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Finding the Right Naval Aircraft Handling System

March 27, 2018 | BY: Don McKay

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How to Determine When a Free-Deck System is the Right Choice for Safe, Fast, and Agile Operations at Sea

With personnel’s lives, mission-critical equipment, and important military operations at stake, the ability to safely and securely maneuver aircraft on ships is a crucial requirement for every navy that is conducting airborne operations at sea. Today, that includes most navies around the world.

While airborne operations were once reserved for larger, “blue-water” navies, today there is an increased use of helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) by navies that are focused on littoral operations. These navies find themselves evaluating naval aircraft handling systems for the first time.

Figure 1: Free-deck naval handling systems

An aircraft handling system needs to be considered in every case where shipboard aircraft operations are planned. While sea conditions may permit a safe landing, the subsequent pitch, roll, and associated deck accelerations that the ship experiences can result in undesired and dangerous aircraft movement on the deck. In extreme cases, lack of an effective handling system could lead to catastrophic loss of aircraft assets.

Moving aircraft by hand or using running lashings is time consuming, physically demanding, and a potential safety hazard for crew. To protect themselves and the aircraft and to maintain efficient and effective operations at sea, crews need a naval aircraft handling system that allows them to secure the aircraft and traverse it from the deck landing area to the hangar as safely, quickly, and easily as possible.

Download the Finding the Right Naval Aircraft Handling System White Paper to learn more about:

  • Aircraft handling systems
    • Track-based
    • Wire-based
    • Free-deck
  • Modelling and Simulation Tools


Don McKay

Author’s Biography

Don McKay

Sales & Marketing Director, INDAL, Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions

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