Advanced Technology Catapults  - Company Message
 
 
 
 
An Aircraft Catapult Launch System Which Upgrades Wasp Class To Light Carrier (LHA) Capability with Full Strike And Self Protection Capability And Full Integration With USN Carriers
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
Stallard Associates Competition Confidential
This document contains information proprietary or sensitive  to Stallard Associates, Hampton, Virginia  and is not to be disclosed to or copied by, nor used in any manner by others without the prior, express, written permission of  the COO of Stallard Associates, Clinton W Stallard III
 
This document proposes an advanced technology catapult for the current and future Wasp Class and other vessels with sufficient deck to fit a catapult and an arrester assembly This adds the functionality of a strike carrier and provides self defense capability. This catapult, named FireCat, compared to the EMALS or C13 steam catapults, is much less expensive, is simpler, lighter, uses much less ship internal volume, is much more powerful, than EMALS ,equally as controllable, increases airframe life, reduces personnel required and is independent of the host ship propulsion plant or generating plant.
 
 There is no other available option or alternate technology that provides a greater increase in large deck ship capability, self defense capability and mission options per money spent. This technology provides true value for money.
 
 Executive SummaryBefore addressing the benefits of FireCat, let's clarify one point about EMALS.  Yes, the launch engine is 95% efficient.  However, the thermal losses (40%) by the reactor to make steam, losses by the turbogenerators,(64% MECHANICAL, 33% electrical),and various switching and storage losses are counted,  EMALS is less than 6% efficient.  The steam catapult is more than 35% efficient and FireCat is more than 60% efficient, or 10 times more efficient than EMALS (There will be little thermal loss and friction losses are overcome by increasing the fuel burn rate ) .
 
Installation of Internal Combustion Catapults (FIRECAT) on ships which  have no catapults such as our LHAs, LHA(R)s or LHDs and as backfits to the Nimitz Class or Ford Class Carriers to give them more capability than steam or electromagnetic catapults.  Additionally, FireCat is installable as a backfit  on non-nuclear platforms such as the Queen Elizabeth, the Prince of Wales, and the Canberra LHA as no significant rework to the ship being upgraded is required.   The approximate cost for two FireCAT is less than the cost of one F35b plane ( $180 M ) and very possibly less than half that due to the fact that 90% of the hardware is off the shelf.
 
•      The US navy would like 15 carriers, but can only afford 11 or less.
•      The purpose of a carrier is to project power via strike aircraft.
•      Any platform that can support strike aircraft supports the Navy mission
•      Current attack aircraft (F18 E/F) require a catapult to launch them fully loaded.
•      Currently only the CVAN 78 Ford aircraft carrier can support a EMALS catapult while Nimitz Class carriers can only support C13 steam catapults.  Other large deck platforms cannot support steam or EMALS catapults as the steam capacity or electrical generating capacity of their propulsion plant is insufficient to support both propulsion and or electromagnetic catapults unless separate large boilers and turbogenerators or accumulators are installed, along with significant rework to the underdeck areas.
•      The FireCat can launch aircraft with the carrier at a pier with the propulsion plant shut down.
•      A catapult that is independent of the host ship propulsion plant would allow installation on the USS America, LHA 6, and other LHA/LHDs such as the Australian Canberra, along with additional platforms such as Seabase or the British  CVE carriers such as the Queen Elizabeth.   Along with new construction or backfit to the LHAs with a hanger deck added, giving them a new strike capability. or ability to bring additional air assets to the battle area in a fighter ferry or waypoint refueling role where the ship can launch and recover aircraft for use with CVN carriers or shore based aviation facilities  This supports the Marine mission along with greatly increasing the tactical value of the platform.
•      Commercial large deck platforms could also be converted, providing an additional low cost and easily achieved strike capability.
•      Installation of the FIRECAT aboard an LHA platform would allow launch and recovery of current strike aircraft. The FIRECAT utilizes most of the present catapult machinery, particularly all of the components forward of the launch valve.
•      The steam catapult drive gas is replaced by a combustion gas generator which provides the launch energy in place of nuclear power generated steam.
•      The combustion gas generator is well known, highly reliable and commercially available.  It is based upon current jet, automotive engine and power plant combustor technology.
•      Due to the ability of the combustion gas generator to provide a wide range of time-pressure curves, it will be possible to launch a very wide range of vehicles, from UAVs to future aircraft heavier than the F18.  The ability to tightly control the launch pressure will allow a very low peak to mean launch pressure which reduces stresses on the aircraft  being launched.  ( 2G or less ).
•      Launch weapons such as land attack missiles, drones ,and a wide array of weapons and defensive measures.
•       
•      The tightly controlled FIRECAT launch pressure allows a continually rising launch pressure through the length of the catapult stroke allowing high launch end speeds.  This also allows launch jets loaded with external fuel tanks
•      Launches can be accomplished as quickly as a plane can be staged for launch.  This  is due to the launch energy being stored in the JP5 fuel and being available immediately for the next launch.
•      The FIRECAT catapult launch speed, launch force and launch weight is a function of fuel burned per unit time during launch. There is no upper limit to the FIRECAT on end speed, launch force, and weight launched, although the launch engine components may need reinforcing for heavier future aircraft.
•      The additional FIRECAT power can allow the launch engine to be shortened and more readily fitted aboard a different host ship..
•      FIRECAT can be installed at Pax River or Lakehurst and significant qualification testing can be done by the spring of 2018 (one year). This  is due to the fact that 95% of the FIRECAT hardware is COTS and the launch engine is already installed at the test catapult site.
 
