U. S. AIRCRAFT CARRIERS MODIFIED WITH ANGLED FLIGHT DECK,

ENCLOSED HURRICANE BOW AND STEAM DRIVEN CATAPULTS

(SCBs) - 1948 to 1960

 USS CORAL SEA (CV 43)

Operations Evening Light and Eagle Claw, A Sailors tale of his Tour of duty in the U.S. Navy (August 1977 to February 1983)

 

A Sailors tale of his Tour of duty in the U.S. Navy (August 1977 to February 1983) Operation Evening Light and Eagle Claw - 24 April 1980

 

Book - ISBN NO.

978-1-4276-0454-5

EBook - ISBN NO.

978-1-329-15473-5

 

Operations Evening Light and Eagle Claw (24 April 1980) Iran and Air Arm History (1941 to Present)

 

Operations Evening Light and Eagle Claw (24 April 1980) Iran and Air Arm History (1941 to 1980)

 

Book ISBN NO.

xxxxxxxxxxxxx

EBook ISBN NO.

978-1-329-19945-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

U. S. AIRCRAFT CARRIERS MODIFIED WITH ANGLED FLIGHT DECK,

ENCLOSED HURRICANE BOW AND STEAM DRIVEN CATAPULTS

(SCBs) - 1948 to 1960

 

 

SCB 110, SCB 110A, SCB 101 Modernization

 

Midway class – Ref. 1131

 

“The Midway class aircraft carrier was one of the longest lived carrier designs in history. First commissioned in late 1945, the lead ship of the class, USS Midway was not decommissioned until 1992, shortly after seeing service in the Gulf War.

 

The CVB-41 class vessels (then unnamed) were originally conceived in 1940 as a design study to determine the effect of including an armored flight deck on a carrier the size of the Essex class. The resulting calculations showed that the effect would be disastrous for air group size. The resulting ship would have a maximum air group of 45, compared to 90–100 for the standard Essex class fleet carriers. As a result, the concept went to finding a larger carrier which could support both deck armor and a sufficiently large air group. Unlike the Royal Navy's aircraft carriers, for which the armored deck was part of the ship structure, the Midway class retained their "strength deck" at the hangar deck level and the armored flight deck was part of the superstructure. The weight-savings needed to armor the flight deck was acquired by removing a planned cruiser-caliber battery of 8-inch (203 mm) guns and reducing the 5-inch antiaircraft battery from dual to single mounts. They would be the last USN carriers to be so designed; the titanic size of the Forrestal class supercarriers would require the strength deck to be located at flight deck level.

 

The resulting carriers were very large, with the ability to accommodate more planes than any other carrier in the U.S. fleet (30–40 more aircraft than the Essex class). In their original configuration, the Midway class ships had an air wing of almost 130 aircraft. Unfortunately, it was soon realized that so many planes was beyond the effective command and control ability of one ship. While the resulting ships featured excellent protection and unprecedented air wing size, they also had several undesirable characteristics. Internally, the ships were very cramped and crowded. Freeboard was unusually low for such large carriers. In heavy seas, they shipped large amounts of water (only partially mitigated by the fitting of a hurricane bow during the SCB-110/110A upgrades) and corkscrewed in a manner that hampered landing operations. None of the class went on war cruises during the Korean War. They were mainly deployed to the Atlantic and Mediterranean.

 

During the 1950s, all three ships underwent the SCB-110 modernization program, which added angled decks, steam catapults, mirror landing systems, and other modifications that allowed them to operate a new breed of large, heavy naval jets” (Ref. 1131).

 

SCB 110A - Modifications and conversion include installation of three C-11-1 steam driven catapults, which were designed to accommodate the newer and heavier jet aircraft; angled deck, enclosed hurricane bow, Mk-7-Mod 2 arresting gear identical to that installed in the Forrestal-class carriers, relocation of the elevators and three new deck-edge elevators and new weapons elevators. In addition, electronics package was installed (Midway Class Carriers).

 

Midway class large fleet aircraft carriers - Ref. 1 and 1A and 1134


Displacement: 45,000 tons originally - 62,000 tons full load
Dimensions: 900 x 113 x 32.75 feet/274.3 x 34.4 x 10 meters
Extreme Dimensions: 968 x 136 x 32.75 feet/295 x 41.5 x 10 meters
Propulsion: Steam turbines, 12 565 psi boilers, four geared steam turbines and four shafts,

212,000 shaft horsepower
Flight Deck Width: 238 feet

Speed: 30-plus knots

Crew: 3,583 (as planned in 1943, was over 4000 by completion)
Armor: 3.5 inch flight deck, 7.6 inch belt
Armament: 18 single 5/54, 21 dual 40 mm AA, 28 single 20 mm AA (as planned)
Aircraft: Approximately 65 - 137 at various times

Complement: 2,533 ship's company; 2,239 in air wing

 

Concept/Program: These ships were a new, much larger design intended to correct certain problems in the Essex class design. They had armored flight decks, requiring a much larger hull and lower freeboard, to reduce top weight. They also carried a very heavy AA battery of 5/54 weapons. The armor requirement was originally meant to counter 8" cruiser gunfire, but by the time the ships were laid down the focus had shifted to defending against aircraft attack. The ships entered service soon after WWII. In their early years they were the only ships capable of operating nuclear strike aircraft.

 

Design: An all-new design. These ships were very wet, very crowded and quite complex; these problems were never solved. The design made them difficult and expensive to modernize or upgrade. In later years these ships were limited by low freeboard, severe crowding of crew and equipment, low hangar clearances, poor sea keeping and extreme age; they were unable to operate the latest and largest aircraft. Overall they must be considered to be a less than satisfactory design, but they had long service lives because of the urgent need for large carriers.

 

Variations: Configurations varied as completed; only Midway was completed to the original design. Roosevelt and especially Coral Sea carried fewer guns at completion. There were major differences following the 1950's reconstructions.

 

Modifications: All ships had their gun batteries gradually reduced over time. All ships were upgraded in 1947-48 with strengthened flight decks, 10 dual 3/50 AA fitted in place of 40 mm guns, facilities for nuclear weapons, and other improvements. Continual updating of electronics outfit.

 

Modernization: Underwent major reconstructions during the 1950's, but no two ships were reconstructed to the same standard. These rebuilds were the equivalent of the SCB 27C/125 reconstructions in the Essex class.

 

SCB 110: (Midway & Roosevelt) First reconstruction applied to this class, generally equivalent to the SCB 27C/125 combination. Additions included an angled deck, new catapults and arresting gear and a new electronics outfit; the gun battery was reduced and general improvements were carried out. Displacement was approximately 63,500 tons.

