President Trump Wants Steam, Dammit, Not This Newfangled Digital Stuff

The Navy declined to comment.

Enter the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System, generally known as EMALS.

They say it offers a number of advantages over steam-powered catapults now used on Nimitz-class carriers.

According to LaFrance, the EMALS system is almost complete and ready for sea trials - representing "one of three major initiatives in the Navy's push to go upgrade its weapons systems for the digital era". The Kennedy's construction is about 30 percent complete. It contained an unnerving interview between the magazine's White House correspondent and Donald Trump.

The setting of the conversation isn't clear. "And that design change would run throughout the entire ship because of the power required for the new system".

"So, I said, 'What is this?'"

"It sounded bad to me", Trump told Time. Digital. They have digital.

Trump then claimed only Albert Einstein could figure out how to use digital technology to replace the steam-powered launch system for the next generation of Ford-class carriers. And I said - and now they want to buy more aircraft carriers. I said, 'What system are you going to be-' 'Sir, we're staying with digital.' I said, 'No you're not. "The digital costs hundreds of millions of dollars more money, and it's no good'". Ironically, President Trump has been eager to give the generals growing unilateral authority across military operations, though it appears this is a rare exception.

Questions about EMALS were raised in a 2007 Government Accountability Office report that described challenges with the initial technology, cost and schedule. The 2004 contract to develop the EMALS was once listed at just over $145 million and the most recent cost estimate from the Pentagon shows the Navy has spent just over $950 million developing the system.

The technology functions similar to the systems that drive roller coasters. The aircraft carrier is expected to be delivered to the Navy later this year.

The Navy began land-based testing of EMALS in 2010.

Plus the Ford has the EMALS system for a reason: It confers a whole bevy of advantages over its steam-powered predecessor, Andrew Holland of the American Security Project said.

Back in 2010, the Torrey Pines-based company celebrated a milestone with the EMALS launch of an F/A-18E fighter jet at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. Heading the list was the ship's Advanced Arresting Gear, created to allow planes to land safely.

You know, the same sort of machine that connects us all to the cyber.

The EMALS system launches the aircraft from a track using a series of motors, which President Trump was reportedly angry about because it seemed like "you have to be Albert Einstein to figure it out", but which doesn't stress the aircraft and apparently work for bigger planes. Not good. Doesn't have the power.

"You know the catapult is quite important", Trump said. "You see that sucker going and steam's going all over the place, there's planes thrown in the air, '" Trump said in the interview.

  • Joey Payne