Anti-submarine warfare carrier

An anti-submarine warfare carrier (ASW carrier) (US hull classification symbol CVS) is a type of small aircraft carrier whose primary role is as the nucleus of an anti-submarine warfare hunter-killer group. This type of ship came into existence during the Cold War as a development of the escort carriers used in the ASW role in the North Atlantic during World War II.

USS Yorktown (CVS-10) at sea off Hawaii, circa in 1962 (NH 97458-KN)
USS Yorktown circa the early 1960s
SH-3A Sea Kings of HS-6 flying over USS Kearsarge (CVS-33) c1963
Three SH-3A Sea Kings flying over USS Kearsarge, circa 1962–1964
S-2E Tracker
An S-2E ready for launching from USS Bennington


After World War II, the main naval threat to most Western nations was confrontation with the Soviet Union. The Soviets ended the war with a small navy and took the route of asymmetric confrontation against Western surface ship superiority by investing heavily in submarines both for attack and later fielding submarine-launched missiles.[1][2] Several nations who purchased British and US surplus light carriers were most easily able to accommodate slow-moving, less expensive, and easy-to-land anti-submarine aircraft from the 1960s forward, such as the S-2 Tracker, which flew from the decks of US, Canadian, Australian, Dutch, Argentine, and Brazilian carriers, or Alizé, which flew from French and Indian ships, allowing these ships to still remain useful especially in the framework of NATO even as newer fighter and strike aircraft were becoming too heavy for the equipment designed for World War II aircraft.

Improvement in long-range shore-based patrol and conventional ship-based ASW helicopter capability combined with the increasing difficulty maintaining surplus WWII carriers led to most of these ships being retired or docked by smaller nations from the 1970s to the mid-1980s. This trend in ASW force draw-down only accelerated with the massive reduction in the operational Soviet/Russian submarine fleet, which rarely went to sea in large numbers in the 1990s. Ships that could be called dedicated ASW carriers are now only found within the Japan MSDF, which operates helicopters and no fixed-wing carrier-based aircraft of any kind. Even the United States Navy, the last nation to regularly operate a dedicated fixed-wing carrier-based ASW aircraft, the S-3 Viking, on its mixed-role super carriers had already removed most ASW equipment in the 1990s from this aircraft and has now removed this type from service as of January 2009 without replacement.[3] The Argentine Navy, currently without much hope of a replacement CATOBAR carrier of its own, trained several times a year landings and takeoffs of their S-2 Turbo Trackers aboard the Brazilian aircraft carrier São Paulo until this carrier was also retired.

Much easier to operate from small decks than fixed-wing aircraft were ASW helicopters, which flew from the decks of nearly all allied conventional carriers to this day and most LPH or STOVL carriers operated by the Soviet, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, British, and Thai navies.

List of ASW carriers

Aircraft carriers and helicopter carriers that had primary ASW duties from the mid-1960s onward.

