Home » Budget Industry » UPDATED: President Trump Wants Gerald Ford Carriers to Use ‘Goddamned Steam’ Catapults Instead of ‘No Good’ Electromagnetic Launchers

UPDATED: President Trump Wants Gerald Ford Carriers to Use ‘Goddamned Steam’ Catapults Instead of ‘No Good’ Electromagnetic Launchers

President Donald J. Trump tours Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78). Trump visited March 2 to meet with Sailors and shipbuilders of the Navy’s first-in-class aircraft carrier. US Navy Photo

This post has been updated to include a comment from Acting Navy Secretary Sean Stackley.

President Donald Trump wants the new Gerald Ford-class aircraft carriers to use older steam catapults to launch aircraft rather than the new electromagnetic launch system that the Navy has been developing for more than a decade.

The unexpected comments from Trump came during a wide-ranging interview with Time magazine that were published on Thursday. Trump referred negatively to the “digital catapult system” – a reference to the General Atomics Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) – and said it would take “Albert Einstein to figure it out.” Trump stated his preference for the Ford-class carriers to use the older Mk 13 steam catapult system that is used on the Nimitz-class carriers and the French carrier Charles de Gaulle (R 91).

“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 the published interview.
“And I said – and now they want to buy more aircraft carriers. I said, what system are you going to be – ‘Sir, we’re staying with digital.’ I said, no you’re not. [You’re] going to goddamned steam, the digital costs hundreds of millions of dollars more money and it’s no good.”

The Navy news desk declined to provide a comment on Trump’s interview. Acting Navy Secretary Sean Stackley told USNI News Thursday afternoon that he would not comment on the president’s remarks themselves, but he added, “we have not briefed the president on the Ford program. He did go down to Newport News and visited the ship, was onboard the ship. And so I wasn’t present for that visit, I don’t know what his source of information was.”

A spokesperson for Ford-class shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries referred questions on Trump’s comments to the Navy. A General Atomics spokeswoman who works with the EMALS program also referred questions on Trump’s comments to the Navy.

A spokesman for the National Security Council acknowledged a USNI News request for more information on Trump’s intentions but has not yet provided additional clarity on the issue.

Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), marking the beginning of a June day of Fast Cruise. Ford is conducting a three-day Fast Cruise to familiarize the crew with the ship’s systems for an extended period of time on June 8, 2016. US Navy Photo

EMALS is already installed on Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), and in 2015 the Navy began buying materials for EMALS on the follow-on John F. Kennedy (CVN-79). In January, the service awarded a $527 million contract to General Atomics for EMALS on the third Ford-class carrier, Enterprise (CVN-80).

While early EMALS development was challenging for the service and slipped in cost and schedule, the Navy has been a vocal supporter of the launching system in the last several years.

It’s yet unclear how much influence the president can have on previously made decisions to use specific government furnished equipment in already agreed upon shipbuilding contracts.

The Mk 13 steam catapult used on Nimitz-class carriers is no longer in production, and if the service elected to return to steam launching it would likely have to design a new system, with the Navy incurring an unknown level of additional expense, USNI News understands.

From the transcript published by Time, it’s unclear with whom Trump spoke about the EMALS system and when.

President Donald J. Trump gives a thumbs-up to the audience after his tour of Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) on March 2, 2017. Standing with the president from left to right HII CEO Mike Petters, HII Chairman Tom Fargo, Ford CO Capt. Richard McCormack, CNO Adm. John Richardson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis. US Navy Photo

On March 2, Trump visited Gerald Ford, during which time he took a brief tour of the carrier and spoke with several members of the crew. Also aboard for the visit was Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, HII CEO Mike Petters, HII Chairman Tom Fargo, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Ford’s commanding officer Capt. Richard McCormack.

During the transition period after the November election, Trump also met with Vice CNO Adm. Bill Moran, Naval Sea Systems Command commander Vice Adm. Tom Moore and acting Secretary of the Navy Sean Stackley to discuss, among other topics, Ford-class development.

EMALS Development

An artist’s conception of the electromagnetic launch systems (EMALS). General Atomics Photo

The Navy’s decision to introduce three new major warfighting systems into the Ford class has proved a controversial one, but of the three – EMALS, the Advanced Arresting Gear and the Dual-Band Radar – EMALS by all accounts appears to be the biggest success.

Moore, the current NAVSEA commander who previously served as the Program Executive Officer for Aircraft Carriers, lumped the three technologies together in 2013 when discussing cost overruns. He told reporters that rising costs of the three major systems accounted for 40 percent of the overall cost overruns for the first-in-class Gerald R. Ford, though he did not break that down between EMALS, AAG and DBR.

In June 2015 the Navy awarded General Atomics $737 million for long lead materials for the EMALS and AAG systems for the second Ford-class carrier, John F. Kennedy. Moore said at the time that “everyone knows we had some significant cost overruns on EMALS and AAG” in the lead ship but that “I think what you’ll find on CVN-79 is we’ve gotten that cost under control.”

Despite early challenges, Moore and others were thrilled with the system’s performance once it made it through land-based testing and was installed aboard Ford for shipboard testing.

“For the first time in over 60 years, we’ve just conducted 22 no-load test shots using electricity instead of steam technology,” Moore said in May 2015. Once EMALS started dead-load testing – where EMALS catapulted hunks of metal designed to mirror the weight of various aircraft types – Moore called EMALS “probably one of the best news stories in the (carrier) program” and said the system “worked like a champ” during early dead-load testing.

The system did encounter its share of failures during testing – including a case of “unfortunate timing” when the shipbuilding team brought reporters out for the first public EMALS demonstration in June 2015 and the system failed due to communications issues amongst components, despite working the day before and then working again later that afternoon after the press had left. Those challenges were chalked up to growing pains, and by a year later then- CVN-78 class program manager Capt. Chris Meyer told USNI News that the entire collection of test data proved EMALS was more reliable than had been predicted.

Dead load launched from Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) during EMALS testing. HII Photo

Still, in August 2016 the Pentagon called for a 60-day review of the entire Ford-class carrier program, to include a focus on five systems, including EMALS. The Pentagon memo cited “the lack of sufficient reliability growth demonstrated to date and the ability to support both surge and sustained aircraft operations” as the reason for a review of EMALS, despite Navy statements that cost had since stabilized and reliability was better than expected.

Ultimately, for the Navy, EMALS represents more than just a new way of launching airplanes. Steam catapults put a lot of stress on the airplanes getting shot off the front of the carrier, and therefore the planes have to be built sturdy enough to withstand those pressures – which means they end up being heavy. As a result, Moore and then-Director of Air Warfare Rear Adm. Michael Manazir explained in 2015, any engineer trying to design a future naval aircraft will end up with a design like the F/A-18 Hornet, the EA-18G Growler or the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter.

