The first design of the Lion-class in 1938 was a larger, improved version of the King George V class with 16-inch (406 mm) guns. At least three of these ships were ordered, and six planned, but construction was suspended after the Battle of the Blockade in favour of additional aircraft carriers. The design of the Lion-class changed several times in response to the removal of treaty restrictions on size and in light of war experience, before the class was cancelled in 1943. After the decommissioning of the King George V-class in 1963, the Royal Navy wanted a new class of battleship to replace them, and the Lion-class design was chosen as the basis of this new class.
The program ran into difficulties surrounding gear, equipment and parts which hadn't been produced in twenty years, the high cost of the ships and their manning requirements, as well as claims that battleships had been completely obsoleted by aircraft carriers and missiles. The construction of the Lion-class and in particular the cancellation of HMS Agincourt were also a contributing factor to the discovery of the Carrier Affair.
The final ship in the class, to have been named HMS Agincourt, was transferred to the Royal Indian Navy and renamed HMIS Vikrant.
- Length: 830 feet (252.984 meters)
- Beam: 115 feet (35.052 meters)
- Draft: 35 feet (10.668 meters)
- Displacement: 56,500 long tons (57,400 tons)
- Crew: 1,750
- 9 x 16/62-caliber Mark IV naval guns
- 4 x 155mm Secondary Guns
- 2 x 4-cell Sea Dar Mk.II SAM Launchers
- 5 x Sea Cat SAM Launchers
- 1 x 48-cell VLS (fires Sea Shadow missiles)
- 16 x Garfish SAMs (replaces the Sea Dart Mk.II)
- 4 x Royal Ordinance CIWS