Helicopter carrier

Helicopter carrier

Infobox Aviation
name = Helicopter carrier




caption = "Jeanne d'Arc", French navy

Helicopter carrier is a term for an aircraft carrier whose 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 hangar deck.

Pure helicopter carriers are difficult to find in the 21st century. The advent of STOVL aircraft such as the BAE Harrier have 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

Helicopter carriers currently in use

* HMS "Ocean" (Royal Navy)
* "Jeanne d'Arc" (Marine Nationale, to be decommissioned in 2010
*Tarawa Class (USN)
*Wasp Class (USN)

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 (Soviet Navy)
* "Vittorio Veneto" class (Marina Militare)

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)

ee also

* Amphibious assault ship
* ASW carrier
* Light aircraft carrier


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