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Learn more about aircraft carriers in World of Warships. Transcript
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 floods, and are best suited against slower, less maneuverable targets.
  • Dive bombers carry either high explosive or armor-piercing bombs that are released directly above an enemy vessel, and can be used effectively against most 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.


Plane Type Minimap and HUD Icon Ship UI Icon
Attack Aircraft Ammo_Fighter.png
Torpedo Bombers 99_plane_torpedo_own_selected.png Torpedo_Squadron.png
High Explosive Dive Bombers 140_plane_bomber_own_selected.png HE_Bomb_Squadron.png
Armor-Piercing Dive Bombers AP_Bomb_Squadron.png
Fighter 100_plane_fighter_own_selected.png Consumable_PCY004_Fighter.png
Spotting Aircraft 109_plane_scout_own_selected.png Consumable_PCY005_Spotter.png

Carrier-Launched Aircraft

Aircraft carriers 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

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.

Aerial Rocket Data

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.

Aerial Torpedo Data

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 Wows_flag_Japan.png Imperial Japanese Navy carriers, Graf Zeppelin and Enterprise, and a high-altitude HE "carpet bomb" found on Wows_flag_UK.png 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 bombers have an aiming system similar to that of Attack Aircraft rockets, and are thus far easier to use.

Types of Bombs

Aerial Bomb Data


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.

Automated Aircraft

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


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.

  • For surface combatants, the Catapult Fighter (While active, a group of fighter planes circles the ship providing protection by attacking incoming enemy aircraft.) consumables (standard and premium) consist of a squadron of two to four[2] aircraft that orbit their home ship at a radius of about 3.25 kilometers for 60 seconds.
  • 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[2] fighters is called to the location at which it was activated. The fighters will attempt to engage enemy aircraft within their range of 2.5 to 3.5 km.[3] 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[2] fighters that orbit the vessel at a distance of 3.0 kilometers for 10 minutes. They will attempt to engage enemy aircraft within their range.

Spotting Aircraft

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. While its duration is shorter and its cooldown longer, a Spotter does have a larger orbital radius of about 4.25 km.

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 and will return with updated aircraft.

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 created 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.


With Update 0.8.0, the various fighters may attack and shoot down enemy bombers, but no longer affect their aiming. https://worldofwarships.com/en/news/development/cv8-how-to-play/#consumables

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. 2.0 2.1 2.2 This squadron size is increased by one by the Direction Center for Fighters skill.
  3. See Update_0.8.0.3.