Chinese electric car scientists are creating powerful electromagnetic catapults for aircraft carriers

By comparison, traditional electromagnetic catapult systems on aircraft carriers typically take more than three seconds to accelerate a 13-ton fighter aircraft to 66 meters per second.

The new device can bring an aircraft approaching at a speed of 72 meters per second to a complete stop in 2.6 seconds, which fully complies with the soldiers requirements.

“The new catapult system has a small footprint, simple structure, light weight, and does not require a complex power supply system,” wrote a team led by Ye Lezhi, associate professor at the School of Mechanical and Power Engineering at Beijing University of Technology. , in a peer-reviewed article published in the Chinese academic journal Acta Armamentarii on February 27.

The journal, run by the China Ordnance Society, is one of the most influential scholarly journals in defense technology in China, covering defense, dual-use technology and interdisciplinary research projects in the military and civilian sectors.

New observations of the J-35’s progress on the deck of the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning

Scientists involved in the project believe that the new technology will be able to free up valuable deck space on aircraft carriers and give other warships long-range air strikes. If it catches on, it could give the Chinese navy a real edge.
Electric cars Use powerful torque engines to achieve acceleration performance that far exceeds that of fuel-powered vehicles. After releasing the accelerator pedal, the driver can also use electromagnetic force to convert the kinetic braking energy into stored electricity.

The working principle of the device designed by Ye’s team is similar. Before being catapulted, a powerful motor drives a heavy flywheel that rotates at high speed. Once the aircraft is secured to the catapult shuttle, the flywheel transmits kinetic energy to a winding wheel, which then jerks the shuttle through a steel cable to apply force to the aircraft’s landing gear, accelerating the aircraft to take-off speed .

The flywheel and winding wheel never touch each other; instead, an eddy current coupling generates the electromagnetic force that binds them together.

To stop an aircraft, the rotation of the flywheel is simply reversed – no additional acceleration is required.

Ye’s team built a prototype and the test results confirmed the feasibility of the design, according to their article.

The scientists claim that this new catapult can send large fixed-wing aircraft into the air in just 100 meters – a feat within the reach of many. Chinese warships cover.
The new electromagnetic catapult could make ships like the Chinese aircraft carrier Fujian a force to be reckoned with. Photo: CCTV

Ye is a “science and technology star” backed by the Beijing municipal government. He plays a crucial role as Deputy Secretary General of the China Electronic Specialty Equipment Industry Association and as an expert who makes national advanced technology forecasts for the Ministry of Science and Technology.

His team is deeply entrenched in partnerships with Chinese manufacturing sectors, including the automotive industry.

In recent years, an influx of senior manufacturing experts have joined China’s defense technology research and development. The Chinese government’s push for military-civilian integration, while hampered in the past by the technological limitations of civilian products, is now bearing fruit.

China has the largest and most complete industrial chain in the world, with a growing number of products – including electric vehicles – that are surpassing their Western counterparts in technological advancement.

Last year, car manufacturer BYD unveiled the groundbreaking ‘yi si fang’ electric vehicle platform, which achieved a global first by eliminating the need for brake calipers and relying solely on electric motors for efficient braking.

Some Chinese military experts believe that the rapid iteration and large-scale deployment of these new technologies will not only revolutionize the automotive industry, but also have a profound impact on the military.

Currently, the aircraft carrier electromagnetic catapult system uses a long, straight track to accelerate the aircraft, with a large number of electromagnetic coils laid around the track to generate thrust for continuous acceleration as the aircraft passes.

The United States, a pioneer of this technology, has equipped its state-of-the-art Gerald Ford-class aircraft carrier with four such electromagnetic catapults.

“Since its entry into service, however, the supercarrier’s electromagnetic catapult system has been experience several serious problemsincluding poor reliability, low efficiency and even long-term outages,” Ye’s team wrote in the paper.

According to data released by the U.S. Department of Defense last year, the catapult system experiences a major maintenance problem after every 614 launches, a stark contrast to the U.S. Navy’s benchmark of 4,000 launches.

Even more worrying is the failure rate of the arrest system: after every 46 landings, one system failure occurs, implying that a significant portion of fighter jets launched from the aircraft carrier may not return safely.

These serious problems resulted in the USS Gerald R. Ford often spending less than two weeks on missions at sea and unable to engage in prolonged, intensive confrontations with the growing Chinese Navy in sensitive waters such as the South Chinese Ocean.

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China broadcasts images of a Fujian aircraft carrier with an advanced catapult launch system

China broadcasts images of a Fujian aircraft carrier with an advanced catapult launch system

Senior U.S. military officials are increasingly expressing concerns about the damaging impact of the declining U.S. manufacturing industry on the advancement of military technology and equipment.

According to the US Navy, China’s shipbuilding capabilities now dwarf those of the US, with a capacity 200 times greater.

The absence of global telecommunications leaders similar to Huawei has resulted in U.S. warships lagging behind in radar and electromagnetic suppression technologies compared to their Chinese counterparts.
Meanwhile, traditional US military heavyweights such as Boeingstruggling with manufacturing and quality control challenges have lagged behind China, Russia and even Iran in developing and deploying advanced weapons such as hypersonic missiles.

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