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Final Review: Soviet Tier VIII Premium Aircraft Carrier Chkalov

8 min read

It is here Brathuka!

Coming with the early access for the Soviet aircraft carrier branch, here is the tier VIII aircraft carrier Chkalov. The ship will be available in the Armory for 12 300 doubloons or in the Premium Shop with the cheapest bundle that should be around 41€.

Is she worth it? Is she a good captain trainer for the new carriers? Here is my opinion on it.

Historical background

The Chkalov is based on the Soviet Project 71B from 1937. The project 71B was a 22 000 tons fleet carrier design. Compared to Project 71 that was the conversion of an existing Chapayev-class cruiser hull into a light carrier, project 71B was a “pure” fleet carrier instead. It is, however, referred to as 71B because it’s using the same machinery as a Chapayev-class cruiser.

The Good and the Bad

The Good

  • High alpha strike potential because of the “one squadron, one attack” design
  • Bombs with good penetration and high fire chances
  • Skip bombs able to skip 3 times
  • Faster torpedoes than average with high flooding chances
  • Very tight torpedo spread
  • Tier X Patrol fighters
  • JATO (Jet-Assisted Take-off) to compensate for the low speed of the planes after takeoff
  • Good reserves, especially combined with the low plane loses

The Bad

  • “One squadron, one attack” that blocks you from chaining drops in close succession.
  • Heavily affected by the target’s position because of the long arming time of the torpedoes and the skip bombs that also require to catch the target broadside.
  • Unreliable Dive Bombers
  • Planes with low HP and average speed at best
  • No Repair on the Torpedo bombers

The camouflage

The permanent camouflage of the Chkalov provides the classic bonuses for tier VIII ships:

  • -3% to surface detectability range
  • +4% to maximum dispersion of shells fired by the enemy at your ship
  • -10% to the cost of the ship’s post-battle service
  • +50% to experience earned in the battle

Modules

Hull
Dive Bombers
Skip Bombers
Torpedo Bombers
Propulsion
icon_module_Hull_installedChkalov

Sukhoi Su-2

Sukhoi Su-2

‎Polikarpov VIT-2 (VK-107)
icon_module_Engine_installedPropulsion: 154 000 hp

General Characteristics and Playstyle

Tier VIII
Health 51 700 HP
Torpedo damage reduction 25 %
Displacement 30 600 tons
Dimensions
Overall length 251.69 m
Beam 37.0 m
Overall height (keel to the highest point on the ship) 30.0 m
Freeboard 14.0 m
Aircraft on deck
Dive Bombers 15
Skip Bombers 15
Torpedo Bombers 15
Secondary Armament
130 mm/55 on a B-2-U mount 8 x 2 130 mm
Maximum Firing Range 6.600 km
Anti-Air Armament
130 mm/55 on a B-2-U mount 6 x 4 130 mm
37 mm V-11 mount
37 mm 46-K mount
16 x 2 37 mm
8 x 4 37 mm
Maximum speed 32.3 knots
Turning Circle Radius 1 040 m
Rudder Shift Time 13.2 s
Surface Detectability 13.56 km
Air Detectability 11.74 km
Consumables
Slot 1
Slot 2
Damage Control Party
Work time: 60 s
Cooldown: 90 s
Fighter
Number of charges: 4
Work time: 600 s
Cooldown: 40 s
Patrol Radius: 3.0 km
Planes in a squadron: 4

Overall, the Chkalov is very similar to the Max Immelmann at Tier X but with an extra Dive bomber squadron to deal with destroyers when needed. She also follows the same design as Saipan in the sense that her planes have the same characteristics as those of Admiral Nakhimov at tier X.

With Chkalov, you will mostly see yourself spamming Skip bombers as they are your most versatile squadron and also a great source of damage. The fact that you can drop them while staying outside of the mid-range AA of enemy ships also makes the Chkalov really good at handling tier X matchmaking as even there, she will lose fewer planes than normal as she drops from a safe distance.

The Torpedo bombers must, in no way, be underestimated as they will be your primary tool to take down battleships. The best is to first set them on fire with the skip bombers and then come back as fast as possible with Torpedo Bombers once the Damage Control Party is over.

