Spanish aircraft carrier Dédalo

Dédalo (Spanish for Daedalus) was the first Spanish aircraft carrier and the second aviation ship in the Spanish Navy (after the seaplane tender and balloon ship Dédalo that took part in the landings at Al Hoceima in 1925). She remained the fleet's flagship until Príncipe de Asturias replaced her. Dédalo was formerly the World War II-era light aircraft carrier USS Cabot, which was acquired from the United States in the 1960s.

Dédalo at sea on 1 June 1988
Name: Dédalo
Laid down: 16 March 1942
Launched: 4 April 1943
  • 30 August 1967 on loan[1]
  • Purchased outright 1972
Refit: 1976
Struck: August 1989
Fate: Scrapped 2002
Notes: Served in United States Navy 1943–1947 and 1948–1955 as USS Cabot
General characteristics
Displacement: 11,000
Length: 622.5 ft (189.7 m)
  • 71.5 ft (21.8 m) (waterline)
  • 109 ft 2 in (33.27 m) (overall)
Draft: 26 ft (7.9 m)
Installed power: 100,000 shp (75,000 kW)
Speed: 32 knots (59 km/h)
Complement: 1112
Sensors and
processing systems:
SPS-6 radar
Armament: 26 × Bofors 40 mm guns
Aircraft carried:
Aviation facilities:
  • Hangar: 70 m × 13 m × 5 m
  • Flight deck: 168 × 22 m, 2 elevators


In 1967, after over twelve years in mothballs in the United States, Cabot was loaned to Spain. The loan was converted to a sale in 1972. Dédalo initially deployed with the Spanish Navy as a helicopter-only antisubmarine warfare carrier operating the SH-3D Sea King and other helicopters from 1967 to 1976.

On 8 November 1972[2], a Harrier was successfully tested on the Dédalo deck, a first in the history of the plane. It was decided to order and deploy short-take-off-and-vertical-landing (STOVL) AV-8S Matadors (AV-8A Harrier) when Dédalo was overhauled. Since the Harriers' downdraft on vertical landing would have damaged the wooden deck, protective metal sheathing was installed on the rear area of the flight deck.[3] The first batch of six AV-8S single seat and two TAV-8S two seat aircraft were delivered to the Armada Española throughout 1976. A second batch of four AV-8S aircraft was delivered in 1980. Unlike some carriers used for Harrier operations, a ski-jump to assist STOVL takeoff was never installed on Dédalo, limiting the maximum takeoff weight of the Harriers.

She then typically carried an air group of eight AV-8S fighters, four Sea King antisubmarine warfare helicopters and four AB 212ASW Twin Hueys although Sikorsky S-55/CH-19s, AH-1 Cobras, and other specialized helicopters from the Spanish army, air force, and navy flew from her flight deck.[2]

During her Spanish service, Dédalo logged 1,650 days' steaming, covering 300,000 nautical miles (560,000 km), registering 30,000 landings and takeoffs, losing an AV-8A and three AB 212ASW helicopters to accidents.[4]

In film

In the 1970 film Cateto a babor, a clumsy sailor (played by Alfredo Landa) manages to land a helicopter on Dédalo.[5]


Replaced by the Spanish-built S/VTOL carrier Príncipe de Asturias in 1988, the Dédalo was struck by the Spanish Navy in August 1989, and she was given to a private organization in the U.S. for use as a museum ship. However, that private organization was unable to pay its creditors, and on 10 September 1999, the ship was auctioned off by the United States Marshals Service to Sabe Marine Salvage of Rockport, Texas. The scrapping of the hulk was completed in 2002.

See also


  1. Gardiner, Robert, Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1947–1982, Part One: The Western Powers, Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1983, ISBN 0-87021-918-9, p. 111.
  2. es:Dédalo (portaaeronaves)
  3. The full story of the Harrier "Jump-Jet" Part Three – Harriers in Service and the Falklands War
  4., R01 Dédalo
  5. Cateto a babor, VHS tape, at the National Library of Spain. "Lugares de rodaje: Centro de Formación de Especialistas de la Armada, Polígono de tiro naval Janer de San Fernando, portahelicópteros Dédalo y flotilla de helicópteros, en Benidorm, Jávea y Borx."

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