HMS Eagle (R05)

HMS Eagle was an aircraft carrier of the British Royal Navy, in service from 1951 to 1972. She wass one of the largest British aircraft carriers yet built. HMS Eagle was initially laid down in 1942 at Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast as Audacious, the lead ship of four Audacious class aircraft carriers planned. These aircraft carriers were laid down during World War II as part of the British naval buildup during that conflict. Two were cancelled at the end of the war. 

Originally designated Audacious, she was finally launched as HMS Eagle in March 1946, after the planned Audacious class carrier Eagle was cancelled. A number of changes were incorporated into the design and the ship was commissioned in October 1951. HMS Eagle was extensively modernized in the course of her service with the Royal Navy, including having an angled flight deck. Despite being in excellent material condition, and capable of another 10 years of service, Eagle was paid off in January 1972. Eagle was sold for scrap in 1978. 

Country Name Origin Year
United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain) 1946
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain) 1951 1972 View


Laid down: 24 October 1942 (as HMS Audacious)

Fate: Scrapped 1978

In 1953 Eagle took part in the Fleet Review to celebrate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

A 5.5 degree 'interim' angled flight deck was fitted in 1954–1955 with a mirror landing sight, but she retained her two hydraulic catapults forward as they were adequate for the relatively light naval aircraft in service at the time. Her first wartime service came in 1956, when she took part in the Suez Crisis. The ship's aircraft of that period included Westland Wyverns, Douglas Skyraiders, Hawker Sea Hawks and de Havilland Sea Venoms.

Displacement: 43,060 long tons (43,750 t) standard 

53,950 long tons (54,820 t) full load

Length: 804 ft (245 m)

Beam: 135 ft (41 m)

Draught: 33 ft (10 m)

Propulsion: 4 shaft geared steam turbines 

8 boilers 

152,000 shp

Speed: 32 knots (37 mph or 59 km/h)

Range: 7,000 nmi (13,000 km) at 18 knots (21 mph or 33 km/h)

Complement: 2,500 (average); 2,750 (max.)

Armament: As built: 16 x 4.5 inch guns (8x2) 

61 x 40 mm guns (8x6, 2x2, 9x1) 

Post-1964 re-fit: 

8 x 4.5 inch guns (4x2) 

6 x Seacat SAM missile launchers

Armour: 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: As built: 60 

Post-1964: 45

End notes