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1942 Design Light Fleet Carrier

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HMS Glory SLV Green 1946.jpg
HMS Glory in 1946
Class overview
Operators
Succeeded byCentaur-class aircraft carrier
Subclasses
  • Colossus class
  • Majestic class
BuiltMarch 1942 – April 1961
In commissionDecember 1944 – October 2001
Planned16
Completed
  • 8 Colossus class, plus 2 maintenance carriers
  • 5 Majestic class
Cancelled1
Scrapped15
Preserved0
General characteristics (Colossus class: as designed)
Displacement
  • 13,200 tons (standard)
  • 18,000 tons (full load)
Length
  • 690 ft (210 m) (flight deck)
  • 695 ft (212 m) overall
Beam80 ft (24 m)
Draught
  • 18 ft 6 in (5.64 m) (standard)
  • 23 ft 3 in (7.09 m) (full load)
Propulsion
Speed25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph)
Range12,000 nautical miles (22,000 km; 14,000 mi) at 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph)
Complement1,050
Armament
Aircraft carriedUp to 52
General characteristics (Majestic class: as designed)
Displacement
  • 15,750 tons (standard)
  • 19,500 tons (full load)
Draught
  • 19 ft 6 in (5.94 m) (standard)
  • 24 ft 9 in (7.54 m) (full load)
Armament30 × 40 mm Bofors (6 twin mountings, 18 single mountings)
NotesOther characteristics as above

The 1942 Design Light Fleet Carrier, commonly referred to as the British Light Fleet Carrier, was a light aircraft carrier design created by the Royal Navy during the Second World War, and used by eight naval forces between 1944 and 2001. They were designed and constructed by civilian shipyards to serve as an intermediate step between the expensive, full-size fleet aircraft carriers and the less expensive but limited-capability escort carriers.

Sixteen Light Fleet carriers were ordered, and all were laid down to the Colossus class design during 1942 and 1943. However, only eight were completed to this design; of these, four entered service before the end of the war, and none saw front line operations. Two more were fitted with maintenance and repair facilities instead of aircraft catapults and arresting gear, and entered service as aircraft maintenance carriers. The final six were modified during construction to handle larger and faster aircraft, and were re-designated as the Majestic class. The construction of the six ships was suspended at the end of the war. Five were eventually completed with the last commissioning in 1961; however, the sixth, Leviathan, was dismantled for spare parts and scrap.

Although not completed in time to fight in the war, the carriers in Royal Navy service participated in the Korean War and the Suez Crisis. During the latter, two Colossus-class ships performed the first ship-based helicopter assault in history. Four Colossuses and all five completed Majestics were loaned or sold to seven foreign nations – Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, India, and the Netherlands – with three ships serving in three different naval forces during their careers. Foreign-operated Light Fleets took part in the Korean War, the First Indochina War, the Vietnam War, the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, and the Falklands War.

Despite being intended as 'disposable warships', all of the completed Light Fleet carriers exceeded their planned three-year service life. The maintenance carriers were the first to be paid off in the 1950s, and by the 1960s, all of the Royal Navy carriers, (bar Triumph, which was later recommissioned as a repair ship) had been sold to other nations or for ship breaking. The carriers in other navies had longer service lives. At the time of her decommissioning in 2001, Minas Gerais was the oldest active aircraft carrier in the world. Despite attempts to preserve several of these carriers as museum ships, the last surviving example, Vikrant, was sold for scrapping in 2014.

Discover more about 1942 Design Light Fleet Carrier related topics

Aircraft carrier

Aircraft carrier

An aircraft carrier is a warship that serves as a seagoing airbase, equipped with a full-length flight deck and facilities for carrying, arming, deploying, and recovering aircraft. Typically, it is the capital ship of a fleet, as it allows a naval force to project air power worldwide without depending on local bases for staging aircraft operations. Carriers have evolved since their inception in the early twentieth century from wooden vessels used to deploy balloons to nuclear-powered warships that carry numerous fighters, strike aircraft, helicopters, and other types of aircraft. While heavier aircraft such as fixed-wing gunships and bombers have been launched from aircraft carriers, these aircraft have not landed on a carrier. By its diplomatic and tactical power, its mobility, its autonomy and the variety of its means, the aircraft carrier is often the centerpiece of modern combat fleets. Tactically or even strategically, it replaced the battleship in the role of flagship of a fleet. One of its great advantages is that, by sailing in international waters, it does not interfere with any territorial sovereignty and thus obviates the need for overflight authorizations from third-party countries, reduces the times and transit distances of aircraft and therefore significantly increase the time of availability on the combat zone.

Escort carrier

Escort carrier

The escort carrier or escort aircraft carrier, also called a "jeep carrier" or "baby flattop" in the United States Navy (USN) or "Woolworth Carrier" by the Royal Navy, was a small and slow type of aircraft carrier used by the Royal Navy, the United States Navy, the Imperial Japanese Navy and Imperial Japanese Army Air Force in World War II. They were typically half the length and a third the displacement of larger fleet carriers, slower, carried fewer planes, and more-lightly armed and armored. Escort carriers were most often built upon a commercial ship hull, so they were cheaper and could be built quickly. This was their principal advantage as they could be completed in greater numbers as a stop-gap when fleet carriers were scarce. However, the lack of protection made escort carriers particularly vulnerable, and several were sunk with great loss of life. The light carrier was a similar concept to the escort carrier in most respects, but was fast enough to operate alongside fleet carriers.

Aircraft catapult

Aircraft catapult

An aircraft catapult is a device used to allow aircraft to take off from a very limited amount of space, such as the deck of a vessel, but can also be installed on land-based runways in rare cases. It is now most commonly used on aircraft carriers, as a form of assisted take off.

Arresting gear

Arresting gear

An arresting gear, or arrestor gear, is a mechanical system used to rapidly decelerate an aircraft as it lands. Arresting gear on aircraft carriers is an essential component of naval aviation, and it is most commonly used on CATOBAR and STOBAR aircraft carriers. Similar systems are also found at land-based airfields for expeditionary or emergency use. Typical systems consist of several steel wire ropes laid across the aircraft landing area, designed to be caught by an aircraft's tailhook. During a normal arrestment, the tailhook engages the wire and the aircraft's kinetic energy is transferred to hydraulic damping systems attached below the carrier deck. There are other related systems which use nets to catch aircraft wings or landing gear. These barricade and barrier systems are only used for emergency arrestments for aircraft without operable tailhooks.

Korean War

Korean War

The Korean War was fought between North Korea and South Korea from 1950 to 1953. The war began on 25 June 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea following clashes along the border and rebellions in South Korea. North Korea was supported by China and the Soviet Union while South Korea was supported by the United States and allied countries. The fighting ended with an armistice on 27 July 1953.

Air assault

Air assault

Air assault is the movement of ground-based military forces by vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft—such as the helicopter—to seize and hold key terrain which has not been fully secured, and to directly engage enemy forces behind enemy lines. In addition to regular infantry training, air-assault units usually receive training in rappelling, fast-rope techniques and air transportation, and their equipment is sometimes designed or field-modified to allow better transportation within aircraft.

First Indochina War

First Indochina War

The First Indochina War began in French Indochina from 19 December 1946 to 20 July 1954 between France and Việt Minh, and their respective allies. Việt Minh was led by Võ Nguyên Giáp and Hồ Chí Minh. Most of the fighting took place in Tonkin in Northern Vietnam, although the conflict engulfed the entire country and also extended into the neighboring French Indochina protectorates of Laos and Cambodia.