Argentine Navy
Brazilian Navy
  • Minas Gerais – one ship (ex-Colossus class) ASW (retired/scrapped) fixed-wing CATOBAR and helicopters
French Navy
  • Arromanches – one ship (ex-Colossus class) ASW (retired/scrapped) fixed-wing CATOBAR and helicopters
Italian Navy
  • Giuseppe Garibaldi one ship, ASW helicopter carrier 1985–1988, STOVL fighters and ASW helicopters carrier 1988–.
JMSDF DDH 181 Hyuga
Hyūga class, ASW helicopter carrier
Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force
  • Hyūga class (2009–).[4] ASW, utility, and sea mine clearing helicopters
  • Izumo class (2013–). ASW, utility, and sea mine clearing helicopters
Royal Navy
  • HMS Bulwark; Centaur-class aircraft carrier recommissioned in 1979 from reserve as a helicopter ASW carrier. (Retired and scrapped)
  • HMS Hermes; Centaur-class aircraft carrier converted to helicopter ASW in 1976. (Sold to India, renamed Viraat)
  • Invincible class – three ships Strike/ASW/Amphibious Assault STOVL and helicopters. These ships were originally designed as "through-deck cruisers" for the ASW role and command, but ended up also equipped with Harrier STOVL fighters for fleet defence against Soviet reconnaissance aircraft. After the Falklands War they were used as conventional, albeit light, fleet aircraft carriers in the power projection role. HMS Invincible and HMS Ark Royal retired/scrapped, HMS Illustrious converted to amphibious assault ship, then scrapped 2016.
Royal Australian Navy
  • HMAS Melbourne – one ship (Majestic class) strike/ASW (retired/scrapped) fixed-wing CATOBAR and helicopters
Royal Canadian Navy
  • HMCS Bonaventure – one ship (ex-Majestic class) ASW (retired/scrapped) fixed-wing CATOBAR and helicopters
Royal Netherlands Navy
  • HNLMS Karel Doorman – one ship (ex-Colossus class) ASW (retired/sold to Argentina as Veinticinco de Mayo, scrapped) fixed-wing CATOBAR and helicopters
Soviet/Russian Navy
  • Moskva class; ASW helicopter support ship, large rear deck landing pad and hangar for 18 helicopters (retired/scrapped) Helicopters only
  • Kiev class cruiser/carrier; guided missile cruiser/limited air defense/ASW (retired/sold) STOVL and helicopters
Spanish Navy
  • Dédalo – one ship (ex-Independence class) ASW helicopter carrier 1967–1976, STOVL carrier 1976–1989. Strike/ASW (retired/scrapped) STOVL and helicopters
  • Príncipe de Asturias one ship STOVL fighters and helicopters 1988–2013
United States Navy

See also


  1. ^ "Hansard: The Royal Navy". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 49. Parliament of United Kingdom. 28 December 1983. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
  2. ^ Sieff, Martin (12 June 2008). "Defense Focus: ASW dangers – Part 1". Retrieved 21 June 2015.
  3. ^ "U.S. Navy Retires Last Lockheed Martin S-3B Viking From Fleet Service". Lockheed Martin. 30 January 2009. Archived from the original on June 2, 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-04.
  4. ^ "Japan gets helicopter carrier". 19 March 2009. Archived from the original on March 21, 2009.
Amenities ship

An amenities ship is a ship outfitted with recreational facilities as part of a mobile naval base. Amenities ships included movie theaters and canteens staffed by mercantile crews of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary service. These ships were intended to provide a place where British Pacific Fleet personnel could relax between operations.

Escort destroyer

An escort destroyer with United States Navy hull classification symbol DDE was a destroyer (DD) modified for and assigned to a fleet escort role after World War II. These destroyers retained their original hull numbers. Later, in March 1950, the post World War II ASW destroyer (DDK) classification was merged with the DDE classification, resulting in all DDK ships being reclassified as DDE, but again retaining their original hull numbers. On 30 June 1962, the DDE classification was retired, and all DDEs were reclassified as destroyers (DD). Escort destroyers should not be confused with the cheaper, slower, less capable, and more lightly armed World War II destroyer escorts.

General stores issue ship

General stores issue ship is a type of ship used by the United States Navy during World War II and for some time afterwards.

The task of the general stores issue ship was to sail into non-combat, or rear, areas and disburse general stores, such as canned goods, toilet paper, office supplies, etc., to ships and stations.

Guard ship

A guard ship is a warship assigned as a stationary guard in a port or harbour, as opposed to a coastal patrol boat which serves its protective role at sea.

HMS Bulwark (R08)

The sixth HMS Bulwark of the Royal Navy was a 22,000 tonne Centaur-class light fleet aircraft carrier. Initially commissioned as a light aircraft carrier in 1954, the ship was converted into a commando carrier in 1958 and recommissioned as such in 1960. Bulwark remained in this capacity until 1979 when following failed efforts to sell the ship, Bulwark re-entered service as an anti-submarine warfare carrier and remained as such until being decommissioned in 1981. The ship was scrapped in 1984.

HMS Fencer (D64)

HMS Fencer (D64) was an Attacker-class escort aircraft carrier that served with the Royal Navy during the Second World War.

She was commissioned by the United States Navy as USS Croatan (CVE-14) (originally AVG-14 then ACV-14), a Bogue-class escort carrier, but was transferred on 20 February 1943 under the Lend-Lease program to the United Kingdom and commissioned by the Royal Navy as HMS Fencer the same day.

