An aircraft catapult is a device used to launch aircraft from ships, most commonly used on aircraft carriers, as a form of assisted take off. It consists of a track built into the flight deck, below which is a large piston or shuttle that is attached through the track to the nose gear of the aircraft, or in some cases a wire rope, called a catapult bridle, is attached to the aircraft and the catapult shuttle. Different means have been used to propel the catapult, such as weight and derrick, gunpowder, flywheel, air pressure, hydraulic, and steam power. The U.S. Navy is developing the use of Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch Systems with the construction of the Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers. Catapulted aircraft land like conventional aircraft, sometimes with the help of arresting gear.
Aviation pioneer and Smithsonian Secretary Samuel Langley used a spring-operated catapult to launch his successful flying models and his failed aerodrome of 1903. Likewise the Wright Brothers beginning in 1904 used a weight and derrick styled catapult to assist their early aircraft with a takeoff in a limited distance.
On 31 July 1912, Theodore Gordon Ellyson became the first person to be launched from a U.S. Navy catapult system. The Navy had been perfecting a compressed-air catapult system and mounted it on the Santee Dock in Annapolis, Maryland. The first attempt nearly killed Lieutenant Ellyson when the plane left the ramp with its nose pointing upward and it caught a crosswind, pushing the plane into the water. Ellyson was able to escape from the wreckage unhurt. On 12 November 1912, Lt. Ellyson made history as the Navy's first successful catapult launch, from a stationary coal barge. On 5 November 1915, Lieutenant Commander Henry C. Mustin made the first catapult launch from a ship underway.
|Feature||First seen||First demonstrated on||First commissioned carrier||Entry into service||Notes|
|Naval catapult||1915||USS North Carolina||USS Langley – compressed air
USS Lexington – fly wheel
HMS Courageous – hydraulic
|Lt. Cmdr. Henry Mustin made the first successful launch on November 5, 1915,|
|Steam catapult||1950||HMS Perseus||USS Hancock||1954||added to Hancock during her 1953 SCB-27C refit.|
|EMALS||2010||Lakehurst Maxfield Field||USS Gerald R. Ford||2017|
|Ski-jump||1973||RAE Bedford||HMS Invincible||1977|
The US Navy experimented with other power sources and models, including catapults that utilized gunpowder and flywheel variations. On 14 December 1924, a Martin MO-1 observation plane flown by Lt. L. C. Hayden was launched from USS Langley using a catapult powered by gunpowder. Following this launch, this method was used aboard both cruisers and battleships.
Up to and during World War II, most catapults on aircraft carriers were hydraulic. United States Navy catapults on surface warships, however, were operated with explosive charges similar to those used for 5" guns. Some carriers were completed before and during World War II with catapults on the hangar deck that fired athwartships, but they were unpopular because of their short run, low clearance of the hangar decks, inability to add the ship's forward speed to the aircraft's airspeed for takeoff, and lower clearance from the water (conditions which afforded pilots far less margin for error in the first moments of flight). They were mostly used for experimental purposes, and their use was entirely discontinued during the latter half of the war.
Many naval vessels apart from aircraft carriers carried float planes, seaplanes or amphibians for reconnaissance and spotting. They were catapult-launched and landed on the sea alongside for recovery by crane. Additionally, the concept of submarine aircraft carriers was developed by multiple nations during the interwar period, and through until WW2 and beyond, wherein a submarine would launch a small number of floatplanes for offensive operations or artillery spotting, to be recovered by the submarine once the aircraft has landed. The first launch off a Royal Navy battlecruiser was from HMAS Australia on 8 March 1918. Subsequently, many Royal Navy ships carried a catapult and from one to four aircraft; battleships or battlecruisers like HMS Prince of Wales carried four aircraft and HMS Rodney carried two, while smaller warships like the cruiser HMNZS Leander carried one. The aircraft carried were the Fairey Seafox or Supermarine Walrus. Some like HMS Nelson did not use a catapult, and the aircraft was lowered onto the sea for takeoff. Some had their aircraft and catapult removed during World War II e.g. HMS Duke of York, or before (HMS Ramillies).
During World War II a number of ships were fitted with rocket-driven catapults, first the fighter catapult ships of the Royal Navy, then armed merchantmen known as CAM ships from "catapult armed merchantmen." These were used for convoy escort duties to drive off enemy reconnaissance bombers. CAM ships carried a Hawker Sea Hurricane 1A,[i] dubbed a "Hurricat" or "Catafighter", and the pilot bailed out unless he could fly to land.
