President Trump says the Navy’s newest system for launching aircraft from carriers is “no good”
President Donald Trump called for scrapping the Navy’s newest system designed to launch aircraft from flight decks of its Ford-class carriers, saying it costs too much and is “no good.”
In a Time magazine interview released Thursday, Trump said the Navy should revert to steam catapults — used for decades on Nimitz-class carriers — rather than use the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System, referred to as EMALS, and designed by General Atomics for use on the Ford-class carriers. He appeared to be recounting a recent interaction with someone who told him the system lacks the power of steam.
“It sounded bad to me,” Trump told Time.
But, Trump appeared to confuse the technology used in the launch system.
“Digital,” Trump said to Time. “They have digital. What is digital? And it’s very complicated, you have to be Albert Einstein to figure it out.”
EMALS electrically generates a magnetic field to launch aircraft. The Navy has said the system would be able to put planes in the air more quickly than steam catapults, cost less to maintain over the carrier’s lifetime and cause less physical stress to the vessel.
Developmental and reliability issues with EMALS have been cited in the past by the Government Accountability Office, but scrapping it would require a massive undertaking, requiring not only flight deck changes but also refitting below the deck for steam.
The system also requires less maintenance and crew to operate it and can launch a broader range of aircraft, including lightweight unmanned craft.
Trump called for a 12-carrier Navy from the hangar bay of the Ford class’ namesake, the future USS Gerald R. Ford, at Newport News Shipbuilding on March 2. The $12.9 billion Ford is the most expensive carrier to date and began sea trials in April. Other carriers in its class include the USS John F. Kennedy, already under construction at Newport News, and the USS Enterprise.
The Navy was expected to issue a statement Thursday but declined to do so later in the day. ___
This article is written by Courtney Mabeus from The Virginian-Pilot and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.