 

SCB 110A: (Coral Sea) A more extensive version of the SCB 110 applied to the other ships of the class. Aviation features and electronics were further improved, and gun battery was further reduced.

 

SCB 101: (Midway) A second reconstruction meant to be applied to all ships, to upgrade them beyond the SCB 110/110A configuration. This reconstruction included a longer flight deck, new catapults, and general all-around improvements. Due to the cost of this work, only one ship was upgraded under this program.

 

After SCB 110A Coral Sea was the most capable of the ships, but Midway surpassed her with the SCB 101 reconstruction. In addition to the SCB reconstructions, each ship received at least one major overhaul/upgrade, the details of which varied.

 

Classification: Initially classified as CV, but changed to CVB prior to completion, and CVA postwar. Returned to CV classification in 1975 when modified to operate ASW aircraft.

 

Operational: Saw extensive service as tactical and strategic platforms. Operational lives continually extended due to force level build-ups and lack of replacements.

 

Prior to decommission:

 

Armament: Sea Sparrow missiles; 3 Phalanx CIWS 20mm mounts

Combat Systems: SPS-48C 3-D Air Search Radar;

SPS-49 Air Search Radar and SPS-65

Navigation Radar: 2 Mk115 Fire Control; WLR- 1 ESMWLR-10; and ESMWLR-11 ESM

 

Departure from Service/Disposal: Roosevelt was in poor condition when she was discarded in 1977 (Others remained in service long pasts their intended retirement dates. Coral Sea replaced and retired in 1990; Midway retired without replacement in 1992, due to force reductions.).

 

U.S. AIRCRAFT CARRIERS MODIFIED WITH ANGLED FLIGHT DECK, ENCLOSED HURRICANE BOW AND STEAM DRIVEN CATAPULTS

 

AIRCRAFT  CARRIER

SCB-27A

SCB-27C

SCB-125

SCB-125A

SCB 110

110A/101

ninth Wasp (CVA-18), former CV-18 & Oriskany

 

SCB-27A while in reserve at New York Naval Shipyard & SCB-125 at San Francisco Navy Yard

*05/49 to

28/09/51

Recomm. 28/09/51

N/A

*05/55 to 01/12/55

N/A

N/A

seventh Essex (CVA-9), former CV-9

 

SCB-27A & SCB-125 while in reserve at Bremerton Navy Yard

*02/49 to 01//02/51

Recomm. 01//02/51

N/A

07/55 to 03/01/56

N/A

N/A

second Lake Champlain (CVA-39), former CV-39

 

SCB-27A while decommissioned at Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. & SCB 125 angled deck modernization cancelled

*08/50 to 19/09/52

Recomm. 19/09/52

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Bennington (CVA-20), former CV-20

 

SCB-27A while in reserve & SCB-125 at New York Naval Shipyard

30/10/50 to 30/11/51

Recomm. 13/11/52

N/A

12/06/54 to 19/03/55 

N/A

N/A

third Kearsarge (CVA-33), former CV-33

 

SCB 27A while decommissioned & SCB-125 at Bremerton Navy Yard

16/06/50 to 15/02/52 

Decomm. 16/06/50

Recomm. 15/02/52

N/A

*07/56 to 31/01/57

Recomm. 31/01/57

 

 

N/A

N/A

third Leyte (CVA-32), former CV-32

 

Replaced in SCB 27 program by CV 39; received no major upgrades

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

eighth Hornet (CVA-12), former CV-12 & Kearsarge

 

SCB-27A at New York Naval Shipyard while in reserve & SCB-125 at Bremerton Navy Yard

12/05/51 to 11/09/53

Recomm. 11/09/53

N/A

28/01/56 to 03/08/56

N/A

N/A

second Randolph (CVA-15), former CV-15

 

SCB 27A at Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. while in reserve & SCB-125 at Norfolk Navy Yard

*01/52 to 01/07/53

Recomm. 01/07/53

N/A

18/06/55 to *01/56

N/A

N/A

Coral Sea (CVA-43), former CVB-43 & CV-42

 

Underwent short refit 9/1955 to 2/1956. SCB 110A reconstruction at Bremerton Navy Yard 3/1957, completed and recommissioned 25 Jan 1960. Second modernization (SCB 101) cancelled

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

16/04/57 to 25/01/60 Decomm.

24/04/57

Recomm.

25/01/60

fourth Ticonderoga (CVA-14), former CV-14 & Hancock

 

SCB 27C at New York Naval Shipyard while in reserve & SCB-125 at Norfolk Navy Yard

N/A

01/04/52 to 11/09/54

Recomm. 2nd 11/09/54

*08/56 to 01/04/57

N/A

N/A

fourth Intrepid (CVA-11), former CV-11

 

SCB-27C at Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. while in reserve & SCB-125 at New York Naval Shipyard

N/A

09/04/52 to 15/10/54

Recomm. 15/10/54

29/09/56 to  02/05/57

N/A

N/A

fourth Yorktown (CVA-10), former CV-10 & Bon Homme Richard

 

SCB 27A while in reserve & SCB-125 at Bremerton Navy Yard

*06/52 to 02//01/53

Recomm. 02//01/53

N/A

21/03/55 to 14/10/55

N/A

N/A

second Antietam (CVA-36), former CV-36

 

Decommissioned to reserve 21 June 1949. Recommissioned for Korean War service 17 Jan 1951 without significant modifications.

N/A

17 Jan 1951

09/52 to 19/12/52

N/A

N/A

Returned home in April and rejoined the Pacific Reserve Fleet briefly. She was reactivated later that summer and, in August, transited the Panama Canal to join the Atlantic Fleet. In September, the warship entered the New York Naval Shipyard for major alterations that included the installation of an flight deck to increase her jet aircraft launching capability (SCB-27C). In December 1952, Antietam emerged from the yard as America's first experimental angled deck (prototype SCB 125) (09/52 to 19/12/52)

Shangri-la (CVA-38), former CV-38

 

SCB-27C & SCB-125 while in reserve at Bremerton Navy Yard

N/A

14/11/52 to 10/01/55 Recomm. 01/02/55

14/11/52 to 10/01/55

N/A

N/A

second Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31), former CV-31

SCB 27C & SCB-125 while in reserve at San Francisco Navy Yard

 

15/05/53 to 31/10/55

Recomm. 2nd 06/09/55

 

15/05/53 to 31/10/55

Recomm. 2nd 06/09/55

N/A

N/A

fifth Lexington (CVA-16), former CV-16 & Cabot

 

SCB 27C & SCB-125 at Bremerton Navy Yard while in reserve

N/A

01/09/53 to /01/09/55

01/09/53 to 01/09/55

Recomm. 01/09/55

N/A

N/A

Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42), former (CVB-42) & Coral Sea (CVB-42)

SCB 110 while decommissioned at Bremerton Navy Yard

Second rebuild (SCB 101) cancelled due to cost. Received austere overhaul in 1968 to correct some of the most serious deficiencies

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

23/04/54 to 05/04/56 Decomm. 23/04/54 Recomm. 26/04/56

 

Midway (CVA-41), former CVB-41 - SCB 110/ SCB 101 - Final renovation 01/02/70 to 15/06/70

 

 

N/A

N/A

110

03/08/55 to 30/09/57

Decomm.

