3 thoughts on “First F-35C Catapult Launch”

  1. I don’t think that’s a steam catapult; too clean and not leaking steam at every flange. More likely it’s the new EMALS, an electromagnetic launch system that’s supposed to replace steam cats on new CVA’s. It’s also being tested at Lakehurst.

    1. Nope, that’s a steam catapult.

      Remember, it’s not shooting birds day in and day out. The flanges aren’t worn. But interestingly, it is designed to operate in a degraded mode so they can test the effect of steam ingestion in later testing.

      In a conservative test program, there’s no way they’d make a first cat launch on the EMALs since it is in the initial test phases itself.

  2. OK, you got me wondering enough to go out looking for information, and…. You’re right, it was a steamer. From the Defense Daily:
    “The F-35C – the carrier variant of the JSF program – was launched by a TC-13 Mod 2 test steam catapult, similar to the catapults used by all the Navy’s aircraft carriers.”
    Still, color me amazed at how tight the system is. I was on Coral Sea when we replaced all three cats, and even new, they leaked quite a bit.

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