Helicopter carrier

A helicopter carrier is a type of aircraft carrier whose primary purpose is to operate helicopters. A helicopter carrier has a large flight deck that occupies a large part of the ship, which can extend the full length of the ship like HMS Ocean[1] of the Royal Navy (RN), or only partway, usually aft, as in the Soviet Navy's Moskva class, the Chinese Navy's Type 0891A or the RN's RFA Argus. It often also has a hangar deck for the storage of aircraft.

Pure helicopter carriers are difficult to define in the 21st century. The advent of STOVL aircraft such as the Harrier Jump Jet, and now the F-35, have complicated the classification; the United States Navy's Wasp class, for instance, carries six to eight Harriers as well as over 20 helicopters. Only smaller carriers unable to operate the Harrier and older pre-Harrier-era carriers can be regarded as true helicopter carriers. In many cases, other carriers, able to operate STOVL aircraft, are classified as "light aircraft carriers". Other vessels, such as the Wasp class, are also capable of embarking troops such as marines and landing them ashore; they are classified as amphibious assault ships.

Helicopter carriers have been used as anti-submarine warfare carriers and amphibious assault ships.

HMS Hermes and two of her sisters were 22,000 ton fleet carriers converted to "commando carriers" only able to operate helicopters. Hermes was later converted to a STOVL carrier.

Helicopter carriers by country

Country Navy In service In reserve Under construction
 Australia  Royal Australian Navy 2 0 0
 Brazil  Brazilian Navy 1 0 0
 Egypt  Egyptian Navy 2 0 0
 France  French Navy 3 0 0
 India  Indian Navy 0 0 0 (4 planned total)
 Japan  Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force 4 0 0
 Russia  Russian Navy 0 0 0 (3 planned total)
 South Korea  Republic of Korea Navy 1 0 1
 Spain  Royal Spanish Navy 1 0 0
 Thailand  Royal Thai Navy 1 0 0
 Turkey  Turkish Naval Forces 0 0 1
 United States  United States Navy 9 3 1 (11 planned total)

Helicopter carriers

Helicopter carriers currently in use

Country Name (Hull number) Length Tonnage (mt) Class Propulsion Type Classification Commission
 Australia Canberra (L02) 230.82 m (757.3 ft) 27,500 mt Canberra
(modified Juan Carlos I)
Conventional STOVL Landing Helicopter Dock 28 November 2014
 Australia Adelaide (L01) 230.82 m (757.3 ft) 27,500 mt Canberra
(modified Juan Carlos I)
Conventional STOVL Landing Helicopter Dock 4 December 2015
 Brazil PHM Atlântico (A140) 203.4 m (667 ft) 21,500 mt Conventional VTOL Landing Platform Helicopter 29 June 2018[2]
 Egypt Gamal Abdel Nasser (L1010) 199 m (653 ft) 21,300 mt Mistral Conventional VTOL Landing Helicopter Dock 2 June 2016[3]
 Egypt Anwar El Sadat (L1020) 199 m (653 ft) 21,300 mt Mistral Conventional VTOL Landing Helicopter Dock 16 September 2016
 France Mistral (L9013) 199 m (653 ft) 21,300 mt Mistral Conventional VTOL Landing Helicopter Dock December 2005
 France Tonnerre (L9014) 199 m (653 ft) 21,300 mt Mistral Conventional VTOL Landing Helicopter Dock December 2006
 France Dixmude (L9015) 199 m (653 ft) 21,300 mt Mistral Conventional VTOL Landing Helicopter Dock December 2011
 Japan JS Kaga (DDH-184) 248 m (814 ft) 27,000 mt Izumo Conventional VTOL Helicopter destroyer 22 March 2017
 Japan JS Izumo (DDH-183) 248 m (814 ft) 27,000 mt Izumo Conventional VTOL Helicopter destroyer 25 March 2015
 Japan JS Hyūga (DDH-181) 197 m (646 ft)[4] 19,000 mt Hyūga Conventional VTOL Helicopter destroyer 18 March 2009
 Japan JS Ise (DDH-182) 197 m (646 ft)[4] 19,000 mt Hyūga Conventional VTOL Helicopter destroyer 16 March 2011
 South Korea Dokdo (LPH-6111) 199 m (653 ft) 18,800 mt Dokdo Conventional VTOL Landing Platform Helicopter 3 July 2007
 Spain Juan Carlos I (L-61) 230.82 m (757.3 ft) 27,079 mt Juan Carlos I Conventional STOVL Landing Helicopter Dock 30 September 2010
 UK Argus (A135)[5] 175.1 m (574 ft) 20,081 mt Unique merchant conversion Conventional VTOL Aviation Training Ship 1 June 1988
 US America (LHA-6) 257.3 m (844 ft) 45,000 mt America[6] Conventional STOVL Landing Helicopter Assault 11 October 2014[7]
 US Wasp (LHD-1) 257 m (843 ft) 40,532 mt Wasp[6] Conventional STOVL Landing Helicopter Dock 29 July 1989
 US Essex (LHD-2) 257 m (843 ft) 40,650 mt Wasp Conventional STOVL Landing Helicopter Dock 17 October 1992
 US Kearsarge (LHD-3) 257 m (843 ft) 40,500 mt Wasp Conventional STOVL Landing Helicopter Dock 16 October 1993
 US Boxer (LHD-4) 257 m (843 ft) 40,722 mt Wasp Conventional STOVL Landing Helicopter Dock 11 February 1995
 US Bataan (LHD-5) 257 m (843 ft) 40,358 mt Wasp Conventional STOVL Landing Helicopter Dock 20 September 1997
 US Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) 257 m (843 ft) 40,500 mt Wasp Conventional STOVL Landing Helicopter Dock 15 August 1998
 US Iwo Jima (LHD-7) 257 m (843 ft) 40,530 mt Wasp Conventional STOVL Landing Helicopter Dock 30 June 2001
 US Makin Island (LHD-8) 258 m (846 ft) 41,649 mt Wasp Conventional STOVL Landing Helicopter Dock 24 October 2009

