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: inflatable backpacks and robotic submarines

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

The N64 was an all-star console with a line-up of all-star games. These were the best.

The Nintendo 64 introduced a long list of top-tier games, but which were the iconic platform's best? From Mario Party to Ocarina of Time to NFL Blitz, check out our picks for the best N64 games.
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.
Product Review

Someday it will do 5G, but the Moto Z3 is already a great phone

Motorola’s flagship smartphone of 2018 looks exactly like its mid-range smartphone of 2018, but powered by a processor from 2017. It’s still a great-performing phone for $480, and it will be the first upgradable 5G smartphone next year.
Emerging Tech

Regular Wi-Fi can accurately detect bombs, chemicals, and weapons in bags

Surveillance cameras and bag searches have become commonplace when it comes to security in public venues. But researchers may have found a different way to detect suspicious items: regular Wi-Fi.
Emerging Tech

Buying on a budget? Here’s all the best tech you can snag for $25 or less

We live in a world where you can get a cheeseburger for $1, a functioning computer for $5, and thousands of HD movies for $10 -- so it stands to reason that you should be able to pick up some pretty sweet gear for $25.
Emerging Tech

Science says waste beer could help us live on Mars

Scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder have developed a new super-insulating gel, created from beer waste, which could one day be used for building greenhouse-like habitats on Mars.
Emerging Tech

Engineers have made a new type of lithium battery that won’t explode

While statistically rare, the lithium-ion batteries used in mobile devices have been known to burst into flames. Researchers from University of Michigan have been working to change that.
Emerging Tech

Genetically engineered bacteria paint microscopic masterpieces

By engineering E. coli bacteria to respond to light, scientists at the University of Rome have guided it like tiny drones toward patterns that depict Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, the Mona Lisa.
Emerging Tech

Elon Musk’s Boring Company wants to dig a tunnel to Dodger Stadium

Elon Musk's Boring Company wants to build a high-speed transportation tunnel connecting Dodger Stadium to a nearby Metro station. The system would run 150-mph passenger pods between the stadium and a terminus to the west.
Emerging Tech

Watch as a ‘lifeguard drone’ rescues a swimmer struggling at sea

These days, drones are finding a range of roles in a myriad of fields. Lifeguards, for example, are making use of the drone's ability to quickly deploy flotation devices while also offering an eye in the sky to survey the scene.
Emerging Tech

Wish you could fly? Here are the best drones on the market right now

To help you navigate the increasingly large and ever-changing landscape of consumer UAVs, here's a no-nonsense rundown of the best drones you can buy right now
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

Experiment suggests that the best robot bosses could be jerks

Researchers have been investigating how future robot bosses can coax the most productivity out of us flesh-and-blood employees. The sad answer? Quite possibly by behaving like jerks.