have only Great Britain and Russia used ramped deck carriers?
Is this design only for the use of jump jets? The Squadron link below
shows the russian carrier with Mig-29's and am wondering how well
they take off on such a deck....and if it is a better way than why
has the USA not tried it....
Just curious btwn bites of Doritos and a bologna sandwich at my desk
The ramp deck concept is a limited design in comparison to the traditional
angle deck flattop. USN big carriers are expensive and time consuming
expenditures of national resources requiring stable and ample political
support. They are also indispensable weapons systems as has been proven
time and time again since WWII.
The RN abandoned big carrier doctrine for their own reasons and the Soviets
never fully embraced naval air power. Between the two, one with limited
funds and the other with limited interest, was born the V/TOL carrier. A gap
design? You betcha. Better than a traditional flattop in one respect I
suppose -- I'd cry considerably less if I lost one of those as opposed to
one of my Nimitz class floating airbases.
I wonder if the Euros will return to the carrier fold with their own version
of carpooling. Seven captains for seven rudders? ;-)
To reply, get the HECK out of there
I'm by no means an expert but I believe the principle of the ski jump allows
a greater load to be carried without the need for steam catapults, it allows
the aircraft to leave the deck in an upward direction in a ballistic
trajectory, it also gives the pilot more time to eject in the event of a
In the British / Indian / Italian / Spanish & Thai Navy's ski jump carriers
are used for STO runs by Harriers, that then recover vertically after the
mission, whereas in the Russian navy the Mig 29 and Su 27 use their massive
take off thrust and launch without catapults, but then recover aboard via
traditional arrestor hooks / wires just as in the traditional carriers.
The Russian carriers were / are significantly larger than the Harrier
carriers, but are not as large as the US supercarriers.
'Standing on the shoulders of giants'
In article , who me?
India fitted one to "Vikrant", I think, and inherited one on "Viraat"
(ex-"Herpes"), I think the Spanish have one on "Principe de Asturias",
and maybe the Thais on their Harrier Carrier, but not the Italians on
It's not a better way than a catapult, but a catapult is a complex piece
of kit - if you can get your fixed-wing assets off the deck with a
useful load without a catapult, so much the better. The Harrier is
little different to a normal aircraft on a rolling take-off, and not
only Fulcrums but Flankers and Frogfoots used the Russian ski-jump, but
I don't think the Forger could - IIRC, it was straight up-and-down only.
About the only nations not using ski-jumps are the U.S. and France.
The whole idea is to "toss" the airplane into the air, buying more time for its
own engines to accelerate it. Doing this lets you get rid of catapults - which
are expensive, and only the U.S. Navy has the know-how to make them - but ties
you down to airplanes with high thrust-weight ratios. Which plays hob with
your choice of AEW, ASW, COD, tanker, etc. assets.
I think it's the other way around - the requirement for high gross
takeoff weights (due to high stores count) leads to high thrust
requirement which obviates any kind of VSTOL incorporation.
Just look at how much more an F/A-18 (of any kind) can both carry and/or
bring back than a Harrier.
"The steam catapult was invented in 1952 by Britain's Royal Navy to improve
the launch of the era's new jet airplanes from carriers. Steam catapults
draw their power directly from the heat of the ship's engines."
RN also invented the angled flight deck and landing mirror.
BTW steam catapults are to be phased out in favour of electric gizzmos
The Ski-jump was invented by Doug Taylor to increase the maximum
take-off weight for the non-catapult-stressed Harrier from the
non-catapult-equipped "through-deck cruisers" that are the RN's carrier
force. The Harrier can carry less load in a VTO that it can from a land
base using CTO. Doug's idea was to get the best advantage out of a
short take-off from the carrier deck. The technique only works with
vectored thrust, because the aircraft is still well below flying speed
when it leaves the ramp. The nozzles are set fully rearwards to start
the manoeuvre, so as to gain maximum foreward speed while the deck is
holding you up. The ski-jump adds some vertical speed, and the nozzles
are snapped down (to about 70 degrees, I think, to keep the forward
acceleration going) to give jet lift until wing-borne flying speed is
reached. The link below has some more information, near the bottom.
Most navies with Harrier-carriers have fitted them with ski-jumps:
Spain, Thailand (built in Spain), Italy, India (ex-HMS Hermes). The
USMC doesn't use the ski-jump; I don't know why.
The Russians used a ski-jump on their Kuznetsov class carriers with the
non-vectored-thrust Su-27K, apparantly because they had no experience
with building steam catapults. The last of the Kiev-class, Admiral
Gorshkov, has been sold to India with Su-27K's and a ski-jump is to be
The STOVL version of JSF is designed for ski-jump launch, or, to put it
another way, is not stressed for catapult launch.
The Russians proposed using steam catapults on some of their carrier
designs such as the Project 1160 (3 x catapults) and the Project 1153 (2
The predecessor design to the Admiral Kuznetsov (Project 1143.5) had
provision for two bow cats.
To gain experience, the Soviets actually built a working steam catapult.
The aircraft on the Kuznetsov are actually held back while they run up
to full thrust at the take-off position by retractable 'fingers' in
front of the mainwheels - see :-
Your guess is as goos as mine Al, maybe they have learned how to make the
propeller blades stay on the propellor this time! It seems that they intend
to cooperate with the brits and build a conventional fueled one now.