The US Navy is having difficulties with its latest aircraft carrier's Electromagnetic Aircraft Launching System (EMALS) – the same system which the UK mooted fitting to its new Queen Elizabeth-class carriers.Ignoring the obvious 1970s era joke, "Gerald Ford stumbles again," this is a complete cock up.
The US Department of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOTE) revealed yesterday, in its end-of-year report [PDF] for financial year 2016, that the EMALS fitted to the new nuclear-powered carrier USS Gerald R. Ford put "excessive airframe stress" on aircraft being launched.
This stress "will preclude the Navy from conducting normal operations of the F/A-18A-F and EA-18G from CVN 78", according to DOTES, which said the problem had first been noticed in 2014.
In addition, EMALS could not "readily" be electrically isolated for maintenance, which DOTE warned "will preclude some types of EMALS and AAG (Advanced Arresting Gear) maintenance during flight operations", decreasing their operational availability.
The selling point of EMALS was two fold, that it could be tailored to reduce stress on airframes, and that it would be more reliable than its predecessor.
It appears not to be delivering these features, and it is behind schedule and over budget.
This sh%$ really has to stop.