With EMALS, though, the electromagnetic field creates a smoother acceleration and doesn’t subject the aircraft to steam. Along with the new AAG, which refines how it stops an airplane based on its weight, “what it also does is open up … the envelope for lower-weight aircraft. So as we start exploring where we’re heading with unmanned aircraft, it gives us a lot of flexibility from a warfighting standpoint that the (legacy system) doesn’t,” Moore said.

“You can now start to do things with aircraft design that you couldn’t do before. It might allow us some more margin in weight, in size, and in structure and capability,” Manazir added.

The following is the excerpt from the Time magazine interview on the subject of the Ford-class carriers.

On the future USS Ford-class carriers

You know the catapult is quite important. So I said what is this? Sir, this is our digital catapult system. He said well, we’re going to this because we wanted to keep up with modern [technology]. I said you don’t use steam anymore for catapult? No sir. I said, “Ah, how is it working?” “Sir, not good. Not good. Doesn’t have the power. You know the steam is just brutal. You see that sucker going and steam’s going all over the place, there’s planes thrown in the air.”

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. And I said–and now they want to buy more aircraft carriers. I said what system are you going to be–”Sir, we’re staying with digital.” I said no you’re not. You going to goddamned steam, the digital costs hundreds of millions of dollars more money and it’s no good.

  • Armed Infidel

    Trumps statement seem to be formed by interviewing the Enlisted people who work on the equipment. He is still a builder. Want to know what is going on. Ask the men and women who work on the engineers ideas.

    • Horn

      Did you consider that Trump may have been making the whole thing up? Maybe he padded his story.

      • Fred Gould

        I watched the video of his appearance before Parliament trying to stop the wind project off of his golf course. He said, that since he is an expert, it will fail. Problem is Scotland is receiving much power from wind. In fact there are days where all power consumed in the country comes from wind. Scotland does have heavy industry. Nuclear subs and merchant ship construction.

    • André Philipps

      Trumps statement seems more like it’s formed out of near-complete ignorance and the need to try to make himself look like a STRONG DECISIVE MAN yet again. Any engineer with half a clue about EMALS must be getting a migraine just from reading this nonsense, and the people actually working on it might have a case for suing Trump over trying to give them a collective aneurysm through exposure to his sheer unbelievable stupidity.

      • hollygreen9

        Engineers are over rated! I was an inspector at Boeing, and some of the dumb crap some of the engineers came out with was total ignorance. Inspection at Boeing had the authority to kick back so called fixes on rejection tags and ask for a more sane fix, which happened a lot. By the way, inspectors make more money than the college educated idiots.

        • André Philipps

          Nice anecdote. Too bad for you that the plural of anecdote is not, in fact, data.

          Also, everybody rightfully ignored Trumps BS anyway and the conract’s signed.

    • Ken N

      “”As of April 2016, the program estimates that EMALS has approximately 400 Mean Cycles Between Critical Failure (MCBCF) in the shipboard configuration, where a cycle represents the launch of one aircraft. While this estimate is above the rebaselined reliability growth curve, the rebaselined curve is well below the requirement of 4,166 MCBCF. At the current reliability, EMALS has a 7 percent chance of completing the 4-day surge and a 67 percent chance of completing a day of sustained operations as defined in the design reference mission. Absent a major redesign, EMALS is unlikely to support high-intensity operations expected in combat.””

      Anybody have anything more recent??

    • Sharkey

      The enlisted people I know are much smarter and more informed than the Trumpster.

      • nekulturny

        The President made his remarks based on information evidently supplied by one of these enlisted people. So, that’s a good thing, right?

      • hollygreen9

        But they don’t have the smarts to make billions.

    • KrisKrispy

      Stop making excuses for a fool.

  • scotfahey

    The current steam cat is no longer in production? ….. Anyone else see a real problem with that?….. figure 4 Steam Cats per decks, 10 Nimitz class CVN still in service. Ships:
    USS Nimitz (CVN 68), Bremerton, Washington
    USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), Norfolk, Virginia
    USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), San Diego, California
    USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), San Diego, California
    USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), Newport News, Virginia
    USS George Washington (CVN 73), Norfolk, Virginia
    USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), Bremerton, Washington
    USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), Norfolk, Virginia
    USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), Yokosuka, Japan
    USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), Norfolk, Virginia

    • NavySubNuke

      The issue isn’t the cat itself – the issue is getting the steam to the flight deck and to the cat. Right now the only thing going there is the electrical line and you can’t put steam through that.

      • scotfahey

        My issue is supply chain for cats in the current fleet. With the current model , as the story claims is out of production, they will need scheduled maintenance.

        As for the lack of steam service for the cats on the USS Ford, I do understand the 3 dimensional puzzle that production, and delivery of the actual steam will be. Thing is the next Ford class CVN hull (Enterprise?) is in the choice stage. where now is the time to choose steam or electric from this point on

        • NavySubNuke

          We generally address things like that with life of type buys — figure out how many you need, add in a few extra and buy them all at once at a better economic order quantity. You can then shut down the line rather than subsidizing the line to stay open at a rate that is less than self sustaining.
          Enterprise is already past the choice line likely – the soonest you could switch over would be for Hull 4 and beyond.

          • scotfahey

            The only way I saw a Nimitz class….. was thru a periscope…… (CTM DIRSUP) most likely you are correct. I am retired. The only Carrier Deck I expect to walk on again is the USS Lexington CVT16 tour.

          • NavySubNuke

            That’s they only way I saw one either — I’ve got some great shots of the Truman 🙂

          • Gary Herman

            I’ve been on Nimitz and John C. Stennis. One issue with steam that isn’t mentioned here and is a primary reason for the switch to digital is that the current catapult system is very maintenance intensive and variable performance. You my get 10 great cat shots then dribble an FA-18 into the ocean.

          • EngineerDad1

            And by that time, this schmuck will be long gone from the White House.

          • NavySubNuke

            One can hope – especially given his advanced age and lack of exercise….

        • Sharkey

          I reiterate … the reactors were designed to last 45 years or so without refueling and have built in excess capacity to anticipate future needs. The EMALS can be almost instantly ready to launch another aircraft by simply shifting to another supply buss. The fact that they are tunable as were the steam versions allows for current and future aircraft to be launched without damage. It is definitely the launch system of the future and will likely be launching drones as well.

      • Curtis Conway

        A ‘Super Point Source Water Heater’ will solve that problem, the a pressure vessel for the steam and steam management equipment. Of course this will all cost money and take time . . . which we have already burned up. We should stay the course and get the EMALS working. Much more successful testing before we start placing humans at risk.

        The new EMALS will provide a capability to restore an F-14 capability in a smaller package.

        • Stephen

          I feel like someone pulled Elon Musk aside & said his ideas cost too much. Electro-magnetics replaced by advanced tubes, transistors, Integrated Circuits, Micro-Chips… Gato – Nautilus – Ohio – Seawolf – Virginia… Evolve, or Extinction.

