2019 software fix for aircraft carrier electromagnetic launch problem

The US Navy completed testing on a software fix for its Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) that will allow the heaviest planes to take off with less stress to the airframe, Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) announced this week.

The EMALS team found during April 2014 testing that airplanes carrying full 480-gallon wing-mounted external fuel tanks were experiencing a great amount of stress on the airframe.

The software fix will now allow EMALS to handle the upper limit of its workload – the heaviest planes, Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers with full external fuel tanks – without exceeding stress limits on the airplanes.

The software fix will be uploaded to the EMALS aboard Ford in 2019, when the ship goes in for its post-shakedown availability. That shipyard availability is the first opportunity to update the EMALS software without disrupting ship operations, Koon said, and presents no risk to the ship or any airplanes by waiting.

An artist’s concept of the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS). General Atomics Image