Indo-Pakistani War of 1971

Indo-Pakistani War of 1971

The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 was a military confrontation between India and Pakistan that occurred during the Bangladesh Liberation War in East Pakistan from 3 December 1971 until the Pakistani capitulation in Dhaka on 16 December 1971. The war began with Pakistan's Operation Chengiz Khan, consisting of preemptive aerial strikes on 11 Indian air stations. The strikes led to India declaring war on Pakistan, marking their entry into the war for East Pakistan's independence, on the side of Bengali nationalist forces. India's entry expanded the existing conflict with Indian and Pakistani forces engaging on both the eastern and western fronts. Thirteen days after the war started, India achieved a clear upper hand, and the Eastern Command of the Pakistan military signed the instrument of surrender on 16 December 1971 in Dhaka, marking the formation of East Pakistan as the new nation of Bangladesh. Approximately 93,000 Pakistani servicemen were taken prisoner by the Indian Army, which included 79,676 to 81,000 uniformed personnel of the Pakistan Armed Forces, including some Bengali soldiers who had remained loyal to Pakistan. The remaining 10,324 to 12,500 prisoners were civilians, either family members of the military personnel or collaborators (Razakars).

Falklands War

Falklands War

The Falklands War was a ten-week undeclared war between Argentina and the United Kingdom in 1982 over two British dependent territories in the South Atlantic: the Falkland Islands and its territorial dependency, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

HMS Triumph (R16)

HMS Triumph (R16)

HMS Triumph was a Royal Navy Colossus-class light fleet aircraft carrier. She served in the Korean War and later, after reconstruction, as a support ship.

Brazilian aircraft carrier Minas Gerais

Brazilian aircraft carrier Minas Gerais

NAeL Minas Gerais was a Colossus-class light aircraft carrier operated by the Marinha do Brasil from 1960 until 2001. The ship was laid down for the United Kingdom's Royal Navy during World War II as HMS Vengeance, was completed shortly before the war's end, and did not see combat. After stints as a training vessel and Arctic research ship, the carrier was loaned to the Royal Australian Navy from 1952 to 1955. She was returned to the British, who sold her to Brazil in 1956.

INS Vikrant (1961)

INS Vikrant (1961)

Indian Navy Ship Vikrant was a Majestic-class aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy. The ship was laid down as HMS Hercules for the British Royal Navy during World War II, but was put on hold when the war ended. India purchased the incomplete carrier in 1957, and construction was completed in 1961. Vikrant was commissioned as the first aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy and played a key role in enforcing the naval blockade of East Pakistan during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.

Design and construction

Experiences during the early part of the Second World War had demonstrated to the British that the Royal Navy needed access to defensive air cover for Allied fleets and convoys, which could only be provided by more aircraft carriers.[1][2] In mid-1941, the Director of Naval Construction was instructed to investigate how best to achieve this without the lengthy construction times normally associated with carriers.[1] The options were to refit the surviving Hawkins-class cruisers with flight decks and aviation facilities, convert additional merchant vessels and passenger liners into vessels similar to but more capable than previous merchant aircraft carriers, or create a new design for a cheap, lightly armed, and unarmoured ship similar to the American escort carriers.[1] In December 1941, it was decided that a new design was the best option.[1]

This ship was conceived as an intermediate step between the expensive fleet carriers and the limited-capability escort carriers.[1] The design had to be as simple as possible so construction time was kept to a minimum and so more shipyards (particularly those with no naval construction experience) could be used.[1][3] However, the ships had to be capable of operating in fleet actions.[4] Originally designated the 'Intermediate Aircraft Carrier', the ships were reclassified as 'Light Fleet Carriers'.[5] Because naval design staff were overworked, the carrier was primarily designed by shipbuilders at Vickers-Armstrong.[2]

The Light Fleet design, completed at the start of 1942, was effectively a scaled-down Illustrious.[1][5] Each carrier would displace 13,190 tons at standard load and 18,040 tons at full load, have a length of 680 feet (210 m) at the flight deck and 695 feet (212 m) overall, a maximum beam of 80 feet (24 m), and a draught of 18 feet 6 inches (5.64 m) at standard displacement, and 23 feet 6 inches (7.16 m) at full load displacement.[6] The hull was built to Lloyd's specifications for merchant vessels from keel to maindeck, but incorporated better subdivision of compartments to reduce secondary damage by flooding.[2][7]

The propulsion machinery was of a similar design to that used in cruisers—some of the steam turbines were sourced from cancelled cruisers.[3] The machinery was arranged in two compartments (each containing two Admiralty 3-drum boilers and a Parsons geared turbine), which were staggered en echelon, with the starboard compartment forward of the port.[7] These provided 40,000 shaft horsepower to two propeller shafts, driving the carriers at a maximum speed of 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph), with 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph) as the designated economical speed.[7]

The carriers were intended to be 'disposable warships': to be scrapped and replaced at the end of the war or within three years of entering service.[8] However, all exceeded this planned service life, with one ship operating from 1945 to 2001.[9]

Colossus class

Construction was approved by the Naval Board in February 1942, with the first two ships, Colossus and Glory, laid down in March.[1] During 1942 and 1943, another fourteen Light Fleet carriers (named the Colossus class after the lead ship) were laid down under the 1942 Programme, to be constructed by eight British shipyards.[2][10][11] Although it was originally planned that each Light Fleet would be ready for service in 21 months, modifications to the design saw the planned construction time increase to 27 months.[2] Even with the omission of several important pieces of backup equipment, only two ships met this target.[2]

The ships were launched from late 1943 onwards, with the first commissioned in December 1944.[1][11] However, the delays meant that only four ships (Colossus, Glory, Venerable, and Vengeance; formed up as the 11th Aircraft Carrier Squadron) were completed before the end of the Second World War,[1] and only eight of the sixteen planned Light Fleets were completed as Colossus-class carriers.

During operational service, the living conditions aboard the Colossus-class ships were criticised, which resulted in the abolition of hammocks in favour of fixed bunks and the introduction of centralised eating arrangements in later warship designs.[12]

Maintenance carriers

The impracticality of shore-based repair establishments in the Far East and Pacific theatres of the Second World War saw a requirement for aircraft maintenance carriers.[13] Instead of building new ships from scratch, two under-construction Colossuses, Perseus and Pioneer, were marked for conversion as they would enter service quicker, and could be converted back into operational aircraft carriers if required, a need which never arose.[13] Both ships were completed before the end of the war, with Pioneer sailing to the Pacific in company with the 11th Aircraft Carrier Squadron; Pioneer had repaired 24 aircraft since her arrival in the Pacific.[1][14]

As the ships were designed with the repair and transportation of aircraft in mind, much of the equipment required for carrier flight operations, including control facilities, arresting gear, and catapult, were not installed.[13] This space was instead used for additional hangar room, repair and maintenance workshops, and system testing facilities.[13]

Majestic class

The six remaining Light Fleet hulls were originally to be completed as Colossus-class ships, but the rapid development of carrier-based aircraft and anti-aircraft weapons required modifications to the original design.[15] The catapult, arrestor cables, and aircraft lifts had to be upgraded to handle faster and heavier aircraft, while the flight deck was reinforced.[15] Improved weapons and radars were fitted, and equipment to perform replenishment at sea was installed.[15] The modifications increased the full-load displacement by 1,500 tons, and the draught by 1 foot 6 inches (0.46 m).[15] This led to the six ships being reclassified as the Majestic class in September 1945.[1][15] Five carriers were launched before the end of the Second World War, with the sixth launched in late September 1945.[16]

Magnificent (left) and Powerful under construction at Harland and Wolff in 1944
Magnificent (left) and Powerful under construction at Harland and Wolff in 1944

Following the war's end, work on the Majestic class was suspended, then restored to a low-priority status,[17][18] with the rate of work increasing as foreign nations purchased the ships. Two, Magnificent and Terrible, entered service more-or-less as designed, but the next three were heavily upgraded with three British developments allowing the operation of larger, faster, jet-propelled aircraft: the angled flight deck, the steam catapult, and the mirror landing aid.[18][19][20] The sixth, Leviathan, was not completed.[21] Work was suspended in May 1946, and plans to convert her into a commando carrier or missile cruiser, or sell her to a foreign buyer, fell through.[21] During the 1950s, she was used as an accommodation ship in Portsmouth Harbour and, in 1966, her boilers were removed and sold to the shipyard refitting the Colossus-class HNLMS Karel Doorman for Argentine service.[21] Leviathan was scrapped in May 1968.[22] None of the completed Majestic-class vessels saw service in the Royal Navy.[17]

