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Aerial Combat

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Aircraft Movement

Squadron Control

Individual squadrons are controlled using the WASD keys and the mouse. Aircraft will automatically retain a set forward throttle, regardless of player input. Squadrons are steered using a combination of the mouse and the "A" and "D" keys. The "W" and "S" keys are used to apply a limited time boost and air braking, respectively. The amount of remaining boost is indicated by the curved bar on the left side of the HUD when controlling a squadron. Boost will automatically regenerate when not being used, but captains can also use the Engine Cooling squadron consumable to immediately replenish the boost bar.

Left-clicking will begin an attack run. While in the attack mode, squadron control remains the same.

Pressing "F" when controlling a squadron will relinquish control of the squadron, returning both the captain and their aircraft to the carrier. Aircraft expended in an attack run will automatically return to their carrier.

Catapult Fighter, Fighter, Patrol Fighters and Spotting Aircraft

Catapult Fighter (While active, a group of fighter planes circles the ship providing protection by attacking incoming enemy aircraft.) and Spotting Aircraft (While active, a spotter plane circles the ship enhancing main battery firing range.) cannot be controlled by the player, and move around the map automatically. They can go as far as 4.23 km away from the ship for Spotting Aircraft, and 3.24 km for Catapult Fighters.

For aircraft carrier captains, the Fighter consumable is automatically activated when the carrier is spotted by aircraft. Each consumable consists of a squadron of four fighters that rotate around the vessel at a distance of 3 km. They will attempt to engage enemy aircraft within their range.

Aircraft carrier controlled squadrons of Tier VI and above have access to the Patrol Fighters consumable. Similar to the Fighter consumable, when activated it will place a squadron of four fighters at the location in which it was activated. The fighters will attempt to engage enemy aircraft within their range. Patrol fighters last for 60 seconds, allowing them to be used as a passive scouting tool by carrier captains.

Air-to-Air Combat

Air-to-air combat is performed automatically through the usage of the Fighter, Catapult Fighter (While active, a group of fighter planes circles the ship providing protection by attacking incoming enemy aircraft.) and Patrol Fighter consumables. When activated, AI controlled fighters will appear and engage enemy aircraft within their range. The aircraft created from the Catapult Fighter and Fighter consumables will follow their host ship, while Patrol Fighters will remain where they were activated. All three consumables have limited life spans.

Anti-Surface Combat

Aircraft Carriers in World of Warships have three types of anti-surface weapons; Attack Aircraft, Torpedo Bombers, and Dive Bombers. Attack Aircraft utilize a large number of small-caliber rockets to light fires and strike fast, maneuverable vessels that are lightly armored. Torpedo Bombers carry air-dropped torpedoes that can cause floods, and are best suited against slower, less maneuverable targets. Finally, Dive Bombers carry either HE or AP bombs that are released directly above an enemy vessel, and can be used effectively against most targets.

Attack Aircraft

Attack aircraft are aircraft that carry a large number of HE rockets. The rockets have relatively low penetration values, so their damage output against heavily armored ships is negligible. Their primary use is to start fires on enemy vessels, and to harass lightly armored destroyers. The Inertia Fuse for HE Shells skill can be used to improve their penetration, although taking this skill is not usually recommended for an aircraft carrier. The carriers of the United States Navy have access to two types of rocket; a small, "traditional" rocket, and the much larger "Tiny Tim" rockets that feature higher damage, penetration and fire chance over their counterparts, at the cost of the number of rockets carried per plane.

Attack aircraft are arguable the easiest of the three weapon types to aim, as they have the fastest sight stabilization and a fairly small strike dispersion. They have no arming distance and have an easy to use aiming reticle.

Torpedo Bombers

Torpedo bombers are the preferred strike weapons of aircraft carriers, as they provide consistent damage against almost any enemy ship in a given match. Aerial torpedoes have universally lower damage and flood chance when compared to their ship-launched counterparts, but otherwise behave similarly.

