The Navy is testing a new type of catapult system called EMALS. This stands for Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System. Our current aircraft carriers use a steam powered system which “jerks” an aircraft at launch. This sudden acceleration (“jerk” to speed) makes for a ton of man-power to maintain an aircraft. Where as the new EMALS brings the aircraft to launch in a gradual acceleration.
Currently the Navy is working to bring this technology to our newest nuclear-powered carriers, the Gerald R. Ford class. With all new technology, there is a lot of time spent to make sure it works when pilot’s lives are on the line.
The sled used for the “dead-load” testing reaches a speed of 160-mph.