In 1943, eight 'Improved Majestics' were planned, but developments in carrier aviation and the rapid obsolescence of the Light Fleets and the wartime armoured carriers required a larger and more capable design, which became the four-ship Centaur class.[23]

Discover more about Design and construction related topics

Director of Naval Construction

Director of Naval Construction

The Director of Naval Construction (DNC) also known as the Department of the Director of Naval Construction and Directorate of Naval Construction and originally known as the Chief Constructor of the Navy was a senior principal civil officer responsible to the Board of Admiralty for the design and construction of the warships of the Royal Navy. From 1883 onwards he was also head of the Royal Corps of Naval Constructors, the naval architects who staffed his department from 1860 to 1966. The (D.N.C.'s) modern equivalent is Director Ships in the Defence Equipment and Support organisation of the Ministry of Defence.

Hawkins-class cruiser

Hawkins-class cruiser

The Hawkins class consisted of five heavy cruisers built for the Royal Navy during the First World War, although none of them saw service during the war. The first ship to be completed, HMS Vindictive, was renamed from HMS Cavendish and converted into an aircraft carrier while under construction. All ships were named after Elizabethan sea captains. The three ships remaining as cruisers in 1939 served in the Second World War, with Effingham being an early war loss through wreck; Raleigh had been lost in a similar shipwreck on uncharted rocks in 1922. Vindictive, though no longer a cruiser, also served throughout the War. This class formed the basis for the definition of the maximum cruiser type under the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922.

Merchant aircraft carrier

Merchant aircraft carrier

A merchant aircraft carrier was a limited-purpose aircraft carrier operated under British and Dutch civilian registry during World War II. MAC ships were adapted by adding a flight deck to a bulk grain ship or oil tanker enabling it to operate anti-submarine aircraft in support of Allied convoys during the Battle of the Atlantic.

Escort carrier

Escort carrier

The escort carrier or escort aircraft carrier, also called a "jeep carrier" or "baby flattop" in the United States Navy (USN) or "Woolworth Carrier" by the Royal Navy, was a small and slow type of aircraft carrier used by the Royal Navy, the United States Navy, the Imperial Japanese Navy and Imperial Japanese Army Air Force in World War II. They were typically half the length and a third the displacement of larger fleet carriers, slower, carried fewer planes, and more-lightly armed and armored. Escort carriers were most often built upon a commercial ship hull, so they were cheaper and could be built quickly. This was their principal advantage as they could be completed in greater numbers as a stop-gap when fleet carriers were scarce. However, the lack of protection made escort carriers particularly vulnerable, and several were sunk with great loss of life. The light carrier was a similar concept to the escort carrier in most respects, but was fast enough to operate alongside fleet carriers.

Illustrious-class aircraft carrier

Illustrious-class aircraft carrier

The Illustrious class was a class of aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy that included some of the most important British warships in the Second World War. They were laid down in the late 1930s as part of the rearmament of British forces in response to the emerging threats of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Imperial Japan.

Displacement (ship)

Displacement (ship)

The displacement or displacement tonnage of a ship is its weight. As the term indicates, it is measured indirectly, using Archimedes' principle, by first calculating the volume of water displaced by the ship, then converting that value into weight. Traditionally, various measurement rules have been in use, giving various measures in long tons. Today, tonnes are more commonly used.

Flight deck

Flight deck

The flight deck of an aircraft carrier is the surface from which its aircraft take off and land, essentially a miniature airfield at sea. On smaller naval ships which do not have aviation as a primary mission, the landing area for helicopters and other VTOL aircraft is also referred to as the flight deck. The official U.S. Navy term for these vessels is "air-capable ships".

Length overall

Length overall

Length overall is the maximum length of a vessel's hull measured parallel to the waterline. This length is important while docking the ship. It is the most commonly used way of expressing the size of a ship, and is also used for calculating the cost of a marina berth.

Lloyd's Register

Lloyd's Register

Lloyd's Register Group Limited (LR) is a technical and professional services organisation and a maritime classification society, wholly owned by the Lloyd’s Register Foundation, a UK charity dedicated to research and education in science and engineering. The organisation dates to 1760. Its stated aims are to enhance the safety of life, property, and the environment, by helping its clients to improve the safety and performance of complex projects, supply chains and critical infrastructure.

HMS Glory (R62)

HMS Glory (R62)

HMS Glory (R62) was a Colossus-class aircraft carrier of the British Royal Navy laid down on 27 August 1942 by Harland and Wolff at Belfast. She was launched on 27 November 1943 by Lady Cynthia Brooke, wife of the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.

Lead ship

Lead ship

The lead ship, name ship, or class leader is the first of a series or class of ships all constructed according to the same general design. The term is applicable to naval ships and large civilian vessels.

Weapons

Aircraft

In the original design, each ship was capable of carrying 41 aircraft.[1][2] A redesign of the available parking area on the flight deck in March 1942 saw the ships' air group expanded to 24 Fairey Barracuda torpedo bombers and 24 Supermarine Seafire fighters, or 18 Barracudas and 34 Seafires.[1] In RN service, the Barracuda was later replaced by the Fairey Firefly, and the Seafire was superseded by the Hawker Sea Fury during the Korean War.[24] Early in their careers, Glory and Ocean were fitted out for night flying operations: these carriers were to embark a 32-strong air group; mixed between Fireflies and Grumman F6F Hellcats supplied by the United States as part of the Lend Lease program.[25]

To launch and recover aircraft, the carriers were initially equipped with hydraulic catapults, arresting gear, and crash barriers.[6] Aircraft were stored in a single hangar measuring 445 by 52 feet (136 by 16 m), with a height clearance of 17 feet 6 inches (5.33 m).[6] This allowed the Light Fleets to later operate aircraft that the fleet carriers, which generally had two hangars with lower clearance in each, could not.[2] The hangar was serviced by two aircraft lifts.[6]

Armament

The Light Fleets were the first British aircraft carriers where the ship's air group was seen as the 'main armament'; any mounted weapons were to be for close-range anti-aircraft defence.[9] The Colossus design called for six quadruple barrelled 2 pounder gun mounts, and 16 twin Oerlikon 20 mm cannons.[6] Two 4-inch (102 mm) guns were originally included, but an increase in the design's flight deck length in March 1942 saw them displaced.[1][2] The ships were unarmoured, as increasing the size of the vessels was deemed more important than protection.[4]

Some of Sydney's Bofors guns firing during gunnery practice in 1951
Some of Sydney's Bofors guns firing during gunnery practice in 1951

Lessons learned during the early part of the Pacific War showed the superiority of the Bofors 40 mm gun to other anti-aircraft weapons. By the end of the war, all Colossus-class ships had swapped all their other weapons for Bofors in single and twin mountings, and the Majestic design had been modified to carry 30 of the guns: 18 single mountings, and 6 twin mountings.[6][15] The number of Bofors carried by the Light Fleets was reduced after the war, with British ships carrying only eight.[6]

Discover more about Weapons related topics

Fairey Barracuda

Fairey Barracuda

The Fairey Barracuda was a British carrier-borne torpedo and dive bomber designed by Fairey Aviation. It was the first aircraft of this type operated by the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm (FAA) to be fabricated entirely from metal.

Supermarine Seafire

Supermarine Seafire

The Supermarine Seafire is a naval version of the Supermarine Spitfire adapted for operation from aircraft carriers. It was analogous in concept to the Hawker Sea Hurricane, a navalised version of the Spitfire's stablemate, the Hawker Hurricane. The name Seafire was derived from the abbreviation of the longer name Sea Spitfire.

