DoD recently granted General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS), the California-based developer of EMALS, export approval for both EMALS and AAG to the Indian Navy.
EMALS is designed to replace the steam catapult systems currently used on all 10 of the U.S. Navy's Nimitz-class, nuclear powered aircraft carriers. The newest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), is the first carrier to deploy EMALS. The Ford is scheduled for deployment in 2019.
EMALS launches carrier-based aircraft from an aircraft catapult using a linear motor drive instead of the conventional steam piston drive.
Its main advantage is it allows for a more graded acceleration, inducing less stress on the aircraft's airframe. It's also lighter than a steam catapult system and cheaper to operate. In addition, EMALS can launch aircraft that are heavier or lighter than those handled by steam catapults.
The Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) system uses electric motors for aircraft deceleration during aircraft carrier recovery operations.
The Indian Navy's "Indigenous Aircraft Carrier II" (IAC-II) program calls for building 65,000 metric ton supercarriers. The second carrier in the Vikrant-class and India's first supercarrier, the INS Vishal, is in the design phase and will deploy both EMALS and AAG.
The Indian Navy in November 2016 confirmed plans to integrate EMALS catapults into its future supercarriers by revealing the dispatch of Letters of Request (LoR) to the U.S. DoD to buy this advanced aircraft launch system.
It said the LoRs cover the purchase of three EMALS under the U.S. Foreign Military Sales Program. Sources in the Indian Navy told media the LoRs were issued in February 2016.
The navy expects the Pentagon to approve the LoRs and to issue its Letters of Acceptance (LoA) approving the deal within the next few months.