Malta-class aircraft carrier

The Malta-class aircraft carrier was a British large aircraft carrier design of World War II. Four ships were ordered in 1943 for the Royal Navy, but changing tactical concepts, based on American experience in the Pacific War, caused repeated changes to the design, which was not completed before the end of the war. All four ships were cancelled in 1945 before they were laid down.


Malta-class aircraft carrier
Class Ship
Type Aircraft Carrier
Manufacturer Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company
Production Period 1945 - 1945
Origin United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain)
Country Name Origin Year
United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain) 1945
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company 1945 1945 1 View
Vickers-Armstrongs 1945 1945 1 View
John Brown & Company 1945 1945 1 View
Cammell Laird 1945 1945 1 View

Had the X1 design received final approval, the Malta class would have been about the same size as the American Midway-class aircraft carriers at 897 feet (273.4 m) in long overall and 850 feet (259.1 m) at the waterline. The beam would have been 115 feet 6 inches (35.2 m) at the waterline and they would have had a draught of 35 feet (10.7 m) at deep load. The ships would have displaced 46,890 long tons (47,640 t) at standard load and 57,700 long tons (58,600 t) at deep load. Their metacentric heights were estimated to be 8.42 feet (2.6 m) at standard load and 12.8 feet (3.9 m) at deep load. Their complement was expected to consist of 3,520 officers and enlisted men.

The 888-foot (270.7 m) flight deck had a maximum width of 121 feet 9 inches (37.1 m). Because the unarmoured flight required an expansion joint about amidships, the Maltas' island could not be a single structure and was split into two, each section with its own funnel. This allowed turbulence around the islands to be reduced and provided more space for radars and fire-control directors. The carriers would have been fitted with 16 arrestor cables that were designed to stop landing aircraft up to 20,000 pounds (9,100 kg) in weight, at speeds of up to 75 knots (139 km/h; 86 mph). They would have been backed up by three crash barricades to prevent landing aircraft from crashing into aircraft parked on the ship's bow. Positioned on the forward part of the flight deck, two newly designed hydraulic aircraft catapults were intended to launch fully laden aircraft at 130 knots (240 km/h; 150 mph). The ships were designed with four 30,000-pound (14,000 kg) lifts (two on the centreline (45 by 46 feet (13.7 by 14.0 m), and two on the portside deck edge (54 by 36 feet (16.5 by 11.0 m)) to facilitate the rapid movement of aircraft between the flight deck and the hangar. This was 440 feet (134.1 m) long, with a maximum width of 90 feet (27.4 m), and 17 feet 6 inches (5.3 m) high to accommodate American aircraft designed for that height. In case of fire the hangar was intended to be divided by four sliding steel doors. Between the hangar spaces and the deck park, the Malta class would have been capable of accommodating between 80 and 108 aircraft. For these aircraft, the ships would have been provided with 190,000 imperial gallons (860,000 l; 230,000 US gal) of aviation gasoline.

Ships in Class
Name Assigned builder Yard number Cancelled
HMS Africa Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Co., Govan, Scotland 722 15 October 1945
HMS Gibraltar Vickers-Armstrong, Newcastle-upon-Tyne 82
HMS Malta John Brown & Co., Clydebank 624 13 December 1945
HMS New Zealand Cammell Laird, Birkenhead
then Harland and Wolff, Belfast, Northern Ireland
1159
then 1304

Name: Malta
Operators:  Royal Navy
Preceded by: Audacious class
Succeeded by: Centaur class
Planned: 4
Cancelled: 4
General characteristics (Design X1)
Type: Aircraft carrier
Displacement: 46,890 long tons (47,640 t) (standard)
57,700 long tons (58,600 t) (deep load)
Length: 897 ft (273.4 m) (o/a)
850 ft (259.1 m) (waterline)
Beam: 115 ft 6 in (35.2 m)
Draught: 35 ft (10.7 m) (deep load)
Installed power: 200,000 shp (150,000 kW)
8 Admiralty 3-drum boilers
Propulsion: 4 shafts
4 geared steam turbines
Speed: 33.25 knots (61.58 km/h; 38.26 mph)
Range: 7,100 nmi (13,100 km; 8,200 mi) at 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)
Complement: 3500
Armament: 8 × twin QF 4.5-inch dual-purpose guns
8 × sextuple, 7 × single 40 mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns
Armour: Waterline belt: 4 in (102 mm)
Deck: 4 in (102 mm)
Bulkheads: 2–4 in (51–102 mm)
Aircraft carried: 80–108
Aviation facilities: 2 catapults

End notes