    • Ron117 ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

      Fake news to bolster the opposite side of the argument

  • NavySubNuke

    I know it is only May but “I said, no you’re not. [You’re] going to goddamned steam” is officially the quote of the year, if not the entire decade.

    • Stephen

      Should we expect a Presidential proclamation to install coal bunkers w/ coal-fired boilers connected to long-stroke steam reciprocating engines on all Capital Ships?

      • NavySubNuke

        Certainly. Also, I believe white house paint is cheaper than haze grey maritime paint so its time to make the great white fleet great again!

        • Stephen

          We were forced to paint a sub with a blue-hued black paint, used on commercial ships, ice had rendered our boat shiny. I’m sure house-paint would have been cheaper.

          • NavySubNuke

            I told them – no your not — go and get some goddamned house paint and paint the boats with that.

          • Stephen

            Just imagine the peeling, rust-bleeding mess…

          • Secundius

            “White House” uses a Special Paint for “White House” use ONLY. Current Price is ~$823.63/Gallon…

          • Sharkey

            Stephen. I got Dolphins on the Tusk SS426 in 1960 then went over to Nuke School and commissioned Nathan Hale SSBN 623. So I glow in the dark.

          • Stephen

            1st ship was a DLG; NPS/NPTU to Nautilus ’74 – Ohio, Pargo, Gato & HM Jackson; punched a lot of holes in the ocean…

        • muzzleloader

          Not to mention galley boys bringing dinner in buckets to the bunk spaces(hammocks) again! Think of the savings! Lol

      • EngineerDad1

        At this point, nothing would surprise me.

      • Alexander V.

        Oh man, this was comment of the year to anyone who knows about naval warfare history. You, Stephen, are awesome.

    • J.J. McCampbell

      Not to mention the heat to create the steam should come from good old American coal, instead of those science-y whatchamacallits. It’ll be very, very, great, just great.

      • arebel1

        Coal? Really? Try nuclear powered.

        • Notyer

          Not anymore. Trump doesn’t want anything that is digital or requires Einstein to figure out how to fix it.

          • Fred Gould

            He tried to derail wind power in the UK and failed. UK has closed the coal mines.

        • J.J. McCampbell

          Obviously you missed the sarcasm in my remark. I know they are nuclear powered.

      • Joseph Dadi

        …that literally took Albert Einstein to figure it out…

    • Sharkey

      So there too Ha!

    • Danger_Dan

      You’re goddamned right about that 😉

  • EngineerDad1

    I bet eyes are rolling all over the Navy Yard today. LOL.

    EMALS is the best thing to happen to carriers since the catapult was invented. And complicated? Ask the kid at the amusement park who’s running the linear accelerator launch for the roller coaster how complicated it is.

    • tryagain

      It’s not complicated until it goes down, ask the kid at the amusement park if he is the one who fixes it.

      • EngineerDad1

        The point is, electronic systems are MUCH more reliable than purely mechanical systems (I’ve saying this as a mechanical engineer) and less prone to operator error. There is of course a developmental period where you have to get it “dialed in”, which is what they’re going through now. But once it’s set up, you can indeed have that amusement park kid – or a 22 year old sailor – fire the cats.

        • draeger24

          yes, but is it shielded from EMP? – all the NORKS would have to do is fire of one low yield nuke and launching is kaput. Hope they did think of that. One of the reasons the Soviets never went digital was for this reason, and, they maintained HF radios for this purpose. HF still works in that environment.

          • EngineerDad1

            In my job I see Navy ship specifications all the time and EMP requirements are imposed on a lot of systems (non-mission critical) that you wouldn’t even think would need it. I don’t work on the cats, but given the other systems that are protected, I’d be shocked if there wasn’t a requirement for EMP protection on the cats.

          • draeger24

            rog that, but having worked my last billet at NAVSEA in PMS 399, sometimes those things which are obvious and SHOULD have been done are replied with “well, that wasn’t a requirement”…I say that somewhat with both a head -slap and with disgust as we have all seen it happen.

          • EngineerDad1

            True that. It happens. More often though, I’ve seen over-specified systems which lead to really expensive Navy-specific designs instead of perfectly suitable COTS equipment. I mean, I’m more than will to take the money, but wouldn’t you (Navy) rather have FOUR of these which do the same thing than the ONE you ordered?

          • draeger24

            yes, agree, however, COTS is a double-edged sword. While it might be easier and less expensive, you have no control on the logistics trail and that can be problematic when shock, fire, off-gassing issues are there. – MILSPEC, especially for those types of controlled items, does work, and, there was a reason for a 600 toilet seat at NASA – we had some of the same issues with the Advanced SEAL Delivery System. Nora Slotkin should be in shackles for what she did to that program…

          • EngineerDad1

            Don’t I know it! I provide both COTS and MILSPEC equipment to the Navy and a good portion of my life revolves around resolving obsolescense issues on COTS equipment. You definitely have to choose carefully. What mostly seems to be happening is that the Navy is relying more heavily on people like myself to choose for them (COTS vice MILSPEC), and then shoulder the burden of obsolescense/replacements if COTS.

          • Snoooopy

            I worked EMP for MMIII – the ignorant press have been braying for years but nobody has ever lost a system except for a nice healthy lightning strike.

          • J_kies

            EMALS self-generates an EMP-like environment so if it works at all then its proof against pretty much any wimpy EMP you want to throw at it.

            You are clearly mis-informed and wrong as to nuclear induced environments. HF packs it in immediately as the transmission environment stops working in a nuclear environment.

          • André Philipps

            EVERYTHING aboard is shielded from EMP. Like, that’s a basic requriement for just about any piece of military hardware that’s been adopted over the last 50+ years. Also, if the Norks nuke a carrier, the carrier not working for a while becomes a secondary issue. North Korea being about to be glassed is the really relevant part in that case.

        • obelus

          I would think that it EMALS is more space efficient, less prone to cause accident on lost time injury, and easier to maintain than steam catapults as well.

        • Ed L

          My cousin was 19 with 2 years in when he got okay to pull the trigger on a cat

  • Chesapeakeguy

    I personally think Trump was firing the proverbial “shot across the bow” here, in putting ALL on notice about costs and return on investment. He did so before concerning the F-35. Like so many other new technologies and systems, the EM catapults have had their problems. Perhaps they are mere ‘teething pains’, but they have been widely reported on. I am confident that the Navy will solve those problems, but I also applaud any efforts that questions if such developments are necessary, or worth it. Accountability can be a wonderful thing. I’m all for that…

    • breed7

      Yep. Best to keep old technology. The White House should go back to telegraphs and manual typewriters, and the Navy absolutely needs to return to the era of sails.

