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CVS-15 USS Randolph Pictorial

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Model was replicated to circa 1969 to include SCB-27 and SCB-125 modernization.
 


The aircraft of CVW-8 crowd the flight deck.


F4J Phantoms of VF-111 Sundowners launch... but the photographer forgot to put down the pole antennae!


A SH-3 Sea King helicopter of HS-9 Sea Griffins is on rescue standby.


Aircraft of CVW-8 are parked on the stern. Note the removal of earlier circa AA guns from aft sponson.


A S-2D Tracker of VS-26 Lucky Tigers sits on the #3 elevator.


The antennae in mast and the screen at top of funnel attest to a very high degree of detailing.


All the hanger spaces under the flight deck are built using hollow construction methods.


Finely detailed 5-inch guns stud the flight deck edges.
 
Click here to read client testimonial

 

SCB-27 modernization of Essex/Ticonderoga class aircraft carriers
CV-9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 31, 33, 34, 38, 39
(work completed between 1950 and 1955)

Between 1947 and 1955, fifteen Essex and Ticonderoga class aircraft carriers were thoroughly modernized. The impending arrival of high-performance jet aircraft and nuclear-armed heavy attack bombers had rendered these still rather new ships almost incapable of executing their most vital missions, while the post-World War II financial climate precluded building replacements. Accordingly, a reconstruction program began in Fiscal Year 1948, with the incomplete Oriskany as the prototype. Two more ships were converted the next year, three in FY 1950 and then, with the then Cold War in full bloom, nine more Fiscal Years 1951 to 1953.

Designated SCB-27, the modernization was very extensive, requiring some two years for each carrier. To handle much heavier, faster aircraft, flight deck structure was massively reinforced. Stronger elevators, much more powerful catapults, and new arresting gear was installed. The original four twin 5"/38 gun mounts were removed. The new five-inch gun battery consisted of eight weapons, two on each quarter beside the flight deck. Twin 3"/50 gun mounts replaced the 40mm guns, offering much greater effectiveness through the use of proximity-fuzed ammunition.

A distinctive new feature was a taller, shorter island. To better protect aircrews, ready rooms were moved to below the armored hangar deck, with a large escalator on the starboard side amidships to move airmen up to the flight deck. Internally, aviation gasoline storage was increased by nearly half and its pumping capacity enhanced. Also improved were electrical generating power, fire protection, and weapons stowage and handling facilities. All this added considerable weight: displacement increased by some twenty percent. Blisters were fitted to the hull sides to compensate, widening waterline beam by eight to ten feet. The ships also sat lower in the water, and maximum speed was slightly diminished.

The modernized ships came in two flavors, the first nine (SCB-27A) having a pair of H 8 hydraulic catapults, the most powerful available in the late '40s. The final six received the SCB-27C update, with much more potent steam catapults, one of two early 1950s British developments that greatly improved aircraft carrier potential. These six were somewhat heavier, and wider, than their sisters. While still in the shipyards, three of the SCB-27Cs were further modified under the SCB-125 project, receiving the second British concept, the angled flight deck, plus an enclosed "hurricane bow" and other improvements. These features were so valuable that they were soon back-fitted to all but one (Lake Champlain) of the other SCB-27 ships. The fourteen fully modernized units were the "journeymen" aviation ships of the late 1950s and 1960s, providing the Navy with much of its attack aircraft carrier (CVA) force and, ultimately, all its anti-submarine warfare support aircraft carriers (CVS).

