Audacious class aircraft carrier: Wikis


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HMS Eagle
HMS Eagle
Class overview
Operators: Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Planned: 4
Completed: 2
Cancelled: 2
Retired: 2
Preserved: 0
General characteristics
Type: Aircraft carrier
Length: 804 ft (245 m)
Beam: Ark Royal
112 ft (34 m) (as built)
135 ft (41 m)
Draught: 33 ft (10 m)
Propulsion: 8 Admiralty 3-drum boilers in 4 boiler rooms
4 sets of Parsons geared turbines, 4 shafts
Power: 152,000 shp (113,000 kW)
Speed: Eagle
32 knots (37 mph/59 km/h)
Ark Royal
31.5 kt (58 km/h)
Range: Eagle
7,000 nmi (13,000 km) at 18 knots (21 mph; 33 km/h)
Ark Royal
11,265 km (7000 miles) at 14 knots
5000 nmi at 24 knots

Eagle (As built:)
• 16 × 4.5 inch guns (8×2)
• 61 × 40 mm guns (8×6, 2×2, 9×1)
Post-1964 re-fit:
• 8 × 4.5 inch guns (4×2)
• 6 × Seacat SAM missile launchers
Ark Royal (As built:)
16 × 4.5 inch guns (8 × 2)
52 × 40 mm (6 × 6, 2 × 2, 12 × 1)

1969 refit: none
Armour: Eagle
Waterline belt: 4 in (100 mm)
Armoured flight deck: 1–4 in (25–100 mm)
Hangar side: 1 in (25 mm)
Hangar deck: 1 in (25 mm)
Aircraft carried: Eagle (As built:)
Post-1964: 45
Ark Royal (As built:)
38 after 1967-1970 refit

The Audacious class aircraft carriers were a class of ship proposed by the British government in the 1930s - 1940s.



The Audacious class was originally designed as an expansion of the Implacable class with double storied hangars. However, it was realised that the hangar height would not be sufficient for the new aircraft that were expected to enter service, so the design was considerably enlarged.

Four ships of were laid down between 1942 and 1943 during World War II as part of the British naval buildup - HMS Africa (D06), HMS Ark Royal (91), HMS Audacious (D29) and HMS Eagle (94). At the end of hostilities Africa and Eagle were cancelled. Work on the remaining two was suspended.

Ships in the class

Audacious (D29)

Laid down in 1942 at Harland and Wolff, Belfast. Renamed at the start of 1946 as HMS Eagle after the carrier sunk in 1942. Launched in March 1946 and commissioned in October 1951.

HMS Ark Royal (left) next to USS Nimitz in 1978.
Ark Royal (R09)

Named after the earlier Ark Royal lost in 1942. Work on Ark Royal started in 1943 at Cammell Laird, Birkenhead. Launched in 1950 launch and commissioned in 1955.

As the builds of Eagle and Ark Royal progressed they differed so much that they became the lead (and sole) ships of each of their own classes. They formed the backbone of the postwar carrier fleet, and were much modified.

Eagle (94)

Ordered from Swan Hunter, Wallsend-on-Tyne in August 1942. Transferred to Vickers-Armstrong in December that year. Cancelled

Africa (D06)

Ordered from Fairfield, Govan on 12 July 1943. Re-ordered as Malta class in 1944. Cancelled 15 October 1945

See also




  • Ireland, Bernard. The Illustrated Guide to Aircraft Carriers of the World. Hermes House, London, 2005. ISBN 1-84477-747-2

External links

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