Skip to comments.US Navy's plane-hurling mass driver in tech hiccup
Posted on 05/13/2010 8:59:30 PM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld
Radical plans by the US Navy to equip its next aircraft carrier with electromagnetic mass-drivers for launching aircraft instead of the traditional steam catapults have hit technical snags.
The so-called Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System, or EMALS, is now under development in a shore-based test facility at Lakehurst naval air station in New Jersey. However, according to reports, the test mass-driver installation suffered serious damage earlier this year in a mishap blamed on a "software malfunction". Apparently the "shuttle" - which moves along the catapult track to accelerate a plane to flying speed - went the wrong way in a test shot and smashed into important equipment.
The Newport News Daily Press, reporting on an interview with EMALS programme chief Captain Randy Mahr, says that the accident has delayed the shore-based testing by several months. It had been planned to commence launching aircraft - as opposed to test loads - this summer, but that will not now happen until autumn.
The next US supercarrier, CVN 78, aka USS Gerald R Ford, is now under construction and intended to join the fleet in 2015. Navy officials confirmed last year that it is now too late to amend the ship's design and revert to steam catapults: EMALS must be made to work or the US Navy will receive the largest and most expensive helicopter carrier ever
(Excerpt) Read more at theregister.co.uk ...
Polarity is a two way street. Yikes!
They need one of those plugs with a bigger prong on one side.
I am sure they shield it well, but wouldn’t the resultant EMP make the ship just a bit harder to hide?
A setback that they will, and should, recover from.
Like others here at FR, I worked for a major defense contractor. One of the functions reporting to me for several years was Software Quality Engineering which, as we were the prime contractor, had personnel at the software developers’ facilities. The multiple code reviews, modeling and lab testing that is required by a DoD contract for such products is multi-layered and extensive.
I doubt that it was defective EMAL software that caused the incident. It was most likely human error in setting up the test bed properly, or possibly some interfacing software or equipment used to operate the test bed. ......Sensitive software that can lead to loss of life is very carefully controlled through the development, testing and production processes. ......It’s always easy to blame an accident on computer software, but there is usually a human behind the real cause.
The project spokesman had this to say:
Gee, crossed wires; a polarity problem?
Shouldn’t this post get a *Hurl Alert*?
Double check battery installation prior to launching aircraft.
Possible. Although opposing forces would have to come up with specific detection systems for it, which I am pretty sure nobody has implemented.
The closest type of detection system currently existing would be one of the networks of lightning detectors/locators.
I'd like to think that the E-catapult designers have thought of this already, but who knows?
Bad Human Factors engineering, there.
I think regular old sonic signature detection would work. I mean a jet being flung backwards off an aircraft carrier and the jet exhaust hitting the water backwards should have a unique sonic signature.
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