      I’m guessing you’re over 70. Only someone very old (or very uneducated) questions the necessity of technological development. Other nations won’t hold back on technological development just because our geriatric president doesn’t understand technology.

      • Fred Gould

        Yup, just look at the advances with 3D printers. A 2200 square foot shell for a house can be completed with only 3 people, in 20 hours.

      • tryagain

        breed7 at least when there used telegraphs and manual typewriters you didn’t have so much hacking of vital information. there are plus and minus to everything we do. The cost to EM is exuberant. The steam catapults worked well the problem was getting parts for them.

        • EngineerDad1

          I think the word you’re looking for is “exorbitant”.

        • André Philipps

          Ahahahahaha, right. Because tapping a telegraph line totally isn’t a thing.

          EMALS is lighter, occupies less space, works more reliably, requires less maintenance and manpower, recharges quicker, uses less energy nad can control launches with much greater precision (which means it can launch more types of aircraft and puts less strain on the airframes it launches, prolonging their lifetimes).

          It’s better than steam cats in literally every single way except up-front cost. And that includes long-term cost – building a steam cat might be cheaper than EMALS, but running one for fifty years will end up being more expensive.

      • Chesapeakeguy

        I see the usual armchair admirals and commode commodores are at it again. Gee, why are folks like you so threatened on venues like this? Where was a position taken to abandon the new cats? Comprehension can be a wonderful thing. I’m pulling for you to acquire some in the future. You question age on here, I’ll do the same. What are you, about 15? Hmmm?

        • hollygreen9

          I like your reply!!

          • Chesapeakeguy

            You know hollygreen, the twits that think only THEIR opinions should be allowed on venues like this are a dime a dozen. That is ALL that is ever being offered on here, OPINIONS. And as is said, like certain OTHER things, everybody has one! LOL. But the true PUNKS will always reveal themselves. If this is going on within the accrual Navy, no wonder some things are the mess they are. But overall, the info on here and how it is conveyed and presented is quite good and insightful. But there’s always someone….

      • hollygreen9

        Don’t knock old age. It comes in handy sometimes. I am 72 and served for 22 years in the Navy. I can remember when decks were wood and Iron men. Now we have iron decks and wooden heads. Super Essex class carrier sailor onboard the USS Oriskany. By the way, during my first cruise (1965) we outperformed the USS Enterprise in every way.

        • Chesapeakeguy

          “…iron decks and wooden heads!” Now THAT’S a quote…

  • David Freeman

    The embarrassment will be in combat when an EMP renders the entire EMALS inoperative, and the carrier a sitting duck!

    • EngineerDad1

      You should review MIL-STD-464 and MIL-STD-2169. EMP is a well-known and designed-for threat.

      • David Freeman

        I’m familiar with it. Don’t try to patronize me, I worked in the defense industry for 35 years.

        • Smiley456

          Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

          • David Freeman


        • EngineerDad1

          If that’s true, then you should know better. A carrier is never a sitting duck if for no other reason than it never travels alone. The closest a carrier comes to sitting duck status nowadays is if they’re within combat radius of a DF-21 missile launcher (and only if they actually, you know, work as designed). And even then there’s sure to be a DDG/CG nearby, armed with SM-6’s, to take it out.

          • Secundius

            One “Slight” problem!/? DF-21 is a Ballistic Trajectory Missile with will “Light Up Like A Christmas Tree” on ANY Aegis or E-2D Haweye Radar System…

          • EngineerDad1

            Exactly. And that’s as close as a carrier gets to being vulnerable from the air (subsurface threats are another matter). They can’t hide the launch and any ship with an Aegis ABM capability can bring it down before it gets anywhere near to a carrier.

          • Secundius

            The PRC-PLAN, conducted a series of Tests in 1994 on both “Supersonic” and “Hypersonic” Missiles. And concluded that (in “Ideal Conditions”) a “Near Flat Trajectory” of a Supersonic Missile is ~5,000-meters before the Friction of One-Atmosphere at Sea-Level would destroy the missile. A Hypersonic Missile less than Half that range…

        • Joseph Dadi

          Doing what, drilling holes in sheet metal? I build EMP simulators and Linear Accelerators. You do not know what you are talking about. EMP is a completely different hazard to equipment than you think. Your Dell computer and our fully exposed power grids are the targets of such weapons. This is not Hollywood.

          • David Freeman

            Designing, building, and testing satellite payloads and ground systems. And this while you were masturbating in your parents basement.

    • ElmCityAle

      As if the same EMP attack wouldn’t disable every other system on the target ship?

      • André Philipps

        Yeah, it would disable them. Mostly by blowing the ship out of the water because the only way you’re ever gonna get an EMP powerful enough to do that is pop a nuke right next to it.

        EMALS not working anymore seems like kind of a secondary issue compared to the whole damn ship being heavily irradiated and burning from stem to stern.

        • Joseph Dadi

          Right? That’s exactly correct!

    • J_kies

      I expect that EMALS is significantly harder against EMP than heritage ‘Cats. The characteristic of EMP is that it generates large coupled currents and you need to assure your low-level electronics are properly shielded. The EMALS uses large currents to launch aircraft so the threat of EMP is the normal operational environment of the EMALS electronics. As EMALS normally works; its well protected from EMP style threats.

      • David Freeman

        Hard to tell. Depends on the control circuitry. My guess is hardening will be contracted as an ECP sometime ‘later’.

    • André Philipps

      That’s not how EMALS works, you fucking ignorant. The only way you’re ever going to render it inoperative with an EMP is by detonating a nuke so close that it will just straight-up vapourize the entire carrier anyway.

  • Tony Welker

    Trump could be right. The fact that this system cost millions more than the Nimitz class catapult and to the fact that it could be susceptible to an Electro Magnetic Pulse weapon. If this weapon does exist with our enemies and they launched an attack on those carriers, our planes would be useless without the ability to sling them in a time of need. The steam catapult works and it’s millions cheaper per unit

    • VoxVeritas7

      Wouldn’t the planes be useless in the event of an EMP anyway?

      • Tim Dolan

        If the EMP burst were strong enough to take out the EMALS, likely it would render the newer aircraft useless along with all communications onboard the Carrier. It would alos very of likely required a NUKE to cause that big of an EMP output, thus you might as well have aimed the NUKE at the carrier anyway, more likely to take it out.

        And then there is shielding. Interesting thing is apparently from some reading I have done a lot of things are better shielded from EMP than one might think.

        Just what I have read on the topic over the years.

    • Horn

      I feel like you failed to read the entire article that addresses why EMALs was developed and the costs of switching back to steam that Trump didn’t consider before he opened his mouth. You also don’t appear to have a basic understanding of military requirements for EMP defense. As was stated above, see MIL-STD-464 and MIL-STD-2169.