The SCB-27 program involved rebuilding fifteen ships, three of which were given a combined SCB-27 and SCB-125 modernization. The reconstructed ships are listed below, in the order of completion:

  • Oriskany (CV-34). Built by the New York Naval Shipyard. Keel laid in May 1944; launched in October 1945; work was halted, reordered to the SCB-27A design in August 1947; commissioned in September 1950.
  • Essex (CV-9). Reconstructed to SCB-27A design by the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Work began in February 1949; recommissioned in January 1951.
  • Wasp (CV-18). Reconstructed to SCB-27A design by the New York Naval Shipyard. Work began in May 1949; recommissioned in September 1951.
  • Kearsarge (CV-33). Reconstructed to SCB-27A design by the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Work began in February 1950; recommissioned in February 1952.
  • Lake Champlain (CV-39). Reconstructed to SCB-27A design by the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Work began in August 1950; recommissioned in September 1952.
  • Bennington (CV-20). Reconstructed to SCB-27A design by the New York Naval Shipyard. Work began in December 1950; recommissioned as CVA-20 in November 1952.
  • Yorktown (CV-10). Reconstructed to SCB-27A design by the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Work began in March 1951; recommissioned as CVA-10 in February 1953.
  • Randolph (CV-15). Reconstructed to SCB-27A design by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. Work began in June 1951; recommissioned as CVA-15 in July 1953.
  • Hornet (CV-12). Reconstructed to SCB-27A design by the New York Naval Shipyard. Work began in July 1951; recommissioned as CVA-12 in September 1953.
  • Hancock (CV-19). Reconstructed to SCB-27C design by the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Work began in December 1951; recommissioned as CVA-19 in February 1954.
  • Intrepid (CV-11). Reconstructed to SCB-27C design by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. Work began in April 1952; recommissioned as CVA-11 in June 1954.
  • Ticonderoga (CV-14). Reconstructed to SCB-27C design by the New York Naval Shipyard. Work began in April 1952; recommissioned as CVA-14 in September 1954.
  • Shangri-La (CVA-38). Reconstructed to SCB-27C design by the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Work began in October 1952 and was extended to include SCB-125 features; recommissioned in January 1955.
  • Lexington (CVA-16). Reconstructed to SCB-27C design by the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Work began in September 1953 and was extended to include SCB-125 features; recommissioned in August 1955.
  • Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31). Reconstructed to SCB-27C design by the San Francisco Naval Shipyard. Work began in May 1953 and was extended to include SCB-125 features; recommissioned in September 1955

    Essex/Ticonderoga class characteristics, as modified under project SCB-27A:

  • Displacement: 40,600 tons (full load)
  • Dimensions: 898' (length overall); 101' 4" (hull width); 151' 11" (width over flight deck and projections)
  • Power plant: 150,000 horsepower, steam turbines, four propellers, 31.7 knot maximum speed
  • Aircraft ("ultimate" planned 1958 complement): 72 planes, including 24 15,000 pound interceptors, 24 30,000 pound escort fighters and 24 30,000 pound attack bombers. The actual aircraft complement carried was quite different.
  • Gun Armament: eight 5"/38 guns in single mountings plus fourteen twin 3"/50 gun mounts. From the mid-1950s onward, gun armament was rapidly reduced.
  • SCB-125 modernization of Essex/Ticonderogaclass aircraft carriers
    CVA/CVS-9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 31, 33, 34, 38
    (work completed between 1955 and 1959)

    Between 1954 and 1959, fourteen modernized Essex and Ticonderoga class aircraft carriers of the SCB-27 type were further updated under the SCB-125 program. This work, incorporating new features not known or accepted when the earlier scheme was originated in the later 1940s, greatly enhanced seakeeping and high-performance aircraft operations. Perhaps the most significant new attribute was the British-developed "angled flight deck", in which the carrier's aircraft landing area was slanted several degrees off to port, enabling aircraft to easily "go around" in the event of recovery difficulties. The benefits this brought to carrier aviation operating safety can hardly be overemphasized.

    Another notable SCB-125 alteration included moving the after aircraft elevator from the centerline to the starboard deck edge, greatly facilitating aircraft handling. In fact, this change had already been made on the last six of the SCB-27s, the steam-catapult SCB-27C type, the final three of which received both modernization schemes in the same shipyard session. Blending the flight deck's forward end into the upper hull form, creating the so-called "hurricane" bow, constituted the final significant change. This concept, already adopted for the Forrestal class "super carriers" then under construction, improved seakeeping in rough seas. It also provided a covered location for the carriers' secondary conning station, whose portholes, visible across the upper bow plating, were a distinctive feature of the refitted ships.

