Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) is developing new launch systems for warplanes based on aircraft carriers, USC President Alexei Rakhmanov told TASS on Wednesday.
“We closely follow developments in shipbuilding in the leading sea powers and do not sit idle. Work is currently underway to develop systems that can also be used on modern aircraft carriers. For example, we are working on special modifications of new aircraft launch systems,” he said.
The United Shipbuilding Corporation president did not specify the characteristics of these systems or the timeframe of their creation.
Catapults for aircraft carriers
Then-CEO of the St. Petersburg-based Nevskoye Design Bureau Sergei Vlasov earlier told TASS that Russia had started work to create an electromagnetic aircraft launch system (an electromagnetic catapult) for aircraft carriers.
An aircraft launch system (a catapult) aboard an aircraft carrier is needed to accelerate radar surveillance aircraft or planes with the thrust/weight ratio insufficient for taking off from the ski-jump ramp on the carrier’s fore end.
A steam catapult is a mechanism driven by high pressure steam. A special channel is arranged under the deck for a shuttle to move along it. The shuttle takes hold of the aircraft’s nose gear and pulls the plane. The catapult gives the plane the necessary speed for the take-off.
An electromagnetic catapult is a mechanism, which accelerates an aircraft by linear induction motors instead of steam shuttles. This principle is used on monorail railroads.
The work on creating a steam catapult was carried out in the Soviet Union. The new device was expected to be installed on the 7th Soviet heavy aircraft carrier Ulyanovsk that was under construction at the Nikolayev Shipyard (Ukraine). The creation of this warship was halted in 1992 and it was cut up and junked as metal scrap.
An electromagnetic catapult is being tested aboard the US most advanced aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford. A deck-based plane was for the first time launched from it on July 28, 2017.