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December 21, 2010

Neato: First Successful Electromagnetic Launch of a Plane

Aircraft carriers launch by some kind of steam-based hydraulic canon, but this new system is electromagnetic.

So what's the advantage? I think, if I'm reading this right, it's that the e-mag can be dialed up or down in power to launch a whole bunch of differently-weighted planes, whereas the steam catapults were pretty much limited to launching a plane of one weight (within small parameters of variation). Correction: Sorta right. The steam cats could launch a variety of weights, but could not get low enough to launch UAVs and couldn't be dialed up to launch heavier planes.

Among other advantages, that system promises to allow the Navy to launch a wider range of aircraft from a carrier -- including everything from lightweight unmanned aircraft to heavy strike fighters -- and do so while also bringing "substantial improvements" to weight, maintenance, and efficiency.

Video below.

Railguns on their way, presumably.

Thanks to CDR M.

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posted by Ace at 07:28 PM

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