Retired helicopter carriers

See also

References

  1. ^ "HMS Ocean (LPH01) Helicopter Carrier". Naval Technology. 2011-06-15. Retrieved 2014-04-20.
  2. ^ "Brazil commissions helicopter carrier". www.janes.com. 29 June 2018.
  3. ^ "DCNS delivers the second Mistral-class helicopter carrier to the Egyptian Navy, the LHD Anwar El Sadat". 16 September 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Hyuga Class". JMSDF Gallery (in Japanese). JMSDF. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
  5. ^ B. Ireland and F. Crosby (2011). The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Aircraft Carriers And Naval Aircraft. Hermes House. p. 189.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  6. ^ a b World Wide Aircraft Carriers
  7. ^ "America 'Sails Away' for Maiden Transit to San Diego Homeport". United States Navy. 10 October 2014.
  8. ^ "BBC News – Warship HMS Illustrious starts sea trials". Bbc.co.uk. 2011-06-17. Retrieved 2014-04-20.

External links

Media related to Helicopter carriers at Wikimedia Commons

Aircraft carrier

An aircraft carrier is a warship that serves as a seagoing airbase, equipped with a full-length flight deck and facilities for carrying, arming, deploying, and recovering aircraft. Typically, it is the capital ship of a fleet, as it allows a naval force to project air power worldwide without depending on local bases for staging aircraft operations. Carriers have evolved since their inception in the early twentieth century from wooden vessels used to deploy balloons to nuclear-powered warships that carry numerous fighters, strike aircraft, helicopters, and other types of aircraft. While heavier aircraft such as fixed-wing gunships and bombers have been launched from aircraft carriers, it is currently not possible to land them. By its diplomatic and tactical power, its mobility, its autonomy and the variety of its means, the aircraft carrier is often the centerpiece of modern combat fleets. Tactically or even strategically, it replaced the battleship in the role of flagship of a fleet. One of its great advantages is that, by sailing in international waters, it does not interfere with any territorial sovereignty and thus obviates the need for overflight authorizations from third party countries, reduce the times and transit distances of aircraft and therefore significantly increase the time of availability on the combat zone.

