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The backbone of the Royal Australian Navy is the Australia class aircraft carriers. These aircraft carriers are based on the the Spanish BSAC 220 aircraft carrier design. The carriers have served for approximately 25 years, and replacement in fifteen years is anticipated.

History[]

Increasing unreliability, and unavailability of parts for HMAS Melbourne led the RAN to initiate plans for a replacement as early as 1970. The RAN decided on a Spanish designed conventional carrier. The carrier had never been built before, and would be built in Australia. It was a relatively small CTOL carrier for 30 light-medium aircraft. It had a gas turbine and diesel powerplant, plus a boiler for catapult operation. This peculiarity in the design drew some criticism, but it has been proven to be workable.

It would carry Skyhawk fighter bombers, Tracker anti-submarine aircraft, and Seaking and Wessex helicopters. The aircraft were initially to be standard aircraft, but the government wanted significantly upgraded aircraft, and these were subsequently operated.

The first of the two entered service in 1986, and was followed by Vengeance in 1987.

The ships have been fired on once, in 1991 an Iraqi Silkworm was fired at HMAS Australia, but was (ironically) shot down by HMAS Sydney.

Aircraft[]

1986-1987[]

  • 8 Douglas A-4G Skyhawk
  • 6 Grumman S-2G Tracker
  • 3 Grumman E-1 Tracer
  • 4 Westland Sea King Mark 50
  • 2 Westland Wessex Mark 31B

1987-1989[]

  • 12 A-4G/F Skyhawk
  • 6 Grumman S-2G Tracker
  • 3 Grumman E-1 Tracer
  • 4 Westland Sea King Mark 50
  • 2 Westland Wessex Mark 31B

1989-1992[]

  • 12 A-4G Skyhawk (upgraded)
  • 6 CAC/Grumman S-2T Turbo Tracker
  • 3 Grumman E-1 Tracer
  • 4 Sikorsky S-70B-2 Seahawk

1992-present day[]

  • 12 A-4G Skyhawk (upgraded)
  • 6 CAC/Grumman S-2T Turbo Tracker
  • 3 CAC/Grumman E-1T Turbo Tracer
  • 4 Sikorsky S-70B-2 Seahawk

Ships[]

  • HMAS Australia (R22) - Commissioned: 1986
  • HMAS Vengeance (R23) - Commissioned: 1989


Specifications[]

Displacement 25,000 tons (standard)
Length 221 m
Machinery 2 x General Electric LM2500 and 2 x 7.2 MW diesels CODAG
Speed 28 knots (52 km/h)
Range 7000NM
Armament 3 Phalanx 20mm CIWS
Aviation facilities
  • angled flight deck
  • 2 steam catapults
  • 4 arrester wires
  • Optical Landing System
Aircraft
  • Up to 30 (more detail in main text)
  • 12 Douglas A-4G Skyhawks
  • 6 CAC/Grumman S-2T Turbo Trackers
  • 3 CAC/Grumman E-1T Turbo Tracers
  • 4 Sikorsky S-70B-2 Seahawks

Profile[]

AU CV Australia (BSAC 220).PNG