Invincible Class Aircraft Carrier

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Invincible Class Aircraft Carrier

The Invincible class is a class of light aircraft carrier operated by the British Royal Navy. Three ships were constructed, HMS Invincible, HMS Illustrious and HMS Ark Royal. The vessels were built as aviation-capable anti-submarine warfare (ASW) platforms to counter the Cold War North Atlantic Soviet submarine threat, and initially embarked Sea Harrier aircraft and HAS.1 Sea King anti-submarine helicopters. With the cancellation of CVA-01, the three ships became the replacements for the Audacious and Centaur classes, and the Royal Navy's sole class of aircraft carrier.

Invincible was decommissioned in 2005 and put in reserve in a low state of readiness. She was sold to a Turkish scrapyard in February 2011, and left Portsmouth under tow on 24 March 2011. Pursuant to the Strategic Defence and Security Review, 2010, Ark Royal followed, decommissioning on 13 March 2011, leaving Illustrious as the sole remaining operational ship. The three vessels have seen service in a number of locations, including the South Atlantic during the Falklands War, the Adriatic during the Bosnian War, and in the Middle East for the 2003 Invasion of Iraq.

Invincible Class Aircraft Carrier
Builders: Swan Hunter
Vickers Limited Shipbuilding Group
Operators: Royal Navy
Preceded by: Audacious class fleet carrier
Centaur class light carrier
Succeeded by: Queen Elizabeth class
In commission: 11 July 1980
Completed: 3
Active: HMS Illustrious
Laid up: HMS Ark Royal
Retired: HMS Invincible
General characteristics
Displacement: 22,000 long tons (22,000 t) fully loaded
Length: 209 m (686 ft)
Beam: 36 m (118 ft)
Draught: 8 m (26 ft)
Decks: 19
Propulsion: 4 x Rolls-Royce Olympus TM3B gas turbine COGAG, providing 97,000 hp on 2 shafts
Speed: 28 knots (52 km/h)
Range: 7,000 nautical miles (13,000 km)
Troops: 348 Air Group personnel
Crew: 726 Ships company
Armament: 2 × 20 mm anti-aircraft guns
3 Phalanx/Goalkeeper close-in weapons systems
Aircraft carried:

22 aircraft;

  • Multi Mission - Strike, ASuW and ASW
    12 x Harrier GR.7/9
    10 x Sea King ASaC, and Merlin HM Mk.1 helicopters
  • Multi Mission - Strike and ASuW
    18 x Harrier GR.7/9
    4 x Sea King ASaC, and Merlin HM Mk.1 helicopters
Aviation facilities: 168 m axial flight deck
Bow 13° ski ramp

HMS Invincible

  • Builders: Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering in Barrow-in-Furness
  • Laid down: 20 July 1973
  • Launched: 8 May 1977
  • Operator: Royal Navy
  • Commissioned: 11 July 1980
  • Decommissioned: 3 August 2005
  • Status: was mothballed until September 2010 and then scrapped in 2011
  • Modifications: Lengthened flight deck, removal of Sea Dart SAM, addition of three Goalkeeper CIWS
  • Operations: Falklands War, Operation Deny Flight, Operation Deliberate Force, Operation Bolton, Operation Allied Force
  • Victories: 21 Argentine aircraft during Falklands War.

HMS Illustrious

  • Builders: Swan Hunter on the River Tyne
  • Laid down: 7 October 1976
  • Launched: 14 December 1978 (List)
  • Operator: Royal Navy
  • Commissioned: 20 June 1982 (List)
  • Status: In active service, based at Portsmouth
  • Modifications: Lengthened flight deck, removal of Sea Dart SAM, addition of three Goalkeeper CIWS
  • Operations: Bosnia, Operation Palliser, Evacuation of British Citizens from Beirut (Israeli-Lebanon Conflict 2006)

HMS Ark Royal

  • Builders: Swan Hunter in Wallsend
  • Laid down: 14 December 1978
  • Launched: 2 June 1981 (List)
  • Operator: Royal Navy
  • Commissioned: 1 November 1985 (List)
  • Status: Decommissioned (January 2011)
  • Modifications: Enlarged flight deck, removal of Sea Dart SAM, addition of three Phalanx CIWS
  • Operations: 1993-1994 Operation Deny Flight, 2003 invasion of Iraq - Operation Telic
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