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World of Warships Final Review: British Tier X Freemium Aircraft Carrier Malta

12 min read

Ladies and Gentlemen, we are getting a brand-new aircraft carrier and it has a mission. Malta will be available from the 12th of October until the 28th for 34 950 doubloons in the Armory and 114,97€ in the Premium Shop for the cheapest bundle. After that, she will available in the Armory for 268 000 Coal.

So, as I was saying, the ship has a mission. The mission of cleaning up the reputation of the British carriers as the worst CV nation of the game in high tier. Was she able to achieve such a challenging task? Well… here is my opinion.

Historical Background

The Malta-class was a never built class of aircraft carriers from the Royal Navy. In total, four ships were ordered in 1943: Malta, Gibraltar, Africa, and New Zealand. However, based on the experience of the U.S. Navy in the Pacific, the design was revised on multiple occasions.

Due to the increase in size and speed of the carrier-based aircraft as well as the increased importance of aircraft carriers as a whole, the new design was meant to be much larger than previous ships. The first design, design X, was actually larger than the Midway-class and even too large for its own good. Due to its size, the class wouldn’t have been able to fit in most British dockyards without expansion works being needed. As such, a smaller design was presented called X1. Compared to previous designs, a partially open hangar was considered, allowing aircraft preparation before being brought on the flight deck. An unarmored flight deck and an armored hangar deck were selected for the final design. However, due to the experience of American and British carriers in the Pacific, an armored flight deck was considered but it was too late in development to heavily alter the design.

Tier X carriers size comparison – Credits to Ch0m1n

When it comes to its air group, the Malta-class was intended to carry a total of 108 modern aircraft.

In the end, the Malta-class was canceled in late 1945 before construction had started as part of austerity measures and on the basis that previous classes could still be modernized to accommodate the soon-to-be-ready jet aircraft.

In World of Warships, Malta is based on the X1 design but with a slightly modified bow as well as the addition of an armored flight deck. Compared to classic British CVs, her bombers are dropping AP bombs.

If you want to learn more about the Malta-class of aircraft carriers, here is a video from Drachinifel covering it:

Ship’s preview

Ship’s commemorative flag

The camouflage

The permanent camouflage of Malta comes with the standard permanent tier X economic bonuses:

  • +50% Credits
  • +100% XP
  • +100% Commander XP
  • +100% Free XP

The Good and the Bad

The Good

  • Strong reserves on all squadrons
  • Short plane restoration time
  • Planes with large HP pool
  • High number of rockets per drop
  • Short machine-gun phase before the rockets are dropped
  • 4 torpedoes per drop with high flooding chances and good damage
  • Once fully aimed, the torpedo bombers can turn around easily. Useful to catch a target around an island
  • 20 bombs per drop on an area of reasonable size
  • AP bombs with great flexibility being able to nuke lightly armored cruisers and deal large chunks of damage on battleships
  • Bombs with improved penetration angles
  • Strong armored deck, largely covered with 102 mm of armor
  • 21 mm hull plating which can be useful against the HE of some destroyers

The Bad

  • Below-average plane speed
  • Rockets with low penetration
  • Large drop area on the rockets
  • Diverging spread on the torpedo bombers
  • Torpedoes only reaching 35 knots of speed
  • The torpedoes are not all dropping on the same line
  • Low AP bomb penetration
  • Low damage per bomb
  • Large citadel that also sits well above water
  • Below-average anti-air

Modules

Hull
Attack Aircraft
Dive Bombers
Torpedo Bombers
Propulsion
icon_module_Hull_installedMalta

Blackburn Firebrand

Blackburn Firebrand

Blackburn Firebrand

icon_module_Engine_installedPropulsion: 200 000 hp

General Characteristics

TierX
Health66 600 HP
Torpedo damage reduction34 %
Displacement56 800 tons
Dimensions
Overall length270.66 m
Beam35.26 m
Overall height (keel to the highest point on the ship)35.8 m
Freeboard15.8 m
Aircraft on deck
Attack Aircraft18
Torpedo Bombers18
Dive Bombers23
Secondary Armament
113 mm/45 QF Mk.7 mod.P on a RP 41 Mk.VII mount8 x 2 113 mm
Maximum Firing Range5.000 km
Anti-Air Armament
113 mm/45 QF Mk.7 mod.P on a RP 41 Mk.VII mount8 x 2 113 mm
40 mm/56 OQF Mk.IX on a Mk.VI mount9 x 6 40 mm
Maximum speed33.6 knots
Turning Circle Radius1 220 m
Rudder Shift Time16.9 s
Surface Detectability15.19 km
Air Detectability12.2 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

In many regards, Malta is similar to the rest of the British carriers. She doesn’t have the fastest planes but they will take a good beating before going down. She has the same kind of attack aircraft dropping a large number of rockets and with a short machine-gun phase as well as the same kind of torpedo bombers dropping torpedoes with above-average flooding chances and short arming distance.
As for the bombers, this is where things start to diverge. While they might be delivering their payload in carpet bombing, they are dropping AP bombs.
Another big difference with the other British carriers is that Malta has proper reserves (very good reserves in fact) combined with very short plane restoration time. Simply put, Malta is a tier X Enterprise. A carrier that almost doesn’t care about plane losses thanks to amazing reserves that allow her to deal with any matchmaking you will come across. Beyond that, she is just incredibly strong.

