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Less Independance-class, more Saipan carriers, to foreign navies postwar.

Archibald

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As said in the tin.

Essex class to foreign navies has been discussed to death, including at AH.com (80 pages so far !)

The Saipans were small but at least they were very fast, 33 kt. And much more stable, thanks to trading a Cleveland CL for a Baltimore CA hull.

OTL France and Spain got three Independance-class carriers - Dedalo, Lafayette, Bois Belleau.

Why weren't the two Saipans sold to foreign navies after WWII ?

Whatif more Saipans were build ? or France got the two ? or Spain ?
 

Hood

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The Saipans are oddities, being ordered as preemptive war loss replacements for the Independences but using the newer and more available Baltimore hull.
This does seem a waste of design resources and they weren't begun until a late stage in the war. As far as I know, only two ships were ever planned. Its also odd why they were completed when many other incomplete warships were cancelled in August 1945. I guess someone must have thought they might come in useful as Independence replacements in the post-war fleet.
 

EwenS

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As Hood says only two were ever planned as attrition replacements. Wartime (early 1943) plans showed carrier groups made up of 2 CV and 1 CVL. It was anticipated that by the end of 1945 2 Independence class would have been lost and 18 Essex would be in service leaving the fleet short two CVL. So in July 1943 the two Saipans were ordered. Due to various dis-satisfactions with the Independence class they were based on a much modified Baltimore class hull. They were launched around the end of the war and would probably have been expected to be completed by the end of 1945 if wartime build pace had been maintained (an Essex from launch to completion was taking about 4 months in wartime). Peacetime build rates extended the completion time considerably. That alone probably explains there continued place in the build programme.

Langley & Belleau Wood were transferred to France in 1951 and 1953 at which point they had been lying in reserve from early 1947 so were immediately available to transfer. At that time Saipan & Wright were still playing a useful role in the active USN. So that probably explains the decision to transfer the former pair to France under MDAP. And of course the name Belleau Wood/Bois Belleau and the WW1 connection can't have been ignored.

Cabot wasn't loaned to Spain until 1967 having been the second last to be laid up after USN service, way back in 1955. Wright had been converted to a command ship CC-2 and Saipan to a communications relay ship AMGR-2 USS Arlington between 1962 and 1966. Both had had a lot of money spent on them recently for their new roles and had aerial arrays erected all across their flight decks. They were therefore very unlikely candidates for conversion back to a carriers for a foreign power.
 

Archibald

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Yup one of the two become a NECP-A - Nuclear Emergency Command Post - Afloat. The other one was a modified Baltimore CA. Doomsday ship !

Thanks for the information. Oddities - that's the right word.
 

Dilandu

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Why weren't the two Saipans sold to foreign navies after WWII ?
Not that much demand. The only nation that have real interest in acquiring a large number of carriers after the war was USSR. :) But for "some reason" it fell through. However, I think it might be possible to arrange for a sell of light carrier or two in the immediate post-war years...
 

Archibald

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While Essex could be used as small attack carriers (along Centaurs and Clemenceau) those Saipans could be use in a kind of early SCS role, with Trackers first and later S-3 Vikings. Plus helicopters and VSTOL machines - Breguet 941, CL-84, Harriers and eventually, Convair 200.

And since I've just heard of Japan helicopter carrier studies of 1959-61...

What might have been...
 
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