While imprisoned in Colditz Castle during the war, British prisoners of war planned an escape attempt using a falling bathtub full of heavy rocks and stones as the motive power for a catapult to be used for launching the Colditz Cock glider from the roof of the castle.
Following World War II, the Royal Navy was developing a new catapult system for their fleet of carriers. Commander Colin C. Mitchell, RNV, recommended a steam-based system as an effective and efficient means to launch the next generation of naval aircraft. Trials on HMS Perseus, flown by pilots such as Eric "Winkle" Brown, from 1950 showed its effectiveness. Navies introduced steam catapults, capable of launching the heavier jet fighters, in the mid-1950s. Powder-driven catapults were also contemplated, and would have been powerful enough, but would also have introduced far greater stresses on the airframes and might have been unsuitable for long use.
At launch, a release bar holds the aircraft in place as steam pressure builds up, then breaks (or "releases"; older models used a pin that sheared), freeing the piston to pull the aircraft along the deck at high speed. Within about two to four seconds, aircraft velocity by the action of the catapult plus apparent wind speed (ship's speed plus or minus "natural" wind) is sufficient to allow an aircraft to fly away, even after losing one engine.
Nations that have retained large aircraft carriers, i.e., the United States Navy, French Navy, are still using a CATOBAR (Catapult Assisted Take Off But Arrested Recovery) configuration. U.S. Navy tactical aircraft use catapults to launch with a heavier warload than would otherwise be possible. Larger planes, such as the E-2 Hawkeye and S-3 Viking, require a catapult shot, since their thrust-to-weight ratio is too low for a conventional rolling takeoff on a carrier deck.
|C-11 and C-11-1||225 feet (69 m)||211 feet (64 m)||39,000 pounds (18 t) at 136 knots; 70,000 pounds (32 t) at 108 knots||SCB-27C Essex-class conversions, USS Coral Sea, bow installations on USS Midway and USS Franklin D. Roosevelt, waist installations on USS Forrestal and USS Saratoga|
|C-11-2||162 feet (49 m)||150 feet (46 m)||Waist catapults on USS Midway and USS Franklin D. Roosevelt|
|C-7||276 feet (84 m)||253 feet (77 m)||40,000 pounds (18 t) at 148.5 knots; 70,000 pounds (32 t) at 116 knots||USS Ranger, USS Independence, bow installations on USS Forrestal and USS Saratoga|
|C-13||265 feet (81 m)||250 feet (76 m)||78,000 pounds (35 t) at 139 knots||Kitty Hawk class, USS Midway after SCB-101.66 modernization, USS Enterprise|
|C-13-1||325 feet (99 m)||310 feet (94 m)||80,000 pounds (36 t) at 140 knots||One installation on USS America and USS John F. Kennedy, all on USS Nimitz, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, USS Carl Vinson, and USS Theodore Roosevelt|
|C-13-2||325 feet (99 m)||306 feet (93 m)||USS Abraham Lincoln, USS George Washington, USS John C. Stennis, USS Harry S. Truman|
|C-13-3||261 feet (80 m)||246 feet (75 m)||60,000 pounds (27 t) at 140 knots||French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle|
The protruding angled ramps (Van Velm Bridle Arresters or horns) at the catapult ends on some aircraft carriers were used to catch the bridles (connectors between the catapult shuttle and aircraft fuselage) for reuse. There were small ropes that would attach to bridle the shuttle, which continued down the angled horn to pull the bridle down and away from the aircraft to keep from damaging the underbelly which was then caught by nets aside the horn. Bridles have not been used on U.S. aircraft since the end of the Cold War, and all U.S. Navy carriers commissioned since then have not had the ramps. The last U.S. carrier commissioned with a bridle catcher was USS Carl Vinson; starting with USS Theodore Roosevelt the ramps were deleted. During Refueling and Complex Overhaul refits in the late 1990s–early 2000s, the bridle catchers were removed from the first three Nimitz-class aircraft carriers. USS Enterprise was the last U.S. Navy operational carrier with the ramps still attached before her inactivation in 2012.
Like her American counterparts today, the French aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle is not equipped with bridle catchers because the modern aircraft operated on board use the same launch systems as in US Navy. Because of this mutual interoperability, American aircraft are also capable of being catapulted from and landing on Charles De Gaulle, and conversely, French naval aircraft can use the US Navy carriers' catapults. At the time when the Super Étendard was operated on board of the Charles de Gaulle, its bridles were used only once, as they were never recovered by bridle catchers.
