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fighting ships of the world

UNITED STATES NAVY (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)

AIRCRAFT CARRYING SHIPS

SAIPAN light aircraft carriers (1946-1947)

Saipan 1946

Wright 1953

Saipan 1954

Wright 1963

Arlington 1968

Wright 1968

No Name Builder Laid down Launched Comm Fate
CVL48, 5/1959- AVT6, 1/1964- CC3, 8/1965- AGMR2 Saipan, 4/1965- Arlington New York SB, Camden 10/7/1944 8/7/1945 14/7/1946 aviation transport 5/1959, communications relay ship 8/1966, stricken 15/8/1975
CVL49, 5/1959- AVT7, 5/1963 - CC2 Wright New York SB, Camden 21/8/1944 1/9/1945 9/2/1947 aviation transport 5/1959, NECPA command ship 5/1963, stricken 1/12/1977
  

Displacement standard, t

15118

Displacement full, t

18750

Length, m

202.4 wl 208.4 oa

Breadth, m

23.4 wl 32.9 oa

Draught, m

8.22 full load

No of shafts

4

Machinery

General Electric geared steam turbines, 4 Babcock & Wilcox boilers

Power, h. p.

120000

Max speed, kts

33

Fuel, t

oil 2400 max

Endurance, nm (kts) 13000 (15)

Armour, mm

belt: 102 on 16mm plating, bulkheads: 102, main deck: 64

Armament

CVL48: 5 x 4 - 40/60 Mk 2, 10 x 2 - 40/60 Mk 1, 16 x 2 - 20/70 Mk 24, 48 aircraft (F4U Corsair, F6F Hellcat, F7F Tigercat, FR Fireball, F8F Bearcat fighters, SB2C Helldiver dive bombers, TBF/TBM Avenger torpedo bombers, F4U-P Corsair, F6F-P Hellcat, F8F-P Bearcat reconnaissance planes, TBM-S Avenger ASW planes, TBM-W Avenger EW planes, TBM-R Avenger cargo planes)

CVL49: 5 x 4 - 40/60 Mk 2, 10 x 2 - 40/60 Mk 1, 16 x 2 - 20/70 Mk 24, 48 aircraft (F4U Corsair, F6F Hellcat, F7F Tigercat, FR Fireball, F8F Bearcat fighters, SB2C Helldiver dive bombers, AD Skyraider attackers, TBF/TBM Avenger torpedo bombers, F4U-P Corsair, F6F-P Hellcat, F8F-P Bearcat reconnaissance planes, TBM-S Avenger ASW planes, TBM-W Avenger EW planes, AD-Q Skyraider ECM planes, TBM-R Avenger cargo planes)

Sensors

CVL48: SP, SK-2 radars, TDY jammer

CVL49: SP, SR-2 radars, TDY jammer

Complement

1821

Aircraft facilities (fd - 4,543 m², ha - 1,793 m² / 9,680 m³): Flight deck: 186.2 x 24.4 m. Hangar: 86.6 x 20.7 x 5.4 m. There were 2 lifts in center line (13.6 t, 14.6 x 13.4 m). There were 2 H 2-1 catapults. Aircraft fuel stowage: 543 100 l.    

Year fighters torpedo bombers
1946 36 F6F and F4U 12 TBM

Ship project history: In 1943 admiral King ordered to continue building of two light aircraft carriers per year to replace expected losses, two new ships would be completed in December 1945. New ships were to be based on Baltimore heavy cruiser hull. It was not planned to convert existing cruiser but use of hull already in production would simplify design and building. Really an entirely new hull was designed, without bulges (as on predecessors). Protection was generally on the scale of Essex carrier and was more strong than on Baltimore; flight deck was strengthened to take 9t aircraft, new island, similar to Commencement Bay, was provided. Only two ships were built, by the time another pair might nave been ordered, the war ended. Both ships were rather cramped for jet aircraft and were soon laid up.

In 1961 the threat of Soviet ICBMs seemed increasingly acute and it appeared that no fixed US command centres would be secure in wartime. The Navy proposed the use of surface ships off the coasts. In an emergency President could be carried to them by helicopter and communicate with military forces by newly developed tropo-scatter radio. Under FY62 Wright was refitted to command ship (CC2) to serve as National Emergency Command Post Afloat (NECPA) with large antenna farm. Plans to convert Saipan as third NECPA ship (first was CC1 Northampton) were cancelled and she was converted to major communications relay ship (AGMR2 Arlington). Both NECPA ships were decommissioned in the spring of 1970: the number of Soviet submarines operational in the North Atlantic in peacetime had strongly reduced chances NECPAs if war could begin. Attention of US command turned to an airborn command posts.

Ship protection:  Steering gear compartment was protected by 102mm belt and bulkheads, 64mm roof and 19mm deck. Thickness of main bulkheads decreased over main deck to 37mm. There was light underwater protection.

Modernizations:  1947 - 1948, both: - 1 H 2-1 catapult; + 1 H 4B catapult.

1950s, both: - 16 x 2 - 20/70, fore funnel was removed.

In 1960s both ships were reconstructed as command ships. Arlington was used as communication relay ship and Wright as NECPA (National Emergency Command Post Afloat) command cruiser. Data was as follows:

No Name Reconstructed Yard Fate
AGMR2 Arlington (ex-Saipan) 1963 - 8/1966   stricken 15/8/1975
CC2 Wright 3/1962 - 5/1963   stricken 1/12/1977

 

Displacement standard, t

14500

Displacement full, t

19600

Length, m

202.4 wl 208.4 oa

Breadth, m

23.6

Draught, m

8.50

No of shafts

4

Machinery

General Electric geared steam turbines, 4 Babcock & Wilcox boilers

Power, h. p.

120000

Max speed, kts

33

Fuel, t

oil 3371

Endurance, nm (kts) 11700 (14)

Armour, mm

belt: 102 on 16mm plating, bulkheads: 102, main deck: 64

Armament

AGMR2: 4 x 2 - 76/50 Mk 33

CC2: 4 x 2 - 40/60 Mk 1, 6 helicopters (3 CH-46, 3 HH-43)

Sensors

SPS-6B radar

Complement

1317 (additionally 522 flag on CC2)

Ship protection after modernization: Steering gear compartment was protected by 102mm belt and bulkheads, 64mm roof and 19mm deck. Thickness of main bulkheads decreased over main deck to 37mm. There was light underwater protection.

Modernizations:  none.

Naval service: No significant events.

Ivan Gogin, 2014-15