The United States Navy has been working on a new method to launch fighter jets off of aircraft carriers, not that the old method doesn’t work, but there’s no harm in making things better and more efficient than they already are. It’s working on a next-generation electromagnetic catapult that will one day be deployed on the Navy’s aircraft carriers for the purpose of launching jets, one recent test of the system has proven that it can easily handle up to 80,000 pounds of steel.
U.S. Navy’s electromagnetic catapult system is called the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System or EMALS, it has been testing the system aboard the Gerald R. Ford carrier. This was actually the first time that it has tested a dead-load with this system.
A dead-load is simply a wheeled steel sled which weighs as much as a fighter jet, and it makes much more sense to use this for the purpose of testing, because obviously you wouldn’t want to damage jets that cost hundreds of millions of dollars by running such tests.
The test shows that the electromagnetic catapult provides much smoother acceleration and also happens to place less stress on the aircraft, not to mention the fact that this system has been designed to work with the more advanced aircraft carriers that the Navy plans on using in the future.
For now the dead-load launches will continue to be tested, and it’s going to take a while before this system is tested with a live jet, but the progress appears to be encouraging so far.