Fairey Firefly

Fairey Firefly

The Fairey Firefly is a Second World War-era carrier-borne fighter aircraft and anti-submarine aircraft that was principally operated by the Fleet Air Arm (FAA). It was developed and built by the British aircraft manufacturer Fairey Aviation Company.

Hawker Sea Fury

Hawker Sea Fury

The Hawker Sea Fury is a British fighter aircraft designed and manufactured by Hawker Aircraft. It was the last propeller-driven fighter to serve with the Royal Navy, and one of the fastest production single reciprocating engine aircraft ever built. Developed during the Second World War, the Sea Fury entered service two years after the war ended. It proved to be a popular aircraft with a number of overseas militaries and was used during the Korean War in the early 1950s, and by the Cuban air force during the 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion.

Korean War

Korean War

The Korean War was fought between North Korea and South Korea from 1950 to 1953. The war began on 25 June 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea following clashes along the border and rebellions in South Korea. North Korea was supported by China and the Soviet Union while South Korea was supported by the United States and allied countries. The fighting ended with an armistice on 27 July 1953.

HMS Glory (R62)

HMS Glory (R62)

HMS Glory (R62) was a Colossus-class aircraft carrier of the British Royal Navy laid down on 27 August 1942 by Harland and Wolff at Belfast. She was launched on 27 November 1943 by Lady Cynthia Brooke, wife of the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.

HMS Ocean (R68)

HMS Ocean (R68)

HMS Ocean was a Royal Navy Colossus-class light fleet aircraft carrier of 13,190 tons built in Glasgow by Alexander Stephen & Sons. Her keel was laid in November 1942, and she was commissioned on 30 June 1945.

Grumman F6F Hellcat

Grumman F6F Hellcat

The Grumman F6F Hellcat is an American carrier-based fighter aircraft of World War II. Designed to replace the earlier F4F Wildcat and to counter the Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Zero, it was the United States Navy's dominant fighter in the second half of the Pacific War. In gaining that role, it prevailed over its faster competitor, the Vought F4U Corsair, which initially had problems with visibility and carrier landings.

Arresting gear

Arresting gear

An arresting gear, or arrestor gear, is a mechanical system used to rapidly decelerate an aircraft as it lands. Arresting gear on aircraft carriers is an essential component of naval aviation, and it is most commonly used on CATOBAR and STOBAR aircraft carriers. Similar systems are also found at land-based airfields for expeditionary or emergency use. Typical systems consist of several steel wire ropes laid across the aircraft landing area, designed to be caught by an aircraft's tailhook. During a normal arrestment, the tailhook engages the wire and the aircraft's kinetic energy is transferred to hydraulic damping systems attached below the carrier deck. There are other related systems which use nets to catch aircraft wings or landing gear. These barricade and barrier systems are only used for emergency arrestments for aircraft without operable tailhooks.

Oerlikon 20 mm cannon

Oerlikon 20 mm cannon

The Oerlikon 20 mm cannon is a series of autocannons, based on an original German Becker Type M2 20 mm cannon design that appeared very early in World War I. It was widely produced by Oerlikon Contraves and others, with various models employed by both Allied and Axis forces during World War II. Many versions of the cannon are still used today.

Pacific War

Pacific War

The Pacific War, sometimes called the Asia–Pacific War, was the theater of World War II that was fought in eastern Asia, the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean, and Oceania. It was geographically the largest theater of the war, including the vast Pacific Ocean theater, the South West Pacific theater, the Second Sino-Japanese War, and the Soviet–Japanese War.

Bofors 40 mm L/60 gun

Bofors 40 mm L/60 gun

The Bofors 40 mm Automatic Gun L/60 is an anti-aircraft autocannon, designed in the 1930s by the Swedish arms manufacturer AB Bofors. The gun was designed as an intermediate anti-aircraft gun, filling the gap between fast firing close-range small calibre anti-aircraft guns and slower firing long-range high calibre anti-aircraft guns, a role which previously was filled by older outdated guns. The Bofors 40 mm L/60 was for its time perfectly suited for this role and outperformed competing designs in the years leading up to World War II in both effectiveness and reliability.

Royal Navy service

Second World War and aftermath

Although four Colossus-class ships were completed before the end of the war, they did not see front-line action: the war in Europe had proceeded to the point where aircraft carriers were of limited use, and by the time the carriers reached the Pacific, Japan had surrendered.[1][2] The four ships, assigned to the British Pacific Fleet, were instead used for the transportation of returning soldiers and rescued prisoners-of-war, to help alleviate the shortage of troopships and liners.[26] As with the Colossus class, the maintenance carriers were completed but did not enter active service before the end of the war.[1][13] They were reclassified as Ferry Carriers, and used to transport aircraft to British bases and ships across the world.[13]

During the late 1940s and early 1950s, the carriers were used as testbeds for new aircraft and technology. Throughout late 1945, Ocean was used to test several new aircraft: the Hawker Sea Fury and de Havilland Sea Hornet piston-engine fighters during August, and the de Havilland Sea Vampire jet-propelled fighter-bomber in December.[27] On 3 December 1945, a de Havilland Sea Vampire became the first jet aircraft to land on a carrier—two months before, Ocean's flight deck saw the last landing of a Fairey Swordfish torpedo bomber.[28][29] The angled flight deck concept (which would later be installed on several of the Majestic-class carriers) was first trialled aboard Triumph: the straight-line deck markings were removed, and markings for an angled landing painted on.[30] After a two-year loan to Canada, Warrior served as a testbed for rubberised flexible decks and skid-like landing gear during 1948 and 1949.[14] During 1951 and 1952, Perseus was used as a trials ship for the under-development steam catapult.[13]

Korean War

The Colossus class first saw combat during the Korean War. Following the invasion of South Korea by North Korea on 25 June, ships of the British Far East Fleet that were operating in Japanese waters, including the carrier Triumph, were placed under the United States Far East Commander, to operate in retaliation to the invasion under the instructions of the United Nations Security Council.[31] The first carrier attack began on 3 July 1950, with aircraft from Triumph and United States carrier USS Valley Forge performing air strikes on North Korean airfields.[32]

HMS Glory during her 1951 deployment to the Korean War
HMS Glory during her 1951 deployment to the Korean War

Between them, the Colossus-class carriers Triumph, Theseus, Glory, and Ocean, along with the Majestic-class HMAS Sydney, maintained a constant British aircraft carrier presence for the duration of the Korean War.[33] The Light Fleets were cheaper to operate than the armoured fleet carriers while providing a similar sized air group, but during the war proved to be slower, less comfortable, and more prone to wear-and-tear than other RN carriers.[34] Financial and manpower restrictions meant that only one Light Fleet could be deployed to Korea at a time.[34] Warrior also contributed to the Korean War effort by transporting replacement aircraft from the United Kingdom to British bases throughout the Far East region, which were then drawn upon by the active carriers.[35]

Following the end of the Korean War, Warrior and Sydney returned to Korean waters on separate deployments, to ensure that the armistice was enforced and hostilities did not re-ignite.[36]

Suez Crisis

Ocean and Theseus were part of the British response to the 1956 Suez Crisis.[37] The two ships were not used as aircraft carriers; instead they were equipped with helicopters and tasked with transporting ashore 45 Commando, a battalion of the Royal Marines, in order to secure harbours and other landing points for heavy equipment.[38] This, the first ship-based helicopter assault, was successful, and prompted the development of the amphibious assault ship.[39]

Decommissioning and disposal

Triumph, following her conversion into a repair ship
Triumph, following her conversion into a repair ship

The two maintenance carriers were decommissioned during the 1950s and scrapped: Pioneer was sold in 1954, and Perseus in 1958.[40] With the exception of HMS Triumph, the Colossus-class carriers that remained in RN service were disposed of during the early 1960s.[2] None was significantly modernised during its service life.[2] Triumph left service in 1958, underwent a major conversion into a Heavy Repair Ship, and re-entered service in 1965.[7]

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British Pacific Fleet

British Pacific Fleet

The British Pacific Fleet (BPF) was a Royal Navy formation that saw action against Japan during the Second World War. The fleet was composed of empire naval vessels. The BPF formally came into being on 22 November 1944 from the remaining ships of the former Eastern Fleet then being re-named the East Indies Fleet and continuing to be based in Trincomalee. The British Pacific Fleet's main base was at Sydney, Australia, with a forward base at Manus Island in northern Papua New Guinea. One of the largest fleets ever assembled by the Royal Navy, by Victory over Japan Day it consisted of over two hundred ships and submarines and more than 750 aircraft; including four battleships and six fleet aircraft carriers, fifteen smaller aircraft carriers, eleven cruisers and numerous smaller warships, submarines, and support vessels. The fleet took part in the Battle of Okinawa and the final naval strikes on Japan.

