Here's how the US Navy tests their new aircraft carrier's catapults

USS Gerald R. FordUS NavyAn artists rendering of the USS Gerald R. Ford.

The US’s new Ford class of aircraft carriers will feature many improvements on the current Nimitz class, like new Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) catapults instead of steam powered ones.

Despite sounding a bit technical, these new catapults are extremely fun to test.

Catapults on aircraft carriers help aircraft accelerate so as to reach the required speed to achieve liftoff. Because of these catapults, US aircraft carriers can launch heavier, better equipped planes than carriers of other nations.

The EMALS catapults, which the Pentagon spent $737 million to develop, offer quicker, smoother acceleration that allow the Navy to launch a wider range of aircraft. The new catapults aboard the Ford class represent a small change that will have big repercussions.

In the future, engineers will design new types of aircraft that previous aircraft carriers could not support. “You can now start to do things with aircraft design that you couldn’t do before,” Program Executive Officer for Aircraft Carrier Rear Adm. Tom Moore told USNI News.

The Navy tests the catapults not with aircraft, but by launching unpowered cars that approximate the weight of aircraft. In the video below, see how the insanely powerful catapult sends the car flying hundreds of feet after the launch.

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