Amazing Spaces Special: An Aircraft Carrier

Hey. This page is more than 4 years old! The content here is probably outdated, so bear that in mind. If this post is part of a series, there may be a more recent post that supersedes this one.

I started a previous post saying I was not buying a warship. I used a warship (the ill-fated USS Indianapolis) as a head-shot and got sidetracked by her sinking in the post. It did make me wonder if I could buy a warship. So I googled it.

Not sure if any are for sale as I write, but I found this: Its a Notice of Sale for HMS Illustrious, a Royal Navy Aircraft carrier. Available 2016.

Also this for HMS Invincible – same class of ship

How. Cool. Is. That? Meh! we don’t need the runway – we have harrier jump jets.

The listing says/said it’s ‘for recycling only’ but recycling seems a pretty loose term.

Starting bids were to be £2.8million. It seems there were a few unsuccessful bids to turn it into a museum (yawn) but the ship ended being tugged to Turkey and cut up for scrap, the same fate as her sister ships – the HMS Arc Royal and HMS Invincible.

The reality of buying a 40-year-old 20000-tonne ex-aircraft carrier (albeit a ‘light’ one) does-not likely add up numbers-wise. I get the impression buying any boat does not add numbers-wise. I think it can be said that buying anything not attached to or in the ground is probably not a good idea,

But realities aside, it seems like a massive missed opportunity, if not for a quick-and-easy daydream, or an architecture school design project.

The real estate listing

Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. (Moveable) blank canvas island.

  1. Main house with 360 views. Decor a little industrial.
  2. 3½ acres of flat land yearning for landscaping: Golf course, spectacular garden, resort accommodation. All of them and more?
  3. Plenty of basement storage space
  4. Self-sufficient for electricity, water treatment, clean water etc.
  5. All the mod-cons. Commercial kitchen, hospital, worker quarters.
  6. Capable of doing 30 knots (56kph) and a range of 5,000 nm (9,300 km; 5,800 mi) powered by just shy of 100000hp of Rolls Royce engine.

I suspect 4,5 & 6 (together with armaments, radar and anything else that was not attached), are not part of the deal.

But practicalities aside, it’s a good one to play imagine with eh!?!

Some good soul had made a SketchUp model of the Illustrious and put in on 3dWarehouse. As the author says, its been done by-eye, but seems pretty close.


Because I was searching for aircraft carrier related topics, Google suggested the video below. Aside from its cant-quite-put-my-finger-on-it-but-it-feels-like-a-PR-exercise, it confirmed what I already knew. That aircraft carriers are cool (especially if you are an officer).

The HMS Illustrious was only half the size of the USS Nimitz from the video (and the Royal Navy’s current class of aircraft carrier).

HMS Illustrious alongside the USS John Stennis (Nimitz class)
HMS Illustrious on the left, just before going to the knackers, HHS Elizabeth on right (2006)