World Aircraft Carriers List: Australia

Revised 24 April 2000
Version 2.03
Compiled and Maintained by: Andrew Toppan
World Aircraft Carrier Lists Main Page:

Albatross seaplane carrier
Sydney light fleet aircraft carrier
Vengeance light fleet aircraft carrier
Melbourne light strike aircraft carrier

Albatross seaplane carrier

Displacement: 6,350 tons full load
Dimensions: 443 x 61 x 17 feet/135 x 18.6 x 5 meters
Extr: 443 x 77 x 17 feet/135 x 23.5 x 5 meters
Propulsion: Steam turbines, 4 boilers, 2 shafts, 12,000 shp, 21 knots
Crew: 450
Armor: none
Armament: 4 4.7/50, 4 2 pound AA
Aircraft: 9 seaplanes

Concept/Program: A seaplane carrier intended to provide trade protection and coast defense services.

Design: Large raised forecastle served as a seaplane deck, with hangar beneath. Several cranes, and a catapult was fitted on deck.

Departure from Service/Disposal: Transferred to RN in 1938 as partial payment for the new cruiser Hobart.

Photos: [HMAS Albatross as completed], [As HMS Albatross]. [Overhead view as HMS Albatross].

Built by Cockatoo. Laid down 5 May 1926, launched 23 Feb 1928, commissioned 23 January 1929.

To reserve for refit 12/1931; recommissioned 1932 as a gunnery training ship. Decommissioned to reserve 26 April 1933 but still employed as a dockside seaplane support ship. Used for various trials 1936. Transferred to RN 1938, recommissioned for voyage to UK 19 April 1938. Commissioned in RN service as HMS Albatross (I22) 29 September 1938, served as a trials ship. Decommissioned to reserve 15 Dec 1938 and used as an accommodations ship until recommissioned 25 August 1939. Operated as a trade protection ship off West Africa and in the Indian Ocean.

Decommissioned to reserve 5 November 1943, then converted to a repair ship for escorts and minesweepers and recommissioned 17 April 1944; rearmed with 8 2 pound AA and 6 20 mm.

Torpedoed 11 Aug 1944; judged not worth repairing. Placed in reserve 30 August 1944 but recommissioned as a minesweeper depot hulk 11/1944. To reserve for disposal 7/1945. Sold for conversion to a luxury cruise ship in 1946 but conversion plans cancelled and resold as Hellenic Prince in 1948, becoming an refuge transport ship. Scrapped at Hong Kong starting 12 August 1954.

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Sydney (HMS Majestic class) light fleet aircraft carrier

Displacement: 19,550 tons full load
Dimensions: 630 x 80 x 24.5 feet/192 x 24.4 x 7.5 meters
Extreme Dimensions: 695 x 80 x 24.5 feet/211.8 x 24.4 x 7.5 meters
Propulsion: Steam turbines, 4 boilers, 2 shafts, 40,000 hp, 25 knots
Crew: 1,200
Armor: none
Armament: 30 40 mm AA
Aircraft: 37

Concept/Program: An ex-RN light fleet carrier transferred to Australia after WWII, prior to completion. She was little modified prior to completion or in RAN service. She saw extensive service off Korea, but was soon rendered obsolete and reduced to secondary duties and replaced by Melbourne.

Departure from Service/Disposal: Decommissioned in 1958, then converted as a fast military transport in 1961, for service as a ferry to Vietnam.

ex-HMS Terrible
R17 - A214
"K" (1949-1958), "S" (1958-1969)
Photos: [HMAS Sydney as completed], [In service as a fast military transport], [As a transport].

Built by Devonport Dockyard. Laid down 19 April 1943, launched 30 Sept 1944, suspended after WWII and laid up for possible future use. Designation changed to R93 under NATO designation system. Work resumed following sale to Australia in 1948. Completed 5 February 1949, commissioned in Australian service as HMAS Sydney (R17) 16 April 1948.

Operated as light fleet carrier. Saw extensive service during the Korean war. Major modernization scheduled for 1954 cancelled. Replaced by Melbourne; served as training carrier after 1955. Placed in reserve 1958; modified as a fast military transport 1961-62 for ferry service to Vietnam; armament was reduced, aircraft facilities removed, heavy cranes fitted, redesignated A214.

Decommissioned 1973. Sold 30 October 1975 and scrapped in South Korea.

