The US Navy has successfully launched a Boeing EA-18G Growler aircraft using electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS), as part of aircraft compatibility testing (ACT) phase two.

During the trials at the land-based test site at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, US, the first EMALS successfully launched the Growler aircraft, an electronic attack variant of the Block II F/A-18F Super Hornet and Navy replacement for the EA-6B Prowler.

EMALS integrated test team leader, George Sulich, said the EMALS aircraft carrier catapult system is expected to undergo more than 300 launch trials this year.

The second phase of aircraft testing aims to demonstrate the aircraft’s ability to meet end-speed and validate launch-critical reliability in simulated various carrier situations such as off-centre launches and planned system faults.

"During ACT 2, we will launch every aircraft currently utilising today’s carrier catapults, with the exception of the E-2C Hawkeye," Sulich added.

Conducted in fall 2011, the first phase of aircraft compatibility trials involved the Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet, McDonnell Douglas T-45C Goshawk, Northrop Grumman C-2A Greyhound and E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, and Lockheed Martin F-35C Lightning II to evaluate any technical risks.

Designed to replace steam catapults, EMALS carrier-based launch system provides necessary higher launch energy capacity, substantial improvements in system maintenance, increased reliability and efficiency, as well as more accurate end-speed control.

This article was first published on the Strategic Defence Intelligence website. For more information, please click here.