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The Navy’s Electromagnetic Catapult Is Go

By 12.22.10

For the first time, the U.S. Navy has successfully launched a fighter jet with a railgun (video below).  The jet, a F/A-18E Super Hornet piloted by Lt. Daniel Radocaj, was launched with the new EMALS (Electromagnetic Aviation Launch System).  To put it another way, ELECTROMAGNETIC CATAPULT.  Hell yes.

The EMALS is a linear induction motor that’s capable of accelerating a 100,000 pound aircraft to 240 miles per hour in the space of 300 feet. Compared to a steam catapult, the railgun catapult is much smaller, more efficient, simpler to maintain, gentler on airframes, and can deliver up to 30% more power. It’s also capable of being cranked down a whole bunch, meaning that it can also launch smaller (and more fragile) unmanned drones. [DVICE]

We’re one step closer to the space catapult.  Also, since the EMALS actually worked, the Navy won’t have to redesign the upcoming Ford class aircraft carriers to accommodate a steam catapult.  I guess this means they also won’t be needing our redesign sketches for an aircraft carrier cleverly disguised as a longcat.


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