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Photo # USN 1150533:  ex-USS Bunker Hill at San Diego, California, October 1971

Online Library of Selected Images:
U.S. NAVY SHIPS -- Listed by Hull Number

AVT -- Auxiliary Aircraft Transports.
Also: Training Aircraft Carriers.

In 1959-61 twelve obsolete aircraft carriers were reclassified as Auxiliary Aircraft Transports (AVT). Though no longer capable of safely operating fixed-wing airplanes, they still had sound hulls and machinery that would make them useful for carrying aircraft overseas in the event of a war or other great emergency. These AVTs included seven small aircraft carriers (CVL) of the Independence and Saipan classes, plus five larger aircraft carriers of the Essex and Ticonderoga classes. All were in reserve when they became AVTs, and none had active service under that designation, which went out of use in 1971.

However, the designator AVT was reemployed in 1978, when the training aircraft carrier Lexington (CVT-16) was formally reclassified from a combatant to an auxiliary, and her hull number was changed to AVT-16. In 1992, USS Forrestal (CV-59) was similarly redesignated AVT-59 in anticipation of replacing Lexington in the training role. However, her conversion to a training ship was cancelled prior to completion.

This page provides the hull numbers of all U.S. Navy ships which were classified in the AVT series and provides links to photos of these ships.

See the list below to locate photographs of individual AVTs.

Left Column --
Auxiliary Aircraft Transports
(AVT-1 through AVT-12):

Right Column --
Training Aircraft Carriers
(AVT-16 and AVT-59):

  • AVT-16: Lexington (1943-1992),
    formerly CV-16, CVA-16, CVS-16 and CVT-16

  • There were no ships designated AVT-17 through AVT-58

  • AVT-59: Forrestal (1955-____),
    formerly CVA-59 and CV-59

To the best of our knowledge, the pictures provided in the "Online Library of Selected Images" are all in the Public Domain, and can therefore be freely downloaded and used for any purpose.

If you want higher resolution reproductions than the Online Library's digital images, see: "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."

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Page made 5 May 2002