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Below-deck tests start on new aircraft carrier launch system

The U.S. Navy and its industry partners have begun below-deck testing of the new system for launching planes from an aircraft carrier.
By Richard Tomkins   |   Aug. 15, 2014 at 3:17 PM

PATUXENT RIVER, Md., Aug. 15 (UPI) -- Below-deck testing of the U.S. Navy's new system for launching aircraft from carriers has started aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford, which enters service in 2016.

The first sub-system of the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System, or EMALS, undergoing assessment is its launch control sub-system, the Navy said. It is one of six sub-systems that provide EMALS with the capability to launch all current and future planned carrier wing platforms.

The testing, at the Huntington Ingalls Industries' shipyard in Virginia, follows delivery of components, their installation by Navy and industry personnel, and the installation of EMALS software by General Atomics.

"The complex array of interconnected sub-systems internal to the ship is what essentially powers and controls the launches, so it's a pivotal point in the process of supplanting the steam-powered catapults currently in use with the powerful and efficient electromagnetic technology," said George Sulich, EMALS integrated product team lead.

"The complex array of interconnected subsystems internal to the ship is what essentially powers and controls the launches, so it's a pivotal point in the process of supplanting the steam-powered catapults currently in use with the powerful and efficient electromagnetic technology," said George Sulich, EMALS integrated product team lead, was quoted as saying by the Navy.

EMALS uses a liner motor drive to power an aircraft carrier's catapult system for launching aircraft instead of a steam piston engine. It can launch heavier aircraft than the steam-powered system and is easier to maintain.

The Navy said dead-load launches from the ship with EMALS will begin in late 2015.

The USS Gerald R. Ford will be the first U.S. aircraft carrier to employ the system.

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