When performing an attack run with torpedo bombers, captains will notice a yellow are in the attack cone; this is the distance in which the torpedoes must travel before they arm. If a torpedo strikes before arming, it will not do damage. The torpedo attack cone also closes quite slowly, so captains should take the time to plan out their attack runs before beginning them.

Dive Bombers

Dive bombers are the third and final type of aircraft carried by an aircraft carrier. They come in three forms; HE bombs used by the United States Navy carriers and Kaga, AP bombs carried on Imperial Japanese Navy carriers, Graf Zeppelin and Enterprise, and a high-altitude HE "carpet bomb" found on Royal Navy carriers.

The traditional dive bombers found on all but the Royal Navy carriers are probably the most difficult weapon type to use, as their aiming reticle is fairly hard to understand, and properly "leading" a target before entering the attack run takes quite a bit of practice to get right. The payoff is extremely high fire chance and good damage.

The Royal Navy aircraft have an aiming system similar to that of Attack Aircraft rockets, and are thus far easier to use.

Aerial Bomb Types
Icon Description
HE_Bomb_Squadron.png High Explosive Bombs are packed with impact-fused high explosive, with the primary intent of inflicting high amounts of module damage and setting fires.
AP_Bomb_Squadron.png Armor-Piercing Bombs have armor-piercing caps and are fused to penetrate the extra layers of horizontal armor found on battleships, as well as some cruisers and aircraft carriers. They tend to over-penetrate when used against light ships.
Bombs Equipped
Nation Bomb Type Damage Armor Penetrated Fire Chance Deployed Aboard
Wows_flag_USA.png AN-M64 7,300 42mm 41% IV Langley
Wows_flag_USA.png AN-M65 9,200 53mm 52% VI Ranger, VIII Lexington
Wows_flag_USA.png AN-M62 4,900 244mm N/A VIII Enterprise
Wows_flag_USA.png AN-M66 11,200 67mm 64% VIII Saipan, X Midway, X Franklin D. Roosevelt
Wows_flag_Japan.png Type 99 No. 25 mod. 2 2,500 174mm N/A IV Hosho
Wows_flag_Japan.png Type 99 No. 25 mod. 1 4,600 -- N/A VI Ryujo
Wows_flag_Japan.png Type 3 No. 25 Mk. 4 5,100 228mm N/A VI Ryujo, VIII Shokaku
Wows_flag_Japan.png Type 2 No. 50 Mk. 1 6,200 283mm N/A VIII Shokaku
Wows_flag_Japan.png Type 90 No. 50 Mk. 2 8,800 55mm 50% VIII Kaga
Wows_flag_Japan.png Type 99 No. 80 Mk. 5 6,800 351mm N/A X Hakuryu
Wows_flag_Germany.png PC 500a 4,000 149mm N/A IV Rhein
Wows_flag_Germany.png SC 1000 12,200 68mm 69% VI Loewenhardt
Wows_flag_Germany.png PC 500c 7,000 227mm N/A VI Weser, VIII Parseval
Wows_flag_Germany.png PD 500 5,800 334mm N/A VIII Graf Zeppelin
Wows_flag_Germany.png PC 500 7,800 256mm N/A VIII Parseval, X Richthofen
Wows_flag_Germany.png PC 1,000 8,800 331mm N/A X Richthofen
Wows_flag_UK.png 40 lb. G.P. Bomb 2,300 18mm 8.7% IV Hermes
Wows_flag_UK.png 40 lb. G.P. Bomb 2,300 19mm 9% VI Ark Royal
Wows_flag_UK.png 250 lb. G.P. Bomb 4,700 32mm 27% VI Furious, VIII Indomitable
Wows_flag_UK.png 250 lb G.P. Bomb Mk.I 5,600 32mm 32% VIII Implacable
Wows_flag_UK.png 500 lb. G.P. Bomb 6,400 41mm 36% X Audacious

Anti-Air (AA) Defense


Adrenalin Rush (AR) commander skill increases squadron speed with percent damage taken. Currently this skill is not recommended for carriers as each plane lost resets the damage percent. [The skill is currently under review.]