STOBAR is an acronym that stands for Short TakeOff But Arrested Recovery. It is a category of aircraft carrier, along with CATOBAR and STOVL. Some of the earliest dedicated aircraft carriers were STOBAR, since one of the first innovations that made carrier ops relatively safe and repeatable was that of arresting gear. On a STOBAR carrier, aircraft take off under their own power alone (with or without a ski jump ramp) and are recovered to the deck by onboard arresting equipment such as hook and wire or net barrier arrestors.

The primary advantage of a STOBAR carrier design is that it is relatively cheap. The ship only requires arresting systems, and more importantly, the aircraft does not need any modifications other than at minimum reinforced undercarriage, an arresting hook perhaps, and navalization. STOBAR carrier aircraft are typically lightweight with a relatively high thrust-to-weight ratio. On the other hand, however, STOBAR carriers cannot operate heavier fixed-wing aircraft, which means that they cannot base larger ASW aircraft, radar early warning aircraft, cargo aircraft or other utility types and must depend on either ship-based systems or nearby ground-based aircraft for these roles.

As of 2010, the only operational STOBAR carrier is the Admiral Kuznetsov of the Russian Navy, which operates navalized Sukhoi Su-33 Flanker and Su-25 Frogfoot aircraft. India has purchased the ex-Ukrainian/ex-Soviet carrier Gorshkov, which is being modernized by Russia prior to transfer. Gorshkov is due to be recommissioned as the INS Vikramaditya. India is also building indigenous carriers which will also be STOBAR. All will likely operate the MiG-29K, a navalized variant.

Iron Noder 2010

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