CVA 01

Started by uk 75, December 31, 2003, 03:25:26 AM

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uk 75

I was looking for the excellent site on the CVA 01 aircraft carrier, but it seems to have disappeared temporarily when I looked for it on Yahoo.
This ship would have been the platform for the Fleet Air Arm in the 70s to the present and would make an excellent model, not least because of the range of aircraft canvassed for use on the ship:

CVA 01 1966 planned air group  Phantom Ms, Buccaneer S2s, Sea Kings, Gannet AEW/COD and Wessex plane guard


Phantoms:                 Various Swing wing designs including 583 (61-62)
                               2 seat Crusaders (proposed in 1962)
                               1154 RN (proposed in 1963)
                               Non Rolls Royce Phantoms (preferred by the RN, similar to
                               F4E or later)
                               Swing wing Lightnings (proposed in 1963)
                               AFVG (proposed in 1966)
                               Jaguar RN (proposed in 1966, urgh why?)
                               F111B (Downright silly, but if the USN had ordered,
                               the RN were keen to operate similar ac as with JSF now)
                               Tornado variant (available from late 70s)
                               F 14  (not sure whether CVA 01 big enough for these)
                               F 18  (to replace earlier aircraft from 80s)
                               Rafale (no, well, ergh)
                               Typhoon (those Phantoms will be getting old)

Buccaneer                 A5 Vigilante (yep, the RN apparently wanted
                               the Vig as a nuclear striker)
                               Swing Wing striker (Described in one article
                               as being Vigilante sized)                
                               AFVG(proposed in 1966)
                               Tornado (the RAF who never wanted Bucs had to be
                               prised away from them, but....)
                               A6 Intruder (I put this in to please some fans, but not
                               really ever a possibility, though if the USN had proceeded
                               with the A6F....)
                               F18 (again a possible one aircraft solution)
                               Rafale (please stop laughing...)
                               Typhoon (eventu..a,,lly)

I have omitted JSF as the costs associated with a CVA 01 force would mean the ships staying in service longer than the present Invincibles and so the STOVL route would probably be unnecessary (except if 1154 had led to the same route)

Sea Kings                 A UK solution based on the Belvedere, Rotodyne or later
                              Super Frelons (no, I know, sorry)
                              WG 34 (the original but smaller and sleeker Merlin)
                              EH101 Merlin
                              SH60s (not really likely, but the RN might have followed
                              the USN with this in the 80s if there had been no Sea King)

Gannet                    See Project Cancelled for the extraordinary BAC AEW
                             aircraft proposals
                             Grumman Hawkeye (almost certainly the only choice)
                             Grumman Tracker (a cheaper option perhaps, with some
                             UK bodgery)
                             EuroAEW/COD (no, I know, I'm sorry)

Hope these ideas give you some fun thoughts.

I also have some neat ideas for escorting ships from the same period.



Richard Breddals CVF Site with the CVA-01 details

Hi UK 75

Heres the link you're after Richard had to move it back when his ISP went funny, he also updated it with some interesting updates as well !!!!.

As to CVA-01 possible airgroups you forgot the S-3 Viking as Lockheed also developed an AEW version for use on the smaller USN ASW carriers where Hawkeye would struggle. however the USN moved the S-3 in with the CVA's thus removing the Essex and its smaller carriers !!!.

Other possibilities for Aircraft could be the original light weight naval F-17 and F-16 as pointed out by Deino but as tthe USN had decided on Big is beautiful they didn't need lightweight combat aircraft anymore and thus closed off many of the potential overseas Naval Aviation sales !!!!.

It would be interesting to see if any altermatives were propossed to the CVA-01 design at the time it was created and later when it was cancelled.


Geoff B B)  

uk 75


Nice one, I have had a quiet pre-New Years eve here in the office in Düsseldorf (we operate the British trade and investment effort in Germany) and as it is lunch time I thought I would get in a quick reply.