The size and manpower requirements of steam catapults place limits on their capabilities. A newer approach is the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS). Electromagnetic catapults place less stress on the aircraft and offer more control during the launch by allowing gradual and continual acceleration. Electromagnetic catapults are also expected to require significantly less maintenance through the use of solid state components.
Linear induction motors have been experimented with before, such as Westinghouse's Electropult system in 1945. However, at the beginning of the 21st century, navies again started experimenting with catapults powered by linear induction motors and electromagnets. EMALs would be more energy efficient on nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and would alleviate some of the dangers posed by using pressurized steam. On gas-turbine powered ships, an electromagnetic catapult would eliminate the need for a separate steam boiler for generating catapult steam. The U.S. Navy's upcoming Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers includes electromagnetic catapults in its design.
From 1929, the German Norddeutscher Lloyd-liners SS Bremen and Europa were fitted with compressed air-driven catapults designed by the Heinkel Flugzeugwerke to launch mail-planes. These ships served the route between Germany and the United States. The aircraft, carrying mail–bags, would be launched as a mail tender while the ship was still many hundreds of miles from its destination, thus speeding mail delivery by about a day. Initially, Heinkel He 12 aircraft were used before they were replaced by Junkers Ju 46, which were in turn replaced by the Vought V-85G.
German airline Lufthansa subsequently used dedicated catapult ships SS Westfalen, MS Schwabenland, Ostmark and Friesenland to launch larger Dornier Do J Wal (whale), Dornier Do 18 and Dornier Do 26 flying boats on the South Atlantic airmail service from Stuttgart, Germany to Natal, Brazil. On route proving flights in 1933, and a scheduled service beginning in February 1934, Wals flew the trans-ocean stage of the route, between Bathurst, the Gambia in West Africa and Fernando de Noronha, an island group off South America. At first, there was a refueling stop in mid-ocean. The flying boat would land on the open sea, be winched aboard by a crane, refueled, and then launched by catapult back into the air. However, landing on the big ocean swells tended to damage the hull of the flying boats. From September 1934, Lufthansa had a support ship at each end of the trans-ocean stage, providing radio navigation signals and catapult launchings after carrying aircraft out to sea overnight. From April 1935 the Wals were launched directly offshore, and flew the entire distance across the ocean. This was possible as the flying boats could carry more fuel when they did not have to take off from the water under their own power, and cut the time it took for mail to get from Germany to Brazil from four days down to three.
From 1936 to 1938, tests including the Blohm & Voss Ha 139 flying boat were conducted on the North Atlantic route to New York. Schwabenland was also used in an Antarctic expedition in 1938/39 with the main purpose of finding an area for a German whaling station, in which catapult-launched Wals surveyed a territory subsequently claimed by Germany as New Swabia. All of Lufthansa's catapult ships were taken over by the Luftwaffe in 1939 and used as seaplane tenders in World War II along with three catapult ships built for the military.
After World War II, Supermarine Walrus amphibian aircraft were also briefly operated by a British whaling company, United Whalers. Operating in the Antarctic, they were launched from the factory ship FF Balaena, which had been equipped with an ex-navy aircraft catapult.
The Chinese, Indian, and Russian navies operate conventional aircraft from STOBAR aircraft carriers (Short Take-Off But Arrested Landing). Instead of a catapult, they use a ski jump to assist aircraft in taking off with a positive rate of climb. Carrier aircraft such as the J-15, Mig-29K, and Su-33 rely on their own engines to accelerate to flight speed. As a result, they must take off with a reduced load of fuel and armaments.
All other navies with aircraft carriers operate STOVL aircraft, such as the F-35B Lightning II, the Sea Harrier, and the AV-8B Harrier II. These aircraft can take off vertically with a light load, or use a ski jump to assist a rolling takeoff with a heavy load. STOVL carriers are less expensive and generally smaller in size compared to CATOBAR carriers.
THE HEINKEL K2 catapult installed upon the North German Lloyd liner "Bremen," which figured prominently in the establishment of the recent trans-Atlantic mail record, is the result of two years of experimentation and development by Dr. Ernst Heinkel, its designer.