Hawker Sea Fury

Hawker Sea Fury

The Hawker Sea Fury is a British fighter aircraft designed and manufactured by Hawker Aircraft. It was the last propeller-driven fighter to serve with the Royal Navy, and one of the fastest production single reciprocating engine aircraft ever built. Developed during the Second World War, the Sea Fury entered service two years after the war ended. It proved to be a popular aircraft with a number of overseas militaries and was used during the Korean War in the early 1950s, and by the Cuban air force during the 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion.

De Havilland Vampire

De Havilland Vampire

The de Havilland Vampire is a British jet fighter which was developed and manufactured by the de Havilland Aircraft Company. It was the second jet fighter to be operated by the RAF, after the Gloster Meteor, and the first to be powered by a single jet engine.

Fairey Swordfish

Fairey Swordfish

The Fairey Swordfish is a biplane torpedo bomber, designed by the Fairey Aviation Company. Originating in the early 1930s, the Swordfish, nicknamed "Stringbag", was principally operated by the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy. It was also used by the Royal Air Force (RAF), as well as several overseas operators, including the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and the Royal Netherlands Navy. It was initially operated primarily as a fleet attack aircraft. During its later years, the Swordfish was increasingly used as an anti-submarine and training platform. The type was in frontline service throughout the Second World War.

Landing gear

Landing gear

Landing gear is the undercarriage of an aircraft or spacecraft that is used for takeoff or landing. For aircraft it is generally needed for both. It was also formerly called alighting gear by some manufacturers, such as the Glenn L. Martin Company. For aircraft, Stinton makes the terminology distinction undercarriage (British) = landing gear (US).

Korean War

Korean War

The Korean War was fought between North Korea and South Korea from 1950 to 1953. The war began on 25 June 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea following clashes along the border and rebellions in South Korea. North Korea was supported by China and the Soviet Union while South Korea was supported by the United States and allied countries. The fighting ended with an armistice on 27 July 1953.

HMS Triumph (R16)

HMS Triumph (R16)

HMS Triumph was a Royal Navy Colossus-class light fleet aircraft carrier. She served in the Korean War and later, after reconstruction, as a support ship.

HMS Theseus (R64)

HMS Theseus (R64)

HMS Theseus /ˈtʰeː.seu̯s/, [ˈt̪ʰeːs̠ɛu̯s̠] (R64) was a Colossus-class light fleet aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy. She was laid down in 1943 by Fairfield at Govan, and launched on 6 July 1944. She was involved in the Korean War and the Suez Crisis. Theseus was broken up in 1962.

HMS Glory (R62)

HMS Glory (R62)

HMS Glory (R62) was a Colossus-class aircraft carrier of the British Royal Navy laid down on 27 August 1942 by Harland and Wolff at Belfast. She was launched on 27 November 1943 by Lady Cynthia Brooke, wife of the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.

HMS Ocean (R68)

HMS Ocean (R68)

HMS Ocean was a Royal Navy Colossus-class light fleet aircraft carrier of 13,190 tons built in Glasgow by Alexander Stephen & Sons. Her keel was laid in November 1942, and she was commissioned on 30 June 1945.

HMAS Sydney (R17)

HMAS Sydney (R17)

HMAS Sydney (R17/A214/P214/L134) was a Majestic-class light aircraft carrier operated by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). She was built for the Royal Navy and was launched as HMS Terrible (93) in 1944, but was not completed before the end of World War II. The carrier was sold to Australia in 1947, completed, and commissioned into the RAN as Sydney in 1948.

HMS Warrior (R31)

HMS Warrior (R31)

HMS Warrior was a Colossus-class light aircraft carrier which was ordered in 1942 by the British Royal Navy during World War II. Construction was finished in 1945 and upon completion, the aircraft carrier was loaned to the Royal Canadian Navy from 1946 to 1948 as HMCS Warrior. Warrior was returned to the Royal Navy in 1948 and entered service with the British. While in service with the Royal Navy, Warrior was modernised twice, including the installation of an angled flight deck in 1956. In 1948–1949, the ship was used in aircraft landing experiments and fitted with a rubber flight deck and in 1957, was used as the headquarters ship during nuclear testing at Christmas Island. In 1958, the vessel was sold to the Argentine Navy and entered Argentine service in 1959 as ARA Independencia. The aircraft carrier remained in service until 1970 when Independencia was placed in reserve. The following year, the ship was sold for scrap.

Foreign service

As Britain was unable to maintain the size of her wartime fleet after the end of the Second World War, several Colossus-class ships were placed into reserve,[17] while work on the Majestic class was initially halted at the end of the war, then restored to a low-priority status.[17][18] Demands for fiscal cutbacks, combined with the rapid obsolescence of the carriers by the development of jet aircraft, saw four of the eight Colossuses and all five completed Majestics sold off to other nations.[6][17]

The majority of the Light Fleets in foreign service were modernised, either during construction or afterwards, to operate jet aircraft. This usually consisted of the installation of an angled flight deck, upgrading the aircraft catapult to be steam-powered, and installing an optical landing system: Australian Majestic-class carrier HMAS Melbourne was the third aircraft carrier in the world, after HMS Ark Royal and USS Forrestal, to be constructed with these features instead of having them added later.[41]

Argentina

ARA Independencia in 1965
ARA Independencia in 1965

After a two-year loan to Canada, and a second period in Royal Navy commission, Warrior was sold to the Argentine Navy in 1958, and commissioned as ARA Independencia on 11 November.[14] She was equipped with Vought F4U Corsair, and she was proved unsuitable for the Grumman F9F Panther jet fighters incorporated in 1963. Independencia served as the Argentine flagship until she was replaced by the Dutch Karel Doorman (formerly HMS Venerable), which was sold on to Argentina in 1969 and commissioned as ARA Veinticinco de Mayo.[42][43] Independencia was struck from service in 1971 and broken up for scrap.[42]

ARA Veinticinco de Mayo in 1979
ARA Veinticinco de Mayo in 1979

Veinticinco de Mayo was initially equipped with F9F Panther and later with Douglas A-4 Skyhawk jet fighters; these were replaced with French Dassault Super Étendards in the 1980s.[42] The carrier provided air cover for the Occupation of the Falkland Islands in April 1982. After hostilities broke out on 1 May 1982, it attempted an attack on the Royal Navy Task Force which did not take place, as poor winds prevented the heavily laden A-4Q jets from being launched. She remained confined to port for the rest of the Falklands War, particularly after the British submarine HMS Conqueror sank the Argentine cruiser ARA General Belgrano.[42][44] Problems with her propulsion machinery meant that Veinticinco de Mayo was effectively inoperable from June 1986, although it was not until the start of 1999 that she was marked for scrapping.[42][45]

Australia

Sydney at anchor in Korean waters during 1951
Sydney at anchor in Korean waters during 1951