S3 Viking         I had forgotten the AEW version of this, though like the AEW Osprey V22 it looked a bit suspect even as a what-if. Similarly way out were the range of designs in the US for aircraft for the Sea Control ship. Somewhere at home I have book on "Future Aircraft" with all these neat planes.  I have been looking at the past pages on the site and it is great to see the alternate competitors to the F16/17.  This reminds me of the Boeing TFX competitor to the F111 and the various F15/F14 rivals as well.   Another 60s competition which is more mysterious is the 9 designs which preceded the A9 and A10 for the AX contest.  I have never been able to find stuff on these, but one book refers to some designs being quite large.

With best wishes for a Happy New Year!

Love the site and this subject

uk 75


Sorry I forgot to address your last question.

There is a splendid book about UK carriers by I think Norman Friedman which covers various drawings of the carriers planned between 1945 and 1966.  I have some photocopies of the book (I could not afford it when it was last in print) somewhere.
Essentially CVA 01 was the best the RN could get at the time. There had been pressure to accept smaller ships similar to HMS Hermes or to try and build ships operating only VSTOL planes (the 1950s tailsitter variety rather than Harriers) but the RN wanted essentially its own Forrestals, or at least carriers able to operate similar planes.
Some designs show the two funnel layout familiar from the CV(F) design though with a single island (these are very rough sketches and only CVA(01) seems to have been drawn up properly.
As early as 1961 the RN wanted an ASW cruiser able to operate big choppers (Bristols, Rotodynes, but really Sea Kings).  Designs for these are also shown in some books.  Three sorts are shown:

A county class cruiser with a long aft flight deck and seaslug forward

A larger ship with combined mast/funnels like US designs either with a "through deck" or aft deck.

Friedman refers to a minute at the time talking of operating 1154s from such ships, but this (according to Mike Pryce at least) would not have been possible with the proposed RN version.  

The RN avoided this ship until after 1966 as they realised it would allow the Treasury and the RAF to kill off CVA01

Alternative options to CVA01 which might have been more affordable, but were not really acceptable to the RN were:

operating Hermes, Victorious and Eagle into the 70s with a smaller cheaper fighter like the Crusader

leasing three Essex class carriers and their airgroups in the 70s

Building new less ambitious ships with Australia and Canada (also the Netherlands) operating Skyhawks or later VSTOL

None of the above were really runners but make fun what-ifs

CVA01 itself was sadly too much ship for the RN .  CVA02 was never agreed to, much less the 6 originally sought.  Sadly CV(F) seems to be hitting the same snags.
With hindsight Invincible and her Sea Harriers were a miracle, a very British solution to a very British problem...

have a good one



Hi UK_75(Ralph)

Happy New Year

Just pointing out that the 583 was still active project wise till late 63 when we were forced down the 1154 route, and was re-promoted when the 1154 was cancelled and the Phantom then choosen withh all the problems that created. The 583 was designed for use on British carriers to begin with so they wouldn't need the expensive refits. This of course would have allowed for more modest fleet carrier replacements rather than the massive CVA-01 project that seemed plagued with trouble from the start. I do wonder if we had built the Malta class post war as opposed to the Audacious classes that we would have had a more balanced and capable carrier fleet. As the Malta could more easily be adapted with the new carrier technology developments and perhaps provide a better basis for future designs.

I heard that the AEW S-3 was fairly mature project wise as updated versions have been propossed for reusing the now retiring S-3 fleet as they still hav eplenty of life left in them but no role. They would be ideal for small coastal MPA and an AEW version would prove popular with potential customers. (Wonder if some of the S-3's should be passed onto the US Coastgaurd for drugs Patrol, helo refuelling, aux ASW and ASR duties ?)



uk 75


Very interesting points!  I agree pretty much. S3s are nice planes and would look good on a British carrier in various guises and colours.

The Battleships and Carriers website used to have very lively discussions on RN carriers. I have not looked at it for a while.

The Maltas seem to have been RN equivalents to the Midways.  I have some wargame counters "Ships in Flames" with these ships as if they were built.  

Certainly three "Maltas" would have been a better core for the 50s-60s RN than "Ark Royal" "Eagle" and the incredibly expensive "Victorious"-refit.  Whether the UK plane industry would have met the challenge?  I suspect the RN would still have ended up with the Phantom (this is probably one of the great aircraft and hard to beat even for the Brits) Buccaneer (so good, noone wanted to give it up, even the RAF) combo. However, on the support side we would have been able to use Hawkeyes and Vikings (what would the AEW be called?), and of course those wonderful Rotodynes!

