Majestic Class (1948) CVL

The Majestic Class (1948) was the second of two classes of Light Fleet Carriers. They were the result of the events early in WW2 which caused Britain in 1941 to have only seven aircraft carriers available for the Fleet. Fully Armoured Fleet Carriers took a long time to build, needed yards experienced in building to warship standards, and at the time all shipbuilding facilities were fully stretched.

The solution chosen, was to build smaller carriers, just over 14,000 tons for the Majestic Class (1948) and just over 13,000 tons for the earlier Colossus Class (1944), as against 23,000 tons approx for the Illustrious Class (1940) of Fully Armoured Fleet Carriers. 

Just as importantly the Light Fleets were based on a merchant standard hull and were not armoured. So they were much faster to construct, and could be built in smaller yards. Of course it meant they were more vulnerable, but in fact the war was virtually over before they were ready for action.

An advantage of their being unarmoured was that they were easier to repair and rebuild, and could carry more aircraft for the same size hull than an armoured one. 

Although five of the projected six Majestic carriers were eventually completed and gave good service. (With the final one IS Vikrant (Ex-Hercules) not being decommissioned until 1996.) None actually saw service with the Royal Navy.

1 - Majestic - Australia;
2 - Magnificent - Canada;
3 - Terrible - Australia;
4 - Powerful - Canada;
5 - Hercules - India;
6 - Leviathan - never completed.


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This page last edited - 07 March, 2013.

Copyright Ian M King, except where otherwise indicated.