    • André Philipps

      There is no such thing as an electromagnetic pulse weapon, other than a nuke. In which case whoever popped it, as well as everyone else involved, has bigger things to worry about than a carrier. Not to mention that that’s not how this actually works – military systems are hardened against EMP as a default design requirement, not to mention that internal systems in a ship are even less affected by it naturally, what with the hull of the ship functionally creating a Faraday cage.

      EMALS is more reliable, less maintenance intensive, requires less space and internal infrastructure and puts less strain on the planes – saving yet again maintenance, increasing safety, prolonging airframe lifetimes and lowering design requirements. Combine all that and it is in fact EMALS that is considerably cheaper AND more effective in the long run.

      • Ken N

        “”At the current reliability, EMALS has a 7 percent chance of completing the 4-day surge and a 67 percent chance of completing a day of sustained operations as defined in the design reference mission. Absent a major redesign, EMALS is unlikely to support high-intensity operations expected in combat.””

        This from the 2016 DOT&E annual report. You have recent link indicating EMALS has drastically improved??

        • J_kies

          Strictly speaking; DOTE is getting ahead of themselves. As a first of class capability prior to operational use, its all DT data. Far too few ‘Cat shots have been done to create either a meaningful baseline expectation or a ‘reliability growth curve’. At best we should compare the rate of EMALS failures (that would lose an aircraft) to the historic failure rates of Steam ‘Cats that did “dribble” aircraft into the drink.

      • Wardog00

        What about this?
        The Counter-Electronics High Power Microwave Advanced Missile Project (CHAMP). CHAMP flew over the Utah Test and Training Range, discharging a burst of High Power Microwaves onto the test site and brought down the compound’s entire spectrum of electronic systems, apparently without producing any other damage at all. Even the
        camera recording the test was shut down.

  • Bailey Zhang

    As a trump supporter, I am not supporting trump at this point, the EMALS and AAG are good and necessary for CVN78 class, it really helps the carrier’s combat abilities

    • The_Usual_Suspect61

      See Ken N’s comment above regarding MCBCF. According to the numbers, its up-time shipboard is around 10% of the requirement. Doesn’t sound like it helps combat capabilities unless it is helping the Russian’s and Chinese’ combat capabilities.

      • J_kies

        As the first in class with a new capability – the system is not fully out of DT yet and the total number of Cat shots will not support a statistically valid reliability number set yet. I would simply compare the total number of failed cat shots with EMALS vs the appropriately scaled value of Steam cat failure rate.

      • André Philipps

        The system is doing better than steam cats did at the same point of their adoption process back in the day.

  • Hunter Freeman

    Is EMALS too complicated for the President to comprehend?

    • Beomoose

      EMALS, OPSEC, International Affairs, The Constitution, nobody knew it was this complicated!

      • Hunter Freeman


    • Oskar

      Did O-bummer know what it was?

      • Secundius

        Didn’t matter whether OBAMA knew what it was?/! Funding for the Gerald R Ford class Aircraft Carrier was in 2004, FIVE years before Obama became President and it was a Supermajority Vote of more than 280 Votes. Making it Essentially VETO Proof by the President…

        • Oskar

          Answer the question.

          • Secundius

            A “Supermajority” Vote by both the House and Senate are both Veto and Executive Order Proof. Only the US Congress can KILL the Program. That also includes both LCS classes, the MV-22 Osprey, the F-35’s, etc. Even Donald Trumps “Black Sharpie” Pen couldn’t KILL any of the Programs mentioned…

    • J_kies

      Actual executives realize they aren’t experts and defer to actual experts on such topics. While Obama may or may not have understood; he didn’t tell the naval architects how to do their jobs.
      I guess we now know how the North Korean engineers feel having to take copious and polite notes while the Young General gives them guidance. I guess its all about egos and a bad haircut.

  • André Philipps

    About as much as anything made out of tens of thousands of tons of steel is going to hide its magnetic signature. That is, badly. As for radio signature or the like, EMALS doesn’t exactly create anything that’s detectable from any kind of range where you wouldn’t be able to detect the carrier with other sensors anyway.

  • FrancescoP

    In the second half of the mid-1970s of the last century were introduced the first electronically-operated locomotives. They have many reliability issues. Since the mid-1990s in Europe weren’t produced more locomotives with rheostat speed regulation because the new technology was more reliable and performing.
    I could mention thousands of other cases in civil and military applications.
    Complex and innovative projects take some time to become reliable in everyday use.
    Woe to stop in front of the initial difficulties.

    • Drew

      pft! And I bet you’re using some totally FAKE and BAD broadband internet too, aren’t you?

      I’m sticking with good ol’ reliable 14.4k dial-up. The BEST. You need to be a genius to figure out wifi. Sad.

      • Stephen

        I have told folks, over & over, send an e-mail instead of a FAX. Maximum resistance. What about the signature? Explain e-signatures. Still, they resist. I remember getting excited when my Tandy 1000 had a 9600 baud rate modem.

  • MarlineSpikeMate

    The raping and pillaging by these defense contractors is the embarrassment here, not the POTUS, who correctly calls these astronomically high prices that would never exist in the private sector.

  • Slice dice

    I can think of another head of state pretends to be subject matter expert and giving out directions when having tours.

    Kim Jong-un

    • Oskar

      Justin Trudeau.

  • Secundius

    Yeah, easier said than done…

  • The Plague

    Well, at least he’s talking with the crew who actually work on that $h!t.

  • William Blankinship

    Keep in mind he is very smart man and is right more than wrong. I worked in defense for most of my carreer and the military is good at making defence contractors rich on items that do not always work.

  • MLepay

    Talk about showboat and grandstander!

  • cswolfe

    Maybe the steam can be coal-generated.

    • james

      Only if it is “Clean Coal”.

      • Stephen

        What, exactly, is clean coal? Washed with clean water prior to burning? DOE will roll out clean coal about the same time they announce successful fusion power generation…

        • james

          Liked the sarcasm did we? I’m thinking fusion is more attainable than clean coal. It at least is based on fact.

  • james

    But donnie, it only takes a HS grad to maintain and operate it.

  • Kenneth Millstein

    What does our so called President know about “Goddamned” catapults anyway. OK, he visited the Ford for a few hours and all of a sudden he is an expert. As a Navy veteran I am insulted by this person every single day. Don’t pay any attention to him because he will be impeached and out of office before the Ford ever even deploys, if not sooner.

    • hollygreen9

      Don’t hold your breath! You sound like a died in the wool democrat.

      • Kenneth Millstein

        Thank you for your reply.

        Your not exactly right, I always vote for the candidate who can best serve our wonderful country. I am a died in the wool American/Navy Veteran.

        • hollygreen9

          I served for 22 years in the Navy. Thank you for your service shipmate.