When it comes to her playstyle, the main part of her damage will come from her torpedo bombers. Thanks to their arming distance and the agility of the planes, you can happily target about everything you want with them. For destroyers, it will obviously require some practice but otherwise, you will not have any sort of trouble getting good hits on cruisers and battleships.
The bombers of Malta are a very interesting armament that might remind you of the attack aircraft of Aquila. These are AP bombers but unlike the Japanese or German ones, they drop many bombs (Twenty to be precise) in carpet bombing. While these bombs don’t have great penetration, being only able to citadel cruisers with weak horizontal protection, they are incredibly consistent. Unlike the bombers of Hakuryu or Richthofen where it’s either feast or famine, with the bombers of Malta, you will always get at the very least decent results. Generally, for the soft targets, you nuke them with citadels and for the large ones, you easily get 10 000 to more than 15 000 damage with each drop as long as you don’t have poor RNG.
Finally, the attack aircraft are just as versatile, being able to easily engage destroyers thanks to the short machine-gun phase and close drop distance while also doing solid chunks of damage as well as trigger fires on larger targets.
As a whole, you don’t want to purely focus too hard on one or two types of squadrons. You want to get a proper cycling going because none of the squadrons of Malta can be called bad. No matter what target you are facing, there will be, at the very least, one squadron to deal with it. Overall though, you will still prefer going for cruisers and battleships with bombers and torpedoes. You can also use the attack aircraft to get fires and then take advantage of the target not having a Damage Control Party to get floodings with the torpedo bombers.

If you want to see the ship in action, here is a commented replay of one of my games:

Attack Aircraft

Attack Aircrafts – ‎Blackburn Firebrand

TierX
Hitpoints per plane2 190
Cruise speed137 knots
Maximum speed177 knots
Engine boost time5 s
Engine boost reload time10 s
Size of attacking flight4
Aircraft per squadron12
Rocket typeRP-3 60 lb No2 Mk.I
Rocket per plane10
Machine gun sequence2.97 s
Maximum rocket damage2 350
HE penetration capacity28 mm
Explosion size0.51
Fire chance9 %
Detectability range10.0 km
Aircraft restoration time64 s
Aircraft on deck18
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 Attack Aircraft of Malta are very similar in behavior to those of the rest of the British Aircraft Carriers. Just like them, Malta’s aircraft have a very short machine-gun phase which allows you to comfortably go after destroyers. On top of that, each attack drops up to 40 rockets that saturate the drop area, guaranteeing that at least some will hit the target. Even though the drop area is large, these attack aircraft remain very effective against cruisers and destroyers. They are also effective on battleship superstructures.

These rockets will by no means be your main armament. They will be of use if you want to go for destroyers of which you know the position or if you want to trigger Damage Control Party consumables though. It can also be nice to throw them in at the start of the game to have a first idea of where the enemy ships are and potentially find a destroyer with the AA turned on. As a whole, you shouldn’t ignore these rockets as part of the cycling of the squadrons.

Fully aimed reticule next to a Bismarck

Torpedo Bombers

Torpedo bomber – Blackburn Firebrand

TierX
Hitpoints per plane2 250
Cruise speed136 knots
Maximum speed171 knots
Engine boost time20 s
Engine boost reload time40 s
Size of attacking flight4
Aircraft per squadron12
Torpedo typeMark XVII
Torpedoes per plane1
Maximum torpedo damage5 933
Maximum torpedo range2.4 km
Torpedo speed35 knots
Torpedo arming time5.0 s
Flooding chance51%
Detectability range10.0 km
Aircraft restoration time64 s
Aircraft on deck18
Consumables
Slot 1
Slot 2
Slot 3
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
Repair
Number of Charges: 3
Work time: 5 s
Cooldown: 180 s
Repair speed: 10% HP/s

The torpedo bombers of Malta are the main loadout. In essence, it is the same torpedo bombers as Audacious with the stock module but you drop four of them each time. This obviously means that they slap really hard on top of being very reliable. As these torpedoes are British ones, they have a short arming distance so you can drop them almost in the face of enemy ships. This makes them particularly versatile as even hitting small cruisers will be quite easy. With some practice, hitting destroyers will also be possible, especially since you can cross-drop with Malta easily.
Also, if you want to trigger Cunningham’s Lightning Fast talent, you will have to use and abuse these torpedo bombers a fair bit to get the required four floodings.

If there were two downsides I could give to these torpedo bombers, it’s their diverging spread and the fact that all torpedoes don’t drop at the same distance to the target. Honestly though, they have to lack something at least. Otherwise, they would just be far too good.

