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Saipan Class Aircraft Carriers
- light fleet carriers -
Fully assembled museum quality wooden desk-top display models custom built as to your designated circa including appropriate air wing, flagging and personalized brass plate.
The Saipan class was a parallel evolution of the Independence class light aircraft carrier (CVL) but - while the Independence class was based on the Cleveland light cruiser design - the Saipan class aircraft carriers were based on the Baltimore class of heavy cruisers. The two carriers that comprised the Saipan class (CVL-48 USS Saipan and CVL-49 USS Wright) were laid down in July and August of 1944.
As built, the ships were armed with the typical heavy battery of 40mm and 20mm AA guns, which were removed after World War II. The ships were distinguished by the large radar mast aft of the superstructure and four funnels extending above the flight deck on the port side. One of the funnels was removed in the 1950s on both ships.
Saipan was used to test the operation of jet aircraft and also new radars. Decommissioned in 1957, she was then converted to a command ship (CC-3) during 1963-64 and renamed USS Arlington. Her conversion specifications were modified in 1964 and she re-entered service in August 1966 as a communications relay ship (AGMR-2) with the flight deck having been changed to an "antenna farm" and all catapults and the arresting wires removed. A helicopter landing area was retained aft while the hangar was converted to house communications facilities.
USS Wright was withdrawn from service in 1956 and converted to a national emergency command ship at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard from 1962-63. Both ships were decommissioned in 1970 and ultimately scrapped.
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