15/10/55

Recomm.

30/09/57

101

11/02/66 to 31/01//70

Decomm.

15/02/66

Recomm. 31/01/70

 

*Oriskany (CVA-34), former CV-34 - SCB-125A while still under construction, although construction suspended for a while (SCB 125 angled deck modernization, SCB 27C catapult retrofit & aluminum flight deck) at San Francisco Navy Yard.

*08/47 to 25/09/50 Comm.

01/10/56 to 29/05/59

Decomm. 02/01/57

Recomm.

29/05/59

N/A

01/10/56 to 07/03/59

Decomm.

02/01/57

Recomm. 07/03/59

N/A

USS Midway (CVA-41) remained with the 7th Fleet until 28 June 1955 when she sailed for overhaul at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Here, she was out of commission until 30 September 1957, while she was modernized and such new innovations as an enclosed bow and an angled flight deck were installed” (Ref. 1-Midway).

USS Midway (CV-41), former CVA– 41 & CVB-41 decommissioned on 11 April 1992.

 “USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) returned to Norfolk, Va. on 11 February 1957. She cleared that port on 26 February and visited Santos, Brazil; Valparaiso, Chile; an d Balboa, C.Z., before arriving at Bremerton, Wash., on 15 April 1990, Coral Sea was decommissioned for conversion 24 May 1957, and upon completion was recommissioned on 25 January 1960 to rejoin the Fleet” (Ref. 1-Coral Sea).

USS Coral Sea (CV-43), former CVA-43, CVB-43 & CV-42 decommissioned on 26 April 1990 at NORFOLK, VA., NAVY SHIPYARD, PIER 12.

The Midway (CV-41), former CVB-41, the 41st aircraft carrier of the United States Navy by Hull No. and in order of commission, the 35th, commissioning on 10 September 1945, completed SCB-101 and recommissioned a second time at 1100U on 31 January 1970 at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, San Francisco Bay. The recommissioning ceremony took place at piers 15 and 16 at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, San Francisco, California on a chilly but clear and sunny day. The ceremony was conducted on the hangar deck and was attended by an overflow crowd.  Captain Eugene J. CARROLL, Jr. assumed command of Midway and reported for duty to Commander Carrier Division Seven, Rear Admiral Ray ISAMAN. Midway was placed in commission by Rear Admiral Leo MC CUDDIN, Commandant of the Twelfth Naval District. The principal speaker at the commissioning was Vice Admiral Allen SHINN, Commander Naval Air Force, U, S. Pacific Fleet. Also in attendance were several former USS Midway Commanding Officers. Following the ceremony Captain CARROLL cut the 300 pound commissioning cake and served the first piece to the youngest sailor aboard, 17 year old Fireman James HEWITT, of Livermore, California. The next piece of cake was served by Admiral SHINN to the senior enlisted man aboard, AFCM Donald ZENTZ, a 27 year man. The ship was open the remainder of the day and 1 February for tours, sight seeing and light refreshments. In all approximately 18,000 visitors toured the ship on these two days. Also on 1 February the first religious service, Catholic Mass, was celebrated on Midway. With Midway now a commissioned ship, the completion of unfinished work took on a greater urgency and was undertaken with renewed vigor by ship’s force and shipyard personnel. A reassuring routine event occurred amidst the hectic construction activity when the ship's Dental Department commenced routine patient treatment on 2 February 1970. Midway was at once one of the oldest and newest carriers in the fleet accomplishing, the most extensive modernization ever completed on a naval vessel from 11 February 1966 to 31 January 1970, decommissioning on 15 February 1966. For nearly four (4) years Midway was cut, torn, cannibalized, soldered, insulated, ventilated, welded, enlarged, strengthened, scaffolded, painted, reamed, extruded, ridiculed, cursed, praised, studied, and was the ugly duckling of the Hunters Point Shipyard. She became many things to many people; a monumental undertaking for the shipyard commander, a source of employment for thousands of shipyard personnel, a source of income for civilian contractors, a source of concern for appropriation committees, an unsurpassed challenge for ship design specialists, background scenery in the movie "Bullitt" and an uncharted navigational reference point for commercial airline pilots flying into bay area airports. Her increased capabilities included the enlargement of her flight deck from 2.82 acres to 4.02 acres plus the addition of three new deck-edge elevators and the new catapults on the bow and three arresting gear engines and one barricade were installed and re-arranged to accommodate a change of 12 degrees to the angle deck. The smaller waist catapult was removed since it was ineffective in launching the now heavier aircraft. Modern electronic systems were installed, central chilled water air conditioning system replaced hundreds of individual units, and Midway became the first ship to have the aviation fueling system completely converted from aviation gas to JP-5.

 

Midway also sorted the largest, most complex avionics shop in the fleet, the computerized Naval Tactical Data System and many improvements to habitability. During modernization Midway’s flight deck was increased by about 1.25 acres, the waist catapult was removed and two high performance C-13 catapults were installed on the bow, the Navy Tactical Data System was installed, 3 new heavy duty deck edge elevators were added, aircraft maintenance facilities improved, air-conditioning was installed throughout most of the ship, crew living spaces were improved and nearly every system on board was re-done. The basic hull design and the engineering plant are about all that now remain of the "pre-modernization" Midway. The year 1970 was one of transition, training and preparation for Midway and her 2500 man crew. There was much to be learned and much to improve upon to home man and machine into an effective fighting unit, capable of assuming her place as an integral part of the Pacific Fleet. The effort having encountered delays and massive cost overruns. In addition, the modifications significantly reduced the ship’s sea-keeping capabilities and ability to conduct air operations in rough seas. Additional modifications partially corrected these problems. Midway’s cost overruns and delays caused cancellation of a similar modernization for USS Coral Sea (CV-43)” (Ref. 1180A, 1180B, 1181N & 1183).

 

USS Midway (CVA-41) delays caused partially by the simultaneous construction of USS Horne (DLG/CG-30), modernization of USS Chicago (CA-29), and unscheduled repairs to the fire-damaged USS Oriskany (CVA-34) drove the initial modernization estimate of 87 million dollars to 202 million dollars” (Ref. 1181N).

