Navy tests Electromagnetic Catapult on Gerald R. Ford carrier

Posted at 9:13 PM, May 20, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-20 21:13:51-04

Newport News, Va. (WTKR) - A major milestone was reached this month when the Navy conducted full-speed catapult shots on the future USS Gerald R. Ford using the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System.

The tests using EMALS marked the first time they were done at full-speed on-board a ship.

In all, 22 no-load test movements of EMALS were completed, meaning no aircraft or other loads were attached to the launching shuttle.

The shuttle moved in excess of 180 knots down the flight deck of the Ford.

"It's extremely significant because EMALs is brand new technology and our ability to launch the system to launch aircraft is going to make us more effective and more efficient at getting aircraft off the flight deck," explained CDR Thomas Plott, Air Department Head (Air Boss), in a video posted to the Gerald R. Ford Facebook page.

"So being able to use electromagnetic catapults versus steam catapults is really a step forward in technologies and abilities and capabilities of the carrier," he continued.

The next phase of testing will include "dead loads" or weights that simulate an aircraft being launched off the bow of the Ford into the James River.

So far, the PCU Gerald R. Ford is 90% complete and is expected to be commissioned in March 2016.