The flight-deck cruiser was a proposed type of aircraft cruiser, warships combining features of aircraft carriers and light cruisers designed by the United States Navy during the period between World War I and World War II. Several designs were proposed for the type, but none was approved for construction. The final design was developed just before World War II, and the entry of the United States into the war saw the project come to an end.
In the 1920s, following the signing of the Washington Naval Treaty, the United States Navy converted two incomplete battlecruisers into aircraft carriers, USS Lexington and USS Saratoga. These conversions proved to be extremely expensive, and designs were sought that would provide aircraft carrying capability for the fleet at a more reasonable cost. USS Ranger, America's first purpose-built aircraft carrier, was of a smaller, more economical design than the battlecruiser conversions, however the ship sacrificed the big-gun scouting capability of the earlier ships. In an attempt to develop a ship capable of both carrying aircraft and engaging the enemy in the scouting role, the "flight-deck cruiser" concept was developed, following a series of studies proposing the conversion of cruisers under construction into carriers, all of which were rejected. In addition to providing an economical method of providing additional aircraft for the fleet, the "flight-deck cruiser" was seen to have an additional advantage; it would be considered a cruiser under the terms of the Washington Treaty, not an aircraft carrier, and thus the Navy would not be restricted in the number of ships of the type that could be built.
Several designs were proposed for a ship carrying both aircraft and a gun armament equivalent to a light cruiser's. One design, from 1930, was described as "a Brooklyn-class light cruiser forwards [and] one half of a Wasp-class aircraft carrier aft", and utilized an early version of the angled deck that would in the 1950s be adopted for use by fleet carriers. The vessel, 650 feet (200 m) in length, had a 350-foot (110 m) flight deck and hangar aft for twenty-four aircraft, while forwards three triple 6-inch (152 mm) gun turrets were mounted, the standard armament for a light cruiser of the time. A secondary dual purpose armament of eight 5-inch (127 mm) guns was also projected to be carried for defense against enemy torpedo-boats and aircraft.
In 1934, another design for a flight-deck cruiser was proposed, featuring twelve 6 in (152 mm) guns, mounted forwards and aft with a 200-foot (61 m) flight deck in between; while a 1939 revival of the concept proposed two triple turrets, fore and aft, again with an amidships flight deck.
In December 1939, a design for a much larger flight-deck cruiser, displacing 12,000 tons, was proposed, fitted with two catapults, a triple turret for 8-inch (203 mm) guns, and a 420-foot (130 m) flight deck; by January 1940 the design had been shrunk to a flight deck 390 feet (120 m) in length and two triple 6 in (152 mm) guns for main armament.
Despite the continued designs and interest in the idea, no funding was ever appropriated for the construction of a flight-deck cruiser; in addition, evaluation of the design by the Naval War College determined that even a 12,000-ton ship was too small for the concept's intended characteristics to be effectively realized, and thus the ship would be ineffective in battle. In 1940, the design was formally shelved, although provision was made for reconsideration of the concept at a future date. The entry of the United States into World War II following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, however, removed the primary justifications for the concept of a hybrid warship, as naval limitations treaties were now moot and adequate funding was now available for the construction of more conventional ships. As a result, the flight deck cruiser concept was never revisited.
Although no flight-deck cruisers were ever built by the U.S. Navy, the Soviet Union's Kiev-class aircraft carrier, developed in the 1970s, is remarkably similar to that of the original flight-deck cruiser design, featuring an angled flight deck aft with anti-ship missile launchers forwards. In addition, during the early 1980s, plans were proposed for the reactivation of the U.S. Navy's Iowa-class battleships that entailed the removal of each ship's aft turret and the installation of a flight deck for operating V/STOL aircraft; in the end a much more modest conversion, lacking the flight deck, was carried out.
