What is the tailhook that enable naval aircraft to land on aircraft carriers, it must be made out of a strong metal to not bend or 'snap' under the force of the thrust that the plane is expelling, as they land then put thrust to full.

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Image Source—PACIFIC OCEAN (Dec. 22, 2011) Landing signal officers supervise the arrested recovery of an F/A-18C Hornet on the flight deck aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70).

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    $\begingroup$ Looking at the specs, it is steel. Looking at the price, it must be unobtainium. $\endgroup$ Oct 7, 2016 at 15:00
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You may also refer the Wikimedia image, there is a description with it. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Oct 7, 2016 at 15:45

1 Answer 1


They're made of alloy steels that have ultra-high strength, high fracture toughness, excellent fatigue resistance, and high resistance to stress corrosion cracking.

Based on one of the manufacturers—QuesTek—the steel's grade is AMS 6516.

The 6xxx grade is a chromium-vanadium steel:

Chromium-vanadium steel refers to steel alloys incorporating carbon, manganese, phosphorus, sulfur, silicon, chromium, and vanadium. Some forms can be used as high-speed steel. Chromium and vanadium both make the steel more hardenable. Chromium also helps resist abrasion, oxidation, and corrosion. Chromium and carbon can both improve elasticity.

Elasticity is important because you wouldn't want a deformable tailhook.

Other applications for it are:

Landing gear, rotorshafts, driveshafts, arresting tailhooks and hookshanks, actuators, armor, munitions, gun barrels, and blast-resistant or impact containment devices.


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