As an anti-submarine warfare carrier, Fencer escorted convoys in the North Atlantic and to

Russia. She also participated in the Operation Tungsten strike on the German battleship Tirpitz where she provided ASW cover for the strike carriers before being transferred to the Pacific as a ferry carrier in October 1944. Following World War II, she returned to the United States 21 December 1946, stricken for disposal on 28 January 1947 and sold into merchant service 30 December as Sydney.

The ship went through a series of renamings, first to Roma in 1967, then Galaxy Queen in 1970, Lady Dina in 1972 and finally Caribia in 1973 before being scrapped in Spezia in September 1975.

HMS Invincible (R05)

HMS Invincible was the Royal Navy's lead ship of the three light aircraft carriers in her class. She was launched on 3 May 1977 as the seventh ship to carry the name. She was original designated as a anti-submarine warfare carrier, but was used as an aircraft carrier during the Falklands War, when she was deployed with HMS Hermes. She took over as flagship of the British fleet when Hermes was sold to India. Invincible was also deployed in the Yugoslav Wars and the Second Gulf War (Iraq War). In 2005, she was decommissioned and eventually sold for scrap to the Turkish company Leyal Ship Recycling in February 2011.

HNLMS Karel Doorman (R81)

HNLMS Karel Doorman (R81) was a Colossus-class aircraft carrier of the Royal Netherlands Navy. Formerly the British ship HMS Venerable, she was sold to the Netherlands in 1948 as a light attack carrier. In 1960, she was involved in the decolonization conflict in Western New Guinea with Indonesia. In the mid 1960s the role was changed to anti-submarine warfare carrier and only ASW aircraft and helicopters were carried. An engine room fire took her out of service in 1968. She was sold to Argentina in 1969 and renamed ARA Veinticinco de Mayo.

Landing platform helicopter

Landing platform helicopter (LPH) is a term used by some navies to denote a type of amphibious warfare ship designed primarily to operate as a launch and recovery platform for helicopters and other VTOL aircraft. As such, they are considered a type of helicopter carrier.

Under the NATO Standardization Agreement (STANAG) document for reporting vessels, LPH is a short form designator used for "Amphibious Assault Ship, Helicopter" defined as a "large helicopter carrier" for carrying and deploying around 1,800 assault troops using its own aircraft, but for which use of landing craft is "not a principal function". For ships of this hull classification in the Royal Navy, LPH is a direct acronym for "Landing Platform Helicopter", while the United States Navy referred to its vessels within this classification as "amphibious assault ships". Regardless of the terminology, all vessels classified as an LPH possess essentially similar capabilities.

The Royal Navy also used the term "Commando Carrier", which it applied to aircraft carriers converted to helicopter only operations. The RN now operates one vessel that it classifies as an LPH, HMS Ocean. Following the British government's decision to withdraw its Harrier aircraft at the end of 2010, the former light fleet carrier HMS Illustrious also performed this role, but has now been decommissioned.

The LPH classification was used by the U.S. Navy for the amphibious assault ships of the Iwo Jima class, a converted Casablanca-class escort carrier and three converted Essex-class aircraft carriers. No ships of this classification are currently in active service with the U.S. Navy, having been replaced with multi-purpose ships classified under NATO naming conventions as landing helicopter dock or landing helicopter assault ships.

Light aircraft carrier

A light aircraft carrier, or light fleet carrier, is an aircraft carrier that is smaller than the standard carriers of a navy. The precise definition of the type varies by country; light carriers typically have a complement of aircraft only one-half to two-thirds the size of a full-sized fleet carrier. A light carrier was similar in concept to an escort carrier in most respects, however light carriers were intended for higher speeds to be deployed alongside fleet carriers, while escort carriers usually defended convoys and provided air support during amphibious operations.

List of types of naval vessels

This is a list of types of watercraft which have seen naval use.

M-11 Shtorm

The M-11 Shtorm (Russian: М-11 «Шторм»; English: Storm) is a Russian naval surface-to-air missile system. Its GRAU designation is 4K60. Its NATO reporting name is SA-N-3 Goblet. The system was first installed on the Moskva, an anti-submarine warfare carrier, which was commissioned in 1967, but the system was not officially accepted into service until 1969. Unusually for such systems, it has no land-based counterpart. It was only deployed on Russian vessels, and was never fired in anger.

