This is what it is like to be catapulted from an aircraft carrier using Electromagnetic Launch System

GoPro camera provides a unique point of view during a catapult launch using the new electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS).

The following video was taken on Jun. 16, when ship’s sponsor Susan Ford Bales visited Newport News to see progress on the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78).

During the demonstration, she gave the signal to fire the EMALS catapult, with two weighted sleds being launched off the carrier around 1:00 p.m.

The demo follows other tests conducted with  a “dead-load” test of the new electromagnetic aircraft launching system (EMALS) aboard Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78).

The video below shows the 8,000-lb sled with an end speed of 100 knots be catapulted into the James River where it was recovered for additional test launches.

EMALS is the system that will replace the traditional steam catapults: it employs stored kinetic energy and solid-state electrical power conversion for a higher control, monitoring and automation in the launching operations of current and future U.S. Navy embarked platforms.

EMALS infographic


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. Thank goodness these never made it to the british carriers. As the MOD said it was far too risky a technology that would probably never work and we are far better off with helicopter AWE and F35B’s….

  2. Too bad it has so many problems and no solutions in sight until long after the ships EMALS is to go in will be in service! Greater than 10% failure rate = hundreds of millions of dollars of equipment on the bottom of the sea and dozens of possible fatalities, not to mention being completely unable to launch aircraft that are loaded with weapons on external pylons.

  3. Wow! EMALS will be way better than steam catapults. But… is EMALS as a warship system EMP-proof?

    EMCAT fpr the new british carriers were canceled due to double costs. india is interested to aquire EMALS, china will build its own system.

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