Navy completes testing fixes on electromagnetic launch systems

The U.S. Navy has completed testing on a software fix for the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System used on the Gerald R. Ford class of aircraft carriers.
By Stephen Carlson  |  July 27, 2017 at 12:40 PM
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July 27 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy announced this week it has completed testing on a software fix for the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System used on the Gerald R. Ford class of aircraft carriers.

The Navy conducted 71 launch tests at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey earlier this summer. F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighters and EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft both completed a series of launches with mounted external fuel tanks with no airframe stress issues.

Testing in 2014 had revealed deficiencies with the launch system that could inflict too much stress on aircraft carrying heavy external loads. The Navy says that after several software updates the issue has been resolved.

"We were confident since the day that the issue was uncovered that it was solvable," EMALS integrated program team lead George Surlich said in a press release . "The beauty of the system is that issues such as these can be accomplished with software updates instead of major hardware changes to machinery."

The software fixes will be installed on the newly commissioned USS Gerald R. Ford to support Super Hornet and Growler aircraft in 2019 following the ship's Post Shakedown Availability is completed.

Reports of the problems had led to debate over staying with traditional steam-powered launch catapults as opposed to the new magnetic system.

President Donald Trump had criticized the EMALS system as being too complicated and advocated scrapping the system citing it as an example of wasteful and expensive military spending.

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