Alternatively if the RN had been able to get its hands on a workable VSTOL aircraft (F109, HS1154 or one of the hundreds of drawing studies) it could have focussed on the 4 ships of the Hermes class and scrapped the bigger ships with their high maintenance costs.  New-build Hermes style ships could have also appealed to Australia, Canada, Netherlands (not to mention Argentina, Brazil, India and later the Shah of Iran).  A more modern Hermes style ship could have operated 1154s and a small number of Bucs, but with 4 in service or even 6.

As for poor old CVA 01, she is very 60s and I would still have liked to see her flashy futuristic lines in service in 1975.  The Dutch got the Kojak radar to work on their Tromp class destroyers so there was no reason why CVA-01 could not have shipped this.  

Great stuff!



Okay then who's got data on the CVA-01 ? as i shall attempt to create the carrier as designed in 1/700 waterline. just in case any of the research types have got any additional data or drawings not shown on Riched Breddals site or in books like Conways Worlds Warships 1946-1995, Royal Navy Aircraft Carriers since 1945 and All the Worlds Aircraft Carriers.

Hopefully this should be just a basic hull flight deck and island, allowing the super detaillers to add the WEM or GMM brass work. Hopefully Joesus will be able to produce aircraft like the 1154, 583 and 177 to fill out the decks, Phantoms, Buccanners should already be available. Not sure if anybody would consider a P139 in 1/700 or not !!!!.


Geoff B  


Oops, so far I'd been doing 1/600. What sort of timescale you talking about?


Hi Joe

1/600 will do fine for me, as i already have  quite a few carriers in 1/600, I shall actually be doing both scales as obviously some prefer the smaller 1/700 waterline series.

As to timeline i suppose late 60's early 70's is a start.

So keep those 1/600 ones coming and i'll see whats available in 1/700 as well.


Geoff B


Quote---"County class cruiser with a long aft flightdeck---"

I've been playing with the idea of a Tiger Class with a similar layout. Insipred by the Moskva in my case. Not sure of the airgroup though.
Are you going with "real" RN aircraft, or adding hypotheticals? Your "real" choices are the Sea King, Wasp, Lynx, and Wessex. Blake even landed a Harrier, so you could have this ship as a base for a small group of VTOLs.
Perhaps a light commando carrier, for the SAS and their ilk? 4-6 helos, accommodations for troops plus fire support from the forward guns.
In want of hobby space!  The kitchen table is never stable.  Still managing to get some building done.


QuoteHi Joe in my case I was playing with the idea of the UK being a "Socialist Republic", there were earlier posts on British Migs and Bears etc.

So I was considering a Kamov from the Moskva I've got somewhere, or maybe from WE. With Styx launchers midships in place of the dual secondary armarment, and a Seaslug launcher or similar in "A" position. The standard turret in "B" with AS morters, and a flightdeck and hanger aft. Sort of an RN ship in Soviet multirole mode. Probably totally impractical, but I was told once that it was thought the Soviets could not man all the systems on a ship at one time, it depended on the ships role at that time.

Alternativly an RN ship with Harriers and Wessex or Seakings. A heavy AA set up with Seaslug at "A" and Seacats midships with the standard turret at "B". Used as a commando carrier, or as a "Harrier carrier", early GR-3s, not Shars, support ship to operate with the Assault ships. Circa mid '70s???

cheers :cheers:
The Socialist version sounds like fun, though if you change her too much people won't recognize her as Tiger.  :rolleyes: And she'll probably roll the first time she enters the North Atlantic. ;) But still, a wicked idea.  :ph34r:

That's an interesting idea, limiting the crew size by limiting the function of the ship. That might have helped with accommodations

Seaslug was _huge_, and loaded horizontally, like Talos. That giant birdcage of a launcher was weird looking.

I'm guessing you have the Airfix 1/600 HMS Tiger?
In want of hobby space!  The kitchen table is never stable.  Still managing to get some building done.


Quote"I'm guessing you have the Airfix 1/600th Tiger"

Yes strangely enough I do!