          • Kenneth Millstein

            Thank you shipmate, for your extremely long and proud service to our wonderful country and Navy. I served on two different Destroyers, the first was the USS Gyatt DD-712 and the second was the USS Mullinnix DD-944. I was USNR. My rate was as a QM. My years of service were from 5 July,1966 to 4 July,1972. And yes, July 4th 1972 was my own private Independence Day! Having said that, I now wish I had served 22 years like you did. If you wish to inform me, I would like to know what kinds of sea service and types of ships you served on. If you would prefer not to publish that info. I would completely understand. In either case thank you again for your 22 years of service.

          • hollygreen9

            I was in heavy attack VAH 123 and VAH 4 to start. I flew in A3 Skywarrior bombers off the USS Oriskany. I then went to NAS Minneapolis where I flew in C 54 transports, then went to the A6 Intruder community where I was a ground pounder. I spent 9 years and 24 days at sea (actual sea time). I then went to search and rescue for my last 2 years at NAS Whidbey Island. I was grounded from flying when I was in flight engineer school due to high frequency hearing loss in 1980, so I got off active duty and joined the reserves FLYING with VR 51 Det Whidbey for a year, then went back on active duty to serve out my remaining time. I finally found out what NAVY stood for. Never again volunteer yourself. I am glad that I did my time, as most of it was quite enjoyable to me. It also paid to do it. All of my sea time was on carriers in an air wing squadrons. I originally went in at 17 years old in May 1962.

          • Kenneth Millstein

            Thank you for providing such detail regarding your Naval career. I remember the Oriskany very well. Sadly FYI, she was sunk with C-4 off the coast of Florida to become an artificial reef. You certainly had a long and storied career in the Navy. Congratulations! You must have enjoyed the movie “Flight of the Intruder” from several years back. If you didn’t see it, I suggest you try and do so. As I recall, a ground pounder dropped a lot of bombs. I was lucky in that my ship didn’t go to Vietnam (the USS Mullinnix DD-944) while I was aboard. She did do two Westpac tours during the war. It was an all gun Forest Sherman Class Destroyer that was the last of the all gun Destroyer class.

            She had three 5″ 54 mounts as well as anti-aircraft weapons, torpedoes and hedgehogs. She to, is now a reef somewhere off our east coast. If you don’t mind writing what was your “job” on these various types of aircraft? Sadly enough, I too suffered a hearing problem which is called Tinnutis. It might have been caused by my GQ station as an aft steersman just under a 5″ mount. I would steer the ship blind with orders given via: sound powered phones from the bridge. I was with an EM who would switch the steering engine to the aft wheel by throwing a large handle connected to the steering engine. We took turns sleeping. While I was aboard we did artillery practice off of the island of Viegues which was a practice range which is part of Porto Rico. It is no longer used but it is very dangerous as their are a lot of un-exploded rounds on the island. I could be wrong about the islands name but in any case I was subjected to hundreds of rounds going off just over my head. Anyway, I hope your hearing loss has been recovered, but sadly I still suffer from some hearing loss and constant right ear ringing to this day. It has been a privilege to communicate with you. I live in a town/village named Liberty (great name) which is about 125 miles northwest of New York City where I spent the first 65 years of my life, of course excluding my Navy service. Take care of yourself and it is great to communicate with another person who still cares and loves our powerful Navy. By the way today’s ships are more like cruise ships with all the accommodations for the crews well being. Do you agree? I salute you. What is your first name? Thanks.

          • hollygreen9

            Where do I start? My first duties was as a flight crew plane captain on the A3 Skywarriors. I then went to C 54’s as a flight engineer at NAS Minneapolis. The I went to the A6 Intruders as a ground pounder as a mechanic in VA 52 night riders, VA 128 (shore duty), then to flight engineer school for P 3 Orions where I was grounded for my high frequency hearing loss. I was so mad that I bailed out of the regular Navy and joined the reserves where I flew as a flight engineer on C 118’s. After a year of the reserves, I went back regular where they made me change my rate to AE (aviation electrician) where I went to VA 145 swordsmen in the A6 community. After 3 years there, I was transferred to NAS Whidbey Island working in maintenance control for the search and rescue helo’s. My first name is Bob.
            PS my best squadron was heavy attack squadron four and my worst was medium attack squadron 145. I had three deaths in my family (at different times) and was only given eleven days leave for a total. When got ready to retire I had a LOAD of leave on the books (over 90) and was told I couldn’t take them all, so I informed the commander I was dealing with that in that case they had to buy them all back. They gave me my terminal leave grudgingly.

    • nygard1

      Thank you for your service. You are putting your ignorance on full display and should stick to stuff you know. Trump getting impeached?? For what? By whom? It would have to be done by a Republican-controlled House – not going to happen! He would then have to be convicted (you did no know that, did you?) by a Republican-controlled Senate – not going to happen!
      Just for the record, whether you like him or not is irrelevant. He is our democratically-elected president, not a “so-called President. Show some respect – like a real military person would.

      • Leveller

        Really? Did you feel the same way the First or Second time when President Obama was Voted into Office by Overwhelming Numbers.

      • Kenneth Millstein

        First of all I am not ignorant. I know more about our constitution than President Trump. There, I showed a little respect by writing the title of President in front of his name. If you really believe he was elected democratically do you really believe the Electoral College is still the correct method to determine who gets to sit and work in the Oval Office for a term of four years? Just FYI, HRC received three million more voted than Trump. That is why I referred to him as the so called President. I think you are most likely correct that he cannot be impeached under complete Republican rule. However, beginning in January, 2019 when the Democrats are sworn in and take control of both houses, he then can and will be impeached for both High Crimes and Misdemeanors.

        Do you still think I am ignorant of how our system of Government works?

        As a US Navy Veteran I was and am insulted that this President who ducked any military service during the Vietnam War should be allowed to wear the baseball styled hat of a full four star Admiral. How dare he. He is a coward and if not for his father arranging all sorts of deferments maybe he would have learned some discipline in actual service to our wonderful country!!!

        • nygard1

          You just proved – again – that you are completely ignorant about our Constitution. The Electoral College is indeed the correct method of electing a President BECAUSE THAT IS HOW THE CONSTITUTION PRESCRIBES IT TO BE DONE!!! Is that too difficult a concept for you??
          If you don’t like it – change the Constitution! But of course that is not going to happen because that would require that the proposed amendment be approved by two-thirds of the House and Senate and then affirmed by three-fourths of the states.
          Hint for you to reduce your obvious ignorance: Hit the books and turn off your daily doses of dimocrat talking points. They make you sound stupid.

  • Sharkey

    What a simpleton we have in the Oval Office. High school physics classes would make it clear the EMALS system is far superior and due to the new nuclear plants’ excess power capabilities would remain more reliable in the event of loss of power. There are multiple nuclear reactors which have 45 year life-times and would provide redundancy as well. The tunable aspect of the new recovery system will allow for better design of aircraft carrier based planes too. I wish the President had grown up before being elected.

