CVA-01 (1962)

Official artwork of the CVA-01 design. Ministry of Defense photo.

Ship Class
Ship Type

In the early 1960s, the Royal Navy was looking to update their carriers. Their current four were all WWII vintage, and simply updating their air groups would leave the number of aircraft at about half that of a US carrier. The result was the CVA-01 design. Several versions were contemplated, but she likely would have been 293m (963 feet) long on the flight deck, displaced 54,000 tons, with a top speed of 30 knots. The air group would still have been small, carrying about fifty fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, including the new F-4 Phantom II. By 1964, the government was looking to reduce defense spending, and the RAF managed to convince them that the CVA-01 project was a waste. (The RAF, meanwhile, was eyeing some shiny new F-111s...) CVA-01 was cancelled in 1966, which may have actually been a good thing: her chief designer said that 'by the time project was cancelled, so many design compromises had been made because of size and budget restrictions, that the whole project had become risky.'

Bonus Information

Said one officer who worked on the CVA-01 design: "I am firmly convinced that, had we built two or three ships to this design, they would now be seen to have been the bargain of the century and they would have made the Falklands War a much less risky operation."