Missions for naval aviation include:
- Maritime patrol, with aircraft like Lockheed P-3 Orion or Ilyushin Il-38 May. It is for air reconnaissance over oceans and seas. This is looking for enemy warships, and in particular submarines. Weapons are generally torpedoes, missiles, mines, and light rockets.
- Coastal Survey, with aircraft like Dassault Falcon 50M or Fokker 50 MPA. It is like maritime patrol, but closer to the coast. Some of the aircraft used are armed.
- Search and rescue, with aircraft and helicopters like Aérospatiale SA-321 Super Frelon or Lockheed HC-130 Hercules. It is to find and rescue the victims of accidents at sea. This is done after a shipwreck or in heavy storms.
- Fighting and air combat, is the mission of naval fighters that fly from an aircraft carrier. Famous aircraft in 2013 are Dassault Rafale M, and F/A-18 Hornet.
- Fighting against submarines, is the mission of naval helicopters like Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk or Mil Mi-14. Weapons are generally torpedoes and mines.
The first naval aviation was the British Royal Naval Air Service, that was created on 13 April 1912. On April 1, 1918 the RNAS and the Royal Flying Corps were merged into the Royal Air Force. During World War I and after World War II, naval aviation were used for all kinds of combat missions. Famous battles were Pacific War, Normandy Landings, Dieppe Raid and Battle of Midway. After the World Wars it was used for the Falklands War, the Libyan Civil War, and the Gulf War.