The A1B reactor plant is an aircraft carrier nuclear reactor developed by the United States Navy. It is used in Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers to provide electrical and propulsion energy. The A1B is the first naval reactor produced by Bechtel Corporation, which has "performed engineering and/or construction services on more than 80 percent of [land-based] nuclear plants in the United States".Aircraft carriers' nuclear reactors provide the electrical and motor energy of the ship by splitting enriched uranium to produce heat and convert water to steam to power steam turbines. This process is largely the same as land-based nuclear reactors, although smaller naval reactors have several design differences.
As Navy planners developed requirements for the Ford class, they concluded that the A4W reactors that provide propulsion and electricity for the predecessor Nimitz-class aircraft carriers offer too little power for contemporary and anticipated future shipboard needs. So they commissioned a new reactor from Bechtel.The new reactor was named A1B, following the Navy's reactor-designation scheme of type, generation, and manufacturer: A for aircraft carrier, 1 for the maker's first reactor plant design, and B for Bechtel. Two A1B reactor plants will power each Ford ship.
It is estimated that the total thermal power output of the A1B will be around 700 MW, some 25% more than provided by the A4W. Improved efficiency in the total plant is expected to provide improved output to both propulsion and electrical systems. Using A4W data with a 25% increase in thermal power, the A1B reactors likely produce enough steam to generate 125 megawatts (168,000 hp) of electricity, plus 350,000 shaft horsepower (260 MW) to power the four propellor shafts.^
The increased electrical generation capacity will allow for elimination of service steam on the ship, reducing staffing requirements for maintenance. Electrical aircraft catapult power will also free the ship's air wing from reactor plant constraints.
In addition, the A1B reactor uses modernized technology that is both more advanced and adaptable than previous reactor technology, is smaller and weighs less than the A4W, and has operator interfaces that are expected to be improved as well.All American Turbo-Cat
The Turbo-Cat was a jet aircraft catapult launch system powered by six jet engines. It was invented by Don Doolittle, and manufactured by the All American Engineering Co. of Wilmington, Delaware, USA. Six Allison J33 engines in a capstan arrangement provided 50,000 horsepower directly to the launching cable.
It was developed for expeditionary use by the U.S. Marine Corps, and it was to be air transportable.
Six jet engines are arranged in a circle with the exhausts facing the center where the mass flow of hot exhaust gasses is vented through a diffuser into a pair of large launching turbines. The launching turbines are connected by a main shaft to a cable drum from which an endless tensioned cable shunts underground to a launching track. Then down the track and around a pulley and back to the cable drum. By diverting the flow of exhaust gasses into a launching turbine, the cable drum and its tensioned cable can be accelerated to very high speeds.Avenger-class escort carrier
The Avenger-class escort carrier was a class of escort carriers comprising three ships in service with the Royal Navy during the Second World War and one ship of the class in the United States Navy called the Charger Type of 1942-class escort carrier. All three were originally American type C3 merchant ships in the process of being built at the Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Company Chester, Pennsylvania. The ships laid down in 1939 and 1940 were launched and delivered to the Royal Navy by 1942.The ships had a complement of 555 men and an overall length of 492.25 feet (150.04 m), a beam of 66.25 feet (20.19 m) and a height of 23.25 ft (7.09 m). Their displacement was 8,200 long tons (8,300 t) at normal load and 9,000 long tons (9,100 t) at deep load. Propulsion was provided by four diesel engines connected to one shaft giving 8,500 brake horsepower (6,300 kW), which could propel the ships at 16.5 knots (30.6 km/h; 19.0 mph).Aircraft facilities were a small combined bridge–flight control on the starboard side and above the 410 feet (120 m) long wooden flight deck, one aircraft lift 43 by 34 feet (13 m × 10 m), one aircraft catapult and nine arrestor wires. Aircraft could be housed in the 190 by 47 feet (58 m × 14 m) half hangar below the flight deck. Armament comprised three single mounted 4-inch dual purpose anti-aircraft guns and fifteen 20 mm cannons on single or twin mounts. They had the capacity for fifteen aircraft which would typically be a mixture of Grumman Martlet or Hawker Sea Hurricane fighter aircraft and Fairey Swordfish or Grumman Avenger anti-submarine aircraft. The three ships in the class were HMS Avenger, HMS Biter and HMS Dasher. A fourth ship, USS Charger was built at the same time to the same design but was commissioned in the U.S. Navy.Blohm
