Trump Wants To Stick with Steam on Aircraft Launching Systems

In an interview this week, President Donald Trump slammed new-school Navy carrier technology, emphatically explaining why he strongly prefers the steam-powered catapults of yore to the modern, electro-magnet ones being produced by Ford.

The gist of his argument to Time magazine was that the new Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System doesn’t function as well as the old one. To prove this, he cited a conversation he had with some unnamed Navy official who had been describing the new system’s faults to him.

“Sir, not good,” the official said to him when Trump asked how the new systems were working. “Not good. Doesn’t have the power.”

“You know the steam is just brutal,” Trump then commented to Time about his discussion with the official. “You see that sucker going and steam’s going all over the place, there’s planes thrown in the air. It sounded bad to me.”

When the president then asked the official what system he planned to buy, he reportedly answered, “Sir, we’re staying with digital.”

“I said, ‘No, you’re not,’” Trump told Time. “You going to (expletive) steam. The digital costs hundreds of millions of dollars more money, and it’s no good.”

Was this a bad choice or a good choice, though? Most of us in the civilian world wouldn’t know, but the folks at the Navy Times might.

They noted that the new EMALS technology “aims to improve efficiency and substantially reduce cost of maintenance” by at least $4 billion over a carrier’s 50-year lifetime.

Moreover, the Pentagon appeared to be in agreement with them. As indicated by The Washington Post, Pentagon officials were convinced that they could calm the president’s concerns about EMALS by presenting the latest details of the program to him.

However, Jerry Hendrix, a retired Navy captain and defense analyst with the Center for a New American Security, added that there was nothing wrong with the president questioning the merits of this new technology, particularly given both its exorbitant price and its still-shaky performance.

Pentagon officials reportedly did admit that the system was still “a work in progress,” the Post noted.

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