(Note: drawing contains some parts taken from Shipbucket.com)
|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.