Catapult Ford Hero
What:The electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS) being integrated on the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) will be demonstrated to give media an up-close-and-personal view of the catapult system in action. EMALS is designed to replace the existing steam catapults currently being used on the U.S. Navy’s Nimitz-class carriers. Gerald R. Ford, the first of the next-generation class of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, will be the first carrier to use EMALS.
When:Tuesday, June 16 10 a.m. EST Media to arrive no later than 9 a.m.  
Who:Susan Ford Bales, the daughter of former President Gerald Ford and the sponsor of his namesake ship, will participate in the event along with shipbuilders, ship’s crew, and Navy and General Atomics officials. General Atomics is the manufacturer of the EMALS technology.
Where:Media parking will be reserved on the first floor (third row on the left) of the parking deck at the Virginia Advanced Shipbuilding and Carrier Integration Center (VASCIC), 2401 West Ave. in Newport News. Media must arrive no later than 9 a.m. Eastern to participate. Transportation to the carrier will be provided.

Please RSVP by 5 p.m. on Monday, June 15. You must present a photo ID and be a U.S. citizen to be admitted to the event. Please RSVP to:

Christie Miller (757) 380-3581 [email protected]

Attire:Because this event will take place in an industrial setting, long pants and comfortable, flat, closed-toe shoes are required. Sleeveless shirts will not be permitted.  

Traveling more than 300 feet down the catapult track at about 160 miles per hour, EMALS delivers substantial improvements in reliability and efficiency, higher-launch energy capacity, and more accurate end-speed control, with a smooth acceleration at both high and low speeds. By allowing linear acceleration over time, electromagnetic catapults also place less stress on the aircraft.  

During the demonstration, a “dead-load,” which is a large, wheeled, steel vessel weighing up to 80,000 pounds to simulate the weight of actual aircraft, will be launched off the carrier’s bow. Media will be able to photograph and videotape the launch.

About Huntington Ingalls Industries

Huntington Ingalls Industries is America’s largest military shipbuilding company and a provider of manufacturing, engineering and management services to the commercial and non-commercial energy, oil and gas markets. For more than a century, HII’s Newport News and Ingalls shipbuilding divisions in Virginia and Mississippi have built more ships in more ship classes than any other U.S. naval shipbuilder. Headquartered in Newport News, Virginia, HII employs approximately 38,000 people operating both domestically and internationally. For more information, visit:

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Transponder: Ku Digital 10 – Ch.C (9 Mhz)

Downlink Frequency: 11904.5 

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Window: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. EST on Saturday, Nov. 19

Note: The six minute video that begins the ceremonial keel laying for Arkansas (SSN 800) includes copyrighted materials from HII/Newport News Shipbuilding and others.

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