General Atomics begins training for new aircraft launch system
General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems Group (GA-EMS) began the first round of fleet training on the new Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch Systems (EMALS) currently being installed on CVN 78 (Gerald R. Ford), the first carrier to have EMALS. GA-EMS hired a senior training developer to work with experienced GA-EMS EMALS personnel to design and administer the training. The training team consists of former catapult operators and maintainers with more than 80 years of combined experience.
Catapult and maintenance officers and senior enlisted personnel assigned to CVN 78 began a 10-day training period starting October 20, 2014, in GA-EMS’s San Diego training facilities, including a Shipset Control Lab (SCL). Students received system familiarisation and performed simulated launches. Training will continue early next year at the Navair Lakehurst, N.J. EMALS test site.
The SCL simulates Ford class four catapult control systems. It contains bow and waist Integrated Catapult Control Stations (ICCS), four deck edge stations, and two centre deck stations. The SCL has been and continues to be used for software development and evaluation, and creation of operations manuals.
GA was awarded the prime contract to provide EMALS and AAG systems for CVN 78 in June 2009 and is manufacturing the CVN 78 hardware concurrently with the System Design and Demonstration (SDD) programmes. Hardware delivery to CVN 78 is scheduled to be completed in 2015, with dead-load launches beginning in 2015. CVN 78 is scheduled to join the fleet in 2016, with at-sea EMALS aircraft launches beginning shortly thereafter.
EMALS will lower operating costs, require fewer people to operate, improve catapult performance and expand the range of manned and unmanned aircraft that the aircraft carrier can launch.