General Atomics Wins $573M for CVN 78 Electromagnetic Catapult
(Source: U.S Department of Defense; issued June 30, 2009)
General Atomics, San Diego, Calif., is being awarded a $573,000,000 ceiling priced, undefinitized contract action for the production of the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) CVN 78 Shipset.
EMALS is the catapult launch system on CVN-78 class aircraft carriers, replacing the steam catapults used on prior generations of aircraft carriers.
Work will be performed in San Diego, Calif., (49 percent); Tupelo, Miss., (19 percent); Mankato, Minn., (12 percent); Waltham, Mass., (4 percent); and various locations across the United States (16 percent), and work is expected to be completed in September 2015. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 602-1.
The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, N.J., is the contracting activity (N68335-09-C-0573).
This system could be deployed with fighter jet pilots. I feel drones could be used to employ this system. I also have pre-deveolped schematics for a emp-guided missile capable of detonating at several hundred feet without the effects of nuclear reside damaging the atmosphere. This missile could be used by navy ships, subs, mlrs battery systems, planes, hellis, and or missile silos. The outdated EMP bomb was designed to drop with non linear guidance systems out of the older bombers sorties dating back to WW I and WW II. In todays armed forces we do have a tacktical means to disarm radar, disrupt all vehicles that do not have tubular fuses(older model vehicles), cells, radio,and computers. Financially an EMP is an early stage weapon for pre invasion tactics. What we have to understand is once employed there is a window of recovery from hidden bunkers that could be a 2nd line of defense. In Operation Mongoose, for modellling purposes, in the invasion of Cuba, sattelite imagery showed little to no ground forces. What we later learned is that Cuba had an extensive underground network. EMP devices might have to be regulary employed during a war to force the insurgency we face to employ only guerrila warfare style tactics. If will ware on the fatigue of the ground forces and disable necessary defense like air superiority, ground based tanks, anti ship missiles, and sams. We have successfully used GPD in the Philadelphi corridor, Afghanistan, and in the mexican drug war to find hidden tunnels. If we are to employ EMP as a peacefull deterrant method to deter the North, I feel GPD could be used by engineers wtih heavily guarded MP contingents, to marker with GPS the tunnel infrastructures. A simple constant sorties like in desert sheild would then disable and disrupt 2nd efforts. If they are dug to far in in places then we could consider using the bunker busters and heavier munitions. Realistically it is troops size I am concerned about and conventional weapons like RPG's and EFP's. Jungle terrain is impassible at certain points just like mountainous passes in Afghanistan. North Korea should be faced for the war if they keep provoking America. They should bunker in, but I do not feel they are really prepared for the verocity of what we will do if the US mil decides to follow through beyond diplomacy. Sooner or later the gloabl community is going to want a formal stop to the global arms trafficking of nuclear proliferation. I feel the more time we waste, the more time the enemy has to build more of these hybrids. If they do not want to sell them they could e-mail the successfull plans to any axis of evil where other scientists can build such weapons of mass destruction. This is the digital age. I emplore the global community to take action and neutralize this threat. War is not nice, but havind WMD int he hands of known global terrorists is not to smart. These people are actively funding and supplying these regimes with weapons, scientists, money, and the know how so they can buld these missiles anyshere on the globe. At a certain point I have to ask why the global community is just reading news reports, saying it's okay, and not taking decisive action. Most of the civilized world does not want these people disrupting our lives constantly, beyond the US interests! True enough?
EMALS Hopes for First Shot Before Christmas
8 Dec 2010
The first launch of an aircraft by the U.S. Navy's new electro-magnetic launch system could take place by mid-December, an event that would mark a major step ahead for a program with its full share of critics and doubters.
"The shot should take place within a couple of weeks," said Rob Koon, a spokesman for Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR). Asked if the engineers were trying to make the launch before Christmas, Koon replied, "that's what they're hoping for."
The Electro-magnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) is a critical piece of technology that will be installed in the new Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers, the first of which is now under construction. If the system isn't ready in time, the Navy would have to revert to older steam catapults to launch aircraft from the ships, a move that would mean costly delays and redesigns.
An F/A-18E Super Hornet strike fighter is now being instrumented for the launch, Koon said. Test data is being analyzed for safety issues to obtain the necessary flight clearances.
The launch will take place at NAVAIR's facility at the Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst, N.J., where the service and prime contractor General Atomics have built a full-scale test site replicating a shipboard installation, including major software and hardware components.
