Glorious Class Aircraft Carriers
(Note: drawing contains some parts taken from

Ship Characteristics

Dimensions Length 858 ft
Beam 124 ft
Draft 21 feet
Displacement (standard) 32,500 tons
Displacement (full load) 36,900 tons
Performance Speed (max) 32.0 knots
Speed (cruising) 20 knots
Endurance 4,000 nm @ 20 knots
Armament Guns 6 4" Mark XXIV Mod 1
Aircraft Fighters 16 Tiger F.1 Later Sea Mirage F.1
Strike 16 Firebrand TF.4 later Buccaneer S.4
Others 4 AEW, 4 helicopters


Work on designing what eventually became the Glorious class aircraft carriers started in 1953 using the Indefatigable class as a baseline. The original specification demanded a ship of similar size to the Indefatigables, with standard displacement of around 22,000 tons and a full load displacement approaching 27,000 tons. The design, however grew rapidly as did the basic concept of the design.

The major change was the decision to build the ship as an "atomic age" warship. Oddly, this result of this decision was to reverse many of the design changes introduced earlier. The decision to adopt a deck-edge lift was reversed and the ship was fitted with two centerline lifts. Openings in the ship's hull for docking and underway replenishment were fitted with sliding steel hatches that allowed them to be sealed off. All the ship's aircraft were to be carried in the hangar when not in use. This meant the hull was greatly enlarged and the final design was almost a third larger than the original plans envisaged. Finally, the outside of the ship was streamlined to resist the blast from atomic weapons.

Armament originally was to consist of eight four inch Mark XXIV mod 0 guns. However, the inclusion of an angled deck forced the removal of the forward port pair of guns, reducing the battery to six guns. Also, the Mod 0 mount was replaced by the Mod.1 with a larger gun house. The air group was supposed to consist of 16 fighter and 16 strike aircraft with a further eight support aircraft. These were organized in squadrons of eight, each squadron consisting of two flights.

Originally, only two ships of this class were to have been built but a third was added in 1958 (reputedly to win votes in key northern shipbuilding constituencies). This proved to be a serendipitous decision that was to have major effects in the Falklands War.

Class Members

Name Ordered Laid Down Launched Commissioned Fate
Courageous 1953 1955 1958 1961
Glorious 1953 1956 1959 1962
Furious 1958 1959 1962 1964
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License