 

USS Midway (CVA-41) gained 13,000 tons to her weight as compared to her original full load figure and SCB-101 had been concluded with the exception of her final renovation from 1 February to 15 June 1970” (Ref. 1176A, 1176G, 1176I & 1181N).

 

USS Midway (CV-41) underwent her final renovation before going to her new forward deployed home from 1 February to 15 June 1970, conducting SCB-101 at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, San Francisco Bay from 11 February 1966 to 31 January 1970 and recommissioned a second time on 31 January 1970, with Captain Eugene J. Carroll Jr. assuming command at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. Midway departed Naval Air Station, Alameda, California and entered San Francisco Bay Naval Shipyard on 11 February 1966 for extensive modernization” (Ref. 1180A, 1180B, 1181N, 1181O & 1183).

“Construction of USS Oriskany (CVA-34), former CV-34) was suspended on 22 August 1948 when 85% complete pending redesign to allow operation of modern aircraft. Torn down to 60% complete, rebuilt and commissioned on 25 September 1950 in SCB 27A configuration as prototype for class rebuild. Oriskany CVA-34 returned to San Francisco on 13 June 1956 and entered the shipyard for overhaul, on 1 October 1956. She decommissioned there on 2 January 1957 for modernization work that included a new aluminum angled flight deck and enclosed hurricane bow (SCB-125). New, powerful steam catapults replaced hydraulic with steam catapults installed by the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Wash. Oriskany recommissioned at the San Francisco Naval Shipyard, on 7 March 1959. Seriously damaged by fire on 26 October 1966 off Vietnam; forward third of hangar deck level gutted” (Ref. 1-Oriskany).

All dates verified by the U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier List, reference 1, U.S. Navy Historical Center, The Essex Class Aircraft Carriers and World Aircraft Carriers List (www.hazegray.org), with the exception that U.S. Navy Historical Center dates that differed from hazegray and others were referenced. There is no consistency in dates reported by Go Navy (http://www.gonavy.jp/CVf.html) or hazegray, while the latter reference was compiled in 2001and reference 1 was up dated in 2009. Go Navy’s accounting of SCB’ are not all the same as reference 1028, 1130 or hazegray. Recommissioned dates of hazegray are not all correct and dates of overhauls are themselves different with in complete dates of overhauls reported by the U.S. Navy. Therefore SCB’s overhauls duration are based on recommission dates while most carriers were decommissioned in reserve. Go Navy overhaul dates were referenced and verified with dates disclosed by the U.S. Navy when possible. Go Navy dates of overhauls and recommission are not all correct. Having worked on this project for years and after reviewing reference 1 2009 up dated history of U.S. Aircraft Carriers, its my contention that the Navy changed several dates of recommission and overhaul dates. Antietam (CVA-36), former CV-36 for example has no reported recommisioned date in 1952 but the history summary disclosed by the U.S. Navy of CV-36 reports the ship was reactivated on 6 December 1950, recommissioned on 17 January 1951, inactivated in April 1952 and reactivated in the summer of 1952, followed by overhaul at New York Naval Shipyard from September to December 1952. High lighted carriers in this chart are from hazegray, while the carriers high lighted in the content that follows this chart are from the U.S. Navy Historical Center, illustrating the difference in reported dates. The Essex Class Aircraft Carriers compilation of carriers that underwent SCB’s is upon review of all aforementioned references the most accurate and the author gives a detailed illustration of Essex Class Aircraft Carriers. The U.S. Navy Historical Center references 1028 and 1130 only disclose the year of a carriers SCB.

SCB-27 modernization – Modifications and conversion to an attack aircraft carrier - Ref. 1027

SCB-27 modernization of Essex/Ticonderoga class aircraft carriers, (CV 9-12, 14-16, 18-20, 31, 33-34, 38-39) (work completed between 1950 and 1955) – Ref. 1028

SCB-125A modernization Modifications and conversion that included a new angled flight deck and enclosed hurricane bowRef. 1029

SCB-125 modernization of Essex/Ticonderoga class aircraft carriers, (CVA/CVS 9-12, 14-16, 18-20, 31, 33-34, & 38) - Modifications and conversion that included a hurricane bow and the installation of an angled flight deck, which permits the simultaneous launching, and recovery of aircraft. (work completed between 1955 and 1959) – Ref. 1130

Midway class aircraft carrier – Ref. 1131

Evolution of the Essex Class Aircraft Carriers – Ref. 1132

World Aircraft Carriers List: US Fleet Carriers, WWII Era – Ref. 1133

The Essex Class Aircraft Carriers – Ref. 1135

SCB-27 modernization of Essex/Ticonderoga class aircraft carriers, (CV 9-12, 14-16, 18-20, 31, 33-34, 38-39) (work completed between 1950 and 1955) – Ref. 1028

SCB-27C – Modifications and conversion that included the installation of an flight deck to increase her jet aircraft launching capability.

SCB 110A – Modifications and conversion include installation of three C-11-1 steam driven catapults, which were designed to accommodate the newer and heavier jet aircraft; angled deck, enclosed hurricane bow, Mk-7-Mod 2 arresting gear identical to that installed in the Forrestal-class carriers, relocation of the elevators and three new deck-edge elevators and new weapons elevators. In addition, electronics package was installed (Midway Class Carriers)

The United States Navy Yard, New York - better known as the Brooklyn Navy Yard or the New York Naval Shipyard (NYNSY) and Bremerton is home to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and the Bremerton Annex of Naval Base Kitsap. Also referred to as the Bremerton Navy Yard and or Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Washington in the early years. The San Francisco Naval Shipyard was a United States Navy shipyard in San Francisco, California, located on 638 acres (2.6 km²) of waterfront at Hunters Point in the southeast corner of the city. Originally, Hunters Point was a commercial shipyard established in 1870, consisting of two graving docks purchased and upbuilt in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century by the Union Iron Works company, later owned by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Company and named Hunters Point Drydocks, located at Potrero Point. Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding Newport News (NGSB-NN), formerly called Northrop Grumman Newport News (NGNN) or Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company (NNS&DD or simply NNS), was the largest privately-owned shipyard in the United States prior to being purchased by Northrop Grumman in 2001. NGSB-NN is one of two shipyards that produce and service all types of nuclear powered submarines (the other is the Electric Boat Corporation), and at present is the only shipyard that can build Ford-class supercarriers. NGSB-NN is also home to the largest crane in the western hemisphere. NGSB-NN is located in Newport News, Virginia, and often participates in projects with the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Virginia, also located adjacent to Hampton Roads. The shipyard is a major employer not only for the lower Virginia Peninsula, but also portions of Hampton Roads south of the James River and the harbor, portions of the Middle Peninsula region, and even some northeastern counties of North Carolina.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newport_News_Shipbuilding

 

SCB-27 Modernization Ref. 1027

 

SCB-27, or "27-Charlie" was the United States Navy designation for a series of upgrades to the Essex class aircraft carriers (both the short-hull and long-hull (Ticonderoga) versions), conducted between 1947 and 1955. These upgrades were intended to allow the World War II-era carriers to operate jet aircraft” (Ref. 1027).

 

SCB-27 modernization of Essex/Ticonderoga class aircraft carriers, (CV 9-12, 14-16, 18-20, 31, 33-34, 38-39) (work completed between 1950 and 1955) – Ref. 1028

 

“Between 1947 and 1955, fifteen Essex and Ticonderoga class aircraft carriers were thoroughly modernized. The impending arrival of high-performance jet aircraft and nuclear-armed heavy attack bombers had rendered these still rather new ships almost incapable of executing their most vital missions, while the post-World War II financial climate precluded building replacements. Accordingly, a reconstruction program began in Fiscal Year 1948, with the incomplete Oriskany as the prototype. Two more ships were converted the next year, three in FY 1950 and then, with the the Cold War in full bloom, nine more Fiscal Years 1951 to 1953.

 

Designated SCB-27, the modernization was very extensive, requiring some two years for each carrier. To handle much heavier, faster aircraft, flight deck structure was massively reinforced. Stronger elevators, much more powerful catapults, and new arresting gear was installed. The original four twin 5"/38 gun mounts were removed. The new five-inch gun battery consisted of eight weapons, two on each quarter beside the flight deck. Twin 3"/50 gun mounts replaced the 40mm guns, offering much greater effectiveness through the use of proximity-fuzzed ammunition.

 

A distinctive new feature was a taller, shorter island. To better protect aircrews, ready rooms were moved to below the armored hangar deck, with a large escalator on the starboard side amidships to move airmen up to the flight deck. Internally, aviation gasoline storage was increased by nearly half and its pumping capacity enhanced. Also improved were electrical generating power, fire protection, and weapons stowage and handling facilities. All this added considerable weight: displacement increased by some twenty percent. Blisters were fitted to the hull sides to compensate, widening waterline beam by eight to ten feet. The ships also sat lower in the water, and maximum speed was slightly diminished.

 

The modernized ships came in two flavors, the first nine (SCB-27A) having a pair of H 8 hydraulic catapults, the most powerful available in the late '40s. The final six received the SCB-27C update, with much more potent steam catapults, one of two early 1950s British developments that greatly improved aircraft carrier potential. These six were somewhat heavier, and wider, than their sisters.

 

While still in the shipyards, three of the SCB-27Cs were further modified under the SCB-125 project, receiving the second British concept, the angled flight deck, plus an enclosed "hurricane bow" and other improvements. These features were so valuable that they were soon back-fitted to all but one (Lake Champlain) of the other SCB-27 ships. The fourteen fully modernized units were the "journeymen" aviation ships of the late 1950s and 1960s, providing the Navy with much of its attack aircraft carrier (CVA) force and, ultimately, all its anti-submarine warfare support aircraft carriers (CVS)” (Ref. 1028).

 

“The SCB-27 modernization was very extensive, requiring some two years for each carrier. To handle the much heavier, faster aircraft of the early jet-era, the flight deck structure was significantly reinforced, able to support aircraft weighing up to 52,000 pounds (23,587 kg), namely the North American AJ Savage. Stronger elevators, much more powerful catapults, and new Mk 5 arresting gear was installed. The aft elevator was relocated from the center of the flight deck to the port deck edge. The original four twin 5"/38 gun mounts were removed, clearing the flight deck of guns. The new five-inch gun battery consisted of eight weapons, two on each quarter beside the flight deck. Twin 3"/50 gun mounts replaced the 40mm guns, offering much greater effectiveness through the use of proximity fuzed ammunition” (Ref. 1027).

 

“The island was completely redesigned, made taller, but shorter in overall length with the removal of its gun mounts. In addition, the boiler uptakes were rebuilt and angled aft to accommodate a single radar and communications mast atop the island. To better protect aircrews, ready rooms were moved from the gallery deck to below the armored hangar deck, with a large escalator on the starboard side amidships to move flight crews up to the flight deck. Internally, aviation fuel capacity was increased to 300,000 US gallons (1,135,624 L) (a 50% increase) and its pumping capacity enhanced to 50 US gallons (189.3 L) per minute” (Ref. 1126 & 1027).

 

Fire fighting capabilities were enhanced through the addition of two emergency fire and splinter bulkheads to the hangar deck, a fog/foam firefighting system, improved water curtains and a cupronickel fire main. Also improved were electrical generating power, and weapons stowage and handling facilities. All this added considerable weight: displacement increased by some twenty percent. Blisters were fitted to the hull sides to compensate, widening waterline beam by eight to ten feet. The ships also sat lower in the water, and maximum speed was slightly reduced, to 31 knots” (Ref. 1027).

 

Essex/Ticonderoga class characteristics, as modified under project SCB-27A: - Ref. 1028

 

·  Displacement: 40,600 tons (full load)

·  Dimensions: 898' (length overall); 101' 4" (hull); 151' 11" (over flight deck and projections)

·  Propulsion: 150,000 horsepower, steam turbines, four propellers, 31.7 knot maximum speed

·  Aircraft ("ultimate" planned 1958 complement): 72 planes, including 24 15,000 pound interceptors, 24 30,000 pound escort fighters and 24 30,000 pound attack bombers. The actual aircraft complement carried was quite different.

·  Gun Armament: eight 5"/38 guns in single mountings plus fourteen twin 3"/50 gun mounts. From the mid-1950s onward, gun armament was rapidly reduced.

 

SCB-27A - The first Essex class modernization program was carried out on Essex (CV-9), Yorktown (CV-10), Hornet (CV-12), Randolph (CV-15), Wasp (CV-18), Bennington (CV-20), Kearsarge (CV-33) and Lake Champlain (CV-39) between 1948 and 1953. Oriskany (CV-34) was completed to SCB-27A standard in 1950. The principal features of SCB-27A included:

 

1. Removal of the side belt armor and replacing it with a hull blister which increased the beam at the waterline to 101 feet.

2. Removal of the island twin 5-inch turrets and relocation of the new open 5-inch mounts to the starboard side along the edge of the flight deck.

