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A scout plane is type of surveillance aircraft, usually of single-engined, two/three seats, shipborne type, and used for the purpose of discovering an enemy position and directing artillery. Therefore, a scout plane is essentially a small naval aircraft, as distinguished from a tactical ground observation aircraft, a strategic reconnaissance "spyplane", or a large patrol flying boat.
A surveillance aircraft is an aircraft used for surveillance—collecting information over time. They are operated by military forces and other government agencies in roles such as intelligence gathering, battlefield surveillance, airspace surveillance, observation, border patrol and fishery protection. This article concentrates on aircraft used in those roles, rather than for traffic monitoring, law enforcement and similar activities.
A navy or maritime force is the branch of a nation's armed forces principally designated for naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake-borne, riverine, littoral, or ocean-borne combat operations and related functions. It includes anything conducted by surface ships, amphibious ships, submarines, and seaborne aviation, as well as ancillary support, communications, training, and other fields. The strategic offensive role of a navy is projection of force into areas beyond a country's shores. The strategic defensive purpose of a navy is to frustrate seaborne projection-of-force by enemies. The strategic task of the navy also may incorporate nuclear deterrence by use of submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Naval operations can be broadly divided between riverine and littoral applications, open-ocean applications, and something in between, although these distinctions are more about strategic scope than tactical or operational division.
A flying boat is a fixed-winged seaplane with a hull, allowing it to land on water, that usually has no type of landing gear to allow operation on land. It differs from a floatplane as it uses a purpose-designed fuselage which can float, granting the aircraft buoyancy. Flying boats may be stabilized by under-wing floats or by wing-like projections from the fuselage. Flying boats were some of the largest aircraft of the first half of the 20th century, exceeded in size only by bombers developed during World War II. Their advantage lay in using water instead of expensive land-based runways, making them the basis for international airlines in the interwar period. They were also commonly used for maritime patrol and air-sea rescue.
Scout planes first made their appearances during World War I. Major naval powers, keen on developing the new medium of aerial warfare, converted a number of vessels as seaplane tenders for scouting purpose. Similarly, battleships began to mount short flight decks on top of gun turrets, enabling small fighter-type aircraft to take-off from them; these single-seater "scouts", having no floats to land on and having no landing decks to return to, either had to find dry land for landing, or else had to ditch onto the sea.
World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.
A seaplane tender is a boat or ship that supports the operation of seaplanes. Some of these vessels, the seaplane carriers could not only carry seaplanes but also provided all the facilities needed for their operation; these ships are regarded by some as the first aircraft carriers and appeared just before the First World War.
A battleship is a large armored warship with a main battery consisting of large caliber guns. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries the battleship was the most powerful type of warship, and a fleet of battleships was considered vital for any nation that desired to maintain command of the sea.
After World War I, a more satisfactory (although still clumsy) solution had been found, in which catapults were mounted onto battleships, cruisers and seaplane tenders, used to launch scout planes; these floatplanes or small flying boats would land on water, and then be winched back onto the ships by cranes. Well-known scout planes of these type include the British Supermarine Walrus, the German Arado Ar 196, and the American Curtiss SOC Seagull.
A catapult is a ballistic device used to launch a projectile a great distance without the aid of explosive devices—particularly various types of ancient and medieval siege engines. In use since ancient times, the catapult has proven to be one of the most effective mechanisms during warfare. In modern times the term can apply to devices ranging from a simple hand-held implement to a mechanism for launching aircraft from a ship.
A cruiser is a type of warship. Modern cruisers are generally the largest ships in a fleet after aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships, and can usually perform several roles.
A crane is a type of machine, generally equipped with a hoist rope, wire ropes or chains, and sheaves, that can be used both to lift and lower materials and to move them horizontally. It is mainly used for lifting heavy things and transporting them to other places. The device uses one or more simple machines to create mechanical advantage and thus move loads beyond the normal capability of a human. Cranes are commonly employed in the transport industry for the loading and unloading of freight, in the construction industry for the movement of materials, and in the manufacturing industry for the assembling of heavy equipment.
Meanwhile, aircraft carriers also began to appear; these rarely carried dedicated scout planes, but usually combined this function with other types of aircraft, such as dive bombers (hence this type of aircraft was known in the United States Navy as "scout bomber") or torpedo bombers ("torpedo scouts").
An aircraft carrier is a warship that serves as a seagoing airbase, equipped with a full-length flight deck and facilities for carrying, arming, deploying, and recovering aircraft. Typically, it is the capital ship of a fleet, as it allows a naval force to project air power worldwide without depending on local bases for staging aircraft operations. Carriers have evolved since their inception in the early twentieth century from wooden vessels used to deploy balloons to nuclear-powered warships that carry numerous fighters, strike aircraft, helicopters, and other types of aircraft. While heavier aircraft such as fixed-wing gunships and bombers have been launched from aircraft carriers, it is currently not possible to land them. By its diplomatic and tactical power, its mobility, its autonomy and the variety of its means, the aircraft carrier is often the centerpiece of modern combat fleets. Tactically or even strategically, it replaced the battleship in the role of flagship of a fleet. One of its great advantages is that, by sailing in international waters, it does not interfere with any territorial sovereignty and thus obviates the need for overflight authorizations from third party countries, reduce the times and transit distances of aircraft and therefore significantly increase the time of availability on the combat zone.
A dive bomber is a bomber aircraft that dives directly at its targets in order to provide greater accuracy for the bomb it drops. Diving towards the target simplifies the bomb's trajectory and allows the pilot to keep visual contact throughout the bomb run. This allows attacks on point targets and ships, which were difficult to attack with conventional level bombers, even en masse.
The United States Navy (USN) is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most capable navy in the world, with the highest combined battle fleet tonnage and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, and two new carriers under construction. With 319,421 personnel on active duty and 99,616 in the Ready Reserve, the Navy is the third largest of the service branches. It has 282 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of March 2018, making it the second largest and second most powerful air force in the world.
While the "traditional" role of scout planes was to spot enemy fleets, during World War II scout planes were essential for battleships and other surface warships during bombardment of land targets, as it was difficult to see an enemy position, even with binoculars. The scout plane, for the U.S., this was usually the Vought OS2U Kingfisher, which would fly over the position, giving the ship a latitude/longitude destination. The ship would then open fire on that area, thereby indirectly attacking the enemy, and allowing ground troops or fighter/bomber aircraft to access the area.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
The Vought OS2U Kingfisher is an American catapult-launched observation floatplane. It was a compact mid-wing monoplane, with a large central float and small stabilizing floats. Performance was modest because of its light engine. The OS2U could also operate on fixed, wheeled, taildragger landing gear.
Indirect fire is aiming and firing a projectile without relying on a direct line of sight between the gun and its target, as in the case of direct fire. Aiming is performed by calculating azimuth and inclination, and may include correcting aim by observing the fall of shot and calculating new angles.
Quite possibly the most illustrious use of scout planes were with the sister battleships Yamato and Musashi. Their extremely long range meant that they could fire over the horizon, and scout planes were needed to spot enemy ships. Seven seaplane scouts were carried on each ship, including four Aichi E13A for long-range reconnaissance, and three Mitsubishi F1Ms for artillery direction. Japan also pioneered the concept of submarine-borne scout planes, with a number of large submarines having waterproof hangars and catapults to carry scout floatplanes during World War II.
A sister ship is a ship of the same class or of virtually identical design to another ship. Such vessels share a nearly identical hull and superstructure layout, similar size, and roughly comparable features and equipment. They often share a common naming theme, either being named after the same type of thing or with some kind of alliteration. Often, sisters become more differentiated during their service as their equipment are separately altered.
Yamato (大和) was the lead ship of her class of battleships built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) shortly before World War II. She and her sister ship, Musashi, were the heaviest and most powerfully armed battleships ever constructed, displacing 72,800 tonnes at full load and armed with nine 46 cm (18.1 in) Type 94 main guns, which were the largest guns ever mounted on a warship.
Musashi (武蔵), named after the former Japanese province, was one of two Yamato-class battleships built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN), beginning in the late 1930s. The Yamato-class ships were the heaviest and most powerfully armed battleships ever constructed, displacing almost 72,000 long tons (73,000 t) fully loaded and armed with nine 46-centimetre (18.1 in) main guns. Their secondary armament consisted of four 15.5-centimetre (6.1 in) triple-gun turrets formerly used by the Mogami-class cruisers. They were equipped with six or seven floatplanes to conduct reconnaissance.
During the Cold War the role of the shipborne observation aircraft was taken over by naval helicopters. Although less so in Western navies, the role of providing mid-course update via data-link for long range anti-shipping missiles can be seen as directly akin to the artillery "spotting" missions of old. Without mid-course update it would be impossible to fully utilize the full range of long range missiles such as the Otomat, and P-500 Bazalt.
Due to the advanced technology used by today's cruisers, destroyers, and other surface vessels, and the use of ship-launched UAVs for the same sorts of "spotting" missions in the 21st century, scout planes are no longer needed for long range exchanges.
A torpedo bomber is a military aircraft designed primarily to attack ships with aerial torpedoes. Torpedo bombers came into existence just before the First World War almost as soon as aircraft were built that were capable of carrying the weight of a torpedo, and remained an important aircraft type until they were rendered obsolete by anti-ship missiles. They were an important element in many famous Second World War battles, notably the British attack at Taranto and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Chikuma was the second and last vessel in the Tone class of heavy cruisers in the Imperial Japanese Navy. The ship was named after the Chikuma River, in Nagano prefecture of Japan. Entering service in 1939, Chikuma saw battle during World War II in the Pacific. She was scuttled on 25 October 1944 after the Battle off Samar.