    • Jay

      Did not have to grow up. Lucky Sperm Club and 62 million + imbeciles gave him a pass.

  • tteng

    LOL.. I think it’s his way of putting mil-industrial-complex on notice: no more cost overrun and delay on the account of ‘new technologies’.

    My premonition (or I hope so): in the end, Navy will get to keep EMALS, on budget and on time, on his watch.

  • Cocidius

    Yup lets replace all that damned science and technology “stuff” with good old fashioned steam.

    But hey don’t take away my quad-core 4G Android smart phone, Twitter social media account, and White House internet site now freshly updated with “alternate facts” LOL.

  • Is this a joke article? I’m asking on behalf of Western Civilization.

  • J_kies

    I will be as generous as I can think to be – I bet Trump confused the EMALS with the Dual Band radar that has a phased array. The processes of beamforming for both transmit and receive are a number of fairly complex calculations (usually pre-canned) but they involve some serious digital processing.

    Its a stretch to confuse the radar with the EMALS but hey; I am trying to figure out where someone could conflate issues by not listening and not understanding.

  • Jeff Kindrick

    I served in VA-97 during Vietnam, twice deploying on USS Enterprise to WestPac, and I worked on the flight deck. The steam catapults put a lot of stress on the nose gear of aircraft, not to mention aircrew. While the squadron was ashore at NAS Lemoore between cruises, the A-7 fleet Navy wide was down checked due to a nose gear collapse until every aircraft could be magnafluxed for stress cracks in the nose struts. As stated in the article, the EMALS system reduces that stress by modulating the power curve rather than going from 0 to maximum power immediately as the steam system does. The mention of “subjecting the aircraft to steam” seems strange as the catapults operate on desalinated water. Aircraft are subject to much greater corrosion issues between different metals in the air frame due to electrolysis caused by the salt water environment; the same conditions result in more rust on ground vehicles operated on the coasts or where a lot of salt is used to melt road ice inland in northern climates. The President’s statement follows a pattern and, as mentioned in at least one other post, may simply be a negotiation ploy directed at General Atomics.

  • Valerie Adele

    We’re getting rid of these digital computers! What is digital? We’re gonna use goddamned typewriters!

  • publius_maximus_III

    Well, I guess all I can say is e=mc^2… No, make that F=ma and E=IR. (T)rump is trying to make out like this is rocket science, when really it’s just projectile science, no change in mass A-tall.

    GM once built a Chevy Nova plant in Mexico and couldn’t figure out why none of the locals were buying any. Then they found out “no va” means “won’t go” in Spanish. Now our sacred brain trust has dubbed their new catapult system EMALS. But a name with the Spanish word for “bad” buried in the middle of it seems doomed to failure.

    You’d better believe the Navy brass is trying to track down which old tars were bad-mouthing their new high tech baby in front of the CinC. Would not want to be in his or her sneakers when they find out.

  • FName Cogswell

    Well, you know… the cyber.

  • Marjus Plaku

    The last thing this walking disaster of a buffoon should do is wade into military technical matters where he is as qualified as a kid in a sand box to opine on, much less dictate.

    Nothing more to say about this.

    • Oskar

      Look at what the Canadian liberals did to the military.

  • Brent Leatherman

    Just because Trump isn’t bright enough to understand it, doesn’t mean it takes an Einstein – just a well trained sailor (who likely is brighter than Trump in any number of other topics). Just let him stay in the Oval office playing with his toys and let the adults do the real work.

  • KrisKrispy

    Just another indication that we’ve elected a complete idiot.

  • Paulwisc

    We have a true idiot for a president.

    • Secundius

      That’s an understatement…

    • Oskar

      You have a president who’s far more effective than O-bummer, Trudeau, Putin, etc.

  • Ray Martin

    America has bigger problems than which type of catapult to use. Your president is a psychopath and an imbecile.

    • Secundius

      YUP!/? No arguments here…

    • Oskar

      You prefer Putin, Trudeau, Kim-Jong, etc?


  • Catdog

    If all else fails, Cntl,Alt,Dlt.

  • James D. Abbgy

    Please tell me someone on board that ship told Trump to put away his smart phone, and go back to a goddamn typewriter.

  • Yamanote

    Coal fired steam catapults are the way to go. Keeps West Virginia miners working. Double win. I love winning!

  • Ron8200

    No one has seen an active carrier (Ford) launch a EMALS aircraft YouTube videos show it worked in 2011 but has had major issues on the new carrier. How can we have a 12 billion dollar warship almost 3 years late with a launch system that is still in question? The contractor shouldn’t get a single dollar more for these production failures.

  • Colt

    Least qualified technical guy makes judgement on a new generation or equipment. Unless he open to new ideas and understands that anything NEW and next generation requires R $ D to actually perfect. It’s always going to look more expensive that last thing made.

    I swear they need keep Trump’s exposer to stuff that beyond him in a filtered environment so it doesn’t overwhelm him.

  • hollygreen9

    I take it that you served in the Navy???

  • Ron117 ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    I would suggest that the President has received a much more comprehensive report on EMALS than what he received from the sailor who expressed “that its not working good at all and does not have the power”. If the President hasn’t then shame on the Navy brass for letting the President be so misinformed.

    • Secundius

      My understanding Donald Trump, is that “Everything” he Reads is Reduced to a Two-Page Single-Sided Report Summary. It would be IMPOSSIBLE to Condense the Working and Operations of the EMALS on a Two-Page Single-Sided Report…

      • Ron117 ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

        Well, your “understanding” is about as valid as anonymous sources in the WashIngrown Post and New York Times and reports from CNN and MSNBC. Unless you are there and/or have valid documented evidence, “understandings” mean nothing. I seriously doubt that a man that has achieved what the President has in his non-political career and the fact he beat the establishment political class and everything the propaganda media has thrown at him so far in his political career of only two years, receives briefings as you described. Logic and common sense, often missing in liberals, would lead one to believe your “understanding” just does not hold any validity.

        • Secundius

          And from WHAT I’ve seen So Far “OF” and/or “FROM” Donald Trump So Far?/! He DOESN’T “Understand Anything”…

          • Ron117 ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            Your certainly entitled to your opinion, as misinformed as it is. I’m sure the vets who will hopefully finally be receiving better care as the VA secretary is finally getting some power to weed out the hapless workers in the VA thanks to the President’s leadership on getting new reforms through Congress. I could go on list numerous examples of the President’s leadership but for you, I feel certain it makes no difference. Facts don’t seem to get through the sore liberal loser mind.

          • Secundius

            If YOU’VE bothered to Read ANY of my Comment from Previous Postings. You’d Know I am a “Republican”…

          • Ron117 ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            Don’t have all day to read your words of wisdom, however, it is republicans like you, that resulted in President Trump. The GOP long ago abandoned their small government, strong defense, fiscal conservatism, free markets and law and order. The ridiculous health care bill is just another example of why I No longer affiliate with the Republican Party and no longer donate any money to the GOP.

