The US Naval Air Systems Command has received the final four motor generators from General Atomics (GA) for the electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS), for installation in the new aircraft carrier USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78).

The deliveries follow a previously awarded fixed-price, schedule-incentive contract in June 2009 to provide the EMALS and advanced arresting gear (AAG) system for CVN 78. EMALS is more efficient, smaller, lighter and easier to control than steam-powered catapults and will replace the conventional steam catapults and hydraulic arresting gear onboard the CVN 78.

The system’s technology allows smooth acceleration at high and low speeds, increasing the carrier’s ability to launch both lightweight unmanned aircraft and heavy strike fighters in support of the war-fighter.

The Ford-class carriers will have EMALS electric aircraft launch capability, which will allow the aircraft to gradually increase take-off speed and thus reduce stress. More than 8,400 hardware items are involved in EMALS and AAG for the CVN 78 shipset; the first set of items was delivered in May 2011.

The USS Gerald R Ford is the first CVN 78-class aircraft carrier and will become the US Navy’s newest class of carrier, succeeding the Nimitz-class, and is scheduled for delivery in 2015. It has a full-load displacement capacity of around 101,600t, can carry more than 75 aircraft and cruises at a top speed in excess of 30 knots.

The Ford-class carriers are equipped with advanced weapons handling systems, new nuclear power plants, increased electrical power generation capacity and are designed to support crisis response and humanitarian relief, as well as provide early decisive striking power during major combat operations.