Mine countermeasures vessel

A mine countermeasures vessel or MCMV is a type of naval ship designed for the location of and destruction of naval mines which combines the role of a minesweeper and minehunter in one hull. The term MCMV is also applied collectively to minehunters and minesweepers.


A minehunter is a naval vessel that seeks, detects, and destroys individual naval mines. Minesweepers, on the other hand, clear mined areas as a whole, without prior detection of mines. A vessel that combines both of these roles is known as a mine countermeasures vessel (MCMV).

Repair ship

A repair ship is a naval auxiliary ship designed to provide maintenance support to warships. Repair ships provide similar services to destroyer, submarine and seaplane tenders or depot ships, but may offer a broader range of repair capability including equipment and personnel for repair of more significant machinery failures or battle damage.

USS Boxer (CV-21)

USS Boxer (CV/CVA/CVS-21, LPH-4) was one of 24 Essex-class aircraft carriers of the United States Navy, and the fifth ship to be named for HMS Boxer. She was launched on 14 December 1944 and christened by the daughter of a US Senator from Louisiana.

Commissioned too late to see any combat in World War II, Boxer spent much of her career in the Pacific Ocean seeing 10 tours in the western Pacific. Her initial duties involved mostly training and exercises, including launching the first carrier-based jet aircraft, but demobilization prevented much activity in the late 1940s. At the outbreak of the Korean War, she was used as an aircraft transport before arriving off Korean waters as the third U.S. carrier to join the force. She supported the Inchon landings and subsequent invasion of North Korea, and was among the ships that provided support during the Chinese counteroffensive against an under-prepared and spread out United Nations (UN) force. She saw three subsequent combat tours in Korea conducting close air support and strategic bombing in support of UN ground troops fighting along the 38th parallel, as the battles lines had largely solidified by this time. She was awarded eight battle stars for her service in Korea.

After the Korean War, Boxer saw a variety of duties, including as an anti-submarine warfare carrier and an amphibious assault platform. She participated in a number of training exercises including Operation Hardtack and Operation Steel Pike, as well as several contingencies including Operation Powerpack and the Cuban Missile Crisis. In her later years, she served as a pickup ship for spacecraft during the Apollo program as well as an aircraft transport to troops during the Vietnam War.

Although she was extensively modified internally as part of her conversion to a Landing Platform Helicopter (LPH), external modifications were minor, so throughout her career Boxer retained the classic appearance of a World War II Essex-class ship. She was decommissioned on 1 December 1969 after 25 years of service and sold for scrap.

USS Philippine Sea (CV-47)

USS Philippine Sea (CV/CVA/CVS-47, AVT-11) was one of 24 Essex-class aircraft carriers of the United States Navy, and the first ship to be named for the Battle of the Philippine Sea. She was launched on 5 September 1945, after the end of World War II, and sponsored by the wife of the Governor of Kentucky.

During her career, Philippine Sea served first in the Atlantic Ocean and saw several deployments to the Mediterranean Sea as well as a trip to Antarctica as a part of Operation Highjump. Sent to the Korean Peninsula at the outbreak of the Korean War, she sent aircraft in support of United Nations ground troops, first during the Battle of Pusan Perimeter and then during the Inchon Landings and the Second Battle of Seoul. She subsequently supported UN troops during the surprise Chinese attack and the Chosin Reservoir Campaign. Philippine Sea saw three tours to Korea during the war, receiving nine battle stars for her service.

For the remainder of her service, she operated primarily out of San Diego and San Francisco, seeing several deployments to the Far East and being redesignated an anti-submarine warfare carrier. She was decommissioned on 28 December 1958 and sold for scrap in 1970.

Van Speijk-class frigate

The Van Speijk-class frigates were built for the Royal Netherlands Navy in the 1960s. They were versions of the British Leander-class frigates with Dutch radars. The British design was chosen in order to enable rapid construction in order to replace elderly destroyer escorts and take up part of the NATO patrol duties of the decommissioned anti-submarine warfare carrier Karel Doorman. The ships were modernised in the late 1970s. All six ships were sold to the Indonesian Navy in 1986–89 and are still in service (as of 2014) as the Ahmad Yani-class frigates.

Aircraft carriers
Patrol craft
Fast attack craft
Mine warfare
Command and support


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