US President Donald Trump passes comments before the US troops aboard the USS Wasp at a Memorial Day event in Japan’s Yokosuka Tuesday about the Navy’s new electromagnetic aircraft launch systems on its new Ford-class supercarriers, and asserted that he wants them “to use steam.”
Ford’s Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) is replacing traditional steam catapults as the preferred way to launch aircraft off navy ships.
“You know, they were saying — one of the folks said, ‘No, the electric works faster. But, sir, we can only get the plane there every couple of minutes,’” he said. “So, really, what they did was wrong.”
Trump strongly suggested there was no way to know whether the more modern system would work efficiently during wartime.
“I think I’m going to put an order,” the president said. “When we build a new aircraft carrier, we’re going to use steam. I’m going to just put out an order: We’re going to use steam. We don’t need — we don’t need that extra speed.”
Trump has been a vocal critic of Ford’s system and told the personnel the technical innovation that came with EMALS was offset by its huge costs.
“Steam’s only worked for about 65 years perfectly,” the president added. “And I won’t tell you this because it’s before my time by a little bit, but they have a $900 million cost overrun on this crazy electric catapult.”
In January this year, Senator Tim Kaine confirmed the U.S. Navy had informed lawmakers it intended to purchase two Ford-class aircraft carriers.
Kaine, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said officials believed the move could save billions of dollars for taxpayers.