Woonsocket Call

Trump: Digital catapult no way to launch planes from carriers

Demands return of steam-based systems on deck

- By DAN LAMOTHE The Washington Post

President Donald Trump set his sights on the Navy in a new interview, calling the service's new digital catapult to launch planes off of aircraft carriers "no good" and saying that the Navy needs to go back to steam, the method used for decades.

The comments, published Thursday by Time magazine, came during an interview Monday evening at the White House. Trump recounted a conversati­on he had March 2 while visiting the yet-to-be-commission­ed aircraft carrier Gerald L. Ford in Newport News, Virginia, and said that he was told the catapult on it does not have enough power.

"It sounded bad to me. Digital. They have digital. What is digital? And it's very complicate­d, you have to be Albert Einstein to figure it out," Trump said, according to Time.

"And I said — and now they want to buy more aircraft carriers," the president continued. "I said what system are you going to be — 'Sir, we're staying with digital.' I said, 'no you're not. (The) digital costs hundreds of millions of dollars more money and it's no good."

The new catapult to which Trump referred is called the Electromag­netic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS). It takes up significan­tly less space on a ship than steam systems, and works by tapping into a redesigned turbine system that generates more power than those on old carriers. The new digital system also is expected to be able to launch unmanned aircraft, and require less maintenanc­e, according to the Navy.

The Navy said Thursday that it was developing a response. A Pentagon official, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivit­y of speaking about the president, said that Trump's comments caught defense officials off-guard and are inaccurate.

 ?? Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post ?? President Donald Trump speaks to Navy and shipyard personnel aboard the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford at Newport News Shipbuildi­ng in Newport News, Virginia, on March 2.
Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post President Donald Trump speaks to Navy and shipyard personnel aboard the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford at Newport News Shipbuildi­ng in Newport News, Virginia, on March 2.

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