 
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
Section                       Title                                                                                       Page No.
 
I.                     Executive Summary                                                 5
            A.        Technology Description                                           5
            B.        Benefit                                                                         6
            C.        Backfit                                                                         6
            D.        Recommendations                                                     6
 
II.                    Description of Technology                                     7
            A.        Propellant Selection                                                              9
            B.        Gas Generation Requirements                               11
            C.        Hardware Description                                             12
 
III.                  Applications Used or in Development                15
            A.        NAVAIR C14 Catapult.                                          
 
IV.                  The Technology Meets Requirements                16
           A.  Platform Independent Power Source                            16
            B.        Increased Maximum Launch Energy                    16
            C.        Complete Launch Force Control                           16
            D.    Reduction in Weight and Volume                              16
                  Table IV.B.-1                                                                   16
V  Benefits of Technology                                                             16
            A.        Platform Benefits                                                     16
            B.        Increased Launching Power Availability             16
            C.        Retains Existing Technology                                 16
            D.        Aircraft and Launch System Benefits                   17
            E.         Savings in Weight and Volume                              17
            F.     Scalability and Modularity                                          17
VI.              Areas of Technical Risk                                            18
            A.        Propellant Delivery Rates                                       20
            B.        Combustor Design                                                   20
          C.      Thermal Shock                                                                                                           D.                     Igniter Design                                                                     20
E.     Control System Response                                                                                                     
            F.         Failsafe Operation                                                   21
 
TABLE OF CONTENTS (cont’d)
 
Section           Title                                                         Page No.
 
VII.                  Maturity of Technology                                                                                                    24
            A.        Propellant                                                                                                                                          24
            B.        Oxidizer                                                                                                                                             24
          C.         Controls                                                                                                           24
           
VIII.                 Maturity of Technology for Production                                                                        25
          A.      Existing Catapult Launch Hardware                                                            25
            B.        New Equipment                                                                                                                               25
          C.      Recommendations                                                                                           25
                       Phase One.                    Production Design                                              26
                     Phase Two                     Procurement                                                          26
                     Phase Three                  Full Scale Prototype                                             26
                     Phase Four                         Operational Evaluation                                    26
IX.     Points of Contact                                                                                                     27
        
 ENCLOSURE   A                                                                                                     28
 
SECTION I.  EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
 
Technology Description - The Internal Combustion Catapult Aircraft Launch System (FIRECAT) is a hybrid catapult launching system using conventional steam catapult hardware forward of, but not including, the launch valve with launch energy provided by a compact, combustion gas and steam generating subsystem which is located at the aft end of the existing C13 launch engine. This subsystem produces combustion gas and steam in a combustor by burning JP5 and oxygen enriched airand injecting water into the combustion gas stream to produce steam, cooling the combustor walls and the combustion  gas stream while producing more propulsion force.  This is the sxact technology being used by a number
 
The FIRECAT is designed to provide precise control of acceleration, tailored to the specific aircraft parameters for each launch.  It incorporates injectors and closed-loop control, much like the fuel system of a modern automobile to ensure that the desired acceleration profile is accurately met.  Its combustor design is based upon the proven gas generation technologies of jet engine and electrical generation power plant combustors.
 
