Pentagon looks to catapults to launch aircraft

Proving that defence kit boffins are really just big schoolboys at heart, FutureProof gets wind 

of the Pentagon awarding half a billion dollars to develop a radical new electromagnetic

catapult, intended to toss navy jets off future aircraft carriers.

The Electro Magnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) could replace Cold War-era steam

catapults after it was announced that General Atomics has won $573 million ceiling-priced

contract to build one for the next planned US fleet carrier, CVN 78 or USS Gerald R Ford.

Here’s the low-down: “General Atomics, San Diego, Calif., is being awarded a $573,000,000

ceiling priced, undefinitized contract action for the production of the Electromagnetic Aircraft

Launch System (EMALS) CVN 78 Shipset.  EMALS is the catapult launch system on CVN-

78 class aircraft carriers, replacing the steam catapults used on prior generations of aircraft

carriers.  Work will be performed in San Diego, Calif., (49 percent); Tupelo, Miss., (19

percent); Mankato, Minn., (12 percent); Waltham, Mass., (4 percent); and various locations

across the United States (16 percent), and work is expected to be completed in September

2015. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.”

As for its application in civil air transport, aground-based-power.jpg

irfield power devices assist take-off and landing 

allowing aircraft to use less installed

power and less energy is nothing


One idea from the Out of the Box

European think tank whose Gallery of

image ideas can be found here 

would be to use a maglev propulsive

rail to allow the aircraft to take-off from

virtually a flat surface.

16_floating-d.jpgA floating airport at sea could also be

considered with international super-

hub airports located in international


Being floating structures these could

be turned into the wind to maximize


And as for landing the aircraft, what

about water-borne landings or

parafoil-assisted descents?



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