In 1944, the Australian government suggested that Australian personnel be used to help counteract a personnel shortage in the Royal Navy by manning an aircraft carrier, one or more cruisers, and six destroyers.[46] The Admiralty deemed a Colossus-class Light Fleet to be the most appropriate aircraft carrier, and Venerable was initially proposed for transfer to the Royal Australian Navy as a gift or on loan.[47] The plan was deferred on the Australian end until a review of manpower requirements across the entire war effort was completed.[48] The ship manning proposal was revisited in mid-1945, but the surrender of Germany in May meant that British shortages were not as problematic; as a counteroffer, the purchase of the Colossus-class Ocean by Australia was suggested.[49] The Australian government decided against the purchase of Ocean in June.[50]

Following the Second World War, a post-war review suggested that the Royal Australian Navy acquire three aircraft carriers as the core of a new fleet; funding restrictions saw the number of proposed carriers dropped to two.[51] To this end, Australia acquired two Majestic-class ships: Terrible, which was commissioned in 1948 as HMAS Sydney; and Majestic, which was upgraded for jet operations and commissioned in 1955 as HMAS Melbourne.[17][52] While waiting for Majestic/Melbourne to finish modernisation, the Colossus-class Vengeance was loaned to Australia from 1952 until 1955, allowing it to operate a two-carrier fleet.[53]

Melbourne enters San Diego in 1977
Melbourne enters San Diego in 1977

The first aircraft carrier acquired by the Royal Australian Navy, Sydney was deployed to Korea in order to maintain a consistent Commonwealth carrier presence in the conflict.[54] Operating between September 1951 and January 1952, Sydney was the first carrier owned by a Commonwealth Dominion to see combat.[33][54] Reclassified as a training ship in 1955, Sydney was decommissioned in 1958 but reactivated in 1962 as a fast troop transport.[55] In her troopship role, Sydney travelled to Vietnam 25 times between 1965 and 1972.[56] She was decommissioned in November 1973, and sold to a South Korean company for scrapping in 1975.[57]

Although deployed to the Far East Strategic Reserve on several occasions, and assigned to escort Sydney to and from Vietnam on three occasions, Melbourne was not directly involved in any conflict during her career. However, she collided with and sank two plane guard destroyers—HMAS Voyager in 1964, and USS Frank E. Evans in 1969—which, along with several minor collisions and incidents, led to the reputation that the carrier was jinxed.[58][59] Melbourne was sold to China for scrapping in 1985; instead of being broken up, she was studied as part of the nation's top-secret carrier development program, and may not have been dismantled until 2002.[60][61] There were plans to replace Melbourne with the British carrier HMS Invincible, but Invincible was withdrawn from sale following her service in the Falklands War, and a 1983 election promise to not replace the carrier saw the end of Australian carrier-based fixed-wing aviation.[61][62]

Brazil

Minas Gerais about to launch an S-2 Tracker
Minas Gerais about to launch an S-2 Tracker

After Vengeance was returned from her loan to Australia, she was sold to the Brazilian Navy on 14 December 1956.[42][63] From mid-1957 until December 1960, the carrier underwent a massive refit and reconstruction at Verolme Dock in Rotterdam; the work performed included the installation of an 8.5-degree angled flight deck and a steam catapult, strengthening of arresting gear, and reinforcing of the hangar lifts.[63][64][65] The carrier was commissioned into the Marinha do Brasil (MB, Brazilian Navy) as Minas Gerais on 6 December 1960.[63]

The Brazilian carrier was equipped with Grumman S-2E Tracker fixed-wing aircraft, and Sikorsky ASH-3D Sea King, AS-355 Ecureuil, and AS332 Super Puma helicopters. Brazilian law prevented the MB from operating fixed-wing aircraft, so two separate air groups had to be embarked.[45][66] In 1999, the MB acquired Douglas A-4KU Skyhawks—the first time Brazilian naval aviators were permitted to operate fixed-wing aircraft until the carrier's 2001 decommissioning.[42][67] Minas Gerais was replaced by NAe São Paulo (the former French carrier Foch).[65]

Minas Gerais was the last of the Second World War-era light aircraft carriers to leave service, and at the time of her decommissioning was the oldest active aircraft carrier in the world.[8][68] The carrier was marked for sale in 2002, and was actively sought after by British naval associations for return to England and preservation as a museum ship, although they were unable to raise the required money.[69][70] In December 2003 the carrier was listed for sale on auction website eBay, but was removed because the site's rules prevented the sale of military ordnance.[71] Sometime between February and July 2004, the carrier was towed to the ship breaking yards at Alang, India, for dismantling.[70]

Canada

Bonaventure underway in 1961
Bonaventure underway in 1961

Following wartime experience showing the effectiveness of naval aviation, the Royal Canadian Navy decided to acquire an aircraft carrier.[72] The Canadian government decided to purchase the Majestic-class carrier Powerful, and have her upgraded to modern standards.[73] The Colossus-class vessel Warrior was transferred on a two-year loan from 1946 to 1948, so the experience gained by providing ship's companies for two British escort carriers during the war could be maintained.[10][72] The upgrading of Powerful took longer than expected, and as Warrior had to be returned by 1948, the Majestic-class Magnificent was completed to the basic Majestic design and loaned to the Royal Canadian Navy in 1948 as HMCS Magnificent.[73] On her return to Britain, Warrior was used as a trials ship, then modernised before her sale to Argentina.[14] The loan of Magnificent continued until Powerful's completion in 1957, at which point Magnificent was returned to the British.[73] She was to be sold to another nation, but after no buyers came forward, the carrier was scrapped.[73]

In the meantime, Powerful had been upgraded to operate jet aircraft.[73] The modifications included an 8° angled flight deck and steam catapult, and she was equipped with American weapons, radars, and jet aircraft instead of their British equivalents.[73] She was commissioned in 1957 as HMCS Bonaventure.[73] The carrier's design could not keep up with the advances in naval aircraft during the early 1960s,[73] and in 1964, the ship's McDonnell F2H Banshee fighters were removed, leaving an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) focused air group of Sikorsky CH-124 Sea King helicopters and Grumman S-2 Tracker ASW aircraft. Bonaventure received a major mid life refit in 1967, but was withdrawn in 1970[62] after defence cuts. Her departure marked the end of Canadian carrier-based aviation.[62]

France

Lead ship Colossus was loaned to the French Navy in August 1946 and renamed Arromanches.[6][17] The vessel remained in French service, and was purchased outright in 1951.[74] She was deployed to French Indochina, and operated during the First Indochina War from 1949 to 1954.[42] After the war's end, the carrier was assigned to the Mediterranean.[42] She participated in the 1956 Suez Crisis, operating air strikes against Egyptian positions around Port Said.[42] A modernisation from 1957 to 1958 saw the installation of a 4° angled flight deck and an optical landing system, allowing Arromanches to operate Breguet Alizé anti-submarine aircraft.[75]

Arromanches was replaced in active service by the French-built Clemenceau class, and was converted into a training ship in 1960.[42][75] Apart from a short stint as an anti-submarine carrier in 1968, the ship remained in this role until her 1974 decommissioning.[42] Arromanches was broken up for scrap in 1978.[75]

India

Vikrant underway in 1984, with a mix of fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters on the flight deck
Vikrant underway in 1984, with a mix of fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters on the flight deck

Work on the Majestic-class Hercules was suspended in May 1946, with the ship about 75% complete.[76] The carrier remained in an unfinished condition until January 1957, when she was purchased by the Indian Navy.[77] Fitted with an angled flight deck, Hercules was commissioned into the Indian Navy as INS Vikrant in 1961.[77] Vikrant was not involved in the 1962 Sino-Indian War or the 1965 Indo-Pakistani War because she was docked for maintenance and refits on both occasions.[77] She did operate during the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War, with her air group performing strike and interdiction operations in East Pakistan.[77]

