EMALS problems do not represent ‘Achilles Heel' for launch system, US Navy assistant secretary says

by Michael Fabey

Recent problems that caused a temporary shutdown of the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) aboard aircraft carrier USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78) during sea trials do not signal an issue with the overall system, according to James Geurts, the assistant US Navy (USN) secretary for Research, Development and Acquisition.

The US Navy still supports the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) aboard aircraft carrier USS Gerald R Ford despite recent operational issues during testing. (Michael Fabey)

The US Navy still supports the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) aboard aircraft carrier USS Gerald R Ford despite recent operational issues during testing. (Michael Fabey)

“Nothing we have seen, nothing I know of and nothing we’re talking about is a landmine or an Achilles Heel in the system,” Geurts told reporters during an 18 June teleconference press conference.

The recent EMALS issue aboard Ford was just an example of the kind of challenges the carrier and its crew will face as they stress EMALS and other systems during the ship’s Post Delivery Test and Trials (PDT&T) operations at sea, Geurts added.

On 2 June, just before a scheduled flight-deck operation cycle, the ship’s EMALS went down, the USN reported, curtailing flight operations to some extent.

After several days of troubleshooting and assessing a fault in the launch system’s power handling elements, embarked EMALS experts and Ford ’s crew restored the system to enable the safe fly-off of the air wing 7 June, USN officials said.

“A fault appeared in the power-handling system,” Geurts explained. “We saw this during a manual reset of the system. When the reset occurred, the system came up [with signals] not familiar to them, based on the procedures we had. They came up with a procedure. In an abundance of caution, we wanted to double-check [that the procedure] could be replicated.”

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/emals-problems-do-not-represent-achilles-heel-for-launch-system-us-navy-assistant-secretary-says

Recent problems that caused a temporary shutdown of the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMAL...

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