Aircraft launching via the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launching System

Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS)

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

Engineers, logisticians and program analysts at NAWCAD Lakehurst have provided integral support since EMALS’ inception in 1982. The team at Lakehurst provides EMALS life-cycle acquisition management in support of the Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment (ALRE) Program Office (PMA 251) to include program management, systems engineering, financial analysis, logistics and test and evaluation.

Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst is also home to a land-based, ship-representative EMALS test site. This site allows for continued system testing and personnel training.