Navy says they will work with President Trump on future of carrier catapult system

Posted at 3:27 PM, May 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-29 15:55:02-04

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – The Navy says they are committed to working with President Trump on the future of a carrier catapult system the president has criticized.

ATLANTIC OCEAN (July 28, 2017) – An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 piloted by Lt. Cmdr. Jamie “Coach” Struck, launches from the flight deck of USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) July 28, 2017. Ford is underway conducting test and evaluation operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cathrine Mae O. Campbell)

The Ford-class of carriers is using new electromagnetic catapults, known as EMALS, to launch aircraft off the flight-deck. It replaces the steam-powered catapults in use on the Nimitz-class of carriers.

President Trump has criticized EMALS for being too complicated and expensive.

During a Memorial Day speech in Japan on the USS Wasp, which is not an aircraft carrier, President Trump asked Sailors and Marines in the audience if they liked electric or steam catapults.

He went on to say “I think I’m going to put an order — when we build a new aircraft carrier, we’re going to use steam.”

On Wednesday, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development & Acquisition James Geurts was asked by reporters about the Navy’s commitment to electromagnetic catapults during the island landing ceremony for the John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) at Newport News Shipbuilding.

“We look forward to working with the President. The positive sense is we have a President that is really engaged and wants to make sure our Sailors have the best equipment that’s reliable and will get the job done and we will work closely with him as we move forward,” Geurts said in response.

“I’m confident on EMALs, again we’ve launched 700 airplanes and recovered them. We’ve continued all our land-based testing. We’ll continue to work with the president and make sure we work closely with him as we move forward.”

The electromagnetic catapult system is already in use on the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78).