B.  Benefits - The FIRECAT system independence removes demands of the system on the propulsion plant.  FIRECAT provides a substantial gain in launch system capability and retains a large portion of the current, and proven launch system which reduces system development time and costs.  FIRECAT’s closed-loop launch control system assures positive control of launch forces, reduces airframe stresses and assures required launch end speeds for a wide range of launch vehicles.
 
 FIRECAT can be installed on any other large deck platform using diesel, CODAG, turbine drive or steam.  This enables ships such as the LHA class to gain true carrier strike capability with cats and traps.  This  allows carrying a mix of planes on an LHA such  as the F35c,  F/A-18E/F Hornets, F/A-18G, E-2C Hawkeyes, fixed-wing EA-6B Prowlers; and SH-60F and HH-60H Seahawk helicopters.  This allows the host ship to act in a much more capable role with CAS for a much longer time than the F35b in an amphibious support role,  Additionally,  the host platform can function as a strike carrier, launching a mix of F35c and F/A-18E/F fighters .  This adds an extra carrier deck with cats and traps acting in support of a CVAN strike force with the capability to launch and recover aircraft,  This supports long distance flights as a mid-flight refueling station or an aircraft transport platform to get an air wing to where there are aerial refueling assets, a sea base with catapults aboard or friendly countries/airstrips available.
 
C.  Backfit -  The FIRECAT’s design is adaptable and scalable for application to a variety of ship platforms, aircraft and other launch vehicles.  The FIRECAT system can be readily back-fitted to upgrade existing Nimitz aircraft carrier launch capability to well beyond that of EMALS.  FIRECAT is almost self sufficient and needs very little in the way of ship services, power or ship volume along with removing well over a million pounds topside compared to EMALS. 
 
D.  Recommendations - This paper recommends the development of the FIRECAT  system for use on Naval platforms, including LHA/LHD/CVE and new non-nuclear concepts.  The proposed system should be funded for early demonstration of the critical technologies, installed on a mothballed carrier, or a test catapult, then temporarily back-fit to an existing operational catapult for full-scale testing and operation.  This operational carrier can be the  test platform as the installation is reversible so one of the four  C13  catapults can be converted to FIRECAT for testing and then reverted to a  C13 steam catapult, all during an availability,  Later system design improvements are identified which should be investigated for additional weight reduction, required manpower reduction, further system simplification and increased capability enhancements.
 
SECTION II.  DESCRIPTION OF TECHNOLOGY
 
          Catapult development has been driven by the increasing weight of the aircraft to be launched.  The steam catapult began a reliance on the propulsion plant.  Alternatively, NAVAIR  developed the C14 internal combustion catapult which was independent of the ship’s propulsion system to reduce this dependence upon the propulsion plant and provide
          greater launch capability.
 
          The US Naval Air Warfare Center developed and qualified the C14 catapult which was installed at Lakehurst Naval Air Warfare Center and launched fighter planes in 1959. fighter planes in 1959.
 
The C14 catapult was qualified and four sets were built for the Enterprise and delivered to
Newport News Shipbuilding for installation.  With the unfortunate Naval operating personnel sabotage driven problems at the test site as  Mr. Holland documents below above, and extreme pressure from Adm Rickover in favor of using his steam driven catapults,
 
see  (books.google.com/books?isbn=1557501777),  which is  http://tinyurl.com/o8ctrsz.
This is Rickover: The Struggle for Excellence, page 179.  A biography.
 
The decision was made for steam at the last moment before trials. Political difficulties, pressure from Rickover,  sailor malfeasance  
 
 
and ready availability of steam from shipboard nuclear plants made the C14  catapult approach politically not possible at that time. 
 
The point of the above is that, in 1959,  there was a working and qualified internal
combustion powered catapult that exceeded  the capabilities of the curent steam catapult, and was launching planes reliably.  This catapult was at  a lesser cost, volume, weight and demand upon ship systems.
         
