- Helicopter carrier
Helicopter carrier is a term for an
aircraft carrierwhose primary purpose is to operate helicopters. The term is sometimes used for both ASW carriers and amphibious assault ships.
Helicopter carriers can either have a full-length aircraft deck like HMS "Ocean", or have a large helicopter deck, usually aft, as in the
Soviet Navy's "Moskva" class or RFA Argus (A135). The latter is becoming less common, as such a design represents a compromise.Clarifyme|date=March 2008 A full-length deck maximises deck space for helicopter landing spots. Such a design also allows for a hangardeck.
Pure helicopter carriers are difficult to find in the 21st century. The advent of
STOVLaircraft such as the BAE Harrierhave complicated the classification; the U.S. Navy's "Wasp" class, for instance, carries 6-8 Harriers as well as 30 helicopters. Only smaller carriers unable to operate the Harrier and older pre-Harrier-era carriers can be regarded as true helicopter carriers. In many cases, other carriers, able to operate STOVL aircraft, are classified as " light aircraft carriers".
HMS "Hermes" and two of her sisters were 22,000 ton fleet carriers converted to operate helicopters only as "commando carriers". "Hermes" was later converted to a STOVL carrier.
Helicopter carriers currently in use
Retired helicopter carriers
* USS "Iwo Jima" (
US Navy) - the lead ship of the "Iwo Jima" class
* HMS "Bulwark", HMS "Albion", (
Royal Navy) - helicopter carriers of the 1960s-1980s
* "Moskva" class (
* "Vittorio Veneto" class (
Helicopter carriers under construction
* Japanese cruiser "Hyuga"-class helicopter destroyer (181) (
JMSDF) [2 ships planned, "Hyuga" launched August 2007, due to be commissioned March 2009]
*America Class (USN)
Amphibious assault ship
Light aircraft carrier
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