    Though the SCB-125 program significantly changed the ships' appearance, the scope of the work was much less than that of SCB-27 and generally took seven or eight months' shipyard time, rather than the two years or more that was typical of the earlier modernization. The exception was Oriskany, the SCB-27 prototype and the last to get the SCB-125 treatment. Uniquely, she had her hydraulic catapults replaced with more powerful steam types and received many other improvements in a reconstruction that lasted twenty-eight months in 1957-59.

    As quickly as new carriers and steam catapult conversions joined the fleet during the later '50s, the seven SCB-125 hydraulic catapult ships were reassigned to the anti-submarine mission, replacing unmodernized carriers. Four of the seven steam catapult carriers also became ASW ships during the 1960s, though some of these operated very little, if at all, in that role. Most of the ASW ships received SQS-23 long-range sonars in 1960-66. Nine ships left active service in 1969-71, as major reductions in fleet strength were implemented. Three more decommissioned in 1972-74. Hancock and Oriskany lasted into the middle-'70s, and the veteran Lexington remained operational as training carrier until 1991. All four of the Essex class museum ships are of the modernized SCB-27/SCB-125 configuration.

    The SCB-125 program involved the further rebuilding of fourteen ships, as listed below in the order of the completion of this work:

  • Shangri-La (CVA/CVS-38). Received SCB-125 concurrently with SCB-27C, recommissioning in January 1955 with steam catapults.
  • Lexington (CVA/CVS/CVT/AVT-16). Received SCB-125 concurrently with SCB-27C, recommissioning in August 1955 with steam catapults.
  • Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31). Received SCB-125 concurrently with SCB-27C, recommissioning in September 1955 with steam catapults.
  • Bennington (CVA/CVS-20). Hydraulic catapults. Received SCB-125 refit in 1954-55.
  • Yorktown (CVA/CVS-10). Hydraulic catapults. Received SCB-125 refit in 1955.
  • Wasp (CVA/CVS-18). Hydraulic catapults. Received SCB-125 refit in 1955.
  • Randolph (CVA/CVS-15). Hydraulic catapults. Received SCB-125 refit in 1955-56.

  • Essex (CVA/CVS-9). Hydraulic catapults. Received SCB-125 refit in 1955-56.
  • Hornet (CVA/CVS-12). Hydraulic catapults. Received SCB-125 refit in 1956.
  • Hancock (CVA-19). Steam catapults. Received SCB-125 refit in 1956.
  • Kearsarge (CVA/CVS-33). Hydraulic catapults. Received SCB-125 refit in 1956-57.
  • Ticonderoga (CVA/CVS-14). Steam catapults. Received SCB-125 refit in 1956-57.
  • Intrepid (CVA/CVS-11). Steam catapults. Received SCB-125 refit in 1956-57.
  • Oriskany (CVA/CV-34). Received SCB-125A refit in 1957-59, replacing hydraulic with steam catapults.

    Essex/Ticonderoga class characteristics, as modified under project SCB-125 with steam catapults:

  • Displacement: 43,060 tons (full load)
  • Dimensions: 894' 6" (length overall); 103' (hull); 166' 10" (over flight deck and projections)
  • Power plant: 150,000 horsepower, steam turbines, four propellers, 30.7 knot maximum speed
  • Aircraft: (as Attack Carrier) Approximately 70 aircraft, including five squadrons of fighters and attack planes, and small detachments of heavy attack, airborne early warning and reconnaissance planes;
  • (as Anti-submarine Support Carrier) Approximately 50 aircraft, including two squadrons of S2F fixed-wing aircraft, one squadron of helicopters and small detachments of airborne early warning and (in the 1960s) fighters.
  • Gun Armament: eight 5"/38 guns in single mountings plus a few twin 3"/50 gun mounts. From the mid-1950s onward, gun armament was steadily reduced to compensate for growing weights of topside equipment and embarked aircraft
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