HMS Malta (CV-1945)


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The Malta class aircraft carriers were the pinnacle of the Royal Navies carrier construction program. They were even bigger than the Australis Endeavour and Ocean Class ships, and even bigger than the US Midway class. They were by far and away the biggest warships built to that time and the first to exceed 1000 feet in length. New docks in Scotland, Belfast and Portsmouth had to be built to take the ships. The ship had to sacrifice some armour thickness at flight deck level to maintain stability. The Malta class were the culmination of all the classes before them, the Illustrious and Audacious types had shown just what they could achieve with the armoured flight decks. With US carriers getting burnt out by kamikaze hits that just bounced off the British carriers armour. The kamikaze threat was the one time when the US Navy may have wished for a bit of deck armour themselves.

Despite being pushed as hard as possible to completion the ships just missed and their first war operations were not till Korea. The ships proved magnificent in service with unparralelled capacity till the US completed its first Forrestal class in the early 50's which was the US replies to these ships.

While the Australis Navy had looked at 4 ships per battle group the Royal navy only built the 3 Malta class, there was to be a 4th but it was cancelled in 1943 when it was sure that the war was going the Allied way.

Whenever a Malta class ship was returned to base for refit it needed to be replaced by one Audacious and one Centaur class in order to maintain the same amount of aircraft availability.


Displacement 56,700 tons std, 68,200 tons full load
Length 1044.5 fett oa
Breadth 119 ft hull (184 ft over deck edge lifts)
Draught 35 ft
Machinery 4 shaft, geared turbines, 200,000 shp
Speed 32 knots
Range 8200 miles at 20 knots
Armour 3" flight deck, 4" side. 4" magazines
Armament 16 x 40mm (8x2)
Aircraft 120 internal, 20-30 deck park
Torpedoes nil
Complement 4450 (including aircrew)


HMS Malta and escort (Fleet Air Arm Museum: by Dvid Hatchard) Artists impression of original piston engine design.

Name Assigned builder Completed
HMS Malta (D93) John Brown & Company, Clydebank 21 December 1945
HMS Singapore (D43) Cammell Laird, Birkenhead 21 December 1945
HMS Gibraltar (D68) Vickers-Armstrong, Newcastle-upon-Tyne 5 November 1945


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