A major upgrade between 1979 and 1982 saw the carrier fitted with a new propulsion system, an updated radar suite, and a 9.75° ski-jump ramp to be used by Sea Harriers.[77] The carrier was last deployed in 1994, and she was decommissioned in 1997.[77] Vikrant helped the Indian Navy to become the dominant regional power.[62]

The Indian aircraft carrier INS Vikrant in 2008
The Indian aircraft carrier INS Vikrant in 2008

Following her decommissioning, Vikrant was marked for preservation as a museum ship.[78][79] Vikrant was opened to the public by the Indian Navy for short periods, but the inability to find an operating partner, lack of funds, and the deterioration of the ship led to the closure of the museum in 2012, and the sale of the vessel for ship breaking in early 2014.[78][79][80]

Netherlands

The Royal Netherlands Navy acquired the Colossus-class Venerable in 1948, and commissioned her as HNLMS Karel Doorman.[62] Initially, the carrier operated piston-engined aircraft, but underwent modernisation from 1955 to 1958, including a steam catapult, reinforced flight deck and aircraft lifts, and an 8° angled deck.[81] Between the upgrade and 1964, Karel Doorman possessed a mixed air group of jet fighters, anti-submarine aircraft, and helicopters; the fixed-wing aircraft were removed in that year.[42]

In 1968, Karel Doorman was heavily damaged by fire.[81] She was repaired with equipment stripped from other Light Fleet carriers in reserve and awaiting disposal.[81] However, before the fire, the Royal Netherlands Navy was reconsidering carrier-based operation, and instead of returning her to service, Karel Doorman was sold to Argentina.[81][82]

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HMS Ark Royal (R09)

HMS Ark Royal (R09)

HMS Ark Royal (R09) was an Audacious-class aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy and, when she was decommissioned in 1979, was the Royal Navy's last remaining conventional catapult and arrested-landing aircraft carrier. She was the first aircraft carrier to be equipped with angled flight deck at its commissioning; her sister ship, HMS Eagle, was the Royal Navy's first angle-decked aircraft carrier after modification in 1954. Ark Royal was the only non-United States vessel to operate the McDonnell Douglas Phantom at sea.

Argentine Navy

Argentine Navy

The Argentine Navy is the navy of Argentina. It is one of the three branches of the Armed Forces of the Argentine Republic, together with the Army and the Air Force.

Grumman F9F Panther

Grumman F9F Panther

The Grumman F9F Panther is one of the United States Navy's first successful carrier-based jet fighters, as well as Grumman’s first jet fighter. A single-engined, straight-winged day fighter, it was armed with four 20 mm (0.79 in) cannons and could carry a wide assortment of air-to-ground munitions.

HMS Venerable (R63)

HMS Venerable (R63)

HMS Venerable (R63) was a Colossus-class aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy. She served for only the last few months of World War II, and in 1948 she was sold to the Netherlands and renamed HNLMS Karel Doorman, taking part in the military clash in 1962 in Western New Guinea. Subsequently, she was sold to Argentina and renamed ARA Veinticinco de Mayo, later taking part in the Falklands War.

ARA Veinticinco de Mayo (V-2)

ARA Veinticinco de Mayo (V-2)

ARA Veinticinco de Mayo (V-2) was an aircraft carrier in the Argentine Navy from 1969 to 1997. The English translation of the name is Twenty-fifth of May, which is the date of Argentina's May Revolution in 1810.

Douglas A-4 Skyhawk

Douglas A-4 Skyhawk

The Douglas A-4 Skyhawk is a single-seat subsonic carrier-capable light attack aircraft developed for the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps in the early 1950s. The delta-winged, single turbojet engined Skyhawk was designed and produced by Douglas Aircraft Company, and later by McDonnell Douglas. It was originally designated A4D under the U.S. Navy's pre-1962 designation system.

Dassault-Breguet Super Étendard

Dassault-Breguet Super Étendard

The Dassault-Breguet Super Étendard is a French carrier-borne strike fighter aircraft designed by Dassault-Breguet for service with the French Navy.

British naval forces in the Falklands War

British naval forces in the Falklands War

This is a list of the naval forces from the United Kingdom that took part in the Falklands War, often referred to as "the Task Force" in the context of the war. For a list of naval forces from Argentina, see Argentine naval forces in the Falklands War.

Falklands War

Falklands War

The Falklands War was a ten-week undeclared war between Argentina and the United Kingdom in 1982 over two British dependent territories in the South Atlantic: the Falkland Islands and its territorial dependency, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

HMS Conqueror (S48)

HMS Conqueror (S48)

HMS Conqueror was a British Churchill-class nuclear-powered fleet submarine which served in the Royal Navy from 1971 to 1990. She was the third submarine of her class, following the earlier Churchill and Courageous, that were all designed to face the Soviet threat at sea. She was built by Cammell Laird at Birkenhead.

ARA General Belgrano

ARA General Belgrano

ARA General Belgrano (C-4) was an Argentine Navy light cruiser in service from 1951 until 1982. Originally commissioned by the U.S. as USS Phoenix, she saw action in the Pacific theatre of World War II before being sold by the United States to Argentina. The vessel was the second to have been named after the Argentine founding father Manuel Belgrano (1770–1820). The first vessel was a 7,069-ton armoured cruiser completed in 1896.

History of Australian naval aviation

History of Australian naval aviation

The first involvement Australia had with naval aviation was in 1911, when an Australian-born Royal Navy officer became one of the first four naval officers to receive pilot qualifications. During World War I, the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) experienced several forms of airborne operation, with HMAS Brisbane operating a seaplane, while HMA Ships Sydney and Australia were used for experiments with aircraft launch platforms. An aircraft embarked aboard Sydney was also involved in one of the first naval air battles. Several Australians also flew as part of the Royal Naval Air Service.

Ships

List of Colossus-class ships
Name Builder Laid down Launched Commissioned Paid off Foreign service and notes Fate
Colossus Vickers-Armstrong[83] 1 June 1942 [83] 30 September 1943 [83] 16 December 1944 [83] 1946  French Navy: Arromanches (1946–1974) [74] Scrapped in France 1978 [74]
Glory Harland & Wolff[83] 27 August 1942 [83] 27 November 1943 [83] 2 April 1945 [83] 1956 Scrapped in Scotland 1961 [7]
Ocean Stephen & Sons[83] 8 November 1942 [83] 8 July 1943 [83] 8 August 1945 [83] 1960 Scrapped in Scotland 1962 [7]
Venerable Cammell Laird[83] 3 December 1942 [83] 30 December 1943 [83] 17 January 1945 [83] April 1947  Royal Netherlands Navy: HNLMS Karel Doorman (1948–1968) [81] Scrapped in India 1999 [42]
 Argentine Navy: ARA Veinticinco de Mayo (1969–1999) [42]
Vengeance Swan Hunter[83] 16 November 1942 [83] 23 February 1944 [83] 15 January 1945 [83] 1952  Royal Australian Navy HMAS Vengeance (1952–1955) [53] Scrapped in India 2004 [70]
 Brazilian Navy: Minas Gerais (1960–2001) [42][63]
Pioneer Vickers-Armstrong [83] 2 December 1942 [83] 20 May 1944 [6] 8 February 1945 [83] 1954 Completed as maintenance carrier [13] Scrapped in Scotland 1954 [40]
Warrior Harland & Wolff Ltd.[6] 12 December 1942 [6] 20 May 1944 [6] 2 April 1945 1946  Royal Canadian Navy HMCS Warrior (1946–1948) Scrapped in Argentina 1971
Returned to Royal Navy (1948–1958)
 Argentine Navy: ARA Independencia (1958–1971) [14][42]
Theseus Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company[6] 6 January 1943 [6] 6 July 1944 [6] 9 February 1946 [6] 1957 Scrapped in Scotland 1962 [7]
Triumph R. & W. Hawthorn Leslie & Company Limited[6] 27 January 1943 [6] 2 October 1944 [6] 9 May 1946 [6] 1975 Reclassified as repair ship in 1965 [7] Scrapped in Spain 1981
Perseus Vickers-Armstrong [84] 1 June 1943 26 March 1944 [84] 19 October 1945 [84] 1957 Completed as maintenance carrier [13] Scrapped in Scotland 1958 [40]
List of Majestic-class ships
Name Builder Laid down Launched Commissioned Paid off Foreign service and notes Fate
Majestic Vickers-Armstrong 15 April 1943 28 February 1945 28 October 1955 30 May 1982  Royal Australian Navy as Melbourne Scrapped in China 1985
Terrible HM Dockyard Devonport 19 April 1943 30 September 1944 16 December 1948 12 November 1973  Royal Australian Navy as Sydney Scrapped in South Korea 1975
Magnificent Harland & Wolff [73] 29 July 1943 16 November 1944 21 March 1948 [73] 1956  Royal Canadian Navy as Magnificent Scrapped in Scotland 1965
Hercules Vickers-Armstrong (construction)
Harland & Wolff (fitting out) [76]
14 October 1943 [76] 22 September 1945 [76] 4 April 1961 [76] 31 January 1997  Indian Navy as Vikrant Scrapped in India 2014–2015
Leviathan Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Limited 18 October 1943 7 June 1945 Scrapped before completion Scrapped in Scotland 1968 [22]
Powerful Harland & Wolff [73] 27 November 1943 27 February 1945 17 January 1957 [73] 3 July 1970  Royal Canadian Navy as Bonaventure Scrapped in Taiwan 1971