Blohm is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:
Hans Blohm C.M. (born 1927), photographer and author
Linn Blohm (born 1992), Swedish handball player for IK Sävehof and the Swedish national team
Robert Blohm (born 1948), American and Canadian investment banker, economist and statistician, professor in China's Central University of Finance and Economics
Tom Blohm (1920–2000), Norwegian football playerC. C. Mitchell
Commander Colin Campbell Mitchell FRSE MIME OBE (1904–21 January 1969) was a Scottish mechanical engineer also with a very prominent service record in the Royal Navy. He was the inventor of the Aircraft catapult and Aircraft arresting gear used on aircraft carriers. He was usually referred to as Commander C. C. Mitchell.Douglas O2D
The Douglas XO2D-1 was a prototype American observation floatplane of the 1930s. It was a single engined biplane intended to be launched by aircraft catapult from ships of the United States Navy, but only one was built, the production contract going to Curtiss for the SOC Seagull.HMS Ark Royal (1914)
HMS Ark Royal was the first ship designed and built as a seaplane carrier. She was purchased by the Royal Navy in 1914 shortly after her keel had been laid and the ship was only in frames; this allowed the ship's design to be modified almost totally to accommodate seaplanes. In the First World War, Ark Royal participated in the Gallipoli Campaign in early 1915, with her aircraft conducting aerial reconnaissance and observation missions. Her aircraft later supported British troops on the Macedonian Front in 1916, before she returned to the Dardanelles to act as a depot ship for all the seaplanes operating in the area. In January 1918, several of her aircraft unsuccessfully attacked the German battlecruiser SMS Goeben when she sortied from the Dardanelles to attack Allied ships in the area. The ship left the area later in the year to support seaplanes conducting anti-submarine patrols over the southern Aegean Sea.
After the end of the war, Ark Royal mostly served as an aircraft transport and depot ship for those aircraft in support of White Russian and British operations against the Bolsheviks in the Caspian and Black Sea regions during the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War. She also supported Royal Air Force (RAF) aircraft in British Somaliland in the campaign against Mohammed Abdullah Hassan in 1920. Later that year, the ship was placed in reserve. Ark Royal was recommissioned to ferry an RAF squadron to the Dardanelles during the Chanak Crisis in 1922. She was reduced to reserve again upon her return to the United Kingdom the following year.
Ark Royal was recommissioned in 1930 to serve as a training ship, for seaplane pilots and to evaluate aircraft catapult operations and techniques. She was renamed HMS Pegasus in 1934, freeing the name for the aircraft carrier ordered that year, and continued to serve as a training ship until the beginning of the Second World War in September 1939. Assigned to the Home Fleet at the beginning of the war, she took on tasks as an aircraft transport, in addition to her training duties, until she was modified to serve as the prototype fighter catapult ship in late 1940. This type of ship was intended to defend convoys against attacks by German long-range maritime patrol bombers by launching fighters via their catapult to provide air cover for the convoy. Pegasus served in this role until mid-1941 when she reverted to her previous duties as a training ship. This lasted until early 1944 when she became a barracks ship. The ship was sold in late 1946 and her conversion into a merchant ship began the following year. However, the owner ran out of money during the process and Anita I, as she had been renamed, was seized by her creditors in 1949 and sold for scrap. She was not broken up until late 1950.HMS Patroller (D07)
HMS Patroller was an escort carrier in the Royal Navy during the Second World War. Laid down in 1942 at the Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding company, she was originally named USS Keweenaw (CVE-44). USS Keweenaw (previously AVG-44 then later ACV-44) was an escort carrier laid down under Maritime Commission contract by Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding of Tacoma, Washington, 27 November 1942; launched 6 May 1943; sponsored by Mrs. R. G. Risley; assigned to the United Kingdom 10 June 1943; reclassified CVE-44 on 15 July 1943; and transferred to the United Kingdom under lend-lease 22 October 1943.
