ORIGINAL: Ian R
AV-3 = Seaplane tender.
Granted. Of course before she was AV-3 she was CV-1, and served in that role for 14 years. As noted, by 1940's standards even a lengthy refit would have left her as a 2nd class CVE... but the US didn't have trouble finding uses for USS Long Island either.
So she most likely continues in that role for a while, somewhere safe. Later on when enough new and more capable AVs and AVDs are coming off the slipways, an honourable retirement to San Diego to train AV crews dockside, or similar. She was 30 years old in 1942, and it would probably take longer/cost more to rebuild her as a modernised CVE than to get a new one from Kaiser Shipbuilding.
The transport of 32 assembled P40s to Tjilijap in 1942 was very much an emergency measure, never to be repeated. She was not a real aircraft ferry and couldn't fly them off.
Um... aircraft *ferries* were USN code AKV - USS Kitty Hawk, for example; they couldn't fly off the aircraft they transported, they just transported them with the wings on. The US did use a bunch of CVEs on aircraft ferrying *missions*... during which the decks were so packed they'd have had a hard time flying off a Grasshopper. They even ferried things like PBYs.
USS Ranger, at least, did carry and fly off land-based fighters (I think P-40's?) in the Med, but that seems to have been the exception rather than the rule.
They may as well have rigged up a temporary deck superstructure on a freighter and used that.
The British CAM ships weren't far off that. The Allies were really desperate for decks early in the war.
It was, all in all, a venture born of desperation, partly at least politically driven (the aircraft would have been of more use in Burma/India), and a misuse of a useful ship outside its intended role. The most surprising thing is it nearly worked.
Thoughts of beaching the USS Langley and lowering the P-40Es on a beach to
take-off from were considered, should the port be unavailable.
PDF here: P40s in Australia,part 5 by G Birkett
Thanks for the link, the idea of beaching her was a detail I'd never run across before. Granted she shouldn't have 'been there and doing that' when she was sunk (from a military standpoint)... which of course is part of where the idea comes from - if she hadn't been sunk, what would have been done with such an oddball ship? Continuing as an AV is an entirely reasonable assumption, but as the above noted CAM ships and the IJN BB/CV conversion note, the WWII navies were not above doing something that looks crazy to post-war naval architects.