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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For other types of "Launch" see Launch (boat)

A Motor Launch (ML) is a small military vessel in British navy service. They were designed for harbour defense and submarine chasing or for armed high speed Air Sea Rescue.

The first Motor Launches entered service in the First World War. These were 550 80-foot long vessels built by the US Elco company for the Admiralty receiving the designations ML-1 to ML-550 They served between 1916 and the end of the war with the Royal Navy defending the coast from German submarines.

Type Length Weight Speed Built Total Lost Designed for
Fairmile A motor launch 110 ft 57 tons 25 knots 1939 12
Fairmile B Motor Launch 112 ft (34 m) 85 tons 20 knots (37 km/h) 1940-45 1,284 Submarine chasing. Later adapted for Air Sea Rescue
Harbour Defence Motor Launch 72 ft (22 m) 54 tons 12 knots (22 km/h) 1940-45 486 47 Defending harbours; anti-submarine
RAF Type 2 Whaleback 63 ft (19 m) 21.5 tons 36 knots (67 km/h) 1940-42 70 Rescuing downed aircrew, particularly in the English Channel

Post war many motor launches were taken on as pleasure boats and a number of them are on the National Register of Historic Vessels.


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