The US Navy has awarded a $573m contract to Californian company General Atomics to develop the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) on the CVN 78 class supercarriers.

Under the contract the company will produce EMALS, a catapult launch system aboard CVN-78 class aircraft carriers to replace the conventional steam catapults.

The work is expected to be complete by September 2015 with workplaces in California, Mississippi, Minnesota, Massachusetts and other locations across the country.

The naval aviation installation Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, New Jersey has awarded the contract.