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French Navy

French Navy

The French Navy, informally La Royale, is the maritime arm of the French Armed Forces and one of the five military service branches of France. It is among the largest and most powerful naval forces in the world, ranking seventh in combined fleet tonnage and fifth in number of naval vessels. The French Navy is one of eight naval forces currently operating fixed-wing aircraft carriers, with its flagship Charles de Gaulle being the only nuclear-powered aircraft carrier outside the United States Navy, and one of two non-American vessels to use catapults to launch aircraft.

HMS Glory (R62)

HMS Glory (R62)

HMS Glory (R62) was a Colossus-class aircraft carrier of the British Royal Navy laid down on 27 August 1942 by Harland and Wolff at Belfast. She was launched on 27 November 1943 by Lady Cynthia Brooke, wife of the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.

HMS Ocean (R68)

HMS Ocean (R68)

HMS Ocean was a Royal Navy Colossus-class light fleet aircraft carrier of 13,190 tons built in Glasgow by Alexander Stephen & Sons. Her keel was laid in November 1942, and she was commissioned on 30 June 1945.

Alexander Stephen and Sons

Alexander Stephen and Sons

Alexander Stephen and Sons Limited, often referred to simply as Alex Stephens or just Stephens, was a Scottish shipbuilding company based in Linthouse, Glasgow, on the River Clyde and, initially, on the east coast of Scotland.

HMS Venerable (R63)

HMS Venerable (R63)

HMS Venerable (R63) was a Colossus-class aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy. She served for only the last few months of World War II, and in 1948 she was sold to the Netherlands and renamed HNLMS Karel Doorman, taking part in the military clash in 1962 in Western New Guinea. Subsequently, she was sold to Argentina and renamed ARA Veinticinco de Mayo, later taking part in the Falklands War.

Cammell Laird

Cammell Laird

Cammell Laird is a British shipbuilding company. It was formed from the merger of Laird Brothers of Birkenhead and Johnson Cammell & Co of Sheffield at the turn of the twentieth century. The company also built railway rolling stock until 1929, when that side of the business was separated and became part of the Metropolitan-Cammell Carriage & Wagon Company.

Argentine Navy

Argentine Navy

The Argentine Navy is the navy of Argentina. It is one of the three branches of the Armed Forces of the Argentine Republic, together with the Army and the Air Force.

ARA Veinticinco de Mayo (V-2)

ARA Veinticinco de Mayo (V-2)

ARA Veinticinco de Mayo (V-2) was an aircraft carrier in the Argentine Navy from 1969 to 1997. The English translation of the name is Twenty-fifth of May, which is the date of Argentina's May Revolution in 1810.

HMS Vengeance (R71)

HMS Vengeance (R71)

HMS Vengeance (R71) was a Colossus-class light aircraft carrier built for the Royal Navy during World War II. The carrier served in three navies during her career: the Royal Navy, the Royal Australian Navy, and the Brazilian Navy.

Brazilian Navy

Brazilian Navy

The Brazilian Navy is the naval service branch of the Brazilian Armed Forces, responsible for conducting naval operations. The Brazilian Navy is the largest navy in Latin America and the second largest navy in the Americas after the United States Navy.

Brazilian aircraft carrier Minas Gerais

Brazilian aircraft carrier Minas Gerais

NAeL Minas Gerais was a Colossus-class light aircraft carrier operated by the Marinha do Brasil from 1960 until 2001. The ship was laid down for the United Kingdom's Royal Navy during World War II as HMS Vengeance, was completed shortly before the war's end, and did not see combat. After stints as a training vessel and Arctic research ship, the carrier was loaned to the Royal Australian Navy from 1952 to 1955. She was returned to the British, who sold her to Brazil in 1956.

HMS Pioneer (R76)

HMS Pioneer (R76)

HMS Pioneer was a Colossus-class aircraft carrier built for the Royal Navy during World War II. She was modified whilst under construction into an aircraft maintenance carrier. The ship arrived in Australia in mid-1945 to support operations by the British Pacific Fleet against Japanese forces. She supported the British attacks on the Japanese Home Islands from mid-June until the end of the war in August from a base in the Admiralty Islands. The ship and her facilities were used to help repair Hong Kong's infrastructure in late 1945 and she returned to the UK in early 1946. Pioneer was immediately placed in reserve upon her arrival and she was sold in 1954 for scrap.

Source: "1942 Design Light Fleet Carrier", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, January 25th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1942_Design_Light_Fleet_Carrier.

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References
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Robbins, 2001, p. 91
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Ireland, Aircraft Carriers of the World, p. 172
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  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Fontenoy, Aircraft Carriers, p. 266
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  17. ^ a b c d e f g Ireland, Aircraft Carriers of the World, p. 74
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  19. ^ Hobbs, Aircraft Carriers of the British and Commonwealth Navies, p. 130
  20. ^ Ireland, Aircraft Carriers of the World, pp. 70–1
  21. ^ a b c Hobbs, Aircraft Carriers of the British and Commonwealth Navies, pp. 129–30
  22. ^ a b Fontenoy, Aircraft Carriers, p. 353
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  24. ^ Ireland, Aircraft Carriers of the World, p. 72
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  26. ^ Wragg, A Century of Maritime Aviation, pp. 152–3
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  30. ^ Ireland, Aircraft Carriers of the World, p. 71
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  32. ^ Hobbs. 2004. , p. 64
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  35. ^ Hobbs. 2004. , p. 65
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Bibliography
Books
Journal articles
  • Corless, Josh (1 June 1999). "The Brazilian Navy blazes a trail in the South Atlantic". Jane's Navy International. Jane's Information Group. 104 (6).
  • English, Adrian J. (1 May 1996). "Latin American Navies still treading water". Jane's Navy International. Jane's Information Group. 101 (3).
  • Hobbs, David (Winter 2004). "British Commonwealth Carrier Operations in the Korean War". Air & Space Power Journal. 18 (4): 62–71. ISSN 1555-385X.
  • Hobbs, David (October 2007). "HMAS Melbourne (II) – 25 Years On". The Navy. 69 (4): 5–9. ISSN 1322-6231.
  • Storey, Ian; Ji, You (Winter 2004). "China's aircraft carrier ambitions: seeking truth from rumours". Naval War College Review. 57 (1): 77–93. ISSN 0028-1484.
Newspaper articles
Websites
Further reading
External links

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