Light aircraft carrier

Infobox Aviation
name = Light aircraft carrier

caption = AV-8S Harriers embarked on the Spanish Navy light carrier "Dédalo"
A light aircraft 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 half to two thirds of the aircraft complement of a full-sized carrier.

In World War II, the United States Navy produced a number of light carriers by converting cruiser hulls. The "Independence" class aircraft carriers, converted from "Cleveland" class light cruisers, were unsatisfactory ships for aviation with their narrow, short decks and slender, high-sheer hulls; in virtually all respects the escort carriers were superior aviation vessels. The "Independence" class ships, however, had the virtue of being available at a time when available carrier decks had been reduced to "Enterprise" and "Saratoga" in the Pacific and "Ranger" in the Atlantic. In addition, unlike escort carriers, they had enough speed to take part in fleet actions with the larger carriers. Late in the war, a follow on design to the Independence class, the "Saipan" class light carrier, was designed. Two vessels in this class, US Ships "Saipan" and "Wright", were completed after the war's end. After very brief lives as carriers, the "Saipans" were converted to command and communication ships.

In the post war period, the British Royal Navy also operated a force of light aircraft carriers, all of which were born out of wartime designs. British-built light fleet carriers of the "Colossus" and "Majestic" classes were also sold to Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, India and The Netherlands.

Some modern referencesFact|date=December 2007 call the French "Charles de Gaulle" a "light carrier," though at 40,000 tons and nuclear powered she dwarfs the vast majority of the world's aircraft carriers with the exception of the American supercarriers and the Russian "Admiral Kuznetsov".

List of light carriers

;Argentine Navy
* ARA Independencia - one ship (ex-Colossus-class)
* ARA Veinticinco de Mayo - one ship (ex-Colossus-class)

;Brazilian Navy
* NAeL Minas Gerais - one ship (ex-Colossus-class)

;French Navy
* Lafeyette-class - two ships (ex-Independence-class)
* FS Arromanches - one ship (ex-Colossus-class)

;Indian Navy
* INS Vikrant - one ship (ex-Majestic-class)

;Italian Navy
*"Garibaldi" - one ship

;Spanish Navy
*Dédalo - one ship (ex-Independence class)
*Príncipe de Asturias - one ship

;Royal Navy
* Centaur class - four ships
* Colossus class - eight ships
* Majestic class - five ships
* Invincible class - three ships

;Royal Australian Navy
* HMAS Sydney - one ship (ex-Majestic-class)
* HMAS Vengeance - one ship (ex-Colossus-class)
* HMAS Melbourne - one ship (ex-Majestic-class)

;Royal Canadian Navy
* HMCS Warrior - one ship (ex-Colossus-class)
* HMCS Magnificent - one ship (ex-Majestic-class)
* HMCS Bonaventure - one ship (ex-Majestic-class)

;Royal Netherlands Navy
* HNLMS Karel Doorman II - one ship (ex-Colossus-class)

;Royal Thailand Navy
* HTMS Chakri Naruebet - one ship

;United States Navy
* Independence-class - nine ships
* Saipan-class - two ships

ee also

* ASW carrier
* Escort carrier
* Helicopter carrier

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