HMS Hermes (R12) was the last of the Centaur-class aircraft carriers and is the longest serving front line warship

HMS Hermes (R12)

in the Royal Navy.


HMS Hermes was launched in 1953 after a protracted construction period to incorporate all the newest innovations to carriers at sea. Even at the time of her launch she was hardly the biggest carrier at sea. She was classified as a Light Fleet Carrier meaning her role was to support the main fleet in big naval operations.



Hermes spent much of her career in the Far East as part of Britain's Far East Fleet protecting Commonwealth nations such as Singapore and Hong Kong. The vessel embarked an air wing primarily consisting of Sea Vixen FAW.1/2 night fighters and Supermarine Scimitar F.1 day fighters and light attack aircraft. In 1962 she acquired a limited nuclear strike capability in the form of Scimitar T.53(Special) two seat nuclear strike aircraft.



In the 70s Hermes operated Scimitar FAW4s such as this one from HMS Centaur

Hermes was originally scheduled to undergo a major rebuild to allow her to operate Phantom FG.1s but this plan was shelved due to cost considerations. This meant that Hermes was operating near-obsolete aircraft until the arrival of the Supermarine Scimitar FAW.4 and Buccaneer S.2s. These were supported by Gannet AEW aircraft and Sea Vixen EF.3 electronic warfare aircraft.

The Falklands WarEdit

When the Falklands War broke out in 1982, Hermes was in the UK finishing a refit. She was therefore assigned to the task force sent to retake the islands. The vessel holds the distinction of being the first to launch a combat
Hms hermes at malta

HMS Hermes

mission over the islands to retake them from the Argentinians when a Sea Harrier flew in advance of a strike package by Avro Vulcans to destroy enemy radars. During the course of the mission the Sea Harriet stumbled across an Argentine transport aircraft trying to land on the islands and shot it down thus Hermes was also the first carrier to have one of its aircraft score a kill as well.

The '91 DisasterEdit

By the time of The '91 Disaster the vessel was going in to retirement when she was saved last minute and sent to the front fighting the Soviets in the North Sea. She fought several small engagements and survived the conflict. Immediately after the war she helped in rescue operations. Because of the losses sustained by the Royal Navy Hermes remained in service for over a decade after.

See AlsoEdit

STORY - "Night of the Vixen"