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

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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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. 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.

    • 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

    • 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.

  2. 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.

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