The development team began shooting test "dead-loads" from the system in the spring, Koon said. Since then, 722 dead-load launches have been made at speeds of up to 180 knots, the highest end-speed requirement for the system. The launch tests are part of the program's system functional demonstration phase.
If the Super Hornet launch is successful, other types of carrier aircraft will be tested next year, including C-2 carrier-on-board-delivery planes and T-45 Goshawk jet trainers.
Koon said the EMALS program remains on track to deliver its first components to the new aircraft carrier in 2011.
The EMALS system would be the first new launch system since the Navy replaced hydraulic catapults with steam-powered systems in the 1950s. An electro-magnetic system has numerous advantages over steam. EMALS, which involves energizing a series of electro-magnets, is less stressful on aircraft and can launch a wider range of aircraft. The new system also would, theoretically, need less maintenance and cost less to operate.
The efficacy of the EMALS technology and particularly its test program has long been a question for the Navy, Congress and industry. The program - like nearly all technology development programs - has had its share of setbacks, but the service and General Atomics continue to insist the new system will be ready in time for installation on the Gerald R. Ford.
General Atomics made something of a statement of confidence on July 13, when it agreed to a $676.2 million fixed-price contract to produce the EMALS system and a new advanced arresting gear installation for the carrier.
But nothing will quiet critics like the launch of a front-line jet fighter.
An F/A-18E Super Hornet set for takeoff from a carrier's steam catapult. A similar aircraft will make the first launch from a new electromagnetic launch system. (Lt. Reann Mommsen / U.S. Navy)
We'll go ahead and use this thread for all news pertaining to the GRF-class.
Northrop Wins Extra $323M for CVN-79 Prep Work
(Source: U.S Department of Defense; issued December 8, 2010)
Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Newport News, Va. is being awarded a $323,611,867 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-09-C-2116) for continuation of construction preparation efforts for the second aircraft carrier (CVN 79) of the Gerald R. Ford class.
Work will provide all services and material in preparation for construction of CVN 79 including necessary research studies; engineering; design; related development efforts; advanced planning; advanced procurement for detailed design and procurement of long lead material; advance construction; life cycle support; logistics data, and other data to support the anticipated fiscal 2013 ship detail design and construction.
Work will be performed in Newport News, Va., and is expected to be completed by October 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured.
The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity. (ends)
Navy Launches First Aircraft Using Electromagnetic System
(Source: Naval Air Systems Command; issued December 20, 2010)
PATUXENT RIVER, Md. --- The Navy made history Dec. 18 when it launched the first aircraft from the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), Lakehurst, N.J., test site using the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System, or EMALS, technology.
The Navy has been using steam for more than 50 years to launch aircraft from carriers.
The Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment (ALRE) program launched an F/A-18E Super Hornet Dec. 18 using the EMALS technology that will replace steam catapults on future aircraft carriers.
"This is a tremendous achievement not just for the ALRE team, but for the entire Navy," said Capt. James Donnelly, ALRE program manager. "Saturday's EMALS launch demonstrates an evolution in carrier flight deck operations using advanced computer control, system monitoring and automation for tomorrow's carrier air wings."
EMALS is a complete carrier-based launch system designed for Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) and future Ford- class carriers.
"I thought the launch went great," said Lt. Daniel Radocaj, the test pilot from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 (VX 23) who made the first EMALS manned launch. "I got excited once I was on the catapult, but I went through the same procedures as on a steam catapult. The catapult stroke felt similar to a steam catapult and EMALS met all of the expectations I had."
The current aircraft launch system for Navy aircraft carriers is the steam catapult. Newer, heavier and faster aircraft will result in launch energy requirements approaching the limits of the steam catapult system.
The mission and function of EMALS remains the same as the steam catapult; however, EMALS employs entirely different technologies. EMALS will deliver the necessary higher launch energy capacity as well as substantial improvements in system weight, maintenance, increased efficiency and more accurate end- speed control.
"I felt honored to be chosen as the shooter to help launch the first live aircraft tested on the new EMALS track at Lakehurst," said Chief Petty Officer Brandon Barr, Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division Test Department, Lakehurst. "It was very exciting to knowingly be a part of naval aviation history. Petty Officers 1st Class Hunsaker and Robinson, Petty Officers 2nd Class Williams, Wong and Simmons, were the Sailors on my team who worked together to help make this test a success. We all look forward to seeing this cutting edge technology deployed on the Gerald R. Ford."
