The Navy on Saturday launched the first aircraft from the Naval Air Systems Command, Lakehurst, N.J., test site using the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) technology.
The Navy has been using steam for more than 50 years to launch aircraft from carriers. Saturday, the Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment (ALRE) program launched an F/A-18E Super Hornet using the EMALS technology that will replace steam catapults on future aircraft carriers.
“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.”
EMALS is a complete carrier-based launch system designed for Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) and future Ford-class carriers. The Navy said the mission and function of EMALS remain the same as the steam catapult; however, EMALS employs entirely different technologies. EMALS will deliver the necessary higher launch energy capacity as well as substantial improvements in system weight, maintenance, increased efficiency, and more accurate end-speed control. The system will provide the capability for launching all current and future carrier air wing platforms – lightweight unmanned to heavy strike fighters.
“I’m excited about the improvement EMALS will bring to the fleet from a capability and reliability perspective,” said Cmdr. Russ McCormack, ALRE, PMA-251, deputy program manager for future systems. “EMALS was designed for just that purpose, and the team is delivering that requirement.”