Naval Aviation Law and Legal Definition

Naval Aviation is the application of manned military air power by navies, including ships that embark fixed-wing aircraft or helicopters. In contrast, Maritime Aviation is the operation of aircraft in a maritime role under the command of non-naval forces such as the former RAF Coastal Command or a nation's coast guard. An exception to this is the U.S. Coast Guard, which is considered part of U.S. Naval Aviation in the same manner as the aviation assets of the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps.

Naval aviation is typically projected to a position nearer the target by way of an aircraft carrier. Carrier aircraft must be sturdy enough to withstand demanding carrier operations. They must be able to launch in a short distance and be sturdy and flexible enough to come to a sudden stop on a pitching deck; they typically have robust folding mechanisms that allow higher numbers of them to be stored in below-decks hangars.