I have to admit the idea of using Seaslug was to keep it recognisably "British". I suspect the standardisation of weapon systems would dictate a SAN-? fitting.

I take your point about stability though.
              Geoff :cheers:
Actually, I don't think stability would be quite so bad. I spoke before I looked:

(Yes, that's another of my what-ifs. ;) It's part of a Euro-navy group project still a-building. The County will be built as the Chilean DDH version.)

I think you could put a Sea Slug up forward. It even looks Soviet!

Those are both 1/700 scale. You could swap the ship's boats for the Styx launchers, and maybe replace the 3" twin with a twin 57mm from Moskva?

Sea King is nearly twice the length of Hormone/Helix, and the Tigers carried three of the former, so I can see 5 or even 6 Ka-25s even if you use the hangar as it was built.

WEM makes PE sets for the Airfix County and Aurora Moskva, if you're able to drop the money on them.

Have fun with it!
In want of hobby space!  The kitchen table is never stable.  Still managing to get some building done.


Hi JoeP & Geoff

For Soviet parts try picking up the Chinese 30cm Motorised Sovremenny or udaloy classes as they have a copy of thr Soviet Weapons sprue scaled up to 1/570. The ships themselves are useless as Warships as they are too wide, but i did use the hulls to make the Italian & Spanish  VTOL carriers in 1/600.


Geoff B B)  


Aha JoeP

There's your Lion conversion, on thinking about it how adding one Sea Dart system fwd instead of the 3" gun put the SeaCats on the aft Superstructure and maybe another set on the fwd superstructure leaving the waist 3" guns in situ giving a very capable Air Defence ship with NGS capability. I did wonder about a 984 atop the fwd superstructure or the Anglo Dutch example propossed for CVA-01 and Bristol.


Cheers for the Photos, i think i shall give mine a complete refit to take it back to a 60's configuration and finish my Bristol off at the same time. I did notice somewhere that a 30,000 ton Hermes design was considered as light fleet carrier rather than going for the larger CVA-01. i assume this might have moved the deck edge liftd to the other side to give greater flight deck space with possibly an enlarged Alaskan highway. The moving of both lifts would also enable greater hanger capacity to allow for a larger airgroup. A plug would probably be a good idea as well to lengthen the hull to nearer 240m similar to the French Carriers at the time, but using the larger angled deck. This of course would limit things to lighter carrier aircraft but at least aircraft like the 583 and the Sea Jaguar would probably have been considered, with Buccaneers used for the heavy strike capability.

GeoffB B)  

uk 75

Glad you like the photos. Ron Hughes is a great chap and a serious student of naval stuff. I think he was taken aback by some of my requests on this one, but I think the result is fun.   I couldn't work out how to show the photos on the site, so if either you or Joe want to, or put them on the CVA 01 site, please do.

My thoughts on carrier models are fairly conventional (since I tend to start with what appeared in magazines at the time, rather than complete fantasy):

OR 346 Fighter/Attackers (as Friedman calls them) seem to have been planned to come into service in the early 70s as a Sea Vixen/Buccaneer replacement.  Accordingly they can be used to fit out  CVA 01, Eagle/Ark Royal and Hermes (I am not sure about this one, perhaps too big)

Although the least capable fighter replacement, the two seat Crusader proposed by Vought and Shorts, would allow Centaur, Victorious and Hermes to operate alongside Eagle and Ark Royal into the 70s.  Buccaneers could operate on some of these.

Less likely options:

Developing the Scimitar instead of the Buccaneer/Vixen combination.  This plane could have become a poor man's fighter/attacker.

Leasing the three US Essex carriers and then operating them from about 1968 either with their own US aircraft or British equivalents

Deciding to buy Jaguar Ms, AFVGs, Tornados.  These are the least likely options in my view as the Buccaneer/Phantom combination already existed by then and if you want smaller carriers you have the Harrier coming along.

Least likely

The RN would have rejected this, but the UK could have decided to focus on the NATO ASW requirement and ignore the wider Far East or strike requirements.  A carrier operating a mixed helicopter /Scimitar /A4 or later Harrier force could have seen carriers like Leviathan and so on staying in service.  It might also have allowed I class ships to remain in service without major conversion.

Love this stuff