Warspite-class Protoculture Attack Submarine (SSP)


ROBOTECH Technical Files

by Pieter Thomassen

edited by Tim Wing


  • Warspite-class reference file
  • Warspite-class gallery

Designation: Warspite-class Protoculture Attack Submarine (SSP)

Names and disposition:

These ships were built by General Dynamics Electric Boat, Groton, Connecticut, USA; Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft, Kiel, West Germany; Rubin Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering, Leningrad, Soviet Union and Kawasaki Shipbuilding Corporation, Kobe, Japan  from 2005 through 2018. At present, only 8 ships (SSP-20, SSP-38, SSP-42, SSP-52, SSP-61, SSP-62, SSP-73 and SSP-83) remain service-worthy, all other boats have been destroyed during the Zentraedi Holocaust in port, were scrapped due to advanced age, scuttled after the Invid Invasion or wrecked in the Invid occupation.

Ship’s Complement:

  • Ships’ crew (67 men),
  • Life support limits are for a full combat complement and about 45 supernumaries (110 men total).


  • Length: 121.4 meters (over all)
  • Height: 14.9 meters (over the hull)
  • Beam: 14.9 meters (over all)
  • Displacement: 9150 tons displacement surfaced, 11000 tons displacement submerged.

Propulsion Systems:

  • Main power system: RRG SPR-1 protoculture-fueled Reflex furnace.
  • Main propulsion system (1): 2 35,000 shp Werkspoor electrical motors driving one propulsor aft.
  • Auxiliary thrusters (2): 2 Ushakov 3,000 shp MagnetoHydroDynamic propulsion units mounted port and starboard before the main propulsor.

Endurance and mobility limits:

The dry stores endurance is 4 months maximum; after that, the Warspite class needs to restock. Potable water and oxygen can be obtained from the surrounding ocean.
The magazine for the ship’s torpedo tubes can store 44 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 50 full sized weapons.

A typical loadout (ca. 2014) was 16 BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles, 16 Derringer-D anti-ship missiles and 26 Mk48 mod 8 MADCAP torpedoes.
The Reflex furnace can function for about 20 years at normal usage levels before an energizer rebuild is necessary.

The maximum submerged speed is 33 knots on the propulsor and 10 knots on the MHD drives. Both drives combined can propel the Warspites at 34 knots. The maximum operational depth is 2000 meters. The crush depth is believed to be in excess of 2600 meters.

Weapon Systems:

  • 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 torpedo tubes can be discharged from depths up to 1500 meters, though not all weapons carried can survive the pressure at this depth.
  • The weapons used are most often Honeywell Mk48 MADCAP 533mm multi-purpose torpedoes and Derringer-D anti-ship missiles. However, older torpedoes and cruise missiles (such as the BGM-109R Tomahawk) can be fired. The tubes are mounted in the bow, and fire to the side of the bow sonar.

Electronic Systems:

  • The sail boasts mast mounted sensors including a WLQ-4(V)II passive ESM system, BPS-17B surface-search radar and one attack and one search periscope.
  • The hull has a BSY-4 integrated sonar array, including a BQG-8 wide aperture passive bow and flank sonar, a BQS-24A high frequency under-ice/mine detection sonar (mounted in the forward edge of the sail), a DSUV-45 VDS sonar, a Piranha active intercept sonar and two towed array sonars, a type 2075 and a type 2098.
  • Distributed around the forward hull are wake, oceanic, IR and chemical sensors.

Design Notes:

The Warspite-class of submarine is an extensively modified version of the US Navy’s Seawolf-class attack submarine. The Warspite-class has a double hull construction, which added two meters to the Seawolf’s beam, and about 12 meters to its length. This was, however, offset by the greatly increased damage control capacity, as well as by the fact that a lot of equipment could now be moved out of the pressure hull and into the space between the two hulls. In addition, far-reaching automation reduced the crew by a factor of one half, creating a very comfortable submarine.

The Warspite-class also used the new technology gleaned from the crashed SDF-1. The nuclear fission power plant of the Seawolf was replaced with a protoculture powered Reflex Furnace. This also meant that the heavy reactor shielding could be disposed of, as could the intricate steam lines to and from the reactor and propulsion systems. The new system used two electric motors, fed directly from the furnace.