Fully aimed reticule next to a Bismarck

Dive Bombers

Dive bomber – ‎Blackburn Firebrand

TierX
Hitpoints per plane2 320
Cruise speed134 knots
Maximum speed169 knots
Engine boost time20 s
Engine boost reload time40 s
Size of attacking flight5
Aircraft per squadron15
Bomb type500 lb G.P. Bomb
Bomb per plane4
Maximum bomb damage4 300
AP penetration capacity109 mm
Projectile Detonator0.03
Detonator threshold30 mm
Detectability range10.0 km
Aircraft restoration time51 s
Aircraft on deck23
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 bombers of Malta are quite interesting. Just like the other British CVs, these planes drop in carpet bombing but instead of HE, it’s AP bombs that they release. It’s a similar situation to what we have with Hornet.
They also happen to have very low penetration. More specifically, we are talking about 87 mm of penetration at the lowest speed. Due to their nature as carpet bombers, the planes deliver their bombs at an angle that varies in function of their speed. As such, if you want to maximize the chances of getting penetration hits (or even citadel hits on some cruisers), you will have to slow down hard.
Fortunately, you will be rewarded for hitting the brake because these bombs slap hard. The thing is that, while they have weak penetration, you are dropping TWENTY of them. As such, even if you will not get citadels on anything outside of cruisers with weak horizontal protection (which will promptly get nuked), you still get tons of damage from normal penetration. Basically, on things like Preussen, you can genuinely expect reliable drops of 15 000 damage and more.

Fully aimed reticule next to a Bismarck

Secondary Armament

8 x 2 113 mm/45 QF Mk.7 mod.P on a RP 41 Mk.VII mount
Maximum Firing Range5.000 km
Reloading Time5.0 s
Sigma1.00 sigma
Shells
Type of ProjectileHE – 113 mm HE Mk XVI
Alpha Damage1 600 HP
HE penetration19 mm
Explosion Size0.36
Chance to Cause Fire7 %
Projectile Speed746 m/s
Air Drag0.33
Projectile Mass25.0 kg

Well, it’s the secondaries of a non-German carrier so… don’t expect to get anything useful out of them.

Anti-air Armament

8 x 2 113 mm/45 QF Mk.7 mod.P on a RP 41 Mk.VII mount
Sector range0.1 km – 5.8 km
Hit chance100 %
Sector’s damage41
Sector’s damage frequency0.29 s
Sector’s damage per second144
Flak clouds number6
Flak cloud damage1 540
9 x 6 40 mm/56 OQF Mk.IX on a Mk.VI mount
Sector range0.1 km – 2.4 km
Hit chance100 %
Sector’s damage89
Sector’s damage frequency0.29 s
Sector’s damage per second312

The anti-air of Malta is a bit underwhelming for a tier X carrier. Neither the long-range nor the medium-range auras provide something that can be called high DPS. The flak barrage of the long-range AA is also nothing great.

The Armor

Malta’s armor protection is a mixed bag. When she is angled, the armored deck will allow her to tank shots from battleships from long range but you REALLY do not want to get caught broadside. While it is short, the citadel of Malta sits high above the waterline and is weakly protected.

Always be mindful of your positioning with Malta as otherwise, you might get demolished by an enemy battleship.

External armor protection

Internal hangar protection

Front and rear protection of the middle section

Citadel armor protection

Final Opinion

Malta is simply perfect. This ship is worth every unit of Coal that she costs and it is a damn shame that she is more of an exception than a rule among British CVs. Her large reserves, tanky planes, and short plane restoration time also give her a low-skill floor for people still in the learning stage. She might not necessarily be as strong as an Hakuryu for example, she turns out to be a particularly strong and versatile carrier.

Her reliable AP bombs, while they are incredible against light cruisers can also chunk battleships quite hard. The torpedo bombers just unilaterally slap everything sailing, even destroyers thanks to the short arming time, the fast aiming speed, and the planes’ agility.
As for the rockets, they are quite nice for any sort of soft target, may it be cruisers, destroyers, or battleship superstructures.

So yeah… Malta is one of that few British things of which, as a French, I can tolerate the existence. The rest are things like Killerbin, Painezor, Jeremy Clarkson, James May, Richard Hammond, Fish and Chips, and Doctor Who except for everything that happened after Peter Capaldi. What happens after, it doesn’t exist unless you call it fanfiction (and a shitty one at that).

Recommended Build

For the Malta, I recommend using the following captain build and upgrades:

I also recommend Andrew Cunningham as commander thanks to his improved Aircraft Armor as well as the Lighting Fast talent (although the latter took a massive nerf).

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

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Have a good one and see you soon!

Also if you are new to the game or want to get back to it, feel free to use my Recruiting Station code for free goodies such as Premium ships, premium time, and more: https://warships.net/yuzorah

Have a good one and see you soon!