To land on a carrier, an aircraft must be strong enough to withstand sudden deceleration by the tail hook catching the arresting wire. I think it also requires strengthening the undercarriage to survive a harder "plop" on landing.

So I would like to know, how much extra weight is added due to both of these things?

I'm interested in the WW2-era piston props. The modern jet fighters are much heaver, so I'd rather save that for a later question.

Ideally, the greatest example would be a piston-prop from this era made in two versions: land and naval. Then we could just compare loaded weights. But I can't think of any. Don't think I've ever heard of that. All of the carrier-based aircraft from WW2 that I know of, were purpose built for carriers and never had a land version. Hopefully someone knows where to find airframe specs for these aircraft and has the engineering know-how to say how much steel would be unnecessary for a land version.


1 Answer 1


The British adopted the Spitfire and Hurricane for carrier use. Using the Spitfire as an example, here's data from Wikipedia.

Spitfire Mk.VB is 5065lbs clean.

Seafire Mk.III is 6204lbs clean.

They're not exactly equivalent otherwise, but close enough. So the Seafire is roughly 1140lbs heavier than the land based equivalent, or over 20%.

Of course this will vary wildly for different variants compared, but it's a ballpark figure

  • $\begingroup$ @ironduke97 OP asked specifically about WW2 prop aircraft, last I checked the F-4 doesn't match either criteria :) $\endgroup$
    – jwenting
    Jul 9, 2018 at 6:13
  • $\begingroup$ oh my bad, I wasn't paying attention. $\endgroup$
    – ironduke97
    Jul 9, 2018 at 6:37
  • $\begingroup$ Well well well, the Spitfire was adapted for carriers? Was that ever used in the Pacific Theater against the Japanese? And wow, 22% heavier... That is, huge. I hope someone else can find a corroborating example because this is just, huge. $\endgroup$
    – DrZ214
    Jul 9, 2018 at 7:13
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @DrZ214 Wikipedia says they were used in the Pacific theater from 1944, so yes. and not just in WW2, but the Korean war as well $\endgroup$
    – jwenting
    Jul 9, 2018 at 7:40
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Also take into account that the extra weight is caused by the double-hinged folding wings and the more powerful engine. It's not only because of airframe strengthening. $\endgroup$
    – MadMarky
    Jul 9, 2018 at 13:53

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