AUSTIN, Texas—The Center for Electromechanics at The University of Texas at Austin is part of a team selected to develop the next generation system of launching jets from aircraft carriers.
The new system uses electromagnetic forces to quickly accelerate aircraft and the center has supplied a novel electrical generator to the system.
General Atomics, based in San Diego, leads the team developing the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System under a $145 million System Development and Demonstration contract.
The system is to be used in the U.S. Navy’s next generation of aircraft carriers, due at sea by 2014, replacing the steam-driven system that’s launched aircraft for decades.
The electromagnetic launcher should provide better performance, require less human power and cost less over its life than steam catapults. It also has the power to launch heavier, faster aircraft.
The Center for Electromechanics designed, made and tested the electrical generator for the system. It was the only university-related entity on the winning contract team and it will continue to work on the project as the system is further developed.
“The CEM brought to bear its extensive expertise in electromechanical systems for this project,” said Robert Hebner, the center’s director.
He said the project will involve more than $3 million in technology transfer activities between the university and other members of the team.
“This project would not have been successful without the skills and cooperation of Texas companies,” said Ray Zowarka, the project manager for The University of Texas at Austin. “In particular, MEPCO, Inc. in Houston and Evans Enterprises, Inc. in Waco provided key facilities and insights needed for the project success.”
The project calls for General Atomics to design, build and install a full-scale system at the Naval Air Systems Command Lakehurst, N.J. by 2006 and to conduct testing in 2007 and 2008.
Other companies on the team are General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. and General Atomics Electronic Systems Inc., both affiliated with General Atomics; John J. McMullen Associates; Kato Engineering; Foster-Miller Inc., Titan Pulse Sciences Division; and STV Inc.
For more information contact: Tim Green, 512-423-5806.