See Enclosure 1.  This is aThiokol brochure describing the components and capability of the C14 internal combustion catapult
 
The following document presents a rethink of the 53 year old C14 Internal Combustion
Catapult configuration using 2016 technologies currently available as proven and
commercially available (COTS) hardware to satisfy the  requirements of the new FIRECAT catapult.  Emphasis is given to both describing the FIRECAT combustion gas and steam generating system used to drive the current C13-1 or C13-2 launch engines and the methods for controlling it.  Additionally, information is provided for the Pressure Swing Adsorption unit which is the source for the enriched air used (95% oxygen).
•       
•      All of the other launcher components discussed are part of the existing C13-2 catapult systems and subsystems components currently installed on operating Nimitz class carriers
•      FIRECAT is available as a fall-back inexpensive "Plan B" for the Ford Class.  Compared to EMALS or the standard C13 series of steam catapults, FIRECAT is a much less costly system whose COTS hardware, volume requirements and weight savings make FIRECAT straight-forward to evaluate, test, qualify, and install. FIRECAT can provide more than double the launch energy that EMALS can provide while under full closed loop control.  This allows much more growth in the weight of future manned aircraft and for launch a range of weapons from the lightest of the UAVs to large ones such as the X-47b, and future heavier UAVs and carrier launched aircraft
•       
A.  Propellant Selection
The  FIRECAT concept fuel proposed, as presented in this white paper, is JP5 (kerosene jet fuel)  and the oxidizer is non-cryogenic oxygen enriched air.  The JP-air system has benefits in the area of logistics in that the fuel used by the combustor is the same as that used by the aircraft being launched.  Typically there are two to three  million gallons of JP5 aboard an aircraft carrier  which will supply both the jets being launched  and  the catapults launching them.  The enriched air utilized has the nitrogen removed, leaving 95+ percent pure ambient temperature oxygen. 
 
Oxygen is only ~20% of the atmosphere and is  the oxidizer for any standard combustion system, including automotive engines..  The FIRECAT system adds a COTS oxygen concentrating system known in industry as a Pressure Swing Absorption (PSA) plant which removes nitrogen from the air. Eliminating atmospheric nitrogen reduces the volume of gas to be compressed by 80% and eliminates nitrogen caused flame instabilities in the combustor.  This allows a much smaller compressor and more tightly controlled combustion. 
 
The PSA process systems are designed to be highly efficient,  Present large systems are able to generate up to 200 tons per day of oxygen with purity of 95 per cent.  A max launch of 70,000 pounds at up to 4.6G will require a quantity of up to 6.5 gallons (44.5 pounds) of JP5 and will  require 14 gallons (133.5 pounds) of oxygen per launch or 15 launches per ton of oxygen. or 6.675 tons per 100 launches per day per catapult system.  This works out to 556 pounds per hour system output which is 139 pounds per hour per tank from a four tank installation similar to the  two tank installation shown below.  This installation should fit in a reasonable size compartment, somewhat smaller than one of  the EMALS energy storage motor generator compartments.
•               
      
·         Production: Oxygen  98% Purity:
Outlet Pressure: 0.5 Mpa (5 Bar)  (73.5 PSI
Normal Operating Pressure: 0.4-0.5 Mpa (4-5 Bar)
Flow Rate: 6 m3/hr to 40 m3/hr


·         These compact and highly reliable plants were initially designed for remote installation, military applications and can also be installed onboard ships, islands and on mobile trailers.
·         All systems are designed for un-attended operation and automatic Oxygen demand adjustment. 
·         The design and Instrumentation makes the plant size very compact, prefabricated,  assembled on skids, and supplied from factory  
·         Fast Start-up Start-up time is about 30 minutes to get desired Oxygen purity. So these units can be switched ON & OFF as per Oxygen demand changes.
·          High Reliability Very reliable for continuous and steady operation with constant Oxygen purity. Plant availability time is better than 99% always
·         Molecular Sieves Life 
Expected Molecular sieves life is more than 10 years .  Sieves are replaceable. 
·         Rix high pressure pumps supply compressed oxygen to accumulators that provide oxygen to support aircraft launch

B.  Gas Generation Requirements
 
The most efficient launch profile is one of constant acceleration, as this minimizes stresses on both the aircraft and crew.  For a gas-driven energy source, the requirement for constant acceleration translates into the need for a progressively increasing gas flow during the stroke to maintain constant pressure on the face of the accelerating piston.
 
For FIRECAT, it is not required to preheat the launch cylinders prior to initiation of launch activity as thermal loss effects are negated by slightly increasing the  fuel/air burn rate to offset thermal losses.  Since the velocity of the shuttle piston at the end of its stroke is only about 300 ft/sec, much lower than the speed of sound in the FIRECAT-produced gases, the launch pressure against the face of the launch pistons should be constant.  Thus the demand for the progressive increase in gas flow during the launch cycle is driven primarily by the accelerating volume expansion as the shuttle piston gains velocity.  For a constant acceleration profile, the control function translates into a simple quadratic (parabolic) increase in gas flow rate with position of the shuttle piston
 
The control function for the highest velocity launch scenario requires a progressive increase in gas generation by a factor of about thirty.  The gas generator system will be sized so that this total variation will only be half or less of the system capacity.  Combustor output would be  to adjusted under closed-loop control to assure that the required launch speed curve would be maintained.
 
Combustor chamber responses to changes in propellant flow are typically measured in milliseconds.  The pressure change at the base of the shuttle piston in response to a change in the rate of gas inflow is measured in tens of milliseconds.  Thus the major time lag in the control loop is the response of the mechanical components in the propellant feed system such as valves and regulators.  Components with operating times under 0.1 seconds are readily available, so the responsiveness of the gas generation system will permit effective close control of the launch process.
 
 
C.  Hardware Description
 
The FIRECAT system, can generate a very high energy launch  of 100,000 ft-lbs.  As an example, an average acceleration of 4.6G for a 70,000 pound take-off weight.  THIS will require combustion of approximately 44.5 pounds of JP5 propellant and 133.3 pounds of oxygen.  This is more acceleration than any of the current catapult launched USN planes can withstand but is given as an example of what FIRECAT can readily accomplish. The COTS combustor will have a significant additional growth capability.  Of course, this additional capability will allow launch of much heavier planes than required for a fully loaded F18-E/F.  
One of the commercially available combustor-gas generators, using oxygen enriched air, JP5 equivalent and drive gas cooling water is shown below.  Units of this model  have performed on site for thousands of hours of continuous operation with no failures.
 
q     a
 
The launch gas/steam generator system includes:
- Oxygen enriched air, oxygen accumulators and piping/sensors.
-JP-5 fuel accumulator and piping/sensors.  The JP5 is sourced from the JP5 supply to      the flight deck refueling stations.
-Sensors, hardware, controls and piping for all of the fluid and gas components.
-The combustor above and its spool piping interface will connect with the aft face of the thrust exhaust unit of the current C13 launch engine.
 
Water spray is mixed with the hot propellant combustion products at the water spray rings to produce steam as an additional drive gas and to ensure that the gasses entering the launch cylinders are not hotter than the design limits of those cylinders.
 
The feed-water accumulator feeds directly into the combustor water spray rings.  The JP5 and oxidizer are introduced into the combustion chamber as impinging jets for maximum mixing.  Three way valves shown in the air and JP5 feed lines function as the main shut-off for both components and provide for an air purge of the injectors. The air purge assures that the injectors are clear and cool before the next aircraft launch.  The storage of the fuel and oxygen may be by bladder accumulators or piston accumulators which may be driven by high  pressure air, or mechanical/electrical drive.
 
The JP-5 / air injectors produce a fine, hollow cone spray into the combustor for ignition.. The design is based on a currently available combustor which has the required variation in fuel and oxidizer flow while maintaining high combustion efficiency. This is current state-of-the-art (an example being the combustion technology of the typical current automotive engine).
 
The water injector manifolds are sequentially attached to the barrel of the combustion chamber and feed a series of small, straight-through holes into the combustion chamber.  The resulting series of water jets spray into the combustion chamber forward and  toward the combustion chamber center line.  This assures that the water spray, with a flow rate that may be more than twice that of the propellant, does not interfere with the combustion process and that the combustion chamber walls and launch cylinder walls are well protected from the high temperatures of the combustion gas
The ignition system achieves highly reliable, rapid, and smooth ignition upon command. and will  it will have redundant function features critical to overall system reliability. The combustor will be an existing model intended for a power plant installation and which will be  COTS and which eliminates this as  a developmental item. The conservative design assures excess capacity for growth in  launch power, durability and reliability.
The combustor is located directly aft of and attached to the thrust exhaust unit, providing a linear path for the combustion gas stream into the launch engine.
 
Propellant Storage And Handling System - The purpose of this system is to safely acquire and store JP5 and oxidizer  in day tanks, the oxidizer being stored immediately next to the PSA  (pressure Swing  Adapter) and the JP5 separately stored. It also includes all the valving, plumbing, pumps, and controls required to both operate and monitor this system.
The combustor steam feed-water supply system consists of supply piping, an accumulator booster pump, an air-charged, water accumulator and manifold feed tubing.  The fuel supply system consists of a  JP5 day tank, accumulator booster pumps, two air-charged, propellant accumulators and combustor feed tubing. 
 
