[Video] Small plane lands on deck of a cargo ship. A future for low cost naval aviation?

Nov 12 2013 - 11 Comments

Some small navies around the world (or largest ones with budget problems) may consider this set up: a small, STOL (Short Take Off and Landing) plane and a flat deck merchant ship for future low cost naval aviation?

Just kidding.

Still, the video, recorded with several cameras including some inside the plane and others on a Cessna 172 camera ship, is interesting as it shows the extreme STOL Foxbat A22 landing on a modest 3,500-ton multipurpose vessel 93 meters in length.

The small aircraft was flying just above stall speed, the ship was sailing at 9 knots into the wind and, even if the air speed was enough to keep the Foxbat flying, the speeed relative to the ship was almost zero.

Using a procedure that vaguely reminds that of real STOVL planes (like the F-35B and, above all, the AV-8B Harrier) approaching an amphibious assault ship, the A22 nears the deck in front of bridge 60 metres x 15 meters and then almost falls vertically to touchdown.

H/T to Michael Guthenberg for the heads-up


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  • BernardP

    The video shows that it didn’t land on the first attempt. That high pylon on the bow is scary.

  • michael

    I like the idea of some small careers beside the Nimitz/ Ford. I guess a career like this can carry around 10 aircrafts, that’s not big enough.
    10 fighters are a good support, but I don’t see any possible mission it could do. As a “scout” career it wont have any protection and couldn’t effort any combat. With protection it can’t be a stealthy scout and the cost are too big compared to the potential.

    If I have to buy a budget career, I would take the america class or the south korean one.

    p.s.: weren’t there some cargo ships just as careers in WW2?

  • sferrin

    This is not a new concept. It’s been studied since the 60’s and always comes up short.

  • nimblebooks

    Back to the future! A mini-escort carrier with mini-air wing.

  • bigcreek2

    hmmm mama said stupid is as stupid does,,, think that is why they have helicopters,,,

  • Mr J

    Shades of the Falklands War and the make-do/can-do attitude that helped the UK win it.

    Small and simple is a good idea for the Royal Navy to pursue, rather than the huge aircraft carrier/s now building.

    • Roland Lawrence

      Im sure BAE could quickly up the costs ;-) I love the irony now that the carriers the UK have paid for cost MORE then the nuclear powered super carriers of the USA! £6bn for 2 helicopter cruisers :-p

    • Shinri1

      Dutch pilot flying a Ukrainian aircraft and landing on a Dutch ship. Not sure how this reminds you of the UK “can do” attitude.

      Well it is called the English Channel…at least by the English.

  • mzungu

    Are these guy practicing for some smuggling action? Just kidding, or maybe not…

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    Drone CV?

  • StanSki

    A Piper super Cub would eat that for lunch. I’ve seen pilots fly them in reverse. That ship would be a piece of cake.