All the principal admiralties of the world are paying marked attention to the provision of aircraft carriers, a type which is now regarded as only second in importance to the capital ship, some naval experts both here and in the United States believing it to be even more indispensable. The American navy contains as yet only two carriers, one a converted fleet collier and the other a rebuilt cargo steamer, both 'of which suffer from the drawback of low speed; but plans have now been prepared for the transformation of two huge battle cruisers into floating aerodromes. The ships in question, originally designed on a basis of 43,500 tons and a speed of 33¼ knots, are to be cut down by some 11,000 tons, with corresponding modifications in armament and armour, and fitted with spacious flying decks. Their great dimensions, 874 feet over all, with a width of 101½, feet, render them well adapted to this new role, though some critics consider it bad policy to employ vessels of such enormous size and cost for work that is bound to prove extremely hazardous in war-time.
Japan is pursuing the same policy, for she is now busy converting the two 43,500-ton battle cruisers Amagi and Akagi into aeroplane carriers, the displacement ·in each case being reduced to 26,500 tons. These vessels also are expected to attain a speed of 33 knots. All four ships will be superior to anything we have got or are likely to have in the near future. Our swiftest carrier is the Furious, now undergoing alterations at a cost of about £300,000. She can steam at 31 knots, but her normal displacement is only 19,100 tons. The converted battleship Eagle is a 24-knotter, of 22,790 tons, which seems to have proved a very qualified success in her new character, judging by the time she has spent in dockyard hands since her first commission. The Hermes and the Argus are both excellent ships in their way, but, of course, cannot be compared with the new foreign carriers either as to speed or capacity for transporting aeroplanes. The truth is, however, that we have far more aircraft carriers than aircraft to put into them, and before any more money is spent on improving the carrier fleet it would be well to make sure that a sufficient complement of planes will be available for these ships if ever they are called upon for active service. -Naval and Military Record, 19 July, 1922.