U.S. Navy has used steam to launch aircraft from the deck of aircraft
carriers for over 50 years and the technology behind the steam
catapults is well proven and reliable. The problem with the current
steam system is that the system is reaching the limits of its
operational capability with how fast it can shoot aircraft off the
deck of a carrier. With new carrier-based aircraft on
the horizon that are heavier and faster than current aircraft, the
steam catapult system used today will not be able to launch all
future aircraft. The U.S. Navy has announced that it has made history
with the first aircraft launched using an electro-magnetic aircraft
launch system or EMALS. The new EMALS launch system is planned to be
installed into the new Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers as they
launch."This is a tremendous achievement not just for
the ALRE team, but for the entire Navy," said Capt. James
Donnelly, ALRE program manager. "Saturday's EMALS launch
demonstrates an evolution in carrier flight deck operations using
advanced computer control, system monitoring and automation for
tomorrow's carrier air wings."The first
aircraft to be launched using the EMALS system was a Navy
F/A-18E Super Hornet and the aircraft was launched from the
Lakehurst, N.J. test site that the Navy uses for testing new
hardware. The test pilot behind the stick of the aircraft was Lt.
Daniel Radocaj. He said, "I thought the launch went great. I got
excited once I was on the catapult, but I went through the same
procedures as on a steam catapult. The catapult stroke felt similar
to a steam catapult and EMALS met all of the expectations I
that more than 722
launches of test loads have been made from the EMALS
catapult at the Lakehurst test facility at speeds up to 180 knots,
which is the highest speed requirement for the system. The first
aircraft launch was on December 18 and several more launches using
the system were conducted the next day.
year the test program for the EMALS will include the C-2 COD aircraft
and the T-45 Goshawk.
Navy also recently made a record setting test shot with an electric
railgun that needs no explosives or propellant.
quote: The new EMALS launch system is planned to be installed into the new Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers as they launch.
quote: With new carrier-based aircraft on the horizon that are heavier and faster than current aircraft