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Learn more about aircraft carriers in World of Warships. Transcript
Aircraft_modules_2.png
Aircraft in World of Warships come in several variants: some launched from aircraft carriers, some launched from catapults aboard traditional surface combatants. Planes launched from carriers are always under the control of the player; those launched from via catapult and carrier-based fighters are more automated and a player cannot issue specific commands to them once launched. Each type of plane has a unique role in the overall scope of aerial combat as it plays out in battle.

Types of Aircraft

There are five types of aircraft that can become involved in battles in World of Warships:[1]

  • 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 hull damage and floods, and are best delivered against slower, less maneuverable targets.
  • Bombers carry either high explosive, effective against all targets, or armor-piercing bombs, effective against heavy targets.
  • Fighters are air-to-air specialists that can be used against enemy aircraft, or for spotting.
  • Spotting aircraft, launched from a ship's catapult, can be used to increase a ship's firing range and provide players a different camera angle from which to aim their shots.

Icons

Aircraft Type Minimap and HUD
Icon [2]
Ship UI Icon
Attack Aircraft
(AP rockets)
171_plane_fighter_enemy_AP.png Ammo_fighter_ap.png
Attack Aircraft
(HE rockets)
169_plane_fighter_enemy.png Ammo_Fighter.png
Torpedo Bombers 143_plane_torpedo_enemy.png Torpedo_Squadron.png
High Explosive Bombers 197_plane_bomber_enemy.png HE_Bomb_Squadron.png
Armor-Piercing Bombers 196_plane_bomber_enemy_AP.png AP_Bomb_Squadron.png
Fighters 175_plane_catapult_fighter_enemy.png Consumable_PCY012_FighterPremium.png
Spotting Aircraft 153_plane_scout_enemy.png Consumable_PCY005_Spotter.png

Player-Controlled Aircraft

Aircraft carrier players have access to three of the aircraft types noted above with which they can attack enemy surface ships: attack aircraft, torpedo bombers, and dive bombers. (While some fighters are also launched from a carrier, they are not player-controlled.)

Each of these aircraft types can attack surface ships only and their payload is single-use, meaning that once their rockets or bombs or torpedoes are expended, they must return to their carrier in order to re-arm and launch again. Bombers are almost universally slower than fighters while carrying their ordnance to a target.

If an aircraft carrier is destroyed, her player will still retain control of the current aircraft squadron until all shells are fired or until three minutes expire.

Attack Aircraft

Ammo_Fighter.png
Attack aircraft carry rockets with high explosive (HE) warheads. The rockets have relatively low penetration values, so their damage output against heavily armored ships is negligible. Rather, primary use is to start fires on enemy vessels, and to harass lightly armored destroyers. Arguably, rockets are 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.

Attack planes of the Wows_flag_USA.png United States Navy have access to two types of rocket: the smaller, "traditional" rocket, and the much larger "Tiny Tim" rocket that features higher damage, penetration and fire chance over their counterparts, at the cost of the number of rockets carried per plane.

Attack planes of the Wows_flag_Germany.png Kriegsmarine also have access to two types of rocket: the standard high explosive rocket on Graf Zeppelin, and armor-piercing rockets on its other carriers.

Aerial Rocket Data

Torpedo Bombers

Torpedo_Squadron.png
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.

Indomitable does not carry torpedo bombers.

Aerial Torpedo Data

Bombers

HE_Bomb_Squadron.png
Bombers are the third type of player-controlled aircraft carried by an aircraft carrier.

Dive Bombers

A dive bomber approaches at high altitude, then dives toward the target — using the aircraft itself to aim — before releasing its bomb at low level and pulling out and away.

Traditional dive bombers, found on all but 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 some practice to get right. The payoff for HE bombs is a high fire chance and good damage. The armor-piercing versions can be devastating.

Level Bombers

Like strategic land bombers, level bombers fly high and level and use a bomb sight to aim. The Wows_flag_UK.png Royal Navy employs this type of bomber.

Level bombers have an aiming system similar to that of Attack Aircraft rockets, and thus are easier to use. Offsetting this, they generally do less damage.

Aerial Bombs

There are two main types: High Explosive (HE) bombs favored by United States and Royal Navy carriers, and armor-piercing bombs favored by the Imperial Japanese Navy and that Kriegsmarine.

Aerial Bomb Data

Controls

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 (Air squadron consumable that makes more Engine Boost available.) 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. Surviving aircraft from an attack run will automatically return to their carrier.

