Phantom F4K Royal Navy
Aircraft Carrier Fighter/Supersonic Interceptor
Ground Attack/Strike.

HMS Ark Royal

The Last of the Catapult and Arrester Gear Aircraft Carriers in Royal Naval Service.

Seen here with 892 Squadron Phantom F4K's on the bow.

The protrusions on the bow and at the end of the angled deck are "Strop Catchers". This recovered the wire strop that connected the aircraft to the catapult for further use instead of being lost in the sea.

Two catapults. One on the bow and one the Waist (end of the angled deck).

Four arrester wires. Number 3 wire was the target wire for deck landings.

History

Cape Hatteras early 1972, avoiding a Hurricane. The ship was damaged with a number of 50' splits opening up on the port side. Archive of Lionel A. Smith.

The fourth ship to have held the name of Ark Royal.One of the four Audacious class carriers laid down during WW2 and a sister ship to HMS EAGLE. Laid down 3rd May 1943 and launched 3rd May 1950 after many delays. A complete redesign to include an angled flight deck of 5.5° and uprated catapults delayed her commisioning until 25th February 1955.

The flight deck was 240 meters long by 34 meters wide. She had 4.5" guns and a deck edge lift port side.

In 1956 the port 4.5" guns were removed and in 1960 the deck edge lift was removed.

HMS Ark Royal Double Hangar. archive EM(A) John Fisher.

A major refit 1967/1970 transformed her with an 8.5° angled deck, new catapults and arrester gear and new Island. A new electronics package was fitted. The remaining 4.5" guns were removed. Fitted for but not with Seacat missiles for defence she left refit with no defensive armament.

The deck jet blast deflectors were water cooled in order to be able to withstand the Phantom F4K launch in full reheat.

She operated Sea Vixens until the 1967 refit and then operated the Phantom F4K until 1978 when she was decommisioned in December of that year.

Displacement 43060 tons (36800 tons as built)

Length 245 meters

Beam 50 meters (34 meters as built)

Draught 10 meters

Fleet Air Arm Royal Navy
Phantom F4K
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