There is no single definition of an "aircraft carrier", and modern navies use several variants of the type. These variants are sometimes categorized as sub-types of aircraft carriers, and sometimes as distinct types of naval aviation-capable ships. Aircraft carriers may be classified according to the type of aircraft they carry and their operational assignments. Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, RN, former First Sea Lord (head) of the Royal Navy, has said, "To put it simply, countries that aspire to strategic international influence have aircraft carriers." Henry Kissinger, while United States Secretary of State, also said: "An aircraft carrier is 100,000 tons of diplomacy".As of August 2019, there are 41 active aircraft carriers in the world operated by thirteen navies. The United States Navy has 11 large nuclear-powered fleet carriers—carrying around 80 fighter jets each—the largest carriers in the world; the total combined deckspace is over twice that of all other nations combined. As well as the aircraft carrier fleet, the U.S. Navy has nine amphibious assault ships used primarily for helicopters, although these also carry up to 20 vertical or short take-off and landing (V/STOL) fighter jets and are similar in size to medium-sized fleet carriers. China, France, India, Russia, and the UK each operate a single large/medium-size carrier, with capacity from 30 to 60 fighter jets. Italy operates two light fleet carriers and Spain operates one. Helicopter carriers are operated by Japan (4), France (3), Australia (2), Egypt (2), Brazil (1), South Korea (1), and Thailand (1). Future aircraft carriers are under construction or in planning by Brazil, China, India, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Andrea Doria-class cruiser

The Andrea Doria class were helicopter cruisers of the Italian Navy. Italy's first major new designs of the post–World War II era, these ships were primarily designed for anti-submarine warfare tasks. Initially planned for three ships, the two ships that were constructed, Andrea Doria and Caio Duilio served until 1991 in both active and training capacities. The Andrea Doria class formed the basis for the larger Vittorio Veneto that followed them.

Anti-submarine warfare carrier

An anti-submarine warfare carrier (ASW carrier) (US hull classification symbol CVS) is a type of small aircraft carrier whose primary role is as the nucleus of an anti-submarine warfare hunter-killer group. This type of ship came into existence during the Cold War as a development of the escort carriers used in the ASW role in the North Atlantic during World War II.

Dokdo-class amphibious assault ship

The Dokdo-class amphibious assault ship (Hangul: 독도급 강습상륙함, Hanja: 獨島級強襲上陸艦) is a class of Landing Platform Helicopter (LPH) amphibious assault ships operated by the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN). Designed by Hanjin Heavy Industries, the requirements for the amphibious landing ships were to enhance South Korea's current amphibious operation capability, both in terms of assault and military operations other than war (MOOTW) type operations.

ENS Gamal Abdel Nasser

ENS Gamal Abdel Nasser (L1010) is an Egyptian Navy amphibious assault ship, a type of helicopter carrier, of the French-designed Mistral class. It was originally built for the Russian Navy and underwent sea trials. Subsequently, the contract was cancelled by France and agreement on compensation reached with the Russian government. Egypt and France concluded the deal to acquire the two former Russian Mistral for roughly 950 million euros. Egypt is the first and to date only country in Africa and the Middle East to possess a helicopter carrier.

HMS Blake (C99)

HMS Blake was a light cruiser of the Tiger class of the British Royal Navy, the last of the (traditional) Royal Navy gun-armed cruisers in the 20th century. She was named after Robert Blake, a 17th-century admiral who was the "Father of the Royal Navy". She was ordered in 1942 as one of the Minotaur class of light cruisers. They had a low construction priority due to more pressing requirements for other ship types during World War II, particularly anti-submarine craft. Blake was laid down in 1942. In 1944, Blake was renamed Tiger, then Blake again in 1945, the year she was launched partially constructed at the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company at Govan, by Lady Jean Blake, wife of Vice Admiral Sir Geoffrey Blake. Construction of Blake was suspended in 1946 and she was laid up at Gareloch.

HMS Ocean (L12)

HMS Ocean was an amphibious assault ship, formerly the UK's helicopter carrier and the fleet flagship of the Royal Navy. She was designed to support amphibious landing operations and to support the staff of Commander UK Amphibious Force and Commander UK Landing Force. She was constructed in the mid-1990s by Kvaerner Govan on the River Clyde and fitted out by VSEL at Barrow-in-Furness prior to trials and subsequent acceptance in service. Ocean was commissioned in September 1998 at her home port HMNB Devonport, Plymouth.

In December 2017, the Brazilian Navy confirmed the purchase of the ship for £84.6 million. Following her decommissioning from Royal Navy service on 27 March 2018, she arrived in Rio de Janeiro on 25 August 2018, with the intention of being commissioned as PHM Atlântico and fully operational by 2020.

