An experimental F-35C recently launched from the US Navy’s experimental Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS). Though it was not the first fighter to do so, it may very well be the first single-engine aircraft major weapons system launched by a US Navy catapult of any kind in some time. By the time the F-35 is operational, the EMALS will likely be established on the Gerald R. Ford class of carriers, assuming no major issues in each program.
The DoD published the video on YouTube.
The US Navy used its in-development Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) to launch an E-2D Hawkeye last week.
The upcoming Gerald R. Ford class of aircraft carriers will be the first that abandons the steam catapult for the EMALS, marking a significant change in naval aviation. To date, the EMALS has also launched F/A-18E Super Hornets, T-45 Goshawks, and the C-2A Greyhound.
The Navy posted videos of the launch, in which the traditional steam is noticeably absent, on YouTube.
Categories: Fighter Pilot c-2a, e-2d, emals, Fighter Pilot, gerald r. ford, goshawk, greyhound, hawkeye, Military, Navy, super hornet, t-45
FoxNews caught up to the previous article here on the 18 December launch of a Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet with the EMALS. The EMALS is an electromagnetic launch system designed to replace the steam driven systems currently in operation. Interestingly, the article notes
Newer, heavier and faster aircraft will require more force to catapult from the carrier decks than steam-powered systems can supply. Electromagnets will be able to deliver, and allow for smooth acceleration at both high and low speeds, increasing the carrier’s ability to launch aircraft, the Navy said in a press release.
Presumably, that’s a reference to the F-35, the only substantial new aircraft slated to enter naval service in the reasonable future.
The article contains a link to the Navy’s somewhat slow YouTube video of the launch.
The aura of steam is as expected on the deck of a Navy carrier as is the smell of jet fuel. The steam catapult has been launching aircraft from Naval aircraft carriers for decades.
The Electro-magnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) of the new Gerald R. Ford class carriers hopes to change that.
The EMALS system would be the first new launch system since the Navy replaced hydraulic catapults with steam-powered systems in the 1950s. An electro-magnetic system has numerous advantages over steam. EMALS, which involves energizing a series of electro-magnets, is less stressful on aircraft and can launch a wider range of aircraft.
Of course, the entire concept is predicated on electromagnetic fields, so one wonders what kind of interference such a system will have not only on the ship on which it is installed, but also the aircraft its launching.
The EMALS successfully “launched” an F/A-18E Super Hornet on December 18th from a modified runway in New Jersey. Though the Hornet wasn’t tossed precariously over the water as with other carrier-based launches, it presumably reached its required launch speed at the specified distance.