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The Illustrious-class aircraft carrier was a class of aircraft carriers built by Great Britain and used by the Royal Navy during World War II.


All four ships were powered by Pearson geared turbines driving three shafts, and fed by six boilers, each consisting of three drums. These generated 110,000 shaft horsepower, giving the ships a maximum speed of 31 knots. The quartet each carried a crew complement of 1,600, as well as over sixty aircraft, and displaced 23,000 tons. The first three measured 753 feet long, with a beam of 95 feet and draught of 24 feet. Comparative figures for HMS Indomitable were 753 feet 11 inches long, 95 feet 9 inches beam and a draught of 22 feet 4 inches (mean) and 29 feet 5 inches (max).[2]


The class consisted of four ships which were built between 1937 and 1940, and all four ships survived the war and took part in many of the major battles of the European Theater, particularly in the Mediterranean Sea.

Ships in class


  2. McMurtrie, Francis E. (Editor) Jane's Fighting Ships of World War 2. Tiger Books International. ISBN 0517679639 Page 30

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