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fighting ships of the world

ROYAL NAVY (UNITED KINGDOM)

AIRCRAFT CARRYING SHIPS

INDOMITABLE fleet aircraft carrier (1941)

Indomitable 1943

Name No Yard No Builder Laid down Launched Comp Fate
Indomitable 92, 1948- R8, 1949- R92 735 Vickers-Armstrong, Barrow 10/11/1937 26/3/1940 10/10/1941 stricken 9/1955

 

Displacement standard, t

23000

Displacement full, t

29730

Length, m

205.1 pp 229.8 oa

Breadth, m

29.2 wl 35.4 fd

Draught, m

8.84 deep load

No of shafts

3

Machinery

3 sets Parsons geared steam turbines, 6 Admiralty 3-drum boilers

Power, h. p.

111000

Max speed, kts

30.5

Fuel, t

4500 oil

Endurance, nm(kts) 9250(14)

Armour, mm

belt: 114, hangar sides: 38,  bulkheads: 76 - 38, flight deck: 76

Armament

8 x 2 - 114/45 QF Mk III, 6 x 8 - 40/39 2pdr QF Mk VIII, 8 x 1 - 20/70 Oerlikon Mk II/IV, 45 aircraft (Fulmar, Sea Hurricane, Buffalo, Martlet fighters, Swordfish, Albacore torpedo bombers, Walrus recon planes)

Sensors

type 79 radar

Complement 1392, up to 2100 later

Aircraft facilities (fd - 6,012m², ha - 3,606m² / 16,087m³): Flight deck: 207.3(useful length)x29.0m. Upper hangar: 139.6x18.9x4.3m, lower hangar: 51.2x18.9x4.9m. There were 2 lifts (6.4t, 13.7x10.1m fwd and 13.7x6.7m aft). There was 1 catapult BH-III (6.4t plane was launched at 122km/h). Aircraft fuel stowage was 342,000l. Later useful length of flight deck was increased to 227.1m. 

Year Fighters Torpedo bombers
5/1942 12 Fulmar, 9 Sea Hurricane 24 Albacore
8/1942 24 Sea Hurricane, 10 Martlet 24 Albacore
5/1943 40 Seafire 15 Albacore
8/1944 24 Hellcat 24 Barracuda
12/1944 29 Hellcat 21 Avenger
3/1945 40 Seafire, 9 Firefly 20 Avenger
5/1945 33 Hellcat 15 Avenger
12/1951 12 Sea Fury 12 Firebrand

Ship project history: Six ships of Illustrious class became the largest class of fleet aircraft carriers of Royal Navy. They were sectioned into 3 groups and had significant differences. First three ships had one level hangar and 3 shafts. Indomitable (2nd group) differed by two-level hangar and moderated thickness of vertical protection, but in the remaining was identical to the ships of 1st group. Designing of Illustrious has begun in 1936. Ship should have protection against 500pdr (227kg) bombs and 152mm shells. Standard displacement was limited 23 000ts as resolved by the London conference of 1936.

Protection was rather powerful, 62% of flight deck area was covered by 76mm armour. Increase of battle resistance was paid by 2 times smaller, than on Ark Royal, air group and reduction of freeboard (11.6 m at Illustrious instead of 17.1m at Ark Royal).

The "aerodynamic" form of island and funnel in the form of a profile of a plane wing, and also the round-downs of the deck became feature of architecture of Illustrious: it was supposed, that it will decrease the turbulence of air and will improve conditions of take-off and boarding of aircrafts. At the same time round-downs shrank deck effective length to 189m, therefore on the subsequent aircraft carriers, as for the ships of 2nd and 3rd groups, to 225.6m.

The AA armament repeated accepted on Ark Royal, but with new 114mm so-called "inter-decks" mountings.

Protection:  Main belt protected about 30% of length by waterline. Main belt amidships was taken to the hangar deck and to the flight deck on the starboard side abreast island. 9m ends of main belt were taken to the upper deck only. Hangar sides were protected on full hangar length. 62% of flight deck (over hangar) had 76mm armour, another part of flight deck was 38mm. Upper hangar deck has 64 - 51mm thickness between ship sides and hangar sides over magazines only, its thickness was 25mm inside citadel. Upper or lower hangar decks were 38mm over machinery. Elevators were not armoured. There were 38mm anti-torpedo bulkheads. 4.1m deep underwater protection can resist exploding of 340kg TNT.

Modernizations: Till 4/1942 there were 3 x 8 - 40/39 2pdr QF Mk VIII only.

2/1943: - type 79 radar; + 8 x 2 - 20/70 Oerlikon Mk II/IV, 2 x 1 - 20/70 Oerlikon Mk II/IV, type 79B, type 281B radars

12/1943: + SM-1, SG radars

5/1944: + 2 x 4 - 40/56 Bofors Mk 1/2, 2 x 2 - 40/56 Bofors Mk 1/2, 12 x 2 - 20/70 Oerlikon Mk II/IV, 6 x 1 - 20/70 Oerlikon Mk II/IV

1945: - 8 x 2 - 20/70, 4 x 1 - 20/70; + 13 x 1 - 40/56 Bofors Mk I/III

1/1946, Indomitable: 8 x 2 - 114/45 Mk IIBD, 2 x 4 - 40/60 Mk 2, 2 x 2 - 40/60 Mk 1, 13 x 1 - 40/60 Mk III, 6 x 8 - 40/39 Mk VIA, 12 x 2 - 20/70 Mk V, 12 x 1 - 20/70 Mk III, 45 aircraft, type 79B, type 281B, SM-1, SG radars

1950: - 1 x 8 - 40/39, 2 x 4 - 40/60, 2 x 2 - 40/60, 12 x 2 - 20/70, 12 x 1 - 12/70; + 4 x 1 - 47/40 Mk I, 11 x 1 - 40/60 Mk III

Naval service: Indomitable was badly damaged by German aircraft 12/8/1942 (2 direct hits of 500kg bombs) and has failed on half a year. She was again badly damaged by German air torpedo near Malta 16/7/1943 and had been salvaged only by fast counterflooding of bulk holds of other side, repair had 8 months.

Indomitable 1944

Indomitable 1953

Many thanks to Wolfgang Stöhr for additional information on this page.

Ivan Gogin, 2008-15