LAKEHURST, N.J. (NNS) -- General Atomics was awarded a System Development and Demonstration (SDD) contract April 2 that will include the design, fabrication, delivery, integration, test and support of one full scale, full length, shipboard representative Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) for NAVAIR Lakehurst, at the Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst, N.J.
General Atomics, based in San Diego, will have its equipment installed at Lakehurst by 2006 and conduct testing in 2007-2008.
"The contract, valued at (more than) $145 million, is the final step in a multi-phase research and development acquisition program to replace the current steam catapults used on aircraft carriers to launch aircraft from their decks. EMALS will be installed on the CVN-21 future class of carriers that is currently scheduled to be at sea by 2014," according to George Sulich, EMALS team leader.
The present steam catapults are large, heavy, energy inefficient, manpower intensive and dependant on steam provided by the ship's engineering plant. EMALS is intended to be inherently more survivable, provide better performance, be less manpower intensive and have a lower life cycle cost than steam catapults. EMALS will be capable of launching all conventional and short takeoff fixed wing carrier aircraft currently projected for the Navy inventory through 2030, including the Joint Strike Fighter. The goal is to be capable of launching all future aircraft projected in the inventory through 2050.
The EMALS land based support facility is to be constructed by Hensel Phelps Construction Co., of Aurora, Co. and is expected to be completed by December 2005. That contract is in the amount of $20.5 million. It will include building the infrastructure, supporting buildings and related utilities for the EMALS program.
"This new EMALS support facility in Lakehurst will serve the Navy for many years to come," said Sulich. "It will be used to test and evaluate future EMALS modifications, as well as test and evaluate both upgraded aircraft and completely new aircraft that may be used in the future."
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