President Donald Trump wants to dispose of a newly implemented digital launch system, used to project aircraft, for a prehistoric steam-powered version of its counterpart.
During an interview with Time magazine on Thursday, Trump spoke negatively about the the new Electro-Magnetic Launch System, or EMAL, designed for the new Gerald Ford-class aircraft carriers, and ordered the Navy to go back to using the original steam-power system that launches planes much slower and is harder to maintain.
“I said, ‘You don’t use steam anymore for catapult?’ ‘No sir.’ I said, ‘Ah, how is it working?’ ‘Sir, not good. Not good. Doesn’t have the power. You know the steam is just brutal. You see that sucker going and steam’s going all over the place, there’s planes thrown in the air,’” Trump said.
“It sounded bad to me. Digital. They have digital. What is digital? And it’s very complicated, you have to be Albert Einstein to figure it out. And I said—and now they want to buy more aircraft carriers. I said, ‘What system are you going to be—‘ ‘Sir, we’re staying with digital.’ I said, ‘No you’re not. You going to goddamned steam, the digital costs hundreds of millions of dollars more money and it’s no good.’ He added.
The defense contractor, General Atomics, designed the EMAL to be installed on the new Ford-class carriers designed by Huntington Ingalls Industries. The EMAL was designed to take the place of the 60+ year old steam system that takes up alot of space on ships.
The two companies are referring all inquires on Trump comments to the Navy who has declined to comment.
The Navy is experiencing cost and schedule overruns on the new carriers with the expense climbing for $27 billion to $38 billion over the last 10 years. In 2015 Senator John McCain called the acquirement “one of the most spectacular acquisition debacles in recent memory.”
McCain cited the “misalignment of accountability and responsibility in our defense acquisition system,” that caused the over-spending, not issues with technology.