Aircraft Carriers - WT Discussion

Welcome back all,

It 's probably a good idea to have this thread and discussion available again too !

The purposes of this thread are still:

P1 - To speculate on possible additions of aircraft carriers, and features relating to them( mission design, gameplay mechanics etc. )

P2 - To discuss aircraft carriers as implemented currently

It 's exciting to see where aircraft carriers go from here ! Wishing you safe skies, calm seas, and an enjoyable discussion.


In the most recent update, the old low-detail carriers in the Historical Campaign missions were replaced by new highly detailed ones( more abt them later ). I managed to save images of them from the assetviewer prior to that, maybe sometime down the line we’ll be seeing them return in the new detailed form.

The first I’ll be sharing is RN Aquila, proj.

This was one of two carrier conversions attempted by Italy during the Second World War, it appeared ingame in planned configuration. It was unusual for being the only one to have two separate models, as well as being the only non-Japanese Axis carrier.


The next low-poly carrier I’ll share is IJN Ryujo

This small carrier( the smallest of them all in WT ) was built to circumvent a treaty limitation, it 's unusual island-less silhouette is also used in the WT Wiki article abt AI ship damage models ( AI Ship's Damage Models - War Thunder Wiki ) to give visual representation for the " Light Aircraft Carrier " subheading.


IJN Soryu

The first full-size Japanese carrier to be built in the 1930 's, and a return to being purpose built as such instead of being a conversion. Participated in the Pearl Harbor attack and was later sunk at Midway.

IJN Hiryu

A modified version of the Soryu design, this carrier also participated in the Pearl Harbor attack and was the only Japanese carrier to launch a second strike before being sunk at Midway

1 Like

Would definitely love to see them ingame. There are two ways in which aircraft carriers from what I can see, could be added.

1: Player controlled aircraft that deploy like scout aircraft do from heavy cruisers and battlecruisers currently. However instead of instantly launching them it just spawns you as the playable aircraft on the catapult which you launch yourself like normal naval aircraft. Once you need to return and rearm you land back on your carrier and repair/rearm and can launch again.
During this process you can switch ai control between your aircraft or your carrier.

2: You can launch ai aircraft from your carrier and give them basic directional commands on what direction or target you would like them to attack, or if you want to use them as a defensive circling formation above your carrier.

No matter which of the two options occur (personally I would love the player flown aircraft as it would set warthunder apart and more realistically apart from it’s other naval competitor wow), differing aircraft with their loadouts will be unlockable as modifications and you are able to select 2 types of aircraft to have onboard at any time. Those being 1. Fighters/Heavy Fighters and 2. Strike Aircraft/Torpedo Bombers.

When you are about to spawn in you select (like you would for differing torpedos), which two aircraft types you want to take and they will either have a universal set loadout for their mission type, or one you can modify to take just rockets or bombs/clean or a combination of all 3.

Again definitely would love to see them come to the game, especially if player carriers will act like normal ai carriers do now that nomatter how you use launched aircraft, other players will be able to land on your deck and rearm, and be able to launch themselves aswell.

1 Like

I think there is also third option which is something in the middle. You launch AI squadroons and can send them across the map but to attack them you need to control them directly. Something like BS:P.

I will migrate my old-forum post regarding the possible CV gameplay

A player could launch squads of planes and guide them around the map. Also player could enter “orders” by pressing dedicated button or maybe use current pie menu. These commands would be Attack, Defend, Group and direct controll.
These would work as follows:

  • Attack - would make AI squadroon agressive and activelly seek enemy AI planes but wouldn´t attack ships.
  • Defend - would make AI squad circle around specified area and attack any planes getting close to this area.
  • Group - would allow to form group of multiple squadroons
  • Control - would allow player to control a squadroon directly and would be only way to attack enemy ships.

All this could be done in special view very simmilar to arty view. With all info needed for controlling the squads and their state:

Mind you this is picture from old suggestion and so minimaps is representing suggested gamemode. And I belive that ability to choose any other ammo then the suspended armament is no longer desirable.

