Feeds

US Navy electromagnetic mass-driver commences tests

Electric machine will toss off Topguns from 2010

The Power of One Infographic

A prototype electromagnetic mass-driver, intended to hurl jet aircraft into the sky from the decks of aircraft carriers, has gone into operation at a former airship base in New Jersey. The new kit could be even more important to the Royal Navy than it will be to the US fleet.

The EMALS aircraft mass-driver fires a ceremonial opening shot. Credit: NAVAIR

Mass-driver kit for shooting robot jets into the stratosphere.

The equipment in question is known as EMALS, the Electro Magnetic Aircraft Launch System, intended to "shoot" jets and turboprops off the deck of the next US nuclear supercarrier - CVN 78, aka USS Gerald R Ford. The EMALS shore test facility held is first ceremonial "shoot" last week at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, according to the US Naval Air Systems Command.

Current US and French nuclear carriers, the only ones to use catapult launch, employ steam catapults. The steam cat, a British invention, is powered by steam from the ship's propulsion plant and fires aircraft up to flying speed in a very short distance.

Other methods of deck takeoff are possible: Various nations including the UK operate Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing (STOVL) Harrier jets, able to get airborne after a short takeoff run - often with the aid of a "ski-jump" ramp - and return to the deck, lightened by burning fuel and releasing weapons, in a vertical hovering landing. Russian jets take off by ski-jump from Russia's sole, rather rickety carrier under their own power and land using tail hooks and arrester wires like the French and Americans.

The gold-standard method is catapult launch, as it means a jet can get airborne carrying heavier loads. But the current steam cats are hard on aircraft and hell on maintenance - thus the US Navy's aspirations to move to EMALS in its next carrier.

The electromagnetic cat will be able to deliver much more controllable acceleration and won't be so much work to keep in order. Usefully, newer warships nowadays turn their propellers using electric transmissions rather than mechanical gearing, meaning that the ship can easily furnish plenty of electricity.

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.