Observe the Navy’s Latest Aircraft Launcher Propel Dummy Cars Into the Ocean

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By Car Brand Experts

The USS John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) has been afloat since 2019 and stands out as one of the most advanced combat-ready aircraft carriers in the U.S. Navy’s arsenal. It’s on the brink of incorporating even more cutting-edge technology. Newport News Shipbuilding—the firm responsible for constructing the Navy’s Ford-class aircraft carriers—is presently conducting trials on its innovative electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS) through “dead-load” drills, launching exceptionally heavy sleds resembling cars off the bow of the vessel, a spectacle worth witnessing.

Aircraft carriers have utilized aircraft-launching catapults since the 1950s, albeit always steam-powered. EMALS, on the other hand, operates on an electromagnetic linear induction motor that propels its carriage along a track to launch planes into the skies. In this fresh footage, the potency of the system becomes evident, capable of propelling a wheeled sled off the JFK’s deck astonishingly far.

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Initially, the sled’s astonishing range might not be apparent. However, once you consider the distance covered in proportion to the individuals still on the JFK, you realize it travels an equivalent of a football field’s length while airborne. The impact on hitting the water is so forceful and distant that the resulting splash resembles an underwater explosion. The sled collides with the surface with an immense amount of energy.

In the EMALS testing phase, the manufacturer employs six distinct sleds of varying sizes and weights to replicate different aircraft sizes. One of EMALS’ prime advantages over the old steam catapult system is its capability to launch smaller, lighter aircraft. While the steam configuration could effortlessly launch large aircraft, it lacked adaptability and struggled with smaller craft. The sled showcased in the video weighs 7,800 pounds, relatively light for a military aircraft but akin to one of the heaviest cars on the market today. EMALS propelled it approximately 300 yards off the ship, displaying such velocity that it skipped across the water’s surface.

There are several rationales behind the Navy’s transition to EMALS over steam catapults. It’s a significantly smaller system, occupying less space onboard and substantially reducing weight. Furthermore, it boasts superior energy efficiency, a beneficial attribute. Additionally, it’s more dependable, necessitating fewer maintenance and repair hours. Despite its enhanced adaptability, reliability, and efficiency, EMALS retains the capability to propel aircraft through the air effortlessly, making even the Hummer EV seem lightweight. Personally, I look forward to witnessing its performance with a car.

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