UK Centaur class

Aircraft Carrier


Derivatives / Succeeded by
1954 UK Modified Centaur class
1959 UK Improved Centaur class


18300light (tn)
24500full load (tn)
224.60length (m)
27.40beam (m)
6.70draught (m)
29.50max speed (knots)
80000power (shp)

2Naval Engine steam turbines

1Naval Radar air direction radar Type 277
1Naval Radar air direction radar Type 982
1Naval Radar air search radar Type 960
1Naval Radar height finding radar Type 983

helicopter   Aircraft

Typical Max
UK Royal Navy Westland dragonfly 02
UK Royal Navy Westland Whirlwind 00
UK Royal Navy Westland Wessex 00


UK Harland and Wolff - Belfast1

  List of Ships

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19531970UKRoyal NavyR06HMS CentaurGKYG - C
19541973UKRoyal NavyR07Modified Centaur class HMS AlbionGKXR - A
19541983UKRoyal NavyR08Modified Centaur class HMS BulwarkGKYD - B
19591984UKRoyal NavyR12Improved Centaur class HMS Hermes GKZL - H
19872017 IN Indian Navy R22 INS Viraat

4 units


1943-jul-12OrderedOrdered UK R06 HMS Centaur
1944-may-30Laid downLaid down UK R06 HMS Centaur Yard No. 1280
1947-apr-22LaunchedLaunched UK R06 HMS Centaur at Harland and Wolff, Belfast
1953-sep-17CommissionedCommissioned UK R06 HMS Centaur after at least a two year suspension of work, post-WWII, deck letter L
1953-novRefitRefit UK R06 HMS Centaur widening flight deck amidships and installing painted angled flight deck and equipment, until Apr 1954. Deck letter C
1954-dec-18AircraftAircraft UK R06 HMS Centaur Dragonfly WH991 assigned as Centaur SAR Flt until May 1955.
1956-janDeploymentDeployment UK R06 HMS Centaur departed UK for a 5 month Far East deployment, returned to HMD Devonport in May 1956.
1956-mayRefitRefit UK R06 HMS Centaur 3 month refit at HMD Devonport, including steam catapult fit, until Aug 1956
1956-sepRefitRefit UK R06 HMS Centaur until 1958 at HMD Devonport to turn painted on angled deck into a real angled deck
1958-novAircraftAircraft UK R06 HMS Centaur Dragonfly HR.5 WG709 to Ships SAR Flt as /977-C, until c Jun 1960.
1959-janAircraftAircraft UK R06 HMS Centaur Dragonfly VX597 assigned to Centaur SAR Flt until c Mar 1959.
1959-jan-08AircraftAircraft UK R06 HMS Centaur embarked Dragonfly HR.3 WG725 for a week or so of trials.
1959-jan-30AircraftAircraft UK R06 HMS Centaur Whirlwind XL837, 845 Sq/392 /C ditched and sank off Malta, while operating from HMS Centaur
1959-feb-25AircraftAircraft UK R06 HMS Centaur Whirlwind XK945, 845 Sq/397 /J ditched and sank 4nm S of Gozo, while operating from HMS Centaur on 25 Feb 1959.
1959-dec UK R06 HMS Centaur visited Brisbane, Sydney - Australia
1960-junAircraftAircraft UK R06 HMS Centaur assigned Dragonfly HR.5 WP495/978 as SAR Flt, until c Aug 1960
1960-augRefitRefit UK R06 HMS Centaur at HMD Portsmouth until c Jan 1961, to prepare for faster and heavier carrier-borne fighters.
1961-marAircraftAircraft UK R06 HMS Centaur Whirlwinds of 824 NAS assigned until May 1963
1961-aprDeploymentDeployment UK R06 HMS Centaur departed HMNB Portsmouth in early Apr for 13 month Indian Ocean and Far East deployment. Returned 16 May 1962.
1961-apr-20AircraftAircraft UK R06 HMS Centaur Whirlwind HAS.7 XN303/333-C of 824 NAS ditched and sank off Malta.
1961-jun-25DeploymentDeployment UK R06 HMS Centaur ordered from Gibraltar to stand by off Aden, in support of Operation Vantage (off Kuwait).
1961-jul-31DeploymentDeployment UK R06 HMS Centaur Operation Vantage Ordered off Kuwait (from Aden) to assist during a period of international tension, relieving HMS Victorious on 31 Jul. Withdrew 24 Aug.
1961-novDeploymentDeployment UK R06 HMS Centaur Mombasa Flood Relief Operations joined HMS Victorious in Nov, eventually relieving her, until c Jan 1962.
1962-jan-30AircraftAircraft UK R06 HMS Centaur lost Whirlwind HAS.7 XN362/335-V of 824 NAS shortly after take-off. Ditched and sank.
