Designed for a variety of platforms and capable of launching a wide range of aircraft weights.

The Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) is designed to replace steam catapult system currently used on U.S. Navy aircraft carriers. Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) is the first carrier to use EMALS.  John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) is the next carrier scheduled to install and use EMALS.

EMALS provides significant benefits over current launch systems, including:

  • Reduced manning and life-cycle cost    
  • Reduced thermal signature
  • Increased launch operational ability for manned, unmanned aircraft
  • Reduced topside weight
  • Reduced installed volume

Due to its flexible architecture, the electromagnetic aircraft launch system can launch a wide variety of aircraft weights and can be used on a variety of platforms with differing catapult configurations.

  • At the NAVAIR test site in Lakehurst, N.J., EMALS has successfully launched a broad range of aircraft, including: F-35C Joint Strike Fighter, FA-18 Super Hornet, C-2A Greyhound, E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, EA-18G Growler, and T-45C Goshawk.

  • Deadload launches off the CVN 78 are underway as part of the EMALS shipboard system testing and certification.


General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) built a Shipset Controls Lab that simulates Ford-class catapult flight deck controls.  The facility features:

  • An environment for controls and communication software development and validation
  • Support for the development of operations manuals
  • A shipset simulator and emulator for operations and casualty control training
  • Capabilities for fleet training