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In 1963, the C-130 was tested by the US Navy for air carrier operations. Have there been any other comparable or larger aircraft that have landed and taken off from the deck of an aircraft carrier?

By large, I am referring to two parameters: wingspan and weight.

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U-2s also landed and took off from aircraft carriers.

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  • $\begingroup$ U-2 is neither heavier nor has wider wingspan than C-130 $\endgroup$ – Jan Hudec Mar 10 '14 at 18:40
  • $\begingroup$ @JanHudec "...Have there been any other comparable or larger aircraft..." ;-) $\endgroup$ – flyingfisch Mar 11 '14 at 1:30
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The KC-130F that performed the trials from the USS Forrestal in 1963 appears to be the largest, I know of nothing else of that size, weight and span that has done it.

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  • $\begingroup$ And no arresting hook, as seen in the U-2 video link above $\endgroup$ – radarbob May 17 '14 at 23:09
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EA-3B, "Whale" the Skywarrier.

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  • $\begingroup$ That's the largest aircraft that did regular operations from carriers. The Hercules is larger, but was only used for trials on an empty deck. $\endgroup$ – Hobbes Dec 7 '17 at 8:53
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The largest aircraft by weight and wingspan is the C-130, and then the U-2 by wingspan and the A-3 Skywarrior by weight. The C-130 was only used for testing to see if it would be possible to use it as a carrier-onboard-delivery (COD) aircraft. The U-2 had one operation mission, but otherwise it was only used to evaluate the possibility of operating it from carriers in order to reach otherwise inaccessible places.

The A-3 is the only one of these to operate routinely from an aircraft carrier, and did so from 1956 until it's retirement (EA-3B) in 1991.

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