Carriers and Their Rocket and Bomb Types

Aircraft Carrier Rockets Bombs
USA, UK, Kaga HE HE
Japan, Enterprise, Graf Zeppelin, Graf Zeppelin B HE AP
Germany AP AP
Erich Loewenhardt AP HE

Automated Aircraft

Two of the aircraft types in World of Warships are not controlled by the player.

Fighters

Consumable_PCY012_FighterPremium.png
Fighter squadrons can be deployed in three different ways. Once deployed, all three act much the same -- patrolling until they are able to attack enemy aircraft, or expire. A ship consumable launches a small squadron of fighters from the ship's catapult (Catapult Fighter); an aircraft squadron consumable summons fighters from the home carrier (Patrol Fighter), or a carrier may launch its Combat Air Patrol (CAP Fighter) to defend itself.

If enemy aircraft appear within the patrolled area, the fighters will attack them. Fighters can destroy as many enemy aircraft as their number patrolling the area. Afterwards, the consumable effect expires, even if they have shot down fewer planes than the number of fighters in the flight. The fighters disappear and the reload time begins.

  • For surface combatants, the Catapult Fighter (While active, a group of fighter planes circles the ship providing protection by attacking incoming enemy aircraft.) consumables consist of a squadron of two to four aircraft that orbit their home ship at a radius of 0.9 km for 60 seconds. They will attempt to engage enemy aircraft within their action radius of 3 km.
  • Aircraft carrier-based attack squadrons have access to the Patrol Fighter (While active, a group of fighter planes circles a location spotting and engaging enemy aircraft.) consumable. Similar to the Fighter consumable, when activated a squadron of three to seven fighters is called to the location at which it was activated. The fighters will attempt to engage enemy aircraft within their action radius of 2.5 to 3.6 km.[4] Patrol fighters last for 60 seconds, allowing them to be used as a passive scouting tool.
  • For aircraft carrier captains, a CAP Fighter (A group of fighter planes launched automatically to defend an aircraft carrier.) is automatically activated when the carrier is spotted. Each consumable consists of a squadron of four fighters that orbit the vessel at a distance of 0.9 km for 10 minutes. They will attempt to engage enemy aircraft within their action radius of 3 km.
  • The detectability range of all carrier-launched fighters is 7.5km except for the fighters of all German, tier IV and British tier VI carriers. Their fighters have a detectability range of 5km.

The commander skill Direction Center for Fighters adds one fighter to Catapult Fighter squadrons and to CAP Fighter squadrons but not to Patrol Fighter squadrons.

Spotting Aircraft

Consumable_PCY005_Spotter.png
Similar to the Catapult Fighter, the Spotting Aircraft (While active, a spotter plane circles the ship enhancing main battery firing range.) consumable launches a plane from the ship's catapult. However, instead of attacking enemy aircraft, the unarmed Spotting Aircraft increases the ship's main battery range by 20% and gives an "aerial" perspective when scoping. It is available on all Tier IX and X cruisers, Russian cruisers from Tier VI and higher, British cruisers from Tiers V - VIII, as well as all Japanese battleships from Tier IV and higher and American battleships from Tier VI and higher. Ships with access to catapult-launched aircraft usually must choose between equipping either a Catapult Fighter or a Spotting Aircraft, which has a longer duration and cooldown and a larger orbital radius of 3 km (1.2 km for USN ships).

Land-Based Aircraft

Land-based aggressor aircraft appear in several scenarios, notably Operation Dynamo and Cherry Blossom. With Update 0.8.0, these scenarios have been removed. There is no indication that they will return.

Air-to-Air Combat

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

Fighters on the Mini-map

Each fighter squadron has a radius of action. When deployed, the squadron appears on the mini-map as a filled-in circle showing its range of action. The color is red for enemy and green for friend. The squadron will attack enemy aircraft that stray into that circle; attack aircraft should avoid entering a red circle.

Notes

With Update 0.8.0, the various fighters may attack and shoot down enemy bombers, but no longer affect their aiming. The New Aircraft Carriers: How Best to Use Them?

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 to zero. [This skill is currently under review.]

  1. Other aircraft and dirigibles can be seen in the skies above some Maps. These are decorative and do not become involved in battle.
  2. Minimap and HUD Icons come in a range of attractive colors: Enemy (red, shown) 175_plane_catapult_fighter_enemy.png, Team (green) 177_plane_catapult_fighter_ally.png, Division Mate (gold) 176_plane_catapult_fighter_division.png, One's Own (white) 174_plane_catapult_fighter_own.png, Penalty (pink) 172_plane_catapult_fighter_teamkiller.png.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 Unverified
  4. See Update_0.8.0.3.



List of carrier-based aircraft (Wikipedia)

From World of Warships News: