Tag Archives: General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS)

Bearing Support Structures

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced on March 2, 2022 that it has delivered to the U.S. Navy the first of two Bearing Support Structures (BSS) for installation in the first Columbia-class submarine USS Columbia (SSBN-826) currently under construction. GA-EMS has been under contract with Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division (NSWCCD) since 2019 to fabricate and deliver the BSSs according to exacting U.S. Navy specifications and construction schedules.

USS Columbia (SSBN-826)
General Atomics Delivers First of Two Bearing Support Structures For Columbia-Class Submarines

«For a project involving the size and complexity of a BSS, we brought the technical strength of our manufacturing engineering, machining, welding and quality expertise together to successfully execute the deliverable on spec and on time», stated Scott Forney, president of GA-EMS. «We are extremely proud of our team as we continue to manufacture and deliver these critical structures to support the Navy’s Columbia-class submarine program».

GA-EMS was awarded the second BSS delivery order in September 2021. Manufacturing activities have started at GA-EMS’ facilities in Tupelo, Mississippi. GA-EMS will deliver the second BSS at the end of 2023 to support the full construction start date of the U.S. Navy’s second Columbia-class submarine in fiscal 2024. The U.S. Navy intends to build 12 Columbia-class submarines over the next 20 years.

«The Navy has stated that the BSS is the largest nickel-copper weldment built to such exacting specifications ever created in the U.S.», said Forney. «The BSS is indeed one of the most significant projects we’ve undertaken and demonstrates our extensive technical expertise and unique manufacturing capabilities to meet the needs of the Navy for a variety of complex components».


Ship statistics

Type Ballistic missile submarine (SSBN)
Displacement (submerged) 20,810 long tons/metric tons 21,144
Length 561 feet/171 m
Hull Diameter 43 feet/13.1 m
Speed 20+ knots/23+ mph/37 km/h
Diving Depth 800+ feet/244+ m
Range Unlimited
Complement 155 (accommodation)
Propulsion Nuclear, Electric Drive
Missile Tubes 16
Weapons System Trident II D5 (LE)


Nuclear Submarine Lineup

Name Laid down Christened Commissioned Homeport
USS Columbia (SSBN-826)
USS Wisconsin SSBN-827


HELWS Prototype

A General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) and Boeing team has been awarded a U.S. Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO) contract to develop a 300 kW-class solid state Distributed Gain High Energy Laser Weapon System. Delivery will be a 300 kW-class distributed gain laser with an integrated Boeing beam director. The objective of this contract is a demonstration of the design.

GA-EMS and Boeing Team to Develop 300 kW-class HELWS Prototype for U.S. Army

«The high power, compact laser weapon subsystem prototype that GA-EMS will deliver under this contract will produce a lethal output greater than anything fielded to date», said Scott Forney, president of GA-EMS. «This technology represents a leap-ahead capability for air and missile defense that is necessary to support the Army’s modernization efforts and defeat next-generation threats in a multi-domain battlespace».

The partnership combines both companies’ expertise in Directed Energy to deliver best-in-class, combat-ready protection for the warfighter with unmatched speed, performance, safety and affordability. Specifically, the system will leverage GA-EMS’ scalable Distributed Gain Laser technology with Boeing’s beam director and precision acquisition, tracking and pointing software to provide a complete demonstrator with sophisticated laser and beam control.

Doctor Michael Perry, vice president for lasers and advanced sensors at GA-EMS describes the laser as «a packaged version of the 7th Generation of our Distributed Gain Design already demonstrated. The laser system employs two Gen 7 laser heads in a very compact and lightweight package. Recent architectural improvements have enabled our single-beam DG Lasers to achieve comparable beam quality to fiber lasers in a very simple design without the need for beam combination».

«We’re excited to take the next step in delivering this critical capability to the Army», said Cindy Gruensfelder, vice president and general manager of Boeing’s Missile and Weapon Systems division. «Our joint offering will leverage proven, deployed technologies to provide an industry-leading solution on an accelerated timeline».

On-Time Delivery

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced on July 12, 2021 that it continues on-time delivery of the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) for installation on the future Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers USS John F Kennedy (CVN-79) and USS Enterprise (CVN-80). GA-EMS’ EMALS and AAG installed aboard USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) recently completed successful at-sea operational testing during an 18-month Post Delivery Trial and Test (PDT&T) period.

General Atomics Continues On-Time Delivery of EMALS/AAG On-Time Delivery for USS John F Kennedy (CVN-79) and USS Enterprise (CVN-80)

«The effects of the pandemic during the past year have presented everyone with some incredible challenges, and we are proud of our team’s dedication and focus on delivering EMALS and AAG equipment for Ford-class carriers even under the most difficult of circumstances», said Scott Forney, president of GA-EMS. «Under multiple contracts with the U.S. Navy, we continue to support USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) sustainment requirements, and deliver EMALS and AAG for the next two Ford-class carriers now under construction, USS John F Kennedy (CVN-79) and USS Enterprise (CVN-80)».

«Multiple contract awards help us efficiently maximize manufacturing plans to ensure there are no gaps in production and we are able to maintain a stable supply chain and workforce to meet the deliverables schedule», continued Forney. «We’ve delivered 97% of EMALS and AAG equipment for USS John F Kennedy (CVN-79), meeting the installation schedule. We also remain on track to support the USS Enterprise (CVN-80) construction schedule, having built, tested and delivered more than 25% of EMALS and AAG USS Enterprise (CVN-80) equipment to date. With that said, we remain poised to provide these same critical technologies as the U.S. Navy determines the EMALS and AAG contract and schedule requirements for the fourth Ford-class aircraft carrier, USS Doris Miller (CVN-81)».

GA-EMS recently announced that EMALS and AAG aboard USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) achieved 8,157 successful aircraft launches and recoveries during the ship’s Independent Steaming Events. Over 400 pilots, including new student aviators, achieved their initial carrier qualifications or recertified their proficiency using EMALS and AAG. Both systems successfully completed Aircraft Compatibility Testing, which confirms the ability to launch and recover aircraft in the current naval air wing. The systems also provide greater flexibility over legacy systems to accommodate the future air wing, including both manned and unmanned aircraft.

Laser Interconnect

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced on June 30, 2021 that, in partnership with the Space Development Agency (SDA), its Laser Interconnect and Networking Communications System (LINCS) satellites were successfully launched on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket as part of the Transporter-2 mission from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida. The two 12U cubesats that make up the LINCS system were successfully deployed into orbit and have begun satellite commissioning and operations. This launch marks the first successful launch of SDA payloads since the agency was established in 2019.

General Atomics LINCS System Launched Successfully and Deployed

«Congratulations to SDA on this historic milestone. We look forward to continue supporting them over the next several months as the GA-EMS LINCS system is used to demonstrate space-based optical communication and validate its efficacy for the future national security space architecture», stated Scott Forney, president of GA-EMS. «I am extremely proud of the GA-EMS team, whose tireless work and remarkable efforts over the past few years have led to a successful launch and deployment of this important technology».

The LINCS system is comprised of two 12U cubesats each hosting a C-band dual-wavelength full duplex Optical Communication Terminal (OCT) and an InfraRed (IR) payload, with all elements internally designed and built by GA-EMS at their facilities in San Diego, CA and Huntsville, AL. In partnership with SDA, this is among the first Department of Defense contracted efforts to develop and deploy a state-of-the-art 1550 nm OCT to test capabilities to increase the speed, reliability, distance, and variability of communication in space.

«Optical communication will significantly augment space-based communication, and the launch of the GA-EMS LINCS system is the first step in proving this critical technology in space», added Nick Bucci, vice president of Missile Defense and Space Systems. «Our next checkpoint is to establish the proper orbit, communication and control of the two spacecraft. From there, we will work with SDA and commence a series of experiments testing optical communication in a variety of operational scenarios».

8,000 «Cats and Traps»

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced on 24 May, 2021 that the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) system aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) achieved the Navy’s target of 8,000 successful aircraft launches and recoveries during the ship’s 18-month Post Delivery Test & Trial (PDT&T) period.

General Atomics EMALS and AAG Systems Aboard CVN-78 Reach Over 8,000 «Cats and Traps» Milestone

«The last 18-months have been very exciting and challenging. We are proud of the record number of critical «firsts» EMALS and AAG achieved during this period to bring the systems into real-time operational readiness», stated Scott Forney, president of GA-EMS. «Navy leadership set a clear goal of completing 8,000 catapult launches and arrestments during PDT&T. EMALS and AAG met and exceeded that goal with a 100% safety record».

During the January 2020 through April 30, 2021 PDT&T period, CVN 78 conducted 18 Independent Steaming Events (ISE) involving night and day, all weather, and various sea state operations. Within the first three months, EMALS and AAG completed critical Aircraft Compatibility Testing (ACT), Flight Deck Certification (FDC), and more than 2,000 successful aircraft launch and recovery cycles involving F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, E-2C/D Hawkeyes and Advanced Hawkeyes, C-2A Greyhounds, EA-18G Growlers, and T-45C Goshawks. By the 17th ISE in March 2021, EMALS and AAG had successfully completed 7,879 cats and traps aboard USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78). During the 18th and final ISE in April 2021, EMALS and AAG broke 8,000 by over 150 launches and recoveries.