Player could change the suspended weaponry and flight altitude as is shown, and send planes around the map. There is also state indicator for all squads:



  1. Squad is taking off.
  2. Squad is waiting for take off.
  3. Squad is waiting for order/rearming
  4. Squad is flying to set location.
  5. Squad is landing.
  6. Squad is under attack,
  7. Squad is in group with other squad
  8. Squad is defending area
  9. Squad is in agressive mode

The dirrect control would work very simmilary as it currently does for spotter planes with one difference that player plane would be followed by several other AI planes which would mirror player actions so they would drop ordenance with player.

Plese again ignore the expanded info present on the image it is no longer relevan.

The planes would replace ammo for the CVs so players could choose the number of squads and plane type like they do for shells.

I belive there is way how to solve the issue of planes landing and starting AI would just need to get into area behind carrier and rest would be just animation. Same mechanic is used to move player planes to runway start after repair although the would be needed to be more complex and have more stages.

There is outline of staging which could work.




  1. AI planes is in “landing zone”
  2. Plane is now “on wire” moved behind and over deck (current system allow tilting and turning but it would need to be more fluent and natural)
  3. Plane on wire will perform descend and landing
  4. After touch down plane is slowed down and moved over elevator
  5. Wings are fold and plane is moved into hangar.





  1. Plane is moved “on wire” from hangar and unfolds wings
  2. Plane is moved to catapult start
  3. Plane is lunched from ship and “on wire” moved into area in front of ship
  4. When plane enters this area wire is turned of and plane is under AI control


  1. Plane is moved “on wire” from hangar and unfold wings
  2. Plane accelerates and take off.
  3. Plane is “on wire” moved into area in front of ship
  4. When plane enters this area wire is turned of and plane is under AI control

To add to this - new adition in this post
Ragarding the CV and normal ship balance. I don´t think it is huge problem (if we ignore the elephant in the room - WW1 battleships) current ships have very powerfull AA which would be even stronger against squadroon of planes since hits which once missed have chance to hit another plane. And to balance the stakes even more (after all CV player doesn´t risk their own ship) each shot down plane could factor into repaircost each costing 2000-4000 SL each for example.


Uhm… why is there a Israel Tag for this? :D

1 Like


@moderators (does this work or do I need to ping separately?) @TheElite96 would it be possible to add a general tag for these subsections?

It might be possible to combine your 1.type and 2.type implementations:

If you don’t remember the Imminent Breakthrough event that ran last year, it featured a command vehicle ( the Sturmtiger ) fighting alongside two groups of AT guns and one of AA guns. These could fight independently, though they were largely ineffective when doing so. There was also the option of switching to control a random member of one of the three groups directly, as if it were a player vehicle.
Something similar to that might allow the player of an Aircraft Carrier to perform direct piloting duties like catapult seaplane users do, while also making it possible to manage multiple aircraft to the target and their own ship at once. Single Missions like Retaliatory Strike show it 's already possible w/in the game framework to lead a group of aircraft while in control of one, after all. The " Directional " and " Circling " commands seem like analogues to our current weapon-group target selection and seaplane orbiting, nice ideas !

For aircraft loadouts, it might get very complex if the player must select the loadout in use for each of their individual planes. Might be more straightforward to have groups of say, four of one model of aircraft, w/ a preset loadout. Something like " F3F-2/clean, F3F-2/bombs " for fighters, and " TBD-1/bombs, TBD-1/torpedo " for the bombers. Then the player need only select how many groups of an aircraft type w/ a provided loadout they want to carry, w/in the limits of how many their ship has onboard. Sort of like the shellcount slider, or perhaps the loadout selector on Aircraft since most AC 's will still have guns and the associated menu to select ammo. Also would allow flexibility for carriers which have the capability to operate more than one kind of fighter or bomber.

