The HMS Ark Royal was the first to be designed from the start to be a large aircraft carrier.
The HMS Ark Royal incorporated better design features based on experience during the 1920s and 1930s. These included an island, armored deck and hangars, and more anti-aircraft defensive armament.
In 1937 there were 48 Swordfish and 24 Skuas.
The island and funnel were located on the starboard side. There was a tripod mast.
The flight deck extended out past the stern. The flight deck was armored. The flight deck was also an integral part of the strength of the ship.
Two catapults that could launch 12,000 lbs at 66 knots were installed.
There were two hangar decks, the upper that was 568' x 60' x 16' and the lower 452' x 60' x 16'. There were two 45' x 22' elevators and one 45' x 25' elevator. Each had two platforms, one that would travel between the upper and lower hangar, and one that went from the upper hangar to the flight deck. This created a lengthy process to take a plane from the lower hangar deck to the flight deck.
The hangar deck and walls were armored.
The boilers were each located in separate engine rooms.