Rafale-M carrier-borne fighter on the flight deck of Charles de Gaulle
Rafale-M carrier-borne fighter on the flight deck of Charles de Gaulle

US State Department Approves Foreign Military Sale of EMALS and AAG to France Government

The U.S State Department has decided to approve a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of France of Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS), Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG), and related equipment for an estimated cost of $1.321 billion. The proposed sale will result in a continuation of interoperability between the United States and France. EMALS and AAG will be incorporated into France’s next-generation aircraft carrier program. France will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces. The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region. The prime contractors will be General Atomics-Electromagnetic Systems Group, San Diego, CA; and Huntington Ingalls Industries, Newport News, VA.

The Government of France has requested to buy one (1) Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS), 2 launcher configurations; and one (1) Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG), 3 engine configurations. Also included are land-based testing and test spares; shipboard install; testing and certification support; shipboard spares; peculiar support equipment; government-furnished equipment; multi-purpose reconfigurable training system; operator and maintainer training; integrated electronic technical manuals; drawings and interface control documents; technical assistance; contractor engineering technical services; and other related elements of logistical and program support. The estimated total cost is $1.321 billion.

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Sailors from USS Gerald R. Ford’s (CVN 78) air department load an F/A-18F Super Hornet, assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 piloted by Lt. Cmdr. Jamie “Coach” Struck, onto the electromagnetic aircraft launching system (EMALS)
Sailors from USS Gerald R. Ford’s (CVN 78) air department load an F/A-18F Super Hornet, assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 piloted by Lt. Cmdr. Jamie “Coach” Struck, onto the electromagnetic aircraft launching system (EMALS). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cathrine Mae O. Campbell)

The Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) is a type of aircraft launching system developed by General Atomics for the United States Navy. The system launches carrier-based aircraft using a catapult employing a linear induction motor rather than the conventional steam piston. EMALS was first installed on the United States Navy’s Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier, USS Gerald R. Ford. Its main advantage is that it accelerates aircraft more smoothly, putting less stress on their airframes. Compared to steam catapults, the EMALS also weighs less, is expected to cost less and require less maintenance, and can launch both heavier and lighter aircraft than a steam piston-driven system.

The Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) is a type of arresting gear currently in development by General Atomics for the U.S. Navy’s newest Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers. It will replace the MK 7 hydraulic arresting gear which is in use on the ten Nimitz-class aircraft carriers. The AAG is designed for a broader range of aircraft, including UAVs while reducing manpower and maintenance. Rotary engines which use simple energy-absorbing water turbines coupled to a large induction motor provide finer control of the arresting forces. For AAG there is a variable energy dissipation by the water twister. There is an actual moving plate inside the water twister that adjusts how much resistance to the water is generated. On August 2, 2019, the Navy cleared the AAG for use with “all props and jets”

 An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 piloted by Lt. Cmdr. Jamie “Coach” Struck, performs an arrested landing aboard USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78)
An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 piloted by Lt. Cmdr. Jamie “Coach” Struck, performs an arrested landing aboard USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78).(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cathrine Mae O. Campbell)

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