Navy launches sled into James River to test new catapult aboard the future USS Gerald R. Ford

Posted at 3:36 PM, Jun 05, 2015

Newport News, Va. – The Navy and Newport News shipbuilding marked another milestone in the testing of the next generation aircraft carrier catapult on Friday.

The crew launched a sled off the ship’s bow and into the James River using the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS). Sleds  are large, wheeled, steel vessels weighing up to 80,000 pounds that simulate the weight of actual aircraft, according to Aircraft Carriers tumblr.

The sled traveled over 300 feet down the catapult track at about 160 miles per hour.

The Ford is 90% complete and is expected to be commissioned in March 2016.