Watch the Navy blast a 40-ton steel sled into the ocean with its new electromagnetic jet launcher

us navy electromagnetic aircraft launch system uss gerald ford
Most aircraft carriers currently use steam powered catapults to launch fighter jets. It helps them reach takeoff speed faster and leave the carrier safely, but unfortunately, they’re a pain to work with.  steam powered catapults take up a lot of space on the ship, and generally require a fair amount of manpower to operate. They also require vast amounts of water. A ship can only produce or store a certain amount of desalinated water per day because the steam catapult cannot use sea water directly due to its corrosive nature. In a war-like situation where every minute matters, not being able to launch jet fighters quickly is a big issue.

So, in order to replace the traditional steam catapult, the United States Navy is working on developing a new, more practical method for launching fighter jets off aircraft carriers.

Dubbed the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System or EMALS, the new electromagnetic catapult is more resource efficient and is able to provide a steadier acceleration speed in comparison to steam catapults. The electromagnetic catapult can launch fighter jets every 45 seconds according an article published on air and space. With more tweaking and modifications the system could be able launch fighter jets to speeds reaching 240mph (390km/h).

In order to test the EMALS’ efficiency, the Navy recently conducted a test aboard the USS Gerald Ford carrier, in which they launched a sled with a dead-load made of around 80,000 pounds of steel (approximately the weight of a fighter jet) using the electromagnetic catapult.

The test demonstrated that the EMALS system not only provides smoother acceleration during launches, but also puts less stress on the aircraft. On top of that, the system also weighs less and requires less space, since it does away with the steam catapult’s piping, pumps, motors, and complex control systems.

It’s only built into one ship at this point, but EMALS is designed to be compatible with advanced aircraft carriers that the Navy plans on using in the future. More testing is needed, however, so for the time being, the Navy has retrieved the 80,000 pound test sled above from the depths of the James River, and plans to conduct more dead-load launches before actually deploying the EMALS system.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I. selfie drones, ‘invisible’ wireless chargers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Smart Home

The best washing machines make laundry day a little less of a chore

It takes a special kind of person to love doing laundry, but the right machine can help make this chore a little easier. Check out our picks for the best washing machines on the market right now.
Emerging Tech

Stronger than steel, thinner than paper, graphene could be the future of tech

Since its discovery, graphene has set the research world on fire. What exactly is it, though, and what could it mean for the future of tech? Here's everything you need to know about what could be the next supermaterial to take center stage.

Feeling nostalgic? Here are the 25 best Sega Genesis games

Although the company has since fallen into obscurity, Sega was an indisputable titan throughout the '90s. That said, here are 25 best Sega Genesis games that helped define its fabled decade.
Emerging Tech

OSIRIS-REx spacecraft successfully tests its asteroid-sampling arm

The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, launched in September 2016, is closing in on its target of the Bennu asteroid. The craft has now unfurled its robotic arm, called the Touch-and-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM), and tested it successfully.
Product Review

DJI has always been the king of drones, and the new Mavics are almost perfect

After flying both the Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom for over a week, we’re convinced that these are two of the best drones that DJI has ever made.
Emerging Tech

Microsoft’s friendly new A.I wants to figure out what you want — before you ask

Move over Siri and Alexa! Microsoft wants to build a new type of virtual assistant that wants to be your friend. Already making waves in Asia, could this be the future of A.I. BFFs?

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…
Emerging Tech

Smarter cities need smarter addresses. And you just need 3 words

To make really smart transportation choices, more precise location data will have to be integrated with citywide transportation data. Here’s how one company is mapping the world by using just three words.
Emerging Tech

Ghostly galaxy discovered lurking on the edge of the Milky Way

A team of astronomers from the University of Cambridge have discovered a strange galaxy next door to the Milky Way. The dwarf galaxy, named Antlia 2, is dark and dim and gives out much less light than expected.
Emerging Tech

Ancient crater the size of NYC discovered under the Greenland ice sheet

A huge crater has been discovered beneath the ice of Greenland, and is thought to be the result of a meteorite impact millions of years ago. The crater is one of the largest ever discovered, measuring 19 miles across.
Emerging Tech

Here’s how the InSight mission to Mars will confirm its landing to NASA

NASA's InSight mission has sent a lander to Mars. NASA researchers have now shared details on how they will monitor the touching down of the lander at the end of its 91 million mile journey.
Emerging Tech

Would you swap your keycard for a microchip implant? For many, the answer is yes

Put down your keycard! More people are turning to implanted RFID chips as their choice of workplace identification. Should we be worried about a world in which employees get microchipped?

‘Super magnesium’ may be the next wonder material for outdoor gear

Super Magnesium is a wonder material that is 30 percent lighter than aluminum, as strong as carbon fiber, cheaper to make, and 100-percent recyclable, making it much better for the environment.