The US Navy has successfully kicked off the second phase of aircraft launch tests using the electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS), by catapulting a Boeing EA-18G Growler into the air on 25 June at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey.

"During ACT [aircraft compatibility testing] two, we will launch every aircraft currently utilising today's carrier catapults, with the exception of the [Northrop Grumman] E-2C Hawkeye," says George Sulich, the USN's EMALS integrated test team lead. This phase of testing will also simulate various carrier situations, such as off-centre launches. The navy expects to conduct more than 300 launches during 2013 with the EMALS, Sulich says.

The navy completed the first phase of EMALS aircraft compatibility trials in the latter half of 2011 with 133 aircraft launches, including tests with the Lockheed Martin F-35C Joint Strike Fighter.

The EMALS is expected to replace conventional steam catapults, starting with the new USS Gerald R Ford-class aircraft carriers, which are follow-ons to the current Nimitz-class vessels.

Source: Flight International