protection system against torpedo hits doubled as a ballast tank, and additionally, what appeared to be the lowest deck level was in fact also comprised of numerous ballast tanks. All these tanks were needed to overcome the enormous flotation ability inherent in so large a vessel.
Due to extensive automation these giant vessels needed less crew than their smaller predecessors. With a crew of 2,700, these vessels had almost half the complement of their smaller ancestors and contemporaries.
As submarines these ships were hampered by their carrier 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, and would need a large force of attack submarines as escort. On the plus side, when submerged the Prometheus-class was immune to the anti-ship cruise missiles which were the greatest threat to carrier task-groups at this time. It was also thought that space borne invaders would not have the necessary sonar expertise to track these noisy vessels. This assumption proved to be correct.
After the crash-landing of the SDF-1 on Macross Island, military strategists realized that fighting a Robotech war, which would occur mainly in space, would mean that the planet-bound armed forces would become far less important and effective. Against large starships with directed energy weapons, visible forces on the surface would be extremely vulnerable.
Though this was widely accepted, there was a strong body of Navy and Army officers that pushed for improvements of their forces, ostensibly to provide back-up for the new space forces, and to safeguard the United Earth Government from interior uprisings. The Navy was especially vocal, since their most capable warships, the Nimitz-class supercarriers and their derivatives, were all surface ships, and thus powerless against an opponent who would sit in orbit and bombard them at leisure. Thus the UN Spacy began a campaign to incorporate Robotechnology into vessel designs, and succeeded in getting funding for their new projects.
As a consequence, submersible warships of unprecedented size were constructed on the rationale that when submerged, orbiting ships would be far less likely to detect them. The ships would then surface when the enemy forces were below the horizon, launch and/or recover their forces and submerge again before they could be spotted. In this manner, the UN Spacy would be assured of a powerful air presence on the planet even if the orbitals were lost to an enemy. This, along with the promise that these ships would also be upgraded at a later date to become space capable, allowed the UN Spacy to win the funding for these ships. Construction on the UES Prometheus thus began 18 June 2002.
Only three of the first four hulls laid down were transferred to the UN Spacy for use in their test programs, and were refitted with anti-gravity systems and reaction engines. Ironically, the last of the first series of four, the class vessel Prometheus herself, would be the ship to log the most space-hours, even though she was completed as a carrier and totally unsuited for space duties. She was completed in time to be present at Macross Island on the launch day of the SDF-1 and was caught up in the emergency spacefold the SDF-1 made that day. The crew of the Prometheus partly survived; those that were on deck and in other unprotected spaces died, but those that were below decks in the airtight bowels of the ship lived, and were hastily incorporated into the crew of the battle-fortress. The subsequent changes the SDF crew made on the carrier hull ensured that it would never again sail the seas; for instance, all propulsion systems were removed.
Until the Zentraedi Holocaust, further Prometheus class vessels were completed at a high rate, and when the Zentraedi attack finally came, two years later, 8 vessels had been completed.
Of these vessels, Heracles was in the Kobe Works shipyard for repairs after the ship was damaged by an anti-unificationist sea mine. The vessel was destroyed with the rest of the area when this important industrial center was targeted by Dolza’s fleet with a heavy particle beam. Her sister ship Neptune was sunk in the Atlantic, when she was caught in shallow water close to the Azores. The ship took a direct hit and broke in two, then sank in minutes. All other vessels managed to survive by diving deep during Dolza’s defold procedures. As their designers had intended, the vessels could not be targeted by orbital craft while under water. The five units of the class on the building ways, however, were destroyed. These were the Bacchus, Pluto, Uranus, Persephone and Cerberus. After the First Robotech war, the UEG rebuilt some yards and started constructing five more Prometheus-class carriers. These ships, given the name and number of five craft that were destroyed in the Holocaust, were meant as a replacement for the losses of this class, which was proving to be quite useful in the relief efforts immediately following the holocaust. Only three of these ships, Bacchus, Pluto and Uranus, were to be completed though, because of advances in Robotechnology that made orbital forces more effective as deterrents.
Before this happened, though, the class was well utilized, especially during the Malcontent Zentraedi Uprisings, when these ships served in the mobile base role for which they were designed. The vessels were positioned off a hostile coast and provided the mecha teams with support that was not possible otherwise, with land bases being short-lived against Zentraedi assaults. During this heavy fighting, only one Prometheus class vessel, the Chronos, was lost to a Malcontent counterattack, sunk by a mixed force of Quaedluun-rau and Fighter Pods.
In 2018 the UN Spacy and the Unified Forces reorganization saw the transformation of the UN Spacy surface fleet into the UEDF Naval Division. The vessels served faithfully during the Second Robotech war, but led less charmed lives than before. The Uranus was overwhelmed by Bioroids while defending the Scandinavian area against a Bioroid raid. The raid was eventually called off, but the Uranus was so heavily damaged she had to be scrapped. The Hyperion was blown up in the Indian Ocean, off Madagascar, by orbital fire from a Robotech Master mothership; there were no survivors. The Bacchus was destroyed by Assault Corvettes off the California coast while defending a flank of North America against attack. The Vulcan used her mecha in the last stages of the war to board and disable a Mothership, but was directly struck by it as it crashed. The Vulcan was pushed under the vessel, but managed to remain between the Mothership’s ‘insect leg’ sensor housings while it sank. However, the Vulcan’s ballast tanks were ruptured, and a large percentage of its hull crushed. With half of Vulcan’s crew dead, the carrier and the Mothership came to rest in the Skagerrak. Using their battle armor, the remaining crew gained entrance to some of the dry parts of the Mothership and fought their way up, until they came to the upper levels of the mothership, now sitting high above the 400 meter deep water as the surface of a large island. There they were rescued by other Southern Cross units, but the Vulcan, although still partly dry, was a total loss.
The Second Robotech War only left four carriers, and two of these, the Ceres in the White Sea and the Pluto in the Caribbean, were destroyed by bombardment or mecha attack in the first hours of the Invid invasion.
The Phoebe disappeared in the Pacific during the Invid invasion, together with the submersible command ship Achilles, and their fate is unknown. However, they cannot have survived for long without supplies and docks for maintenance, and it is hoped that access to Invid archives will disclose their eventual fate. The Demeter was in a subterranean dock in Polyarnyy when the Invid invaded, and was abandoned by her crew. The ship was later salvaged by forces of Saxony and was refit for use in Saxony’s continued campaign against the Invid in Europe, serving valiantly in many conflicts, and even participating in the final battle at Reflex Point. She was then made the flagship of the United European Navy, and upon world reunification, was demilitarized and mothballed in the new dock built for her in Gdansk. She is now a floating museum, and is Europe’s most popular war monument.
Robotech (R) is the property of Harmony Gold. The Super Dimension Fortress Macross (R) is the properties 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 in this publication.
Acknowledgement is 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 in this publication.
Images from – Macross Perfect Memory (1983), Kazutaka Miyatake Design Works Macross & Orguss (2005), Variable Fighter Master File VF-1 Valkyrie Vol. 1 (2009)
Content by Pieter Thomassen, with Peter Walker and Rob Morgenstern; edited by Tim Wing
Copyright © 2002, 1998, 1997, 1995 Robert Morgenstern, Pieter Thomassen, Peter Walker; 2016 Tim Wing