A short take-off and vertical landing aircraft (STOVL aircraft) is a fixed-wing aircraft that is able to take off from a short runway (or take off vertically if it does not have a heavy payload) and land vertically (i.e. with no runway). The formal NATO definition (since 1991) is:

A Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing aircraft is a fixed-wing aircraft capable of clearing a 15 m (50 ft) obstacle within 450 m (1,500 ft) of commencing take-off run, and capable of landing vertically.[1]

On aircraft carriers, non-catapult-assisted, fixed-wing short takeoffs are accomplished with the use of thrust vectoring, which may also be used in conjunction with a runway "ski-jump". Use of STOVL tends to allow aircraft to carry a larger payload as compared to during VTOL use, while still only requiring a short runway. The most famous examples are the Hawker Siddeley Harrier and the Sea Harrier. Although technically VTOL aircraft, they are operationally STOVL aircraft due to the extra weight carried at take-off for fuel and armaments. The same is true of the F-35B Lightning II, which demonstrated VTOL capability in test flights but is operationally STOVL.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License