If you want to see the ship in action, here is a replay featuring it:

This replay is labeled with the Work In Progress watermark because the ship is still missing the last change that was made to the Dive bombers:

  • Bomb drop height increased by 30%.
  • Drop time increased by 20%.
  • Attack time was reduced from 8 to 7 s.

Don’t worry, with how little you will use them, it won’t make much difference.

Disclaimer: Yes, I know, it kinda sounds like cherry-picking to use a game where I do 279k damage and with 3.2k base XP but… would have been criminal to not feature it.

Dive Bombers

Dive bomber – ‎Sukhoi Su-2

Tier VIII
Hitpoints per plane 1 310
Cruise speed 125 knots
Maximum speed 162 knots
JATO speed boost +50%
JATO duration 10 s
Engine boost time 20 s
Engine boost reload time 40 s
Size of attacking flight 6
Aircraft per squadron 6
Bomb type FAB-500
Bomb per plane 1
Maximum bomb damage 8 700
HE penetration capacity 54 mm
Explosion size 1.9
Fire chance 49 %
Detectability range 10.0 km
Aircraft restoration time 89 s
Aircraft on deck 15
Consumables
Slot 1
Slot 2
Engine Cooling
consumable_PCY034_ForsageBooster
Number of Charges: 2
Work time: 5 s
Cooldown: 80 s
Patrol fighter
Number of Charges: 3
Work time: 60 s
Cooldown: 10 s
Aircraft per squadron: 7
Patrol radius: 3.5 km

So let’s get the stinkers off the table first.

Overall, you will rarely have any use for those DBs unless you need to go after destroyers that keep a low profile.

Against cruisers and battleships, these dive bombers are just too slow and fragile. For the most part, they just melt on their way to the target. Also, as you can see, the reticule might be circular but it’s still large. While it’s useful to have more chances to hit an actively maneuvering DD, on bigger targets that melt the planes, it just turns into an unreliable mess.

Fully aimed reticule for the Dive Bombers of the Chkalov.

Skip Bombers

Skip bomber – ‎Sukhoi Su-2

Tier VIII
Hitpoints per plane 1 310
Cruise speed 125 knots
Maximum speed 162 knots
JATO speed boost +50%
JATO duration 10 s
Engine boost time 20 s
Engine boost reload time 40 s
Size of attacking flight 6
Aircraft per squadron 6
Bomb type FAB-500
Bomb per plane 1
Maximum bomb damage 8 700
HE penetration capacity 54 mm
Explosion size 1.9
Fire chance 49 %
Number of skips 3
Detectability range 10.0 km
Aircraft restoration time 89 s
Aircraft on deck 15
Consumables
Slot 1
Slot 2
Engine Cooling
consumable_PCY034_ForsageBooster
Number of Charges: 2
Work time: 5 s
Cooldown: 80 s
Patrol fighter
Number of Charges: 3
Work time: 60 s
Cooldown: 10 s
Aircraft per squadron: 7
Patrol radius: 3.5 km

The Skip bombers of the Chkalov are simply amazing. First and foremost, your bombs skip 3 times in total which allows you to drop them from a safe distance and limit the damage that your planes take.

In total, you can drop up to 6 bombs with high penetration and fire chances and they are simply brutal on anything not actively angling against you. These bombs are effective against all targets and even destroyers if they are already spotted. When they keep a straight trajectory, you can absolutely demolish them.

The only ships that will be slightly problematic to deal with are battleships with thick side armor. In their case, you will have to aim higher so that the bombs hit the deck and superstructure.

Overall, it will be the squadron you use the most and unless you take tons of flaks, you will never run out of planes.

Almost fully aimed Skip bombers attack launched at maximum speed.

