Audacious Class (1952) CV

When planned in 1942/43 the Audacious Class of large fleet carriers were to comprise four ships. Audacious, Africa, Eagle and Irresistible.

They were about 37,000 tons displacement and had a flight deck over 800ft long, and could carry a complement of 100 aircraft. Double that of the light fleet carriers of the Hermes Class (1953).

With the end of the war the second and third ships (HMS Africa and HMS Eagle) were cancelled, only the first and fourth were completed. To confuse matters, the first ship Audacious was renamed Eagle, and the last ship Irresistible was renamed Ark Royal.

In essence they were up-rated Implacable Class (1944) Fleet Carriers and included all the lessons learned during WW2. 

Their completion had been delayed as a result of the cutbacks at the end of WW2. But following the start of the Korean War in 1950 and other communist aggression dormant carrier building plans were accelerated. 

Both ships has several extensive periods of refit and rebuilding to allow them to operate progressively faster and heavier jet aircraft.  

However British Defence Plans during the late 1960's caused cut backs of unprecedented severity. So when Eagle and Ark Royal were paid off in the 1970's the days of the Royal Navy flying fixed wing aircraft ended.  With the expectation at the time that it would be forever.

However fixed wing flying in the Royal Navy started again in Phoenix like fashion when Sea Harriers were deployed on what became known as the Invincible Class (1980) CVS support carriers. 


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This page last edited - 07 March, 2013.

Copyright Ian M King, except where otherwise indicated.