EMALS first launch
The US Navy has successfully completed the first launch of a fighter jet
using the new Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System.
NAVAIR imageDecember 21: The US Navy has successfully completed
the first launch of a fighter jet using the new Electromagnetic Aircraft
Launch System (EMALS) technology.
The tests were undertaken at the Naval Air Systems Command test site
at Lakehurst in New Jersey with an F/A-18E Super Hornet from Air Test
and Evaluation Squadron 23 (VX-23). EMALS is intended to replace
steam catapults on aircraft carriers and is the preferred system for
the UK’s new Queen Elizabeth class.
“This is a tremendous achievement not just for the Aircraft Launch
and Recovery Equipment (ALRE) team, but for the entire Navy,” said
Captain James Donnelly, ALRE programme manager. “The EMALS launch
on December 18 demonstrates an evolution in carrier flight deck operations
using advanced computer control, system monitoring and automation
for tomorrow’s carrier air wings.” The first US Navy vessel designed
with EMALS in mind is the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 7
“I thought the launch went great,” said Lt Daniel Radocaj, the test pilot
who made the first EMALS manned launch. “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 had.”
EMALS will deliver higher launch energy capacity as well as
substantial improvements in system weight, maintenance, increased efficiency,
and more accurate end-speed control than existing steam designs.
It also allows for a smoother acceleration at both high and low speeds.
The test programme will expand to aircraft launches with the T-45
and C-2 aircraft next year.