Torpedo Bombers

Torpedo bomber – Polikarpov VIT-2 (VK-107)

Tier VIII
Hitpoints per plane 1 470
Cruise speed 115 knots
Maximum speed 150 knots
JATO speed boost +50%
JATO duration 10 s
Engine boost time 20 s
Engine boost reload time 40 s
Size of attacking flight 6
Aircraft per squadron 6
Torpedo type 45-36AN-B
Torpedoes per plane 1
Maximum torpedo damage 5 200
Maximum torpedo range 6.0 km
Torpedo speed 41 knots
Torpedo arming time 7.5 s
Flooding chance 45%
Detectability range 10.0 km
Aircraft restoration time 89 s
Aircraft on deck 15
Consumables
Slot 1
Slot 2
Engine Cooling
consumable_PCY034_ForsageBooster
Number of Charges: 2
Work time: 5 s
Cooldown: 80 s
Patrol fighter
Number of Charges: 3
Work time: 60 s
Cooldown: 10 s
Aircraft per squadron: 7
Patrol radius: 3.5 km

These torpedo bombers are fairly specialized in dealing with large targets or cruisers not maneuvering too much.

They deal a ton of damage and have high flooding chances. On top of that, the torps are reasonably fast and the spread is ultra TIGHT. Not only does this allows you to get many hits if you take the proper lead when dropping, but it also allows you to care a bit less about your approach angle than you normally would. Even angled ships are bound to take some of those torpedoes as there are no exploitable gaps between them.

Those torpedoes still retain a big weakness in the form of a long arming time of 7.5s which makes it really troublesome when the target is in the proximity of an island in your way.

The planes themselves also have the issue of slowing down a lot when attacking. Combined with the lack of a Repair consumable, this forces you to be careful to the surrounding ship of your target. You REALLY don’t want to see a cruiser with Defensive AA nearby. Otherwise, the planes are dead from the flaks appearing in their way during the attack.

Fully aimed Torpedo Bomber reticule.
Torpedo spread when fully aimed.

Secondary Armament

8 x 2 130 mm/55 on a B-2-U mount
Maximum Firing Range 6.600 km
Reloading Time 5.0 s
Sigma 1.00 sigma
Shells
Type of Projectile HE – HE-46
Alpha Damage 1 900 HP
Damage 570 HP
HE penetration 22 mm
Explosion Size 0.45
Chance to Cause Fire 8 %
Projectile Speed 900 m/s
Air Drag 0.255
Projectile Mass 33.4 kg

These secondaries might save your bacon if a destroyer gets in their range but don’t count too much on it.

Anti-air Armament

8 x 2 130 mm/58 on a BL-132 mount
Sector range 0.1 km – 6.0 km
Hit chance 100 %
Sector’s damage 33
Sector’s damage frequency 0.29 s
Sector’s damage per second 116
Flak clouds number 5
Flak cloud damage 1 470
16 x 2 37 mm V-11 mount
8 x 4 37 mm 46-K mount
Sector range 0.1 km – 3.5 km
Hit chance 100 %
Sector’s damage 119
Sector’s damage frequency 0.29 s
Sector’s damage per second 417

Her anti-air is strong for self-defense, especially with the high DPS of the mid-range anti-air.

The Armor

Overall, the Chkalov is well protected for a tier VIII carrier. The fact that her deck is 30 mm thick will help a lot against AP shells from battleships.

External armor protection

Citadel armor protection

Final Opinion

The Chkalov ends up being a really good Premium as well as a perfect captain trainer for the Soviet carriers.

While her Dive bombers are quite underwhelming except when dealing with destroyers, the two other squadron types greatly compensate for it. Chkalov is also one of the carriers that handle being uptiered the best.

As a captain trainer, the ship is great as, except for the Dive bombers replacing the Attack aircraft, her playstyle is very similar to the one of the tech tree ships and she also uses the same captain skills.

Overall, I really recommend this ship.

Recommended Build

For the Chkalov, I recommend the following commander build:

  • Air Supremacy
  • Improved Engine
  • Aircraft Armor
  • Survivability Expert
  • Bomber Flight Control
  • Enhanced Aircraft Armor
  • Proximity Fuse

I really advise you to take Alexander Ovechkin as a captain because of the improved Survivability Expert.

Easter Egg

Inside the command bridge of the Chkalov, you can find a model of the Tupolev ANT-25, a Soviet long-range experimental aircraft from 1933. You can also see a map of the North pole with what seems to be the trajectory of one of the flights over the North pole done with the Tupolev ANT-25. It could be the flight done by Valery Chkalov.

This concludes my review of the Chkalov. Thank you for reading this article!

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Have a good one and see you soon!

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