Haruna-class destroyer

The Haruna-class destroyer was a destroyer class built for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) in the early 1970s. These helicopter carrying destroyers (DDH) are built around a large central hangar which houses up to three helicopters.

Originally, the Coastal Safety Force and its successor, the JMSDF, had intended to enable its fleet aviation operating capability. In 1960, the Defense Agency planned to construct one helicopter carrier (CVH) with the Second Defense Build-up Plan, but this project was shelved and finally cancelled because the JMSDF changed their plan to dispersing its fleet aviation assets among destroyers, not concentrating in few helicopter carrier. The Japanese DDH was planned to be a hub with this dispersing fleet aviation concept with their logistics service capability for aircraft.At the beginning, equipment of this class were similar to those of the Takatsuki-class DDA. All weapons, two 5-inch/54 caliber Mark 42 (Type 73) guns and one Type 74 octuple missile launcher (Japanese version of the American Mark 16 GMLS), were settled on the forecastle deck. But with the Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization (FRAM) program in 1983 and 1984, Sea Sparrow launchers, Phalanx CIWS systems and chaff launchers were added on the superstructure. With this upgrading program, this class became also enable to operate Naval Tactical Data System (NTDS) with OYQ-6/7 combat direction system.The rear-half of the superstructure was helicopter hangar, and the afterdeck was the helicopter deck with the beartrap system. To operate large HSS-2 ASW helicopters safely, the full length of the helicopter deck reached 50 meters.

Iranian ship Kharg

The Iranian ship Kharg is a modified Ol-class replenishment oiler of the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy, named after Kharg Island. Built by Swan Hunter in the United Kingdom and launched in 1977, she was delivered to Iran in 1984.

Italian cruiser Vittorio Veneto

Vittorio Veneto is a helicopter cruiser that served with the Italian Navy. Originally intended to be a class of two ships specifically designed for anti-submarine warfare (ASW), only Vittorio Veneto entered into service in 1969, its sister ship Italia being cancelled. Vittorio Veneto was decommissioned in 2003. This ship has the same general layout as the smaller Andrea Doria-class helicopter cruisers, but with two elevators in the flight deck and the hangar below, rather than with the hangar as part of the superstructure. It was named for the decisive Battle of Vittorio Veneto which ended World War I on the Italian front.

Izumo-class multi-purpose operation destroyer

The Izumo-class multi-purpose destroyer (いずも型護衛艦, Izumo-gata-goei-kan) or 22DDH is a class of de facto aircraft carriers originally ordered to operate as a helicopter carrier constructed for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). In late 2018 the class was predesignated as multi-purpose operation destroyers following the announcement that they would operate STOVL jets. The ships of this class are currently the largest surface combatants of the JMSDF, taking over the mantle previously held by the Hyūga-class helicopter destroyers. The lead ship was officially unveiled at Yokohama on 6 August 2013. On December 2018, the Japanese Cabinet gave approval to convert both ships into aircraft carriers capable of operating the F-35B.

JS Kaga

JS Kaga (DDH-184) is a helicopter carrier (officially classified by Japan as a helicopter destroyer) and the second constructed ship in the Izumo class of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF). Her namesake arises from Kaga Province (加賀国, Kaga no kuni) in present-day Ishikawa Prefecture.

The ship bears the same name, and almost the same size in length, as aircraft carrier Kaga, which served in the Imperial Japanese navy in WWII and led the attack on Pearl Harbor. The original Kaga was sunk in June 1942 near Midway Atoll during the Battle of Midway.

Landing platform helicopter

Landing platform helicopter (LPH) is a term used by some navies to denote a type of amphibious warfare ship designed primarily to operate as a launch and recovery platform for helicopters and other VTOL aircraft. As such, they are considered a type of helicopter carrier.

Under the NATO Standardization Agreement (STANAG) document for reporting vessels, LPH is a short form designator used for "Amphibious Assault Ship, Helicopter" defined as a "large helicopter carrier" for carrying and deploying around 1,800 assault troops using its own aircraft, but for which use of landing craft is "not a principal function". For ships of this hull classification in the Royal Navy, LPH is a direct acronym for "Landing Platform Helicopter", while the United States Navy referred to its vessels within this classification as "amphibious assault ships". Regardless of the terminology, all vessels classified as an LPH possess essentially similar capabilities.

