STOBAR (Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery) is a system used for the launch and recovery of aircraft from the deck of an aircraft carrier, combining elements of both short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) with catapult-assisted take-off but with arrested recovery (CATOBAR).
Aircraft launch under their own power using a ski-jump to assist take-off (rather than using a catapult like most carriers). However, these are conventional, rather than STOVL aircraft, and thus require arrestor wires to land on the ship. The STOBAR system is simpler to build than CATOBAR — but it works only with aircraft that have a high thrust to weight ratio. As of 2013, it has only been used regularly on Russian, Indian, and Chinese carriers.
Compared to catapult-assisted take-off but with arrested recovery(CATOBAR), STOBAR is less expensive to develop. It is easier to operate than a CATOBAR configuration which requires large number of operators to launch the aircraft. Lack of any moving parts in ski-jump makes it less expensive to maintain the launch system. It does not require any additional system to generate force required to launch the aircraft unlike CATOBAR where an external force is needed to be generated either from steam catapult or Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System(EMALS) to launch the aircraft.
One major limitation of STOBAR configuration is that it only works with aircraft that have a high thrust to weight ratio such as Su-33 or MiG-29K and thus limits the kind of aircraft that can be operated from the carrier. In order to be airborne aircraft may require to limit the weaponry and size of the aircraft to reduce the weight of the aircraft.
The Russian Navy aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov is the first STOBAR carrier. Other aircraft carriers that feature a STOBAR configuration include the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning (formerly the Soviet carrier Varyag) and the Indian INS Vikramaditya (formerly the Soviet carrier Admiral Gorshkov), as well as the future Vikrant class aircraft carrier of India.
When the Eurofighter Typhoon was proposed for the British Royal Navy's Future Carrier Borne Aircraft, it was envisaged that they would operate in a STOBAR configuration. Instead, the Joint Combat Aircraft will be deployed on the next generation Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers in a STOVL configuration.
The Dassault Rafale is STOBAR compatible, after several simulations conducted by Dassault Aviation, the Rafale is able, with no modification, to take-off from a ski-jump carrier and the Indian Navy could consider it for a future acquisition.
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