3. Modifications to the Island which replaced the tripod mast with a single pole mast and redesigned smokestack.

4. Strengthening the flight deck in the landing area.

5. Installation of larger and more powerful elevators.

6. Replacement of the H-4-1 Hydraulic catapults with H-8 Hydraulic catapults capable of launching aircraft up to 40,000 pounds gross weight.

7. More powerful bomb and ammunition elevators.

8. Equipment for the handling of Jet aircraft, including jet blast deflectors behind the catapults.

9. Increased aviation fuel capacity.

10. Installation of higher capacity aircraft cranes.

11. Three ready rooms relocated below the hanger deck.

12. Installation of an escalator along the starboard side of the island for aircrew to reach the flight deck.

13. Division of the hanger deck space by two fireproof steel doors” (Ref. 1135).

 

SCB-27C Modernization

 

“The SCB-27C program was a further refinement of the SCB-27A program. The SCB-27C ships fall into two groups:

The first Group (
Intrepid (CV-11), Ticonderoga (CV-14), and Hancock (CV-19)) received the basic SCB-27C modifications between 1951 and 1954.

The second group (
Lexington (CVA-16), Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31), and Shangri-La (CVA-38)) received an advanced SCB-27C that included most of the features of the later SCB-125 program. The principal features of the basic SCB-27C that differed from the SCB-27A included:

 

1. A revised hull blister which increased the waterline beam to 103 feet.

2. Installation of two C-11 steam catapults. Strengthening the flight deck.

3. Replacement of the number three elevator with a starboard side deck edge unit (this required moving the starboard side open 5-inch guns further aft to a position opposite the port side guns)

4. Installation of a stronger arresting gear system” (Ref. 1135).

 

Modification sub-types

 

“The two sub-types of SCB-27 modifications were primarily a result of changes in catapult technology in the early-1950s. SCB-27A vessels utilized a pair of H 8 slotted-tube hydraulic catapults, while the later SCB-27C vessels were fitted with a pair of C 11 steam catapults, a British innovation. To accommodate the catapult machinery, the SCB-27C vessels were slightly wider abeam and heavier than their SCB-27A sisters. Additionally, the SBC-27C carriers were equipped with jet blast deflectors, deck cooling, fuel blending facilities, emergency recovery barrier and storage and handling for nuclear weapons, which was not included in all of the SCB-27A carriers. On SCB-27C the new port deck edge elevator was located further aft than on SCB-27A ships” (Ref. 1126 & 1027).

 

USS Oriskany (CV-34), laid-up incomplete at the conclusion of World War II, served as the prototype and was re-ordered to the SCB-27A standard. All of the SCB-27 modernized Essex carriers, save USS Lake Champlain (CV-39), were further modified, under the SCB-125 modernization program” (Ref. 1027).

 

Essex/Ticonderoga class Aircraft Carriers that underwent SCB-27A and SCB-27C:

 

·Oriskany (CV-34). Built by the New York Naval Shipyard. Reordered to the SCB-27A design.

·Essex (CV-9). Reconstructed to SCB-27A design by the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

·Wasp (CV-18). Reconstructed to SCB-27A design by the New York Naval Shipyard.

·Kearsarge (CV-33). Reconstructed to SCB-27A design by the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

·Lake Champlain (CV-39). Reconstructed to SCB-27A design by the Norfolk Naval Shipyard.

·Bennington (CV-20). Reconstructed to SCB-27A design by the New York Naval Shipyard.

·Yorktown (CV-10). Reconstructed to SCB-27A design by the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

·Randolph (CV-15). Reconstructed to SCB-27A design by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co.

·Hornet (CV-12). Reconstructed to SCB-27A design by the New York Naval Shipyard.

·Hancock (CV-19). Reconstructed to SCB-27C design by the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

·Intrepid (CV-11). Reconstructed to SCB-27C design by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co.

·Ticonderoga (CV-14). Reconstructed to SCB-27C design by the New York Naval Shipyard.

 

SCB-125A Modernization – Ref. 1029

 

SCB-125 was the United States Navy designation for a series of upgrades to the Essex class of aircraft carriers (both short-hull and long-hull (Ticonderoga-sub-class)), conducted between 1954 and 1959. These upgrades included the addition of an angled flight deck and other enhancements aimed at improving flight operations and seakeeping.

 

The SCB-125 upgrade program was first applied to the final three Essex-class carriers to undergo the SCB-27C modernization while they were still in the midst of their original refit.

 

Despite the drastic reconstruction of the carriers, the original SCB-27A vessels, which were fitted with a pair of H 8 hydraulic catapults, were not upgraded with the C 11 steam catapults fitted to their SCB-27C sister ships due to machinery space limitations.

 

USS Oriskany (CV-34), laid-up incomplete at the conclusion of World War II, served as the prototype and was re-ordered to the SCB-27A standard. All of the SCB-27 modernized Essex carriers, save USS Lake Champlain (CV-39), were further modified, under the SCB-125 modernization program” (Ref. 1029).

 

SCB-125 modernization of Essex/Ticonderoga class aircraft carriers, (CVA/CVS 9-12, 14-16, 18-20, 31, 33-34, & 38) (work completed between 1955 and 1959) – Ref. 1130

 

“Between 1954 and 1959, fourteen modernized Essex and Ticonderoga class aircraft carriers of the SCB-27 type were further updated under the SCB-125 program. This work, incorporating new features not known or accepted when the earlier scheme was originated in the later 1940s, greatly enhanced sea keeping and high-performance aircraft operations. Perhaps the most significant new attribute was the British-developed "angled flight deck", in which the carrier's aircraft landing area was slanted several degrees off to port, enabling aircraft to easily "go around" in the event of recovery difficulties. The benefits this brought to carrier aviation operating safety can hardly be overemphasized.

 

Another notable SCB-125 alteration included moving the after aircraft elevator from the centerline to the starboard deck edge, greatly facilitating aircraft handling. In fact, this change had already been made on the last six of the SCB-27s, the steam-catapult SCB-27C type, the final three of which received both modernization schemes in the same shipyard session. Blending the flight deck's forward end into the upper hull form, creating the so-called "hurricane" bow, constituted the final significant change.

 

This concept, already adopted for the Forrestal class "super carriers" then under construction, improved seakeeping in rough seas. It also provided a covered location for the carriers' secondary conning station, whose portholes, visible across the upper bow plating, were a distinctive feature of the refitted ships.

 

Though the SCB-125 program significantly changed the ships' appearance, the scope of the work was much less than that of SCB-27 and generally took seven or eight months' shipyard time, rather than the two years or more that was typical of the earlier modernization. The exception was Oriskany, the SCB-27 prototype and the last to get the SCB-125 treatment. Uniquely, she had her hydraulic catapults replaced with more powerful steam types and received many other improvements in a reconstruction that lasted twenty-eight months in 1957-59.

