Converteam, the power conversion specialist, has completed trials of the latest high speed acceleration technical demonstrator for the launch of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from maritime platforms. The project to design and manufacture Electro Magnetic Kinetic Integrated Technology (EMKIT) was awarded to Converteam by the UK Ministry of Defence at a value of £2.6m.
Following the success of an original study on the core technology required to launch aircraft from an aircraft carrier using an Electro Magnetic Catapult (EMCAT), the MoD approached Converteam to demonstrate its potential and wider exploitation and application to any form of linear launch.
With a series of tests that commenced in May 2007, Converteam was able to trial full speed dynamic acceleration and stopping on a range of test masses at an array of speeds within a short launch length. This demonstrated the true flexibility and scalability of the technology being developed.
Speaking of the project, Converteam’s Director of Naval Business, Mark Dannatt said: "On completion of our official customer witness tests, the EMKIT catapult exceeded its initial launch requirements and is consistently launching the upper target required test mass at rated velocity. To put this into context, the catapult has a capability to launch the target airframes of the Hermes 4500 at 500kg and also the Predator A up to 1.5 tonnes within a 15m launch length.
The success of the EMKIT trials has shown that it is a viable option for both UAVs and manned aircraft launches in the future and highly reduces the risks of any future decisions on electromagnetic aircraft launch systems.”