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Wed, Apr 07, 2004

Launch Catapult v2.0

Navy To Install Electromagnetic Launchers On All Future Carriers

The next US aircraft carrier and all that follow will have a completely new catapult design for launching aircraft. Monday, the Navy awarded a $145.6 million contract for that new system to General Atomics of San Diego (CA).

Like a rail-gun or mag-lev train, the new catapult system will use powerful electromagnets to propel aircraft along the flight deck for take-off.

"Basically we have to provide enough energy to provide the end speed needed to launch any given aircraft," said Tony Kopacz, program manager for General Atomics' electromagnetic launch system. He was interviewed by a reporter from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

"The claim to fame is that it's easier on the airplane," Kopacz said. "We also can handle a bigger spread of different types of airplanes well into the 21st century."

The system will be installed in the Navy's next-generation carrier, CVN-21, beginning in 2007.



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