 

As quickly as new carriers and steam catapult conversions joined the fleet during the later '50s, the seven SCB-125 hydraulic catapult ships were reassigned to the anti-submarine mission, replacing unmodernized carriers. Four of the seven steam catapult carriers also became ASW ships during the 1960s, though some of these operated very little, if at all, in that role. Most of the ASW ships received SQS-23 long-range sonars in 1960-66.

Nine ships left active service in 1969-71, as major reductions in fleet strength were implemented. Three more decommissioned in 1972-74. Hancock and Oriskany lasted into the middle-'70s, and the veteran Lexington remained operational as training carrier until 1991. All four of the Essex class museum ships are of the modernized SCB-27/SCB-125 configuration” (Ref. 1130).

 

The SCB-125 program involved the further rebuilding of fourteen ships, as listed below in the order of the completion of this work:

 

SCB-125 introduced the angled deck and enclosed "Hurricane" bow to the Essex class. Three groups were covered by SCB-125.

 

The first (CV-16, CV-31, and CV-38) received both their SCB-27C and SCB-125 modifications in one dockyard period between 1951 and 1955.

The second group (
CV-11, CV-14, and CV-19) included those SCB-27C ships brought up to SCB-125 standards during a later dockyard period between 1955 and 1957.  These ships were also given longer (70-feet 3-inches) forward centerline elevators.

 

The third group (CV-9, CV-10, CV-12, CV-15, CV-18, CV-20, and CV-33) including SCB-27A ships which did not get all the features that the SCB-27C ships did. CV-39 was the only SCB-27A ship that did not get the SCB-125 modernization. CV-34 is covered under the SCB-125A program. Apart from the hurricane bow and angled deck, the principal features of the SCB-125 included:

 

1. Installation of the improved Mark 7 dual arrestor wire system with half the cross-deck pendants of the previous systems.

2. Introduction of air conditioning in some spaces. Strengthening of the crash barriers.

3. Primary flight control (Prifly) was moved to the aft edge of the island, two decks high.

4. Better soundproofing of the island.

5. Improved deck lighting” (Ref. 1135).

 

(Antietam's angled deck installation was not considered part of the SCB-125 modernization program.)

 

Essex/Ticonderoga class characteristics, as modified under project SCB-125 with steam catapults:

 

·Displacement: 43,060 tons (full load)

·Dimensions: 894' 6" (length overall); 103' (hull); 166' 10" (over flight deck and projections)

·Propulsion: 150,000 horsepower, steam turbines, four propellers, 30.7 knot maximum speed

·Attack Carrier Aircraft: Approximately 70 aircraft, including five squadrons of fighters and attack planes, and small detachments of heavy attack, airborne early warning and reconnaissance planes;

·Anti-submarine Support Carrier Aircraft: Approximately 50 aircraft, including two squadrons of S2F fixed-wing aircraft, one squadron of helicopters and small detachments of airborne early warning and (in the 1960s) fighters.

·Gun Armament: eight 5"/38 guns in single mountings plus a few twin 3"/50 gun mounts. From the mid-1950s onward, gun armament was steadily reduced to compensate for growing weights of topside equipment and embarked aircraft.

 

Essex/Ticonderoga class Aircraft Carriers that underwent SCB-125:

 

·Shangri-La (CVA/CVS-38) - Received SCB-125 concurrently with SCB-27C with steam catapults.

·Lexington (CVA/CVS/CVT/AVT-16) - Received SCB-125 concurrently with SCB-27C with steam catapults.

·Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31) - Received SCB-125 concurrently with SCB-27C with steam catapults.

·Bennington (CVA/CVS-20) - Hydraulic catapults. Received SCB-125 refit.

·Yorktown (CVA/CVS-10) - Hydraulic catapults. Received SCB-125 refit.

·Wasp (CVA/CVS-18) - Hydraulic catapults. Received SCB-125 refit.

·Randolph (CVA/CVS-15) - Hydraulic catapults. Received SCB-125 refit.

·Essex (CVA/CVS-9) - Hydraulic catapults. Received SCB-125 refit.

·Hornet (CVA/CVS-12) - Hydraulic catapults. Received SCB-125 refit.

·Hancock (CVA-19) - Steam catapults. Received SCB-125 refit.

·Kearsarge (CVA/CVS-33) - Hydraulic catapults. Received SCB-125 refit.

·Ticonderoga (CVA/CVS-14) - Steam catapults. Received SCB-125 refit.

·Intrepid (CVA/CVS-11) - Steam catapults. Received SCB-125 refit.

·Oriskany (CVA/CV-34) - Received SCB-125A refit, replacing hydraulic with

steam catapults.

 

SCB-125A Modernization

 

“This SCB-125A modernization was a one-of-a-kind effort that brought the Oriskany (CVA/CV-34) up to full SCB-27C and SCB-125 standard. CV-34 was the last ship to receive the SCB-27C modernization (1959) and many features were improved over the older SCB-27C ships. Besides the angled deck, hurricane bow, C-11 steam catapults, and lengthened centerline elevator, CV-34 had a light metal cladding for the flight deck and an arresting gear system that was stronger then on the older SCB-27C ships” (Ref. 1135).

 

The SCB-125 upgrade program was first applied to the final three Essex-class carriers to undergo the SCB-27C modernization while they were still in the midst of their original refit. Despite the drastic reconstruction of the carriers, the original SCB-27A vessels, which were fitted with a pair of H 8 hydraulic catapults, were not upgraded with the C 11 steam catapults fitted to their SCB-27C sister ships due to machinery space limitations.

 

SCB 110, SCB 110A, SCB 101 Modernization

 

Midway class – Ref. 1131

 

“The Midway class aircraft carrier was one of the longest lived carrier designs in history. First commissioned in late 1945, the lead ship of the class, USS Midway was not decommissioned until 1992, shortly after seeing service in the Gulf War.

 

The CVB-41 class vessels (then unnamed) were originally conceived in 1940 as a design study to determine the effect of including an armored flight deck on a carrier the size of the Essex class. The resulting calculations showed that the effect would be disastrous for air group size. The resulting ship would have a maximum air group of 45, compared to 90–100 for the standard Essex class fleet carriers. As a result, the concept went to finding a larger carrier which could support both deck armor and a sufficiently large air group. Unlike the Royal Navy's aircraft carriers, for which the armored deck was part of the ship structure, the Midway class retained their "strength deck" at the hangar deck level and the armored flight deck was part of the superstructure. The weight-savings needed to armor the flight deck was acquired by removing a planned cruiser-caliber battery of 8-inch (203 mm) guns and reducing the 5-inch antiaircraft battery from dual to single mounts. They would be the last USN carriers to be so designed; the titanic size of the Forrestal class supercarriers would require the strength deck to be located at flight deck level.

