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Hearts of Iron 4 (HOI4) – How to Put Planes on Carriers – Gamer Empire

One of the most impactful ships in the Second World War were the Carriers. These giant floating islands work as a landing and take-off point for planes, which can move around on the sea, allowing them to perform effective missions in enemy territories.

Carriers are the bread and butter of the United States since they can’t really use their planes on the Pacific front otherwise.

Recommended Read: How to Increase Supply in HOI4

They are also vital for naval-focused countries like the United Kingdom and Japan for their continuous use of naval invasions.

These ships are also very important in naval battles since they allow the powerful bombers that deploy off of them to deal massive damage to enemy fleets.

To put planes on Carriers in Hearts of Iron 4, you need to leave them out of combat manually where you want them to. Then, you can deploy your planes on them, as you would on any normal airfield.


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How to Put Planes on Carriers in HOI4

You can’t just throw any plane on a carrier! You must first research the land-based version of an aircraft. Then, you’ll need to research the carrier-capable versions of Fighters, Close Air Support, and Naval Bombers.

These variants have different names, stats, and artwork compared to their land-based counterparts. You’ll find the research option by clicking the aircraft carrier button on the aircraft type in the air research tab.

When you build a new carrier, it comes with a pre-assembled air wing produced during construction using your dockyards.

This air wing will be equipped with the most up-to-date carrier-capable models you’ve researched. Before launching the carrier, you can adjust the types of planes included in its air wing to fit your strategy.

When your carrier joins a patrolling fleet, its air wing automatically transforms into a Carrier Air Group. This Carrier Air Group automatically engages in any naval combat your fleet encounters.


How Carriers Work and How to Use Them

Carriers can do two things in HOI4:

  • Carriers act as floating air bases for carrier-capable aircraft (fighters, CAS, and naval bombers). These planes can be launched for various missions outside of combat.
  • During combat, carriers deploy their aircraft as a Carrier Air Group, automatically engaging enemy fleets. They don’t require the usual 8-hour wait to join the fight.

Carriers function as mobile airfields. The number of planes they can carry depends on the available hangar space. This allows for incredible strategic flexibility. You can equip your carriers with:

  • Naval Bombers: Deliver devastating blows to enemy fleets, particularly effective against capital ships.
  • Fighters: Provide crucial air defense against enemy carrier aircraft, safeguarding your fleet from aerial assaults.
  • Close Air Support (CAS): Offer offensive support for land forces during amphibious assaults or naval invasions. By strategically positioning your carriers near the invasion zone, you can provide crucial air cover for your landing troops.

How to Design a Carrier

The design of the Carrier can be very important, since this allows you to get the most out of this huge, heavy ship.

Carriers are very vulnerable, so focus on maximizing their hangar space to carry more planes. Heavy armor is a waste. Rely on your escorts for protection. If your frontline screen is gone, your carriers are likely doomed anyway.

Match your carrier’s engine speed to your fleet’s overall speed. Carriers are often faster than battleships. Secondary weapons are a personal choice, offering some light attack against destroyers.

Tips on How to Use Them

  • Before engaging enemy fleets, consider swapping any carrier CAS for naval bombers. This maximizes your damage output.
  • Strive for a balance between offense and defense. A common strategy is using 1 fighter for every 5 naval bombers. Fighters protect against enemy carrier aircraft, while bombers deal heavy damage with their piercing attacks.
  • Carriers are vulnerable once their escorts are destroyed.
  • Unlike land-based aircraft, carrier wings can be trained and require micromanagement for optimal performance.

That’s everything you need to know about how to put planes on carriers in Hearts of Iron 4!

Have any input or suggestions for this guide? Let us know in the comment section below.

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