"I'm excited about the improvement EMALS will bring to the fleet from a capability and reliability perspective," said Cmdr. Russ McCormack, ALRE, PMA-251, deputy program manager for future systems. "EMALS was designed for just that purpose, and the team is delivering that requirement."
The system's technology allows for a smooth acceleration at both high and low speeds, increasing the
carrier's ability to launch aircraft in support of the warfighter.
The system will provide the capability for launching all current and future carrier air wing platforms – lightweight unmanned to heavy strike fighters.
Engineers will continue system functional demonstration testing at NAVAIR Lakehurst. The team will expand aircraft launches with the addition of T-45 and C-2 aircraft in 2011.
An F/A-18E Super Hornet lifts off the runway after the first launch by the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System on Saturday Dec. 18 at Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst, N.J. (U.S. Navy photo)
U.S. Navy Pauses to Correct Aircraft Launch System
9 Mar 2011
The new Electronic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) under development for the U.S. Navy took a "pause" to correct problems that appeared after the first test launch in December, a top Navy official said March 9.
The Navy conducted its first test launch of the system using a real aircraft, rather than a test load, on Dec. 21 at its catapult testing facility in Lakehurst, N.J. But no further flights have been made since the successful launch of an F/A-18E Super Hornet.
The problem, said Sean Stackley, the Navy's top acquisition official, was a "gap" between the motors as the system worked to accelerate the aircraft to launch speed.
The EMALS consists of a number of linear motors in series, Stackley explained. "In the handoff from motor to motor, as the aircraft is accelerating, there is a gap. That needs to be tuned."
The Navy and contractor General Atomics have been working on the system's software to cure the problem, Stackley said.
"We took a pause, we're coming back with corrections, and coming back with a system functional demonstration this month," he said during a hearing of the Seapower and Projection Forces subcommittee of House Armed Services Committee.
Stackley made his remarks in response to a question by new chairman Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., about the system's progress.
The EMALS is a key element in the design and operation of the Navy's newest aircraft carrier, the Gerald R. Ford. The ship is about 20 percent complete, according to testimony presented earlier March 9 by Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations, and the system is "on schedule to support delivery" of the carrier in September 2015.
The EMALS program has suffered numerous delays during its development, however, and is reported to have nearly exhausted the margin of error to deliver components on time to shipbuilder Northrop Grumman Newport News so they can be installed on the carrier. Further EMALS delays, one source said, could begin to impact the carrier's building schedule and threaten cost increases.
Along with the associated Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) aircraft recovery system, EMALS is expected to increase the pace of launch and recovery operations on the carrier by 25 percent.
"We are carefully watching components delivered to Newport News," Stackley said. "I think the risk is acceptable, absolutely."
U.S. Navy Resumes EMALS Tests
24 June 2011
Flight tests of the U.S. Navy's new electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS) resumed in late May after a five-month hiatus, and two more aircraft types have now passed their initial launch tests.
The program's maiden launches were accomplished in mid-December when an F/A-18E Super Hornet strike fighter from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 (VX-23) made four takeoffs from the Navy's catapult test center at Lakehurst, N.J. But the tests revealed the need to fine-tune the software that controls the system's motors and better control the miniscule timing gaps between when the motors are energized and turned off.
"The linear motors fire sequentially as you go down the catapult track," said Capt. James Donnelly, the Navy's program manager for EMALS. "Only three are energized at a time. They turn on, turn off. As each one energizes, a force is exerted on the aircraft, and the timing needed to be fine-tuned."
Flight tests with the F/A-18E resumed May 25, and "the launches validated the software changes," Donnelly said.
The Super Hornet made 14 launches using the revamped software, followed by 12 launches on June 1 and 2 with a T-45C Goshawk training jet from VX-23.
A C-2A Carrier Onboard Delivery aircraft from VX-20 made a further series of 12 launches on June 8 and 9.
The Super Hornet will return in July to Lakehurst for another series of launches using a variety of stores, or weapons, mounted under the wings and on the aircraft. Later in the summer, an E-2D Advanced Hawkeye airborne command-and-control aircraft will begin launch tests, Donnelly said.
The multiple launches are used to test a variety of weights on the aircraft, he said, and to validate the EMALS system and improve reliability. The aircraft are also tested at various launch speeds.
