1942 Design Light Fleet Carrier - Foreign Service - Canada



Following wartime experience showing the effectiveness of naval aviation, the Royal Canadian Navy decided to acquire an aircraft carrier. The Canadian government decided to purchase the Majestic class carrier Powerful, and have her upgraded to modern standards. The Colossus class vessel Warrior was transferred on a two-year loan from 1946 to 1948, so the experience gained by providing ship's companies for two British escort carriers during the war could be maintained. The upgrading of Powerful took longer than expected, and as Warrior had to be returned by 1948, the Majestic class Magnificent was completed to the basic Majestic design and loaned to the Royal Canadian Navy in 1948 as HMCS Magnificent. On her return to Britain, Warrior was used as a trials ship, then modernised before her sale to Argentina. The loan of Magnificent continued until Powerful's completion in 1957, at which point Magnificent was returned to the British. She was to be sold to another nation, but after no buyers came forward, the carrier was scrapped.

In the meantime, Powerful had been upgraded to operate jet aircraft. The modifications included an 8° angled flight deck and steam catapult, and she was equipped with American weapons, radars, and jet aircraft instead of their British equivalents. She was commissioned in 1957 as HMCS Bonaventure. The carrier's design could not keep up with the advances in naval aircraft during the early 1960s, and in 1964, the ship's McDonnell F2H Banshee fighters were removed, leaving an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) focused air group of Sikorsky CH-124 Sea King helicopters and Grumman S-2 Tracker ASW aircraft. Bonaventure received a major mid life refit in 1967, but was withdrawn in 1970 after defence cuts. Her departure marked the end of Canadian carrier-based aviation.

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