Helicopter carrier

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USS Boxer, a U.S. Navy Wasp class amphibious assault ship

A helicopter carrier is a type of aircraft carrier whose primary purpose is to operate helicopters. Helicopter carriers have been used as anti-submarine warfare carriers and amphibious assault ships.

Helicopter carriers can either have a full-length aircraft deck like HMS Ocean,[1] or have a large helicopter deck, usually aft, as in the Soviet Navy's Moskva class or RFA Argus. A full-length deck maximises deck space for helicopter landing spots. Such a design also allows for a hangar deck.

Pure helicopter carriers are difficult to define in the 21st century. The advent of STOVL aircraft such as the Harrier Jump Jet 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.

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[edit]

Country Navy In service In reserve Under construction
 United States  United States Navy 9 4 1 (+10 planned)
 United Kingdom  Royal Navy 2 0 0
 France  French Navy 3 0 0
 Japan  Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force 3 0 1
 South Korea  Republic of Korea Navy 1 0 0
 Thailand  Royal Thai Navy 1 0 0
 Russia  Russian Navy 0 0 2
 Australia  Royal Australian Navy 1 0 1
 Turkey  Turkish Navy 0 0 0 (+1 planned)
 India  Indian Navy 0 0 0 (+4 planned)

Helicopter carriers[edit]

Helicopter carriers currently in use[edit]

Country Name (Hull number) Length Tonnage (mt) Class Propulsion Type Classification Commission
 France Mistral (L9013) 199 199 m (653 ft) 021300 21,300 mt Mistral Conventional VTOL Landing Helicopter Dock 2005-12-01 December 2005
 France Tonnerre (L9014) 199 199 m (653 ft) 021300 21,300 mt Mistral Conventional VTOL Landing Helicopter Dock 2006-12-01 December 2006
 France Dixmude (L9015) 199 199 m (653 ft) 021300 21,300 mt Mistral Conventional VTOL Landing Helicopter Dock 2011-10-01 December 2011
 Japan Hyūga (DDH-181) 179 179 m (587 ft) 019000 19,000 mt Hyūga Conventional VTOL Helicopter destroyer 2009-03-18 18 March 2009
 Japan Ise (DDH-182) 179 179 m (587 ft) 018000 18,000 mt Hyūga Conventional VTOL Helicopter destroyer 2011-03-16 16 March 2011
 South Korea Dokdo (LPH-6111) 199 199 m (653 ft) 018800 18,800 mt Dokdo Conventional VTOL Landing Platform Helicopter 2007-07-03 3 July 2007
 Spain Juan Carlos I (L-61) 230.82 230.82 m (757.3 ft) 027079 27,079 mt Juan Carlos Conventional STOVL Landing Helicopter Dock 30 September 2010
 UK Ocean (L12) 203.4 203.4 m (667 ft) 021500 21,500 mt Ocean Conventional VTOL Landing Platform Helicopter 1998-09-30 30 September 1998
 US Peleliu (LHA-5) 250 250 m (820 ft) 039438 39,438 mt Tarawa[2] Conventional STOVL Landing Helicopter Assault 3 May 1980
 US America (LHA-6) 257.3 257.3 m (844 ft) 045000 45,000 mt America[2] Conventional STOVL Landing Helicopter Assault 11 October 2014[3]
 US Wasp (LHD-1) 257 257 m (843 ft) 040532 40,532 mt Wasp[2] Conventional STOVL Landing Helicopter Dock 29 July 1989
 US Essex (LHD-2) 257 257 m (843 ft) 040650 40,650 mt Wasp Conventional STOVL Landing Helicopter Dock 17 October 1992
 US Kearsarge (LHD-3) 257 257 m (843 ft) 040500 40,500 mt Wasp Conventional STOVL Landing Helicopter Dock 16 October 1993
 US Boxer (LHD-4) 257 257 m (843 ft) 040722 40,722 mt Wasp Conventional STOVL Landing Helicopter Dock 11 February 1995
 US Bataan (LHD-5) 257 257 m (843 ft) 040358 40,358 mt Wasp Conventional STOVL Landing Helicopter Dock 20 September 1997
 US Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) 257 257 m (843 ft) 040500 40,500 mt Wasp Conventional STOVL Landing Helicopter Dock 15 August 1998
 US Iwo Jima (LHD-7) 257 257 m (843 ft) 040530 40,530 mt Wasp Conventional STOVL Landing Helicopter Dock 30 June 2001
 US Makin Island (LHD-8) 258 258 m (846 ft) 041649 41,649 mt Wasp Conventional STOVL Landing Helicopter Dock 24 October 2009

Retired helicopter carriers[edit]

Helicopter carriers under construction[edit]

Dixmude a Mistral class helicopter carrier of the French Navy

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "HMS Ocean (LPH01) Helicopter Carrier". Naval Technology. 2011-06-15. Retrieved 2014-04-20. 
  2. ^ a b c World Wide Aircraft Carriers
  3. ^ "America 'Sails Away' for Maiden Transit to San Diego Homeport.". United States Navy. 10 October 2014. 
  4. ^ "BBC News - Warship HMS Illustrious starts sea trials". Bbc.co.uk. 2011-06-17. Retrieved 2014-04-20.