Military history

Rebuilding the Royal Navy: Warship Design Since 1945

Rebuilding the Royal Navy: Warship Design Since 1945

This design history of postwar British warship development, based on both declassified documentation and personal experience, is the fourth and final volume in the author’s masterly account of development of Royal Navy’s ships from the 1850s to the Falklands War. In this volume the author covers the period in which he himself worked as a Naval Constructor, while this personal knowledge is augmented by George Moore’s in-depth archival research on recently declassified material. The RN fleet in 1945 was old and worn out, while new threats and technologies, and postwar austerity called for new solutions. How designers responded to these unprecedented challenges is the central theme of this book. It covers the ambitious plans for the conversion or replacement of the bigger ships; looks at all the new construction, from aircraft carriers, through destroyers and frigates, to submarines (including nuclear and strategic), to minesweepers and small craft. The authors pay particular attention to the innovations introduced, and analyses the impact of the Falklands War. At the start of the twenty-first century the Royal Navy is still a powerful and potent force with new and a number of innovative classes, both surface and subsurface, coming on stream. This book offers a fascinating insight into how the postwar fleet developed and adapted to the changing role of the Navy.


Chapter 1. The Wartime Legacy

Chapter 2. The Demise of the Cruiser

Chapter 3. The Reconstructions

Chapter 4. Aircraft Carriers

Chapter 5. The Frigate Programme

Chapter 6. Sea Dart Destroyers

Chapter 7. The Later Frigates

Chapter 8. Submarines

Chapter 9. Nuclear Submarines

Chapter 10. Minor War Vessels

Chapter 11. Helicopter Carriers, Amphibious Forces and other Projects

Chapter 12. Naval Architecture

Chapter 13. Other Technologies

Chapter 14. In Conclusion

Appendix 1. Purchasing Power of the Pound 1945–1985

Appendix 2. Reynold’s Number

Appendix 3. Merchant Vessel Conversions: The Falklands Campaign 1982

Appendix 4. The Inclining Experiment

Appendix 5. Comparisons

Appendix 6. The Future Aircraft Carrier

Glossary and Abbreviations