Effect on Existing Catapult Equipment -  One important advantage of the FIRECAT system is that the majority of the FIRECAT hardware has already been proven over many years of service.  The Pressure Swing Adsorber oxygen system is widely used for a number of critical applications. The combustor is commercially available.  The launch engine has  50+ years of operating experience.  Thus all of the main components are COTS and fully qualified which eliminates technical and schedule risk.
 
 Table II.C 1   .................lists the systems of the C13-2 catapult and identifies those systems which are revised, with the level of change required to upgrade to an FIRECAT system.  The most extensive changes required involve the steam portion of the launching engine system.  This includes removal of the steam supply system -- piping, valves, wet accumulator, steam risers  and the launch valves.  The removal of this hardware includes the removal of the associated control valves and air/hydraulic control system
 
The launch valves are removed along with the launch valve, control valve, the capacity selector valve (CSV) and associated hydraulic piping, valves and indicators.  These components are replaced by  the combustor and manifold, flow control assemblies and associated propellant and water supply systems.
 
The exhaust valve and thrust exhaust unit will remain intact and will perform the same functions as previously required.  The pressure breaking orifice elbow may require modification of the orifice diameter.  This will be determined in the design phase when residual heat and other thermodynamic effects are determined for the operating catapult.
 
Existing steam catapults use ship's steam for the purpose of warming up the launching engine power cylinders to expand them to the level required for aircraft launch operations.  This is not required for  FIRECAT as a cold shot is not possible.  Steam is also used as a fire suppressant in case of trough and launch valve fires.  For ships which have steam systems available, the trough warming and steam smothering systems need not change.  Alternatively, fire suppression and fuel tank inerting could be provided with stored nitrogen from the PSA unit which is a byproduct of enriching air.
 
The hydraulic fluid supply system of the internal combustion catapult will be identical to those systems on the C13-2 catapult.  Any improvements in these systems which might be proposed by NAVAIR or the contractor can be readily applied to the C13-2 portion of the internal combustion catapult system.  The current retraction engine system has been identified as one that FIRECAT can readily improve, eliminating a complicated and high maintenance system
 
The electrical control system components will require relatively minor changes.  The major differences will reflect the removal of the launch valve and steam system monitoring and control functions.  These will be replaced with combustor, propellant and water control and monitoring.  The intent is to make the control sequence appear to be the same as for the C13-2 To the catapult operator, these changes will be nearly transparent.  The effect on existing hardware is that some panels will have minor changes in the sensor and indicator displays.  The Engineering Central Control Station Panel may be completely eliminated, however, the Engineering Officer of the Watch will need to monitor fresh water usage and storage in order to control distillation plant output.  If the fuel/air mixture is maintained slightly rich, then the water supply for steam production can be salt water as was used in  the 1959 C14 catapult tested at NAWC.
Topside, the changes will be completely invisible.  Nose Gear Launch equipment is unchanged and there is no impact on the aircraft hookup and launch procedures which are currently used.
 
 
 
 
SECTION III.  TECHNOLOGY APPLICATIONS USED OR IN DEVELOPMENT
 
The C14 Internal Combustion Catapult  - This launcher was compact and generated high launch energies, however, control of the combustion process was not satisfactory due to the presence of so much nitrogen in the combustor,  which caused some combustion instability.  This  problem is eliminated by removal of the nitrogen from the oxidizing  gas.  The power capability of this 1959 system exceeded the steam catapults of today. However, it was not  installed as discussed above.
 
At the time, the USS Enterprise was under construction and sufficient steam was available from the propulsion plant to provide the required launch energy.  As a result, development of the C14 launcher was halted in 1961. 
 
Advances in propellants, management of the combustion process and steam generation over the last 53 years has made this revolutionary variant of the C14 launcher technology extremely reliable and controllable.
 
 
SECTION IV.  HOW  CONCEPT TECHNOLOGY MEETS GENERAL LAUNCHER AND PLATFORM ADAPTABILITY REQUIREMENTS
 
A.  Platform Independent Power Source
 
The internal combustion catapult launch technology places no demands upon the platform for launch power.   As such, the FIRECAT  system has potential for installation on a wide variety of platforms, creating additional  decks for strike aircraft and aircraft recovery.
 
