The U.S. Navy’s Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System, EMALS, test team launched an E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Tuesday at the full-size shipboard-representative test site here.
“These successful E-2D launches continue to reaffirm my confidence in the EMALS program,” said Capt. James Donnelly, Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment Program Office, PMA-251, program manager. “Each launch we do provides more data and validation of the hard work and efforts that have been put into this state-of-the-art technology.”
EMALS is the launch system of choice for all future Ford-class aircraft carriers beginning with the Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). The mission and function of EMALS remains the same as traditional steam catapult; however, it employs entirely different technologies.
EMALS uses stored kinetic energy and solid-state electrical power conversion. This technology permits a high degree of computer control, monitoring and automation. The system will also provide the capability for launching all current and future carrier air wing platforms – lightweight unmanned to heavy strike fighters.
“EMALS and E-2D are demonstrating great capability for the future battle group. Each system displays technology leaps replacing legacy systems of approximately the same 50-year design age. Seeing the two testing together today is a significance milestone,” said Capt. Shane Gahagan, Hawkeye and Greyhound Program Office, PMA-231, program manager.
The E-2D provides broad-area coverage resulting in a wider range of capabilities and an enhanced ability to work in the littoral and over land. Beyond the battle group, the E-2D’s command-and-control capability makes it a multi-mission platform through its ability to coordinate concurrent missions, which may arise during a single flight, to include airborne strike, land force support, rescue operations, drug interdiction operations support and managing a reliable communications network between widely dispersed nodes.
In addition to testing the E-2D as part of the ongoing aircraft compatibility test phase, the EMALS program has also launched an F/A-18E Super Hornet, T-45 Goshawk and C-2A Greyhound, with 63 to 65 launches planned for each aircraft type.
The EMALS test schedule is planned to reap the full benefits for future fielding. While system functional demonstration continues here through late 2011, the second phase of aircraft compatibility testing is scheduled to begin next year.
Engineers will continue reliability testing through 2013, perform installation and checkout, as well as shipboard testing according to NAVSEA’s schedule, with shipboard certification in 2015.