Certainly agree that a player carrier absolutely must have the capability to rearm a friendly Aircraft player, it 's a necessity if they’re to fit WT !

Ah, it 's this post again ! Nature is healing :)

Though I would personally like to see more control possible from the TPS camera than a menu - I find I’m spending too much time in the bino view as is !

1 Like

IJN Akagi

The second Japanese carrier to be built, by conversion of an incomplete battlecruiser which became non-compliant to the 1922 Washington Treaty terms ( which would also lead to the much smaller Ryujo 's construction ). Served as the flagship for the Pearl Harbor attack force, and ultimately would not outlive it 's predecessor Hosho - Akagi was sunk at Midway.

IJN Zuikaku

The second and final member of the Shokaku-class, this carrier would prove to be the longest-lived of those who participated in the Pearl Harbor attack: surviving until October of 1944.

All LQ carriers I’ve shared to this point have been replaced by an HQ IJN Shokaku, sistership of Zuikaku and lead of her class


Though there was advance notice HQ carriers would be coming: a playable version of IJN Zuikaku along w/ other carriers was datamined for War Thunder: Edge( but Lexington CV-2 and HMS Illustrious are the ones of those which have since appeared here to replace LQ models - more on them later ) and IJN Shokaku had previously appeared in Darkflow 's Enlisted

where, as an aside, it 's antiaircraft complement is shockingly accurate. I’ve seen them kill paratrooper transports exiting on the edge of the playable area - appearently w/o the benefit of time-fuze on their 127mm, if the killfeed message is to be trusted.


USS Wasp(CV-7)

Entering service shortly before the outbreak of WW2, this carrier had little time to fight before it met it 's fate at Guadalcanal - concessions made to it 's protection scheme w/ regard to Treaty conditions on warship tonnage proved fatal.

This is the last low-poly carrier to not have a high-poly counterpart, in WT or a related game.

HMS Illustrious(87)

Lead ship of her class, this carrier fought in the Mediterranean, then Indian Ocean, then Pacific, and became a training and trials ship post-war. Though this low-detail model has mostly been replaced by the high-detail one from War Thunder: Edge, it remains in use on the French Hydroplane testdrive - atleast for the time being.

USS Lexington(CV-2)

Second aircraft carrier of the USN, built by conversion of a partially-complete battlecruiser. Had mounted a very heavy gun battery for a carrier for most of it 's service, since there were still doubts abt the ability and effectiveness of aircraft as an offensive nd defensive armament.

While the High Quality model which replaced this one hails from War Thunder: Edge, the one which introduced sistership USS Saratoga(CV-3) to WT came from Darkflow 's Enlisted ( and appeared in the devblogs to neither, instead IJN Shokaku got extra images ¯\(ツ)/¯ )

Ingame, Lexington is represented as being in her last refit which retained the 8in guns

while Saratoga is in a later one, now using 5in 's as primary armament

This is the last low-poly carrier, USS Enterprise(CV-6)

The second member of the Yorktown-class, and the only one to survive to the end of the war. Received the most battle awards of any USN ship of WW2.

Her silhouette appears as the representative of the Aircraft Carrier on the WT Wiki page for AI Ship 's Damage Models

The HQ model which replaced this LQ one is unusual in being the only HQ carrier to not have appeared in another game before implementation to WT. An image of that model is also used in the OP of this thread :)

The LQ model was also used to represent sistership USS Yorktown in the " Counterattack " mission

Yorktown provides the squadron whose livery the TBD-1(1938) bears ingame

Though the unimplemented TBD-1(1937) 's livery is one employed by the squadron aboard USS Lexington - abt four years too early for the form the ship is now represented ingame as using ( image from Michal9787 's archive on WTLive )

1 Like

You’ve heard me speak abt Carriers which previously appeared in War Thunder: Edge in my previous posts, now here they are !( War Thunder Legends güncelleme ile gelecek gemiler. - War Thunder Türkçe Topluluk Forumları )

If you don’t want to go picking through all the ships, the ones present in it were:

HMS Illustrious
IJN Kaga
USS Lexington
USS Essex
HMS Implacable
IJN Zuikaku
USS Forrestal

As mentioned above, this was where USS Lexington(CV-2) and HMS Illustrious(87) were first discovered to have new detailed models.
Obviously USS Forrestal(CVA-59) had appeared here first, as did the majority of non-carrier vessels in that initial selection. And perhaps not surprising that model has the capability to be reused as a playable vehicle built in, more on the finds relating to that later.