Reliability of the EMALS system is "improving," Donnelly said.
"We have more and more launches without any [warning] lights that come on, anything we annotate in launch logs," he said during a June 23 interview.
"A lot of corrections" were made during the early stages of the program's flight testing, Donnelly said.
"We're doing much less of that. We had very few issues in the May and June launches."
The EMALS, under development by prime contractor General Atomics and the Navy, is intended for installation on board the new Gerald R. Ford CVN 78-class aircraft carriers, where they will replace traditional steam catapults. The launch tests are done at Lakehurst using a mixed Navy-General Atomics team.
Despite the five-month pause in the test schedule, production and delivery of EMALS components is proceeding for the Gerald R. Ford, under construction at Huntington Ingalls Industries' Newport News, Va., shipyard.
"No impact to the ship [construction] schedule," Donnelly said. "We're meeting our required in-yard dates. We started deliveries in May, and we're delivering a lot of equipment this month, including most of the motor generators - the components that many folks were most concerned about schedule-wise."
Asked about the program's budget performance, Donnelly noted that production elements are being procured under a fixed-price contract - "no ups and extras there," he said - but he declined to provide test budget figures.
"We're constantly looking at the testing budget, so that's under discussion," he said.
"The bottom line is, we'll continue testing," he said. "Our focus is to ensure the catapult is as reliable as possible as when we deliver and the ship gets underway with sailors aboard."
Sailors at Lakehurst Naval Air Station, New Jersey,
watch as a T-45C Goshawk of VX-23 rolls down the rail
during testing of the EMALS Electromagnetic Aircraft
Launch System in early June. The aircraft made a dozen
launches over two days.
The future is here: EMALS launches F-35
Nov 28, 2011
The twin pillars of tomorrow’s naval aviation both work, and they work together, the Navy says.
The Navy catapulted an F-35C into the air using its new Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System for the first time on Nov. 18, the service announced Monday. Although EMALS has thrown other Navy jets into the sky, the C’s takeoff proves that the service’s two big technological bets are paying off, its statement said.
And there are even bigger implications, per Naval Air Systems Command:
Testing the F-35C on EMALS provided an early opportunity to evaluate technical risks and began the process to integrate the carrier variant Joint Strike Fighter with the future carrier fleet aircraft launching system. “The test flight went well,” said Navy test pilot Lt. Christopher Tabert. “It felt very similar to the steam test launches we did this summer [in the F-35C]. It was quite an honor for me to play a small part in our launch today.”
This summer, the F-35C test team completed more than 50 steam catapult launches to perform an initial structural survey and collected steam ingestion data. The steam ingestion data produced robust results, allowing a reduction in the number of test launches by four. Along with the steam launch data, the EMALS launch testing also provided information for the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence as the UK proceeds with including EMALS in the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier.
In the past 12 months, the EMALS team launched a T-45 Goshawk, an E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, a C-2A Greyhound and several F/A-18 aircraft with and without stores.
That’s right: EMALS is the key to the future of aviation in not one, but two great navies — when the British switched their order from F-35Bs to Cs, they also became dependent on the success of the U.S. Navy’s electromagnetic catapults. In fact, you could argue the Royal Navy has an even greater need for EMALS, given that its Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers won’t be built with steam propulsion.
The first Navy carrier to get EMALS, the USS Gerald R. Ford, was not designed with the steam system it would need in case EMALS didn’t materialize — and this has caused no shortage of anxiety among carrier-watchers over the past few years. But in a worst case scenario, although it would’ve been painful and expensive, the Ford could have been modified to accept steam cats. Nuclear propulsion is steam propulsion anyway, so engineers could have more or less copied the configuration of the earlier Nimitz-class flattops.
The Queen Elizabeth, however, will use gas turbines, meaning there’s no steam aboard either for propulsion or for the flight deck. So if EMALS continues to work as advertised, that means the U.S. and the U.K. will be able to go forward with their existing designs.
Despite this milestone, however, neither program is free and clear. Washington and London could delay or even cancel the programs in the face of their respective defense crunches, and even if the ships survive, making EMALS work aboard and at sea could be a whole other set of hurdles to jump.
What’s that? Of course we have video of EMALS launching the F-35C — check it out over at DefenseTech.