1962-mar-10AircraftAircraft UK R06 HMS Centaur Whirlwind HAS.7 XN381/334-V of 824 NAS ditched and sank at northern end of Malacca Strait.
1962-mar-27DeploymentDeployment UK R06 HMS Centaur relieved by HMS Ark Royal in Aden as East of Suez carrier. Returned via Malta for a fortnight maintenance period, to HMNB Portsmouth and arrived on 16 May 1962.
1962-may-05AircraftAircraft UK R06 HMS Centaur Whirlwind HAS.7 XN379/336-C of 824 NAS lost off Malta.
1962-augDeploymentDeployment UK R06 HMS Centaur operating off Portugal with HMS Hermes, USS Enterprise and USS Forrestal during, Exercise RipTide II.
1962-nov-19DeploymentDeployment UK R06 HMS Centaur Major steam leak in one of boiler rooms, with fatalities, while operating in the Irish Sea. Made for HMD Portsmouth for repair.
1963-febDeploymentDeployment UK R06 HMS Centaur Departed UK for short Far East deployment, with 815 NAS embarked. Returned to Portsmouth May 1963.
1963-apr-25AircraftAircraft UK R06 HMS Centaur Whirlwind HAS.7 XL872/335-C of 824 NAS lost in Indian Ocean, S of Mogadishu.
1963-mayRefitRefit UK R06 HMS Centaur air search radar Type 965 improvements at HMD Portsmouth to air surveillance and air defence operations, until c Oct.
1963-sep-26 UK R06 HMS Centaur While alongside in HMNB Portsmouth, fire developed in fuel system.
1963-oct-18 UK R06 HMS Centaur While alongside in HMNB Portsmouth, was hit by HM Submarine Porpoise. Minor damage to both vessels.
1963-dec-21DeploymentDeployment UK R06 HMS Centaur departed HMNB Portsmouth for 12 month Far East deployment, including several months around Singapore waters. 815 NAS Wessex embarked. Relieved by HMS Eagle and arrived back at Portsmouth 21 Dec 1964.
1964-jan-04DeploymentDeployment UK R06 HMS Centaur Operation Nutcracker provided a detachment of 4 Wessex HAS.1 from 815 NAS for the Radfan clearance tasks.
1964-jan-21DeploymentDeployment UK R06 HMS Centaur East African Mutinies sailed from Aden for Dar es Salaam with 2x 26 Squadron Belvedere HC.1, 45 Commando RM and 16/5 Lancers embarked, joining with HMS Rhyl, to assist in putting down East African mutinies. Relieved in theatre by HMS Victorious in Feb, HMS Centaur eventually returned to the Gulf of Aden in May, via Singapore.
1964-feb-21AircraftAircraft UK R06 HMS Centaur lost 815 Sq Wessex HAS.1 XM873/302-C when crashed into Wadi Misrah, near Al Habilayn, north of Aden.
1964-apr-16AircraftAircraft UK R06 HMS Centaur lost 815 Sq Wessex HAS.1 XP148/306-C when ditched and sank off Aden.
1964-may-14DeploymentDeployment UK R06 HMS Centaur departed Singapore for Aden with reinforcing Belvedere for 26 Squadron and replacement Wessex (collected from units at Singapore) for 815 NAS to repair en route and in the UK. Arrived back in UK on 21 Dec.
1964-sep-05AircraftAircraft UK R06 HMS Centaur Wessex HAS.1 815 Sq XM869/305-C suffered engine failure and ditched into the South China Sea on 5 Sep 1964 off Singapore
1964-sep-18AircraftAircraft UK R06 HMS Centaur while operating in South China Sea off Malaya, 815 NAS Wessex HAS.1 XP106/300-C ditched and sank following a gearbox fire on 18 Sep 1964
1964-octAircraftAircraft UK R06 HMS Centaur Whirlwind HAS.7 XK912 assigned as SAR Flt / 977-C until c Sep 1965
1964-nov-03AircraftAircraft UK R06 HMS Centaur Whirlwind HAS.7 XL844/977 of Ships SAR Flt ditched and lost in South China Sea on 3 Nov 1964
1965-aprDeploymentDeployment UK R06 HMS Centaur Final deployment, to the Mediterranean, returning to UK in Jul 1965
1966HomeportHomeport UK R06 HMS Centaur role changed to accommodation ship at HMD Devonport, for crews whose carrier was undergoing refit.
1968-aug UK R06 HMS Centaur accommodation ship for refit of HMS Bulwark until c Feb 1969.
1970-apr-24DecommissionedDecommissioned UK R06 HMS Centaur
1972-aug-11Fate: scrappedFate: scrapped UK R06 HMS Centaur sold for scrap to Queenborough Shipbreaking on 11 Aug and subsequently towed to Cairnryan for scrapping.

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