Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS)


EMALS is the Navy’s newest complete carrier-based launch system designed for USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) and future 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 the 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.


  • 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