 

The resulting carriers were very large, with the ability to accommodate more planes than any other carrier in the U.S. fleet (30–40 more aircraft than the Essex class). In their original configuration, the Midway class ships had an air wing of almost 130 aircraft. Unfortunately, it was soon realized that so many planes was beyond the effective command and control ability of one ship. While the resulting ships featured excellent protection and unprecedented air wing size, they also had several undesirable characteristics. Internally, the ships were very cramped and crowded. Freeboard was unusually low for such large carriers. In heavy seas, they shipped large amounts of water (only partially mitigated by the fitting of a hurricane bow during the SCB-110/110A upgrades) and corkscrewed in a manner that hampered landing operations. None of the class went on war cruises during the Korean War. They were mainly deployed to the Atlantic and Mediterranean. During the 1950s, all three ships underwent the SCB-110 modernization program, which added angled decks, steam catapults, mirror landing systems, and other modifications that allowed them to operate a new breed of large, heavy naval jets” (Ref. 1131).

 

SCB 110A - Modifications and conversion include installation of three C-11-1 steam driven catapults, which were designed to accommodate the newer and heavier jet aircraft; angled deck, enclosed hurricane bow, Mk-7-Mod 2 arresting gear identical to that installed in the Forrestal-class carriers, relocation of the elevators and three new deck-edge elevators and new weapons elevators. In addition, electronics package was installed (Midway Class Carriers).

 

Midway class large fleet aircraft carriers - Ref. 1 and 1A and 1134


Displacement: 45,000 tons originally - 62,000 tons full load
Dimensions: 900 x 113 x 32.75 feet/274.3 x 34.4 x 10 meters
Extreme Dimensions: 968 x 136 x 32.75 feet/295 x 41.5 x 10 meters
Propulsion: Steam turbines, 12 565 psi boilers, four geared steam turbines and four shafts, 212,000 shaft horsepower
Flight Deck Width: 238 feet

Speed: 30-plus knots

Crew: 3,583 (as planned in 1943, was over 4000 by completion)
Armor: 3.5 inch flight deck, 7.6 inch belt
Armament: 18 single 5/54, 21 dual 40 mm AA, 28 single 20 mm AA (as planned)
Aircraft: Approximately 65 - 137 at various times

Complement: 2,533 ship's company; 2,239 in air wing

 

Concept/Program: These ships were a new, much larger design intended to correct certain problems in the Essex class design. They had armored flight decks, requiring a much larger hull and lower freeboard, to reduce top weight. They also carried a very heavy AA battery of 5/54 weapons.

 

The armor requirement was originally meant to counter 8" cruiser gunfire, but by the time the ships were laid down the focus had shifted to defending against aircraft attack. The ships entered service soon after WWII. In their early years they were the only ships capable of operating nuclear strike aircraft.

 

Design: An all-new design. These ships were very wet, very crowded and quite complex; these problems were never solved. The design made them difficult and expensive to modernize or upgrade. In later years these ships were limited by low freeboard, severe crowding of crew and equipment, low hangar clearances, poor sea keeping and extreme age; they were unable to operate the latest and largest aircraft. Overall they must be considered to be a less than satisfactory design, but they had long service lives because of the urgent need for large carriers.

 

Variations: Configurations varied as completed; only Midway was completed to the original design. Roosevelt and especially Coral Sea carried fewer guns at completion. There were major differences following the 1950's reconstructions.

 

Modifications: All ships had their gun batteries gradually reduced over time. All ships were upgraded in 1947-48 with strengthened flight decks, 10 dual 3/50 AA fitted in place of 40 mm guns, facilities for nuclear weapons, and other improvements. Continual updating of electronics outfit.

 

Modernization: Underwent major reconstructions during the 1950's, but no two ships were reconstructed to the same standard. These rebuilds were the equivalent of the SCB 27C/125 reconstructions in the Essex class.

 

SCB 110: (Midway & Roosevelt) First reconstruction applied to this class, generally equivalent to the SCB 27C/125 combination. Additions included an angled deck, new catapults and arresting gear and a new electronics outfit; the gun battery was reduced and general improvements were carried out. Displacement was approximately 63,500 tons.

 

SCB 110A: (Coral Sea) A more extensive version of the SCB 110 applied to the other ships of the class. Aviation features and electronics were further improved, and gun battery was further reduced.

 

SCB 101: (Midway) A second reconstruction meant to be applied to all ships, to upgrade them beyond the SCB 110/110A configuration. This reconstruction included a longer flight deck, new catapults, and general all-around improvements. Due to the cost of this work, only one ship was upgraded under this program.

 

After SCB 110A Coral Sea was the most capable of the ships, but Midway surpassed her with the SCB 101 reconstruction. In addition to the SCB reconstructions, each ship received at least one major overhaul/upgrade, the details of which varied.

Classification: Initially classified as CV, but changed to CVB prior to completion, and CVA postwar. Returned to CV classification in 1975 when modified to operate ASW aircraft.

 

Operational: Saw extensive service as tactical and strategic platforms. Operational lives continually extended due to force level build-ups and lack of replacements.

 

Prior to decommission:

 

Armament: Sea Sparrow missiles; 3 Phalanx CIWS 20mm mounts

Combat Systems: SPS-48C 3-D Air Search Radar;

SPS-49 Air Search Radar and SPS-65

Navigation Radar: 2 Mk115 Fire Control; WLR- 1 ESMWLR-10; and ESMWLR-11 ESM

 

Departure from Service/Disposal: Roosevelt was in poor condition when she was discarded in 1977. Others remained in service long pasts their intended retirement dates. Coral Sea replaced and retired in 1990; Midway retired without replacement in 1992, due to force reductions.

 

SCB-144 Modernization

 

ASW Package - Antisubmarine Warfare (ASW) Support Carrier conversion - listed under U.S. Aircraft Carriers Classifications & Duty-Past within this web site:

 

U.S. AIRCRAFT CARRIERS REDESIGNATED ANTI-SUBMARINE WARFARE (ASW) Carrier (CVS)

 

SCB-144 was part of the Navy Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization (FRAM) II program intended to improve the ASW capability of the SCB-27A CVS carriers. All of the SCB-144 modernizations were completed by 1965. The principal modifications included:

 

1. Installation of the SQS-23 bow-mounted sonar dome.

2. Installation of a stem hawsepipe and bow anchor.

3. Modifications to the Combat Information Center” (Ref. 1135).