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CATOBARCatapult Assisted Take Off But Arrested Recovery
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This is the system Spain and the United Kingdom have used on their most recent designs (though the British are moving back to CATOBAR).
China may also pursue this course, but again only as a supplement to STOBAR, and possibly CATOBAR. Given that STOVL carriers can effectively operate helicopters, as well as STOVL/VTOL aircraft like the Harrier or F-35B, with heavier loads than would be possible on VTOL ships, if China desires this capability, STOVL would make far more sense than VTOL.
He acknowledges that ski-jump carriers cannot launch aircraft that are as heavy, carrying as much fuel or weaponry, or do so at the same high rates as can a CATOBAR ship.
More broadly, how much will China invest in aircraft suitable for STOBAR--a considerable sunk cost with path-dependent aspects--before it considers moving to CATOBAR? (56) To make such a transition, it would at a minimum have to perfect catapults and modify fighters significantly.
These have a wider bow design than the Type 001/001A, suggesting that it will indeed be a CATOBAR carrier.
(31) STOBAR carriers, for their part, cannot generate as many sorties as CATOBAR carriers, because they cannot simultaneously launch multiple aircraft, and the Kuznetsov and similar designs cannot carry air groups as large as those of American carriers.
CATOBAR is a system used for the launch and recovery of aircraft from the deck of an aircraft carrier.
A STOBAR carrier is generally much simpler to build and maintain than a CATOBAR design but less capable, though it may still be a large, fast ship.
China's naval analysts have identified several benefits of a STOBAR design over a CATOBAR design.
In comparison, the CATOBAR design, which is mostly associated with large carriers, minimizes aircraft fuel consumption on takeoff, thus enabling better payload, range, loitering time, and strike capability.
CATOBAR designs can also launch heavier fixed-wing AEW and ASW aircraft.