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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 American Sea Control Ship aircraft carrier design. The carriers have served for approximately 25 years, and replacement in fifteen years is anticipated.

HistoryEdit

Increasing unreliability, and unavailability of parts for HMAS Melbourne led the RAN to initiate plans for a replacement as early as 1970. The Navy evaluated several designs including the British Invincible class, a modified Iwo Jima class Landing Port Helicopter, the Italian Giuseppe Garibaldi and the Spanish BSAC 220.

The RAN decided on an American designed "Harrier carrier" based on the Sea Control Ship (favoured by Admiral Elmo Zumwalt). The carrier had never been built before, and would be built in Australia. It was a relatively small STOVL carrier for 30 light-medium aircraft. It had a gas turbine and diesel powerplan.

It would initially carry Sea Harrier fighter bombers, and Seaking and Wessex helicopters. She now carries Harrier II Plus aircraft and Seahawk helicopters.

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.

AircraftEdit

1986-1990Edit

  • 16 Hawker Siddeley Sea Harrier FRS.21
  • 8 Westland Sea King Mark 50
  • 2 Westland Wessex Mark 31B

1990-2000Edit

  • 16 Hawker Siddeley Sea Harrier FRS.21
  • 8 HdH/Sikorsky S-70B-2 Seahawk
  • 4 Westland Sea King AEW Mk. 57

2000-2010Edit

  • 16 Boeing AV-8B Harrier II Plus
  • 8 HdH/Sikorsky S-70B-2 Seahawk
  • 4 Westland Sea King AEW Mk. 57

2010-present dayEdit

  • 16 Boeing AV-8B Harrier II Plus
  • 8 HdH/Sikorsky S-70B-9 Seahawk
  • 4 Westland Sea King AEW Mk. 57

ShipsEdit

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


SpecificationsEdit

Displacement 16,700 tons (loaded)
Length 195.9 metres (643 ft)
Machinery 2 × General Electric LM2500+ gas turbines in COGAG configuration, one shaft, 46,400 shp
Speed 26 knots (48 km/h)
Range 6,500 nautical miles (12,000 km) at 20 knots (37 km/h)
Armament 4 Phalanx 20mm CIWS
Aviation facilities
  • Bow 12° ski ramp
  • Optical Landing System
Aircraft
  • Up to 30 (more detail in main text)
  • 16 Boeing AV-8B Harrier II Plus
  • 8 HdH/Sikorsky S-70B-9 Seahawk
  • 4 Westland Sea King AEW Mk. 57

ProfileEdit

AU CV Australia (PdA)
AU CV Australia (PdA-OriginalAirWing)
Australia class Aircraft Carrier with her original air wing