          • Secundius

            Trump is a Republican in Name ONLY. Donald Trump, belongs to the “The Trump Organization of Donald Trump Party”…

  • jag

    He doesn’t want the EMALS because he didn’t have General Atomics in his investment portfolio. LOL…

  • Albert D. Kallal

    I think everyone would be most happy to see the new EMAILS catapult work great and be far better than the old system. Trump took quite a bit of heat when he said what the heck is
    going on here? – Why not use steam for the catapult system, we been doing so
    for 40+ years.

    The problem is Trump toured the Ford carrier, and the CO told him how great the new system is.
    Then when down below deck, again the ensign, and the people running the
    catapult again told Trump how great the system is. In fact if you watch the
    video, Trump was repeatedly told how the new system will cause less stress and extend
    the life of aircraft. In fact it was all most of the people could tell Trump.
    After a while meeting such people Trump was almost annoyed, but he loves
    meeting the rank and file folks (and they did not realize that Trump had been
    told this story over and over by so many as he toured).

    And the above concept of a DIGITAL computer control electromagnetic set of rails should in
    theory allow far greater control of the launch system. So the system can launch
    a drone and then next launch a fully loaded F18.

    In fact “how” such launch systems were able to launch so many different kinds of planes with
    different force and fuel loads was classified at one time (it not easy to get
    such systems working when they have to launch so many different kinds of
    aircraft with vastly different loads). So many a country has attempted
    development of such launch systems and they find it VERY difficult indeed.

    However, we mastered how to do this over a rather long time, and the steam system worked brilliant
    for over 40+ years.

    The really “big” insult and why Trump was peeved is after the tour then some time later the Navy
    came back and told Trump that the system is causing too much stress on F18’s
    with external fuel tanks. This issue was discovered 3 years ago and has NOT YET
    been solved as I write this. I mean if everyone on the boat had not told Trump
    over and over how “gentle” the rail system is and how much better the system is
    then steam, then I would consider Trumps reaction “over” blown. As it stand
    now, Trump has to be pissed at being told two such vastly different stories
    about the launch system.

    Now being a computer controlled system then “tweaking” the pull and launch curve of force
    used should be like 1 week of software tweaks. (Since the system now like the
    steam systems can launch a rather “large” variety of different planes and
    planes with a different fuel + weapons load). And they have all the “settings”
    for existing planes programed into the rail system. This should be a few days
    fix, but it not!

    So we are now commissioning a 16 billion dollar carrier in two days without the ability to launch F18’s
    with external fuel tanks. This suggests something WORSE that can be fixed by a
    simple software upgrade. And not being able to launch such planes with external
    fuel tanks is a HUGE operational deficit to that carrier.

    In fact the issue not really the “force”, but a vibration, or better stated an oscillations into
    the F18. The system has to hold the plane back at full throttle, and then
    “gently” apply force (if you can call it that, since is a real “snap” of a
    release). Most initial testing was done with “mule” carts that don’t have a
    running jet engine on the back at full throttle! So you not only pulling a
    plane, but holding it back at full throttle before you start the launch run. It
    is quite a “snap” when you start the rail system.

    They better get this fixed, and fixed fast. The military contractors better FAST STOP all this political
    hiring BS and hire great people who are qualified – not based on anything else
    but talent.

    I am a “big” fan of the new ideas and concepts on the Ford boat, but cost to fix this issue will
    likely equal the purchase of 100 F35’s. This is taxpayer money. People support and
    love the people in uniform serving their country, but not blowing money like this
    down the toilet.

    Most insulting was people trying to “spin” the statements by Trump that he don’t know what digital
    or steam means – in fact some laughed at Trump asking why digital? In fact most
    laughing did not realize that the system is indeed digital (it was not Trump
    that first used this word – it was the GAO and all of the people talking to

    Trump is right, we should have stuck with steam which naturally is smooth, gentler on the
    airframes, and has worked for 40+ years. The steam system is however a real a
    maintains hog. I thus hold out high hopes for the electric rail system, but it
    is a costly and complex system – one that likely has less redundancy and is
    less robust under “the fire of battle” then the steam system. With damage to
    part of the deck, you can manually isolate the 2nd steam catapult
    and continue operations with a surprising amount of damage to the ship. I am
    not convinced the rail system is that robust.

    The nuclear reactor cannot supply the electric to the rail system directly. So you “store” up a
    change into four 20,000 pound centrifugal generator that are spun up to 6,400
    rpm to store energy. This spin up time (from 5000 rpm to 6400) takes about 45
    seconds. The electric rail system then under computer control draws energy from
    the spinning centrifugal generators. This concept ensures that the launch will
    occur – even if the power was interrupted to at least part of the system during
    a launch. And this temp “energy” storage system allows transfer of such energy
    from the nuclear reactor at a “reasonable” rate). However, right now the launch
    failure rate is about 250 times that of steam. And a failure can mean a lost
    plane into the sea. And these days, planes are not cheap.

    The 2nd issue is if the centrifugal generators are damaged, then you lost your
    catapult. And for any maintains, that system takes OVER 1 hour JUST to spin

    With steam, you can at least attempt repairs with torches and welding, and likely get one of the two catapults up and running after battle damage. Heck, take any metal scrap and weld over damage
    and holes to the steam system. I question how robust the computer rail system is
    in the heat of battle, or when they been damaged as to what kind of “field” repairs
    can occur with such a large and complex system.

    So to all you defense contract shrills that are in some room being “paid” to spin positive
    crap on the internet?

    You need to:

    Ensure the public
    that the F18’ fuel tank issue not a huge fix, and why 3 years has elapsed as to
    what amounts to a “supposed” simple software up.

    Ensure the public
    that the rail system should be used for the next two carries that are now just
    staring construction, or heeds Trumps advice to use steam.

    Ensure the public
    that the rail system will be MORE robust and reliably then steam in BOTH peace
    time, and in battle time.

    Worse is the HUGE number of comments that suggest Trump not informed on this issue – he is, and
    he has an IQ of 154 and is a big aviation fan (he has his own Boeing 757).

    The ideas and concepts
    in the Ford class carrier are really fantastic. I believe this ship can become
    the pride of all nations, and it really the next gen ship.

    However you have to make it work as promised – you owe that to the American people who are doling
    out the cash to pay for this boat.

    So to all the comments here that are of that of an unemployed drunken rodeo clown? Trump is
    100% right on this issue and is CLEARY far better informed then the comments I see here.

  • Ed L

    What us navy ships use Steam nowadays

    • Secundius

      How many Nuclear-Powered Submarines and Aircraft Carriers had their “Keel Laid” Before 2013…

  • In the long run EMALS will save money because there will be less wear and tear on the planes which will last longer than when launched with steam.