Power to achieve launch is generated at the aft end of the launcher by a tubular combustor producing combustion gas and  steam.  The steam is generated by injecting water between  the flame cone and  the combustor inner walls within the combustor, keeping the combustor within design temperature. .  Power for pumps and the control system may be provided by the platform generating assets or by a local generator that may be made part of the launcher hardware.
 
B.  Increased Maximum Launch Energy
The launcher design has the capability of increasing the programmed  launch energy by increasing the flow of JP5 and oxidizer to the  combustor. The power produced is a function of quantity of fuel burned  per unit time, thus there is no inherent upper limit to the energy that can be produced.
 
C.  Complete Launch Force Control
The FIRECAT is operated by a closed-loop control system which results in a precisely controlled launch at all power levels.  This produces very accurate end speeds for each launch.  The closed-loop control of the launch is based on pressure in the launch cylinders.  Therefore, launch cylinder pressure is predicated upon the difference between actual piston position at a given time-step versus the reference position.  The rate of fuel/oxidizer flow  is  adjusted  to  maintain the set launch curve.
 
D.  Reduction in Weight and Volume
 
As shown in table IV.B - 1, incorporation of the internal combustion launcher catapult  technology with the current C13-2 launching engine will result in a weight savings of at least 750,000 pounds for four catapults aboard an existing aircraft carrier compared to the current C13 steam catapult.  This includes a large increase in the 01 level space freed up.  This reduction is achieved by elimination of all of the components, hardware, foundations, foundation structural support, piping, steam risers  and control systems for those parts of the current launcher aft of the aft flange face of the thrust exhaust unit. 
 
Table 1, Component weight comparison
 

 
E.  Scalable Architecture
 
The FIRECAT  system is fully modular and scalable in launching engine length and available launch energy.  Modularity results from use of the current C13-2 launch cylinder sections which are manufactured in several lengths such that a desired length of power stroke can be assembled from the appropriate launch cylinder sections. 
 
Scalability results from the ability of the combustor to increase fuel/oxidizer flow as much  as required to accomplish any given launch. 
The modularity and scalability of the internal combustion catapult launcher architecture allows installation of this ship independent launcher technology on various platforms in size and power ratings appropriate to the aircraft to be launched from the particular platform.
 
SECTION V.  BENEFITS OF TECHNOLOGY
 
A.  Platform Benefits
 
In meeting the platform independence requirements, the FIRECAT system provides the benefit of enabling the host platform to reduce the power generating requirements from its propulsion plant.  This reduction of steam demand will allow plant operation at a steady state, increasing plant life and allowing reductions in the cost, weight and volume of future aircraft carrier propulsion plants.  This will support future aircraft carrier capabilities.
 
B.  Increased Launching Power Availability
 
The launcher design has the benefit of variable ultimate launch power capacity by addition of a large combustor to the launch engine as required.  This will allow launching of aircraft weighing  over 100,000 pounds with an end speed of more than 170  kts while providing tremendous reserve power capacity.  The large combustor system capability range guarantees that requirements will never exceed catapult capability
 
C.  Retains Existing Technology
 
The incorporation of a large proportion ( over 90% ) of proven, existing components and systems provides the benefit of reducing the cost, risk and time associated with the development and testing of the FIRECAT system.  The combustor will simply replace the steam supply and launch valves.  The design will produce a launching engine which can be backfitted to the Nimitz catapults, greatly increasing their capability..  Also, the Nimitz FIRECAT upgrade allows use of C13-2 steam catapult current engineering data and existing design drawings for reducing the total effort required to install the system on new platform types.
 
The land-based C13-2 catapult at NAWC or NAVAIR can be used as a test bed for the FIRECAT system without requiring permanent modifications to the existing launcher.  The same applies for backfitting to a training carrier such as the USS Kennedy.  This provides a significant cost savings and risk avoidance for the FIRECAT system development program.  This backfit is accomplished primarily by unbolting and removing the launch valves, the steam piping back to the steam accumulator and installing the FIRECAT system.  This temporary installation will not require changes to the existing foundations or equipment and is completely reversible.
 