UPDATE: We’d heard at the time that the first F-35C EMALS launch didn’t go initially as scheduled, but Navy spokesman Victor Chen told Buzz on Monday that there was nothing nefarious about the delay. Here’s what he said:
“Initial fit checks required a relatively simple adjustment to the launch bar, which was completed, but not in time to meet crew day requirements. Adverse weather then postponed the launch until the next possible day, Nov. 18. It’s important to note that JSF testing was not originally included in the aircraft compatibility test schedule for EMALS, but the testing of the F-35C presented an early opportunity to test both the aircraft and the launcher.”
Navy confirms cost overrun on CVN 78
Mar 15, 2012
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus confirmed Thursday that the cost overrun for the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford is projected to reach $1 billion, bringing the ship’s total cost to some $12 billion — but said it’s on track to be delivered on schedule.
The admission took place under questioning from Arizona Sen. John McCain, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, who pointedly asked Mabus “what have you been doing on your watch” to control the costs on the new ship.
Mabus said the Navy’s deal with shipbuilder Huntington-Ingalls Industries is such that the government has “recovered its fee” for the project, and remainder of the money for the ship will only go to cover its costs. He also said the Navy expected to use the lessons learned on the first-in-class Ford to make sure the next ship, the USS John F. Kennedy, would not have the same types of cost problems.
Would the Navy need to ask Congress for permission to go above the cost cap on the ship? McCain asked. Not this year, Mabus said — but next year, the service will probably have to get special authorization to pay to continue building.
Navy officials had said before that their worst-case scenario for the Ford was a $1.1 billion cost overrun, and that’s what they had planned for internally. But they said they thought the previous public number, $800 million, was probably as bad as it would get, leaving some headroom in their plans for the medium term.
McCain told Mabus that he’d be “reluctant” to spend more money on the Ford class until the Navy and Huntington-Ingalls can show they’ve gotten the ships’ costs under control. But there doesn’t seem to be any serious threat to the future of the program — if the Pentagon wanted to save the money it must spend on carriers, it could have reduced its requirements in its new “strategy” But it didn’t.
What’s difficult to understand is just how the ship could continue to increase in cost even as it stays on schedule. Often, ship cost overruns take place because engineers need to go back and undo or redo earlier work, which adds delays, which add costs. It’s possible that H-I built enough of a cushion into the schedule for the Ford that the problems it has been having could just absorb more money without needing more time, but we’ve asked for more information to be sure.
And as embarrassing as it might be for the Navy to admit cost growth on top of cost growth, and need to come back to Congress cap in hand, this situation could be a lot worse: Skeptics feared for years that the Ford’s advanced new Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System — which takes the place of the Nimitz class’ old fashion steam cats — might not work. That could have necessitated ripping the ship apart and installing a steam system, to the tune of new costs that could dwarf this one.
By all accounts, however, EMALS works and the Navy appears to expect it to work at sea. We’re a long way off from actual, underway proof of that — first the Navy just has to get this ship built.
Newport News Shipbuilding Celebrates Construction Milestone on Aircraft Carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78)
(Source: Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc.; issued May 24, 2012)
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. --- Huntington Ingalls Industries announced today that its Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) division reached a construction milestone by lowering the final keel section of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) into place. Local media were invited to NNS to watch as the 680-metric-ton lower bow unit was joined to the other keel sections in the dry dock.
"The lower bow is a distinctive component of an aircraft carrier," said Rolf Bartschi, NNS' vice president of CVN 78 carrier construction. "Its sheer size is indicative of the massive undertaking of this project and the incredible work ethic of the shipbuilders bringing Ford to life. I congratulate the team on yet another major construction milestone."
Gerald R. Ford is being built using modular construction, a process where smaller sections of the ship are welded together to form large structural units, outfitting is installed, and the large unit is lifted into the dry dock. Of the nearly 500 total structural lifts needed to complete the ship, 390 have been accomplished.
Comprising six steel sections, the lower bow is more than 60 feet tall and is one of the heaviest superlifts to be placed on the ship. Construction of the lower bow superlift, the last major section of the ship below the waterline, began last year.
Gerald R. Ford represents the next-generation class of aircraft carriers. The first-in-class ship features a new nuclear power plant, a redesigned island, electromagnetic catapults, improved weapons movement, an enhanced flight deck capable of increased aircraft sortie rates, and growth margin for future technologies and reduced manning. The keel for Ford was laid in November 2009. The ship is on track to meet its scheduled launch in 2013 and delivery to the U.S. Navy in 2015.
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