During the remainder of war, she served the Royal Navy as HMS Patroller and operated in the Atlantic on convoy escort and patrol duty, with brief stints as a transport carrier for both the Army and Navy. Arriving Norfolk, Virginia, 9 December 1946, she was returned to the United States Navy the same day. Her name was struck from the Naval Vessel Registry 7 February 1947 and she was sold to Waterman Steamship Corp., 26 August 1947 as Almkerk (later renamed Pacific Reliance). She was scrapped in Taiwan in 1974.HMS Slinger
HMS Slinger has been the name of several Royal Navy vessels:
HMS Slinger (1917), an aircraft catapult vessel purchased 1917 and sold 1919
HMS Slinger (D26), built as USS Chatham, on Lend-Lease from 1942 to 1946
HMS LST 3510, launched 1944 was named Slinger from 1947 to 1956HMS Vindictive (1918)
HMS Vindictive was a warship built during the First World War for the Royal Navy (RN). Originally designed as a Hawkins-class heavy cruiser and laid down under the name Cavendish, she was converted into an aircraft carrier while still being built. Renamed in 1918, she was completed a few weeks before the end of the war and saw no active service with the Grand Fleet. The following year she participated in the British campaign in the Baltic against the Bolsheviks during which her aircraft made numerous attacks against the naval base at Kronstadt. Vindictive returned home at the end of the year and was placed in reserve for several years before her flight decks were removed and she was reconverted back into a cruiser. The ship retained her aircraft hangar and conducted trials with an aircraft catapult before she was sent to the China Station in 1926. A year after her return in 1928, she was again placed in reserve.
Vindictive was demilitarized and converted into a training ship in 1936–1937. At the beginning of the Second World War she was converted into a repair ship. Her first role after the conversion was completed in early 1940, however, was to transport troops during the Norwegian Campaign. She was then sent to the South Atlantic to support British ships serving there and, in late 1942, to the Mediterranean to support the ships there. Vindictive returned home in 1944 and was damaged by a German torpedo off the coast of Normandy after the Allies invaded France. She was reduced to reserve after the war and sold for scrap in 1946.Japanese minelayer Okinoshima
Okinoshima (沖島) was a large minelayer of the Imperial Japanese Navy, which was in service during the early stages of World War II. She was named after the Okinoshima Island in the Sea of Japan and the earlier Japanese battleship Okinoshima. She was the largest purpose-built minelayer of the Imperial Japanese Navy and the first Japanese minelayer to be equipped with a reconnaissance seaplane.Slinger
Slinger or slingers may refer to:
Slinger, a soldier who specializes in using a sling
Slinger (dish), a specialty dish served in American, mid-western diners.
Slingers (Marvel Comics), a fictional group of superheroes in the Marvel Comics universe
Slinger, Wisconsin, a village in Wisconsin, United States
Slinger High School
HMS Slinger (1917), an aircraft catapult vessel purchased 1917 and sold 1919
HMS Slinger (D26), built as USS Chatham, on Lend-Lease from 1942 to 1946
Singapore Slingers, a club in the Australian National Basketball League
Slingers (TV series), a television series featuring Haruka AbeUSS Targeteer
USS Targeteer was an LSM(R)-501-class landing ship medium (rocket) originally projected as LSM-508. The landing craft was reclassified as LSM(R)-508 in February 1945 and laid down on 31 March 1945 at Houston, TX, by the Brown Shipbuilding Corporation. Launched on 28 April 1945, LSM(R)-508 was commissioned at Houston on 25 June 1945, Lieutenant Harry E. Montgomery, USNR, in command.V/STOL
A vertical and/or short take-off and landing (V/STOL) aircraft is an airplane able to take-off or land vertically or on short runways. Vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft are a subset of V/STOL craft that do not require runways at all. Generally, a V/STOL aircraft needs to be able to hover. Helicopters are not considered under the V/STOL classification as the classification is only used for airplanes, aircraft that achieve lift (force) in forward flight by planing the air, thereby achieving speed and fuel efficiency that is typically greater than the capability of helicopters.
Most V/STOL aircraft types were experiments or outright failures from the 1950s to 1970s. V/STOL aircraft types that have been produced in large numbers include the Harrier, Yak-38 Forger and V-22 Osprey.
A rolling takeoff, sometimes with a ramp (ski-jump), reduces the amount of thrust required to lift an aircraft from the ground (compared with vertical takeoff), and hence increases the payload and range that can be achieved for a given thrust. For instance, the Harrier is incapable of taking off vertically with full weapons and fuel load. Hence V/STOL aircraft generally use a runway if it is available. I.e. short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) or conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) operation is preferred to VTOL operation.
V/STOL was developed to allow fast jets to be operated from clearings in forests, from very short runways, and from small aircraft carriers that would previously only have been able to carry helicopters.
The main advantage of V/STOL aircraft is closer basing to the enemy, which reduces response time and tanker support requirements. In the case of the Falklands War, it also permitted high-performance fighter air cover and ground attack without a large aircraft carrier equipped with aircraft catapult.
Types of takeoff and landing
|Takeoff and landing|