The aircraft cruiser (also known as aviation cruiser or cruiser-carrier) is a warship that combines the features of the aircraft carrier and a surface warship such as a cruiser or battleship.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.Ammunition ship
An ammunition ship is an auxiliary ship specially configured to carry ammunition, usually for naval ships and aircraft. An ammunition ship′s cargo handling systems, designed with extreme safety in mind, include ammunition hoists with airlocks between decks, and mechanisms for flooding entire compartments with sea water in case of emergencies. Ammunition ships most often deliver their cargo to other ships using underway replenishment, using both connected replenishment and vertical replenishment. To a lesser extent, they transport ammunition from one shore-based weapons station to another.Coastal minesweeper
Coastal minesweeper is a term used by the United States Navy to indicate a minesweeper intended for coastal use as opposed to participating in fleet operations at sea.
Because of its small size—usually less than 100 feet in length—and construction—wood as opposed to steel—and slow speed—usually about 9 or 10 knots—the coastal minesweeper was considered too fragile and slow to operate on the high seas with the fleet.
Minesweeping, in conjunction with fleet activities, was usually relegated to the diesel-driven steel-hulled AM-type minesweepers, later to be replaced by the wood-hulled MSO-type minesweeper with aluminum engines.Coastal submarine
A coastal submarine or littoral submarine is a small, maneuverable submarine with shallow draft well suited to navigation of coastal channels and harbors. Although size is not precisely defined, coastal submarines are larger than midget submarines, but smaller than sea-going submarines designed for longer patrols on the open ocean. Space limitations aboard coastal submarines restrict fuel availability for distant travel, food availability for extended patrol duration, and number of weapons carried. Within those limitations, however, coastal submarines may be able to reach areas inaccessible to larger submarines, and be more difficult to detect.Combat stores ship
Combat stores ships, or storeships, were originally a designation given to ships in the Age of Sail and immediately afterward that navies used to stow supplies and other goods for naval purposes. Today, the United States Navy and the Royal Navy operate modern combat store ships. The Sirius and Mars classes (for the US) and the Fort Rosalie and Fort Victoria classes (for the UK) provide supplies, including frozen, chilled and dry provisions, and propulsion and aviation fuel to combatant ships that are at sea for extended periods of time. Storeships should not be confused with fast combat support ships or tenders.Destroyer tender
A destroyer tender, or destroyer depot ship in British English, is an auxiliary ship designed to provide maintenance support to a flotilla of destroyers or other small warships. The use of this class has faded from its peak in the first half of the 20th century as the roles of small combatants have evolved (in conjunction with technological advances in propulsion reliability and efficiency).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.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.Merchant raider
Merchant raiders are armed commerce raiding ships that disguise themselves as non-combatant merchant vessels.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.Minehunter
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).Motor Gun Boat
Motor Gun Boat (MGB) was a Royal Navy term for a small military vessel of the Second World War. Such boats were physically similar to Motor Torpedo Boats (MTBs), equipped instead with a mix of guns instead of torpedoes. Their small size and high speed made them difficult targets for E-boats or torpedo bombers, but they were particularly vulnerable to mines and heavy weather. The large number of guns meant the crew was relatively large, numbering as high as thirty men.Net laying ship
A net laying ship, also known as a net layer, net tender, gate ship or boom defence vessel was a type of small auxiliary ship.
A net layer's primary function was to lay and maintain steel anti-torpedo or anti-submarine nets. Nets could be laid around an individual ship at anchor, or around harbors or other anchorages. Net laying was potentially dangerous work, and net laying seamen were experts at dealing with blocks, tackles, knots and splicing. As World War II progressed, net layers were pressed into a variety of additional roles including salvage, troop and cargo transport, buoy maintenance, and service as tugboats.Ocean boarding vessel
Ocean boarding vessels (OBVs) were merchant ships taken over by the Royal Navy for the purpose of enforcing wartime blockades by intercepting and boarding foreign vessels.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.Shin'yō-class suicide motorboat
The Shinyo (震洋, Shin'yō, "Sea Quake") were Japanese suicide motorboats developed during World War II. They were part of the wider Japanese Special Attack Units program.Submarine tender
A submarine tender is a type of depot ship that supplies and supports submarines.
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