Naval aviation is the application of military air power by navies, whether from warships that embark aircraft, or land bases.
Tone was the lead ship in the two-vessel Tone class of heavy cruisers in the Imperial Japanese Navy. The ship was named after the Tone River, in the Kantō region of Japan and was completed on 20 November 1938 at Mitsubishi's Nagasaki shipyards. Tone was designed for long-range scouting missions and had a large seaplane capacity. She was extensively employed during World War II usually providing scouting services to their aircraft carrier task forces. She almost always operated in this capacity in conjunction with her sister ship Chikuma.
The Curtiss SOC Seagull was an American single-engined scout observation aircraft, designed by Alexander Solla of the Curtiss-Wright Corporation for the United States Navy. The aircraft served on battleships and cruisers in a seaplane configuration, being launched by catapult and recovered from a sea landing. The wings folded back against the fuselage for storage aboard ship. When based ashore or on carriers the single float was replaced by fixed wheeled landing gear.
HMS Ark Royal was the first ship designed and built as a seaplane carrier. She was purchased by the Royal Navy in 1914 shortly after her keel had been laid and the ship was only in frames; this allowed the ship's design to be modified almost totally to accommodate seaplanes. In the First World War, Ark Royal participated in the Gallipoli Campaign in early 1915, with her aircraft conducting aerial reconnaissance and observation missions. Her aircraft later supported British troops on the Macedonian Front in 1916, before she returned to the Dardanelles to act as a depot ship for all the seaplanes operating in the area. In January 1918, several of her aircraft unsuccessfully attacked the German battlecruiser SMS Goeben when she sortied from the Dardanelles to attack Allied ships in the area. The ship left the area later in the year to support seaplanes conducting anti-submarine patrols over the southern Aegean Sea.
The IMAM Ro.43 was an Italian reconnaissance single float seaplane, serving in the Regia Marina between 1935 and 1943. Although produced in quantity, it proved never to be suitable for its intended role as a spotter plane for warships, and although 105 remained in service when Italy entered World War II, they were already obsolete.
Chiyoda was a light aircraft carrier of the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II. Originally constructed as the second vessel of the Chitose-class seaplane tenders in 1934, she continued to operate in that capacity during the Second Sino-Japanese War and the early stages of the Pacific War until her conversion into a light aircraft carrier after the Battle of Midway. She was sunk during the Battle of Leyte Gulf by a combination of naval bombers, cruiser shellfire and destroyer-launched torpedoes.
P.T.O. IV, released as Teitoku no Ketsudan IV (提督の決断IV) in Japan, is a World War II-themed strategy for the PlayStation 2 and PC produced by Koei. It focuses on naval combat in the maritime theaters of World War II, encompassing the Pacific Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic Ocean, and Indian Ocean, with the option of playing as one of four major maritime powers of the time: Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, or the United States. P.T.O. IV is the latest game in Koei's P.T.O. series.
Nisshin (日進) was a seaplane tender (CVS) of the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II.
Aircraft carriers are warships that evolved from balloon-carrying wooden vessels into nuclear-powered vessels carrying scores of fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft. Since their introduction they have allowed naval forces to project air power great distances without having to depend on local bases for staging aircraft operations.
The Stearman XOSS was an American biplane observation floatplane developed by Stearman Aircraft for the United States Navy during the late 1930s. Intended to replace the Curtiss SOC Seagull in service aboard battleships, it proved inferior to the Vought OS2U Kingfisher in a fly-off, and did not enter production.
The Vought XSO2U was an American observation floatplane developed by Vought-Sikorsky for the United States Navy during the late 1930s. Intended to replace the Curtiss SOC Seagull in service as a scout aboard cruisers, it proved superior to the Curtiss SO3C in evaluation, but failed to win a production contract due to Vought's lack of manufacturing capacity.
Observation Squadron 7 (VOS-7) was a United States Navy artillery observer aircraft squadron based in England during Operation Overlord. The squadron was assembled expressly to provide aerial spotting for naval gunfire support during the invasion of Normandy. Personnel and aircraft were assembled on 1 June 1944 and began flying missions on 6 June 1944. The squadron was disbanded when Allied capture of the town of Cherbourg ended naval bombardment responsibilities on 26 June 1944. It is thought to be one of the shortest-lived squadrons in the history of United States military aviation.
The Naval Aircraft Factory XOSN was an American biplane observation floatplane developed by the Naval Aircraft Factory for the United States Navy during the late 1930s.
The Keystone XOK was an American biplane observation floatplane developed for the United States Navy during the early 1930s.