HMS ARK ROYAL
Designed in 1934 to fit the restrictions of the Washington Naval Treaty, Ark Royal was built by Cammell Laird at Birkenhead, England, and completed in November 1938. Her design differed from previous aircraft carriers. Ark Royal was the first ship on which the hangars and flight deck were an integral part of the hull, instead of an add-on or part of the superstructure. Designed to carry a large number of aircraft, she had two hangar deck levels. She served during a period that first saw the extensive use of naval air power; several carrier tactics were developed and refined aboard Ark Royal.
Ark Royal served in some of the most active naval theatres of the Second World War. She was involved in the first aerial and U-boat kills of the war, operations off Norway, the search for the German battleship Bismarck, and the Malta Convoys. Ark Royal survived several near misses and gained a reputation as a 'lucky ship'. She was torpedoed on 13 November 1941 by the German submarine U-81 and sank the following day; one of her 1,488 crew members was killed. Her sinking was the subject of several inquiries; investigators were keen to know how the carrier was lost, in spite of efforts to save the ship and tow her to the naval base at Gibraltar. They found that several design flaws contributed to the loss, which were rectified in new British carriers.
HMS Ark Royal (R09) was an Audacious-class aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy and, when she was decommissioned in 1979, was the Royal Navy's last remaining conventional catapult and arrested-landing aircraft carrier. She was the first aircraft carrier to be equipped with angled flight deck at its commissioning; her sister ship, HMS Eagle, was the Royal Navy's first angle-decked aircraft carrier after modification in 1954. Ark Royal was the only non-United States vessel to operate the McDonnell Douglas Phantom at sea.
HMS Ark Royal R07 was a light aircraft carrier and former flagship of the Royal Navy. She was the third and final vessel of Invincible class. She was built by Swan Hunter on the River Tyne and launched by them in 1981. Ark Royal was christened by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.Slightly larger than her sister ships, and with a steeper ski-jump ramp, Ark Royal carried the STOVL (Short Take Off and Vertical Landing) Harrier Jump Jet aircraft, as well as various helicopters. With a crew complement of over 1,000 sailors and aviators, she saw active service in the 1990s Bosnian War and the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. Originally due to be retired in 2016, Ark Royal was instead decommissioned on 11 March 2011, as part of the Navy restructuring portion of the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review. After Ark Royal's decommissioning HMS Albion replaced her as the Royal Navy flagship.