In War Thunder Mobile, which superseded WT:E as the publicly available Beta, initially none of these carriers were present. But in it 's minor update, USS Essex(CV-9) was readded to the ingame economy, though it remained unavailable. The other carriers probably are not too far behind, and will likely see similar initial implementation in WT to the ones which have appeared here in the time since this find - w/o them there still aren’t enough HQ models to replace the LQ British and Japanese groups that appear in the Air and Naval Random Battles modes in a one-to-one fashion.

1 Like

Here 's what I meant abt the new carriers showing signs of being reusable as player vehicles: discovered that their internal modelling goes beyond what 's used or needed for another AI target vessel type. It 's especially obvious on the Jet Aircraft Carriers:

USS Forrestal(CVA-59) has ammo storages not only for it 's guns, but also non-associated racks ahead of and behind her machinery
A little tame compared to what 's on the other two, but interesting nonetheless since of these she 's the ship which appeared in WT Mobile.

On the devserver ahead of modern carrier implementation in update " New Power “, Forrestal had an interesting( but ahistorical ) combination armament of 5” guns at the rear and a single octuple launcher for Sea Sparrow beside the catapults. The latter was removed before update release, but the textures for it still exist in the files, and it 's still visible in the loading screen/wallpaper featuring the ship.

HMS Ark Royal(R09) also has ammoracks, which is a little unusual since the refit she 's represented in did not have any gun armament !
As w/ Forrestal above( but more prominently on Ark Royal due to the gunlessness), these seem to be representing storage for aircraft armaments rather than being for the ship 's own weaponry. Somehow I doubt that chaff charge reloads would take up so much internal space.

Ark Royale in this fit is something of a strange choice as an in-match airbase, isn’t it ? From it 's implementation until the helipad AA changes it was the only after-landing repair/reload point which provided no defense for the player using her - and unlike helipads she 's located some distance from the objectives area of the maps where she appears.

Pr.1143.4 Baku has a completely opposite situation to Ark Royal - possessing more armament than guns
In addition to scattered storages for the CIWS turrets, there 's also large non-associated ammoracks between the fuel tanks. But the meat of Baku 's unusual features lies ahead of the bridge: it 's AShM launch tubes and antisubmarine rocket launchers are modelled, just like it 's conventional armaments. The antisub RL 's even have their reload racks

As an AI unit ( which only appears in test flights for a select few aircraft atm ) it doesn’t have a reason to need either to be modelled, it’ll never have a use for them there.

It 's more difficult to show associated/non-associated ammo on the WW2 carriers, their denser layout and more numerous AA weapons makes them difficult to distinguish. Though as USS Lexington(CV-2) 's model borrowed from WTM shows here, Aircraft Carriers have wielded notable armaments regardless of anything I’ve been talking abt


I’d like to see angled deck Midways in WT.

I’ve just gotten new info on the state of carriers in WTM

You might be in luck for that.

From discussions on similar topics before, you are probably familiar w/ the position that catapult seaplanes are similar in function to how Aircraft Carriers might operate planes in WT.

WTM 's USS Essex(CV-9) has operable aircraft as implemented now, using what appears to be an extend version of that mechanic. While that game differs mechanically in several respects to here in WT it 's possible that Carriers might find similar implementation here as there( remember the player-usable hangar technician from last fall ? Fully an Enlisted Moscow Assaulter, down to having provision for the PPD-34 submachinegun in it 's code. )

Even if not, it 's a starting point for discussion. So lets start !