The propulsion system retained the Seawolf’s propulsor, a ducted propeller, for speed, but also included two smaller, very quiet MHD drives for silent operations. Combining these systems, the Warspite and her sister ships can achieve a ‘silent’ speed of 24.5 knots. Of course, the more silent operation of the generators, compared with the pumps of the fission reactor, also lowered the emitted sound levels.

Improved hull materials increased the diving depth to twice that of the Russian Alpha-class attack submarine. This enabled the Warspite to dive under the maximum depth of many of the then-current torpedoes. In addition, the communication problems of submerged submarines were solved by the use of a low power hyperspace radio. This system could easily penetrate the deepest of Earth’s oceans.


The Warspite-class was designed as an escort vessel for the new, high-value Prometheus and Daedalus classes of submersible warships. The possible antagonist envisioned by the Navy was not an alien invader, but any faction that wanted to re-ignite the Global Civil War. Since the Prometheus- and Daedalus-classes were designed as surface warships that could submerge, their designs were not aimed on the traditional submarine features: stealth and ASW armament. In fact, the vessels were very noisy, and could be detected even by outdated submarine sonars at long ranges. They were, therefore, easy targets for hunter-killer submarines, though quite safe from orbiting starships. The Warspite-class was therefore designed and built in large numbers. In contrast to the design of the ships they were to escort, the Warspite-class used the new Reflex Furnaces rather than fission reactors. This was done because in this design stealth was the prime design criterion, and the furnaces were inherently more silent than the reactors.

The use of other products of the captured Tirolian technologies made these vessels the most lethal submarines ever. Use of Tirolian-inspired light-weight pressure-resistant ‘space-metal’ alloys in the circular pressure hull gave the class increased depth capability, more so than their charges, who did not have circular hulls. In most of their operational areas, the Warspite class could reach the ocean floor, and also dive below the maximum depth of most anti-submarine weapons then in use. In addition, a more damage-resistant double hull and hydrodynamically shaped sail were used. (Note: sail shapes differed on the Soviet built subs, those examples having a more traditional ‘Russian’ style sail.) This increased internal volume, and, coupled with a 50% reduction in the crew numbers, created the most roomy and livable submarine ever.

The class showed its merit after the Zentraedi Holocaust. Since all completed vessels of this class managed to dive before the attack, the class survived relatively intact. Only the units still on the building ways were destroyed. However, after the first years of reconstruction, the Eastern Block of Soviet Independent States (EBSIS) was formed and adopted a more or less hostile attitude against the UEG. The Warspite boats, which had been laid up, were again commissioned and sent out to protect the Daedalus and Prometheus vessels against any EBSIS submarine that tried to interfere with their work as mobile bases against Zentraedi Malcontents. With the re-opening of the yards for extra Prometheus construction, the Warspite-class was again taken into series production also, and in total 82 units were built for the Unified Forces and later for the UEDF Naval Division. The EBSIS also continued to build their own variant of the Warspite-class boats known as the Leningrad-class.

Because of their nature, no actions were taken against the Robotech Masters in the Second Robotech war by the Warspites. On the other hand, no Warspites were ever sunk by Tirolian forces. Indeed, it is debatable whether the Masters knew of the existence of this class. The same did not go for the Invid. The Reflex Furnaces, which gave the class such superlative silent qualities, were quite detectable by Invid sensors. As a consequence, while all units survived the Invid invasion, they were attacked every time a boat tried to surface, or approach the shore. A few were indeed sunk, but most retreated to the deeper parts of the oceans. There they stayed as long as their supplies held out, but when those ran out, most boats set sail for the nearest coast on their batteries, were evacuated by their crew, and then settled on the bottom. Any attempt to move these vessels would require their furnace to light off, and thus lead to an Invid attack. A few of this class were found by the forces of Saxony in the Polyarnyy submarine bunkers, but suggestions to load them with nuclear cruise missiles and have them bombard the Invid from a safe distance were turned down by Saxony, since the CVS Demeter could do so herself, and does not need protoculture furnaces to get into launch position.



Robotech (R) is the property of Harmony Gold. This document is in no way intended to infringe upon their rights.

Original artwork by: N/A

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 – N/A

Content by Pieter Thomassen, with Peter Walker; edited by Tim Wing

Copyright © 1998, 1997, 1995 Robert Morgenstern, Pieter Thomassen, Peter Walker; 2016 Tim Wing