«What is also notable is that CVN-78 was the only East Coast carrier available for student aviator carrier training and pilot certification during this period», said Forney. «EMALS and AAG played a critical role in helping over 400 pilots, including new student aviators, achieve their initial carrier qualifications or recertify their proficiency. The confidence placed in EMALS and AAG capabilities to safely launch and arrest both seasoned pilots as they sharpen their skillsets, and future naval aviators as they earn their wings of gold, is something we are extremely proud of».

GA-EMS is also delivering EMALS and AAG for the future USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) and USS Enterprise (CVN-80). EMALS and AAG will provide greater flexibility over legacy systems to accommodate the current air wing, as well as future manned and unmanned aircraft.

Dry Combat Submersible

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced that the first Dry Combat Submersible (DCS) featuring GA-EMS’ Lithium-ion Fault Tolerant (LiFT) battery system as an energy source was accepted by the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). The DCS is a long endurance delivery vehicle capable of transporting personnel in a dry environment. GA-EMS is under contract with Lockheed Martin Corporation to provide LiFT batteries to power the DCS propulsion and internal support systems.

General Atomics Announces Dry Combat Submersible with LiFT Batteries Accepted by USSOCOM

«With demonstrated performance through sea trials and the confidence of USSCOM, our LiFT battery system is becoming a go-to technology when performance is essential for mission assurance», stated Scott Forney, president of GA-EMS. «The acceptance of the first DCS with LiFT technology represents a solid leap toward meeting the demand for battery systems that offer greater reliability, capability and safety to support critical undersea operations. We are proud to be the provider of this energy source and look forward to seeing DCS vehicles with LiFT battery systems onboard achieve USSOCOM acceptance».

The LiFT battery system’s modular design and single cell fault tolerance is designed to prevent uncontrolled and catastrophic cascading Lithium-ion cell failure, improving the safety of personnel and platforms while keeping power available for high mission assurance. LiFT battery systems have undergone rigorous at-sea testing by the Navy and have been classified for use on undersea vehicles by Det Norske Veritas Germanischer Lloyd (DNV-GL), an international accredited registrar and classification society for the maritime industry, further demonstrating the safe operation of the LiFT battery system architecture.



Length 12 m/39.37 feet
Width 2.2 m/7.22 feet
Weight 30 tonnes/66.139 lbs.
Operating Depth 36+ m/118.11 feet
Crew/Pax 2 pilots/8 passengers divers
Range 25+ NM/28.7+ miles/46.3 km
Transport Various
Power Battery


Advanced Arresting Gear

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced that High Cycle Testing of its Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) system for Ford-class aircraft carriers was successfully completed over a two-day period in October 2019 at the Runway Arrested Landing Site (RALS) in Lakehurst, New Jersey. High Cycle Testing was conducted at RALS on a single AAG system that is identical to the three systems aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78). Five F/A-18E/F Super Hornets were involved in the testing to simulate the operational tempo of carrier flight operations at sea.

General Atomics Advanced Arresting Gear System Completes Critical High Cycle Testing

«Over and over again, in rapid succession, AAG sustained an aircraft arrestment rate of nearly one per minute, successfully testing the system’s capability to handle the recovery sequence required for combat readiness», stated Scott Forney, president of GA-EMS. «Arresting aircraft at a high rate over a sustained period on the same wire is an aggressive test and shows the ability of the system to withstand extreme conditions. The USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) has the capability for an even higher operational tempo than demonstrated at the test site because it has three wires and clears aircraft from the flight path more efficiently».

High cycle testing is part of the verification and validation of AAG System requirements. The AAG system test program has completed more than 5,000 arrestments at the land-based test facilities at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, and 747 arrestments aboard USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) during the ship’s initial sea trials. The U.S. Navy has also issued an Aircraft Recovery Bulletin for the fleet air wing, clearing the AAG system for use on all Ford-class carriers.

«We look forward to USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) getting back out to sea in early 2020 to conduct more robust flight operations», continued Forney. «We anticipate executing significantly more sorties during this phase, utilizing both jet and prop aircraft. AAG works as intended, and we will continue to collaborate with the U.S. Navy to ensure system readiness and reliability to meet operational objectives».

AAG is a turbo-electric system designed for controlled and reliable deceleration of aircraft. AAG is installed on board USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) along with the GA-EMS Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS), which uses electromagnetic technology to launch aircraft from the deck of naval aircraft carriers. In addition to USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), EMALS and AAG are being delivered for the future USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) and the USS Enterprise (CVN-80).