First off, ships which launch aircraft are required to have this tag:

Doesn’t matter if they only have a single catapult plane or many, this is required for them to be able to trigger it 's use.
However, Essex is unique in also having the " airfield " tag, which seems to be generally used on maps rather than vehicles.
The " "catapultx " lines are also present here in WT, on AI aircraft carriers.

ship_wtm+aircraft_carrier allows the player to make use of aircraft_carrier_unit_input.das, which appears to trigger the aircraft launch when the number of available aircraft is greater than zero, and appearently after enough time has elapsed from the prev launching. It also seems to provide for switching between the plane and the ship.
All very familiar catapult plane mechanics.

However WTM expands on these: _unit_input also seems to have triggers for changing between launched aircraft, directing a group of aircraft to attack a target, and telling the aircraft to return to the ship.

This is further supported by the contents of " currentweaponstates.nut " and " weaponsbuttonsconfig.nut ", the former seems to direct the presentation of the player HUD, incl. up to four " support aircraft " buttons on along w/ the other weapons controls any ship has access to, and the latter describes the action each button performs. It appears that aircraft groups can be launched and directed to return independently of one another, but only one group attack command can be made at a time. The aircraft switch key is probably related to that.

About those aircraft groups, Essex replaces the " “supportPlane” " line found on other ships, here 's Bismarck 's:

w/ a " “supportPlanes” " line, and much extended description of the aircraft w/in:

From this, we can see that it 's multiple aircraft which can be launched together, and how they’re grouped: torpedo-bomber, bomber, and fighter. I can’t say for certain, but the " “size” " line only appearing w/ Essex 's aircraft seems to mean multiple aircraft groups of a given class can be carried. The B7A2 being it 's torpedobomber is likely an error, the SB2C-1c and TBF-1 are already in the files of WTM.

The formations and launching seems rather similar to what AI AC 's can do in some Historical Campaign missions here in WT, I’ll have to see if I can get some footage showing that.

These textures seem to be the ones used by the switch to group buttons

Ofcourse, since Essex isn’t available for player use yet all of this could change drastically before we see her in action.
We’ll have to wait and see if any of this is relevant to WT later, but it 's still useful to have something directly comparable codewise now - we’ve got something to be on watch for !

Related to this, the gun used by Midway in her earlier fits has now appeared in the files:

Still possible she might appear in an angled-deck fit, but less so for the later ones.


So if i read your post correctly essentially we sre starting to see how carrier will be able to handle squadrons and launch aircraft?

Sort of: For WT Mobile almost certainly, since that 's where this is originating from. There 's still the chance of any of/all this being reworked before USS Essex and the other Carriers become available for play there, but the more magnitude we can imagine it changing by the less likely that will actually come to pass.

For WT directly it 's a little more complicated, the two games run on a similar framework( or atleast the parts we can see do ), but still have significant differences due to the different requirements and intent for gameplay between them.
While it 's possible the mechanics for Aircraft Carriers to employ their aircraft could be translated from WTM to WT almost wholesale, like the above-mentioned hangar mechanic/Enlisted Assaulter, in my opinion it 's safer to look at WTM 's take on AC 's as a guide for the general intent of game mechanics which may appear here later that we should be watching for, as they might herald w/ them the introduction of playable Carriers( or at the very least, the use of multiple launched aircraft at once - many ships already present here could employ something like that ).

Even if it turns out to have no similarity later, it 's still useful to discuss now as possibly the closest analogue to how AC players might employ their aircraft here, being developed by a devteam just-outside-the-house of ours.
A surer bet is on the specific vehicles which would employ these mechanics, since we’ve previously seen them shared both ways between both games. But that 's not your question at hand.

In short, this is almost certainly how Carrier air groups will work in WT Mobile - it 's more likely that the mechanics here in WT would just have similar qualities to theirs rather than being the same, so it 's most useful as a hint of what to be watching for.