You’ve undoubtedly heard by now that the Navy believes, yet again, that the EMALS catapult system is fixed and ready to go. Supposedly, it can now launch aircraft with external fuel tanks. Of course, it was previously ready to go until the issue with drop tanks was discovered and it was ready to go until the issue with the bouncing F-35’s was discovered. I haven't heard anything about the bouncing F-35 issue being fixed but the Navy says the system is ready to go!
The Navy claims the system is ready because they’ve performed around 70 test launches. Of course, they didn’t say how many of those tests were successful and how many failed.
Speaking of failure, you’ll recall that the last data we had from DOT&E reported mean time between failures of around 240 cycles – a critical failure every 240 launches – so that’s still a problem, presumably.
You’ll also recall that the Navy has refused to provide subsequent reliability data to DOT&E.
But it’s ready to go, this time.
I hope it is ready but history suggests it’s not.