The Royal Navy also used the term "Commando Carrier", which it applied to aircraft carriers converted to helicopter only operations. The RN now operates one vessel that it classifies as an LPH, HMS Ocean. Following the British government's decision to withdraw its Harrier aircraft at the end of 2010, the former light fleet carrier HMS Illustrious also performed this role, but has now been decommissioned.

The LPH classification was used by the U.S. Navy for the amphibious assault ships of the Iwo Jima class, a converted Casablanca-class escort carrier and three converted Essex-class aircraft carriers. No ships of this classification are currently in active service with the U.S. Navy, having been replaced with multi-purpose ships classified under NATO naming conventions as landing helicopter dock or landing helicopter assault ships.

Moskva-class helicopter carrier

The Moskva-class helicopter carriers, Soviet designation Project 1123 Kondor, was the first class of operational Soviet aircraft carriers (helicopter carrier in the Soviet classification).These ships were laid down at Nikolayev South (Shipyard No.444). The lead vessel was launched in 1965 and named Moskva; she entered commission two years later. Moskva was followed by Leningrad, which was commissioned in late 1968; there were no further vessels built, reportedly due to the poor handling of the ships in rough seas. Both were conventionally powered.

The Moskvas were not true "aircraft carriers" in that they did not carry any fixed-wing aircraft; the air wing was composed entirely of helicopters. They were designed primarily as anti-submarine warfare (ASW) vessels, and her weapons and sensor suite was optimized against the nuclear submarine threat. Their strategic role was to defend the Soviet ballistic missile submarine bastions against incursions by Western attack submarines, forming the flagships of an ASW task force.

Soviet helicopter carrier Leningrad

Leningrad was the second of two Moskva class helicopter carriers in service with the Soviet Navy. Laid down at Nikolayev South (Shipyard No.444), Leningrad was commissioned in late 1968. Preceded by Moskva, there were no further vessels built, reportedly due to the poor handling of the ships in rough seas. She was conventionally powered.

Soviet helicopter carrier Moskva

Moskva was the first of her class of helicopter carriers in service with the Soviet Navy. Laid down at Nikolayev South (Shipyard No.444), Moskva was launched in 1965 and she was commissioned two years later. Moskva was followed by Leningrad, which was commissioned in late 1968; there were no further vessels built, reportedly due to the poor handling of the ships in rough seas. Both were conventionally powered.

The Moskvas were not true "aircraft carriers" in that they did not carry any fixed-wing aircraft; the air wing was composed entirely of helicopters. They were designed primarily as anti-submarine warfare (ASW) vessels, and her weapons and sensor suite was optimized against the nuclear submarine threat. Shipboard ASW armament included a twin SUW-N-1 launcher capable of delivering a FRAS-1 projectile carrying a 450 mm torpedo (or a 5 kiloton nuclear warhead); a pair of RBU-6000 ASW mortars; and a set of torpedo tubes. For self-defense, the Moskvas had two twin SA-N-3 SAM launchers with reloads for a total of 48 surface-to-air missiles, along with two twin 57 mm/80 guns. A "Mare Tail" variable depth sonar worked in conjunction with heliborne sensors to hunt submarines.

Their strategic role was to defend the Soviet ballistic missile submarine bastions against incursions by Western attack submarines, forming the flagships of an ASW task force.

Leningrad was taken out of service in 1991, but Moskva remained in service until the late 1990s, when she, too, was scrapped.

Tarawa-class amphibious assault ship

The Tarawa class is a ship class of Landing Helicopter Assault (LHA) type amphibious assault ships operated by the United States Navy (USN). Five ships were built by Ingalls Shipbuilding between 1971 and 1980; another four ships were planned, but later canceled. As of March 2015, all vessels have been decommissioned. The class was replaced by the America-class amphibious assault ships from 2014 onward.

USCGC Cobb (WPG-181)

USCGC Cobb (WPG-181) was a United States Coast Guard cutter commissioned during World War II. A conversion of the 1906 coastal steamboat SS Governor Cobb, USCGC Cobb in the hands of the Coast Guard became the world's first helicopter carrier.

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