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Vengeance (HMS Colossus class) light fleet aircraft carrier

Displacement: 18,150 tons full load
Dimensions: 630 x 80 x 23.5 feet/192 x 24.4 x 7 meters
Extreme Dimensions: 695 x 80 x 23.5 feet/211.8 x 24.4 x 7 meters
Propulsion: Steam turbines, 4 boilers, 2 shafts, 40,000 shp, 25 knots
Crew: 1,300
Armor: none
Armament: 24 2 pound AA, 17 40 mm AA Aircraft: 27

Concept/Program: A RN light fleet carrier loaned 1952-1955, pending completion of Melbourne.

Modifications: She was not modified in RAN service.

Departure from Service/Disposal: Returned to RN upon completion of Melbourne and eventually sold to Brazil.

ex-HMS Vengeance
Photos: [HMS Vengeance as completed], [HMS Vengeance in service], [As HMAS Vengeance], [As Minas Gerais], [Minas Gerais in the 1990's.] [Minas Gerais in the 1990's.]

Built by Swan Hunter. Laid down 16 Nov 1942, launched 23 Feb 1944, commissioned 15 Jan 1945. Served in the Mediterranean, then in the Pacific. RN designation changed to R64 circa 1945 for service in the Pacific; returned to previous designation postwar. Participated in cold-weather trials in the Arctic 1948-49; troop transport and aircraft ferry 1951-52. Designation changed to R71 under NATO designation system. Refitted early 1950's and loaned to Australia 13 November 1952 as HMAS Vengeance.

Initially served as a training carrier, then a first-line carrier starting late 1953, then returned to training in 1954. Decommissioned and returned to RN 13 Aug 1955 and placed in reserve upon return.

Sold to Brazil 13 Dec 1956; underwent extensive refit at Rotterdam 6/1957-12/1960: angled deck added, new elevators installed, new island, all new aircraft operations and support equipment and electronics outfit; carried 10 40 mm guns. Recommissioned 6 December 1960 as Minas Gerais (A11). First operated as a strike/ASW carrier, then as an ASW-only ship.

Refitted 1976-1980 but laid up 1987 due to catapult problems. Refitted 1991-1993, recommissioned 10/1993; catapult repaired by 1996. During the 1990's operated only ASW helicopters, due to lack of suitable fixed-wing aircraft. Mistral SAM fitted to replace AA guns in 1994. Scheduled to serve through 2005.

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Melbourne (HMS Majestic class) light strike aircraft carrier

Displacement: 20,320 tons full load
Dimensions: 630 x 80 x 25 feet/192 x 24.4 x 7.6 meters
Extreme Dimensions: 695 x 126 x 25 feet/211.8 x 38.4 x 7.6 meters
Propulsion: Steam turbines, 4 boilers, 2 shafts, 40,000 hp, 24.5 knots
Crew: 1,250
Armor: none
Armament: 12 40 mm AA
Aircraft: 27

Concept/Program: An ex-RN light fleet carrier, suspended incomplete at the end of WWII, sold to Australia and completed to a modernized design. Originally a sister of HMS Terrible (which became HMAS Sydney). Replaced Sydney; was the major unit of the RAN for nearly 30 years.

Design: Completed to an extensively modernized design, with an angled deck, modified island, and many other improvements over the original design.

Modifications: Underwent a series of evolutionary upgrades and refits for new missions.

Departure from Service/Disposal: Retired in 1982 without replacement; purchase of a RN VSTOL carrier as a replacement was cancelled.

ex-HMS Majestic
"M", later "21"
Photos: [HMAS Melbourne circa 1960], [Late in her service].

Built by Vickers-Armstrong, Barrow. Laid down 15 April 1943, launched 28 Feb 1945, suspended after WWII and laid up for possible future use. Designation changed to R77 under NATO designation system. Sold to Australia in 1949 and completed at Harland & Wolff to the modernized design. Commissioned in Australian service as HMAS Melbourne (R21) 28 October 1955.

Embarked ASW helicopters in 1963. Rammed and sank destroyer HMAS Voyager 10 Feb 1964. Refitted 22 Nov 1967 to 24 Nov 1968 and embarked additional ASW assets. Rammed and sank destroyer USS Frank E. Evans 2 June 1969. Flight deck strengthened and catapult rebuilt in 1971. Starting in 1972 she carried primarily an ASW air group, with a small light strike force. Refitted 11/1972 to 7/1973, again in 1978 for service through 1985.

Laid up in contingent reserve 30 June 1982. Sold for scrapping in China in 1985 Reportedly still in existence in 1994 at Guangzhou, China, being studied by Chinese naval architects.

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