NAVAIR

Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS)

E-2 50th anniversary video graphic

EMALS launch of F/A-18C (video)

The launch of the F/A-18C Hornet marked the end of the second phase of manned aircraft launch tests using the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS). EMALS is designed to expand the operational capability of the Navy's future carriers to include all current and future carrier air wing platforms - lightweight unmanned systems to heavy strike fighters.

Description

The Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) is a complete carrier-based launch system designed for CVN 78 and all future Gerald R. Ford-class carriers. The launching system is designed to expand the operational capability of Ford-class carriers, providing  the Navy with capability for launching all current and future carrier air wing platforms – lightweight unmanned to heavy strike fighters. The mission and function of EMALS remains the same as traditional steam catapult; however, it employs entirely different technologies. EMALS uses stored kinetic energy and solid-state electrical power conversion. This technology permits a high degree of computer control, monitoring and automation.

EMALS benefits:

  • Increased reliability and efficiency
  • More accurate end-speed control and smoother acceleration
  • Expanded operational capability with increased sortie rates
  • Cost reduction over time due to decreased manning and maintenance requirements
  • Ability to launch a broader range of naval aircraft - from lightweight unmanned to heavy strike fighters- with less stress on the ship and aircraft
  • Provides necessary higher launch energy capacity
  • Substantial improvements in system weight, volume and maintenance
  • EMALS over steam catapults means quieter and cooler work and living spaces for Sailors
  • More intuitive maintenance software will reduce troubleshooting times


Specifications

Primary Function: Carrier aircraft launch
Contractor: General Atomics
ACAT: Program of Record for Ford-class carriers
Production Phase: First shipset in test and second shipset in production


Program Status

ACAT: Program of Record for Ford-class carriers
Production Phase: First shipset in test and second shipset in production
Inventory: One