Navy Breaks Steam Monopoly

Navy officials said they made history with the first-ever launch of an aircraft with a catapult system utilizing electromagnetic energy and not steam, which has been the standard on aircraft carriers for the past half century. “This is a tremendous achievement,” said Navy Capt. James Donnelly, manager of the Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment program, in the sea service’s release. The test took place Dec. 19 at the Navy’s test site in Lakehurst, N.J., using the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System to get an F/A-18E airborne. The Navy says it is moving to EMALS technology since steam catapult designs are unable to support the energy requirements to launch faster and heavier aircraft planned for the fleet. Future Navy carriers, starting with the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), will carry EMALS. The Ford is scheduled for delivery around 2015. EMALS testing continues at Lakehurst.