The ability to upgrade existing steam catapults to the FIRECAT system enables the Navy to fully utilize existing assets such as the present Nimitz Class aircraft carriers and  other platforms such as a LHA/LHD/CVA, when integrating new aircraft such as the FA 18G into the fleet.  It is desirable to have more powerful launchers to aid in the launch of future heavier aircraft.  A more powerful launcher, which is cost-effective to backfit to the operational aircraft carriers, will increase their operational flexibility, self-defense capability, and value to the fleet.  The FIRECAT launcher is readily backfittable to the operational carriers with upgraded capability for the operating carriers and with minimal installation costs.  FireCat will allow launching planes while tied up to the pier. 
 
D.  Aircraft and Launch System Benefits
 
A significant benefit of providing complete launch energy control during the launching of aircraft is the associated control of loading on the aircraft structures and components .  The FIRECAT system will launch aircraft in accordance with specified launch curves which will provide “softer” launch initiations, increased average acceleration rates and precisely controlled end speeds.
 
Another benefit is that the basic architecture of the control system prevents the occurrence of a high-energy, runaway launch.  Launch pressure is varied by the closed-loop control system based upon cylinder pressure and piston position relative to a specified piston position on a reference curve that describes an ideal launch.  The net result is that these  limit the piston/shuttle end speed into the water brake to within the normal operating range of the catapult system.
 
E.  Savings in Weight and Volume
 
The FIRECAT system is lighter and its support systems require less volume than any current catapult system.  Overturning moments in the ship caused by the FIRECAT catapult are much less than any current catapult system..
 
Very little ship volume, including under the flight deck, is required by FIRECAT compared to current catapults and is made available for other uses.  Backfit of the FIRECAT system to an existing ship has a minimal effect on underdeck volumes.
 
F.  Scalability and Modularity
 
The FIRECAT system provides the scalability and modularity requirements for the new launcher system.  A benefit of this system is its applicability to a wide variety of host platforms and launch vehicles.  The length of the power stroke can be shortened or lengthened, as needed, to accommodate the needs of the launching platform or the launched vehicle.  This is done by removing or adding power cylinders as required.  The applied launch energy can be decreased or increased, as needed, to provide the launch end speeds required for a large variety of launch vehicles, whether aircraft or other type. 
 
SECTION VI.  AREAS OF TECHNICAL RISK
 
 
A.  Propellant Delivery Rates
 
Approximately 17 gallons of JP5 / enriched air will be required to generate 100 million ft-lbs of launch energy which will accomplish the FA18 E/F launch of 70,000 pounds at 170 kts.  Launches requiring less launch energy will require reduced fuel/air metered to the Combustor.   This flow rate is at the lower end of fuel flows typically seen with this type of combustor and is easily increased by the  variable-feed propellant injectors provided as part
 
B.  Combustor
 
The  COTS combustors discussed in this document will always have more capability than required which meets future launch requirements.
 
The COTS combustor will be put through a comprehensive test and evaluation process to assure that all applicable performance parameters and reliability goals have been met and is qualified for catapult application.
 
C.  Thermal Shock - This issue is peculiar to the FIRECAT application.  Most propulsion systems have long operating times with relatively few start-up/shut-down cycles.  The FIRECAT is the opposite.  Its operating time is only a few seconds, but it may be subjected to thousands of cycles.  Any time a mechanical structure is heated or cooled, it undergoes differential expansion or contraction which may result in local stresses.  This issue will be handled by varying the injection water volume to limit temperatures at the inner wall of the combustor and cool the launch gasses to a specified maximum as they enter the launch engine.  A very  low level of combustion may be initiated at the breech end of the FireCat to preheat the launch tubes and minimize thermal shock issues.
 
D.  Igniter Design - The igniter is provided by the vendor as part of the combustor and is part of this highly reliable assembly.
 
E.  Control System
The purpose of the control system is to modulate the propellant, oxidizer and cooling water flows to the combustor to maintain cylinder pressure and piston position in close correspondence with a programmed launch curve
 
Cylinder pressures are compared to the required time/distance pressure curves input by the ope rator which drive the propellant, oxidizer and water pressures and are adjusted according to the time/distance curve.
Sensors are used to determine the flow of propellant/oxidizer and development of combustion.  If sufficient initial launch sequence pressure is sensed, the control system allows an increasing amount of fuel, oxidizer and cooling water to be sprayed into the combustor where hot combustor gases provide thrust and flash the cooling water to steam which keeps the launch cylinders cool and adds to the launch pressure..  If a launch is underway and an inappropriate launch pressure or piston position is detected, an emergency increase in fuel and oxidizer will be ordered by the control system to immediately bring the pressