Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) is a complete launch system designed to replace the existing steam catapult currently being used on U.S. Navy aircraft carriers. The Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) will be the first carrier to use EMALS.

EMALS provides significant benefits over current launch systems:

  • Reduced manning workload
  • Reduced thermal signature
  • Increased launch availability
  • Reduced topside weight
  • Reduced installed volume
  • Launch capability for unmanned aerial vehicle

The following timeline shows the history of the EMALS program from the contract award of the Program Definition and Risk Reduction (PDRR) phase in 1999 to the launches of six different naval aircraft types from the EMALS land-based catapult at NAVAIR Lakehurst, N.J., (including the launch of an F-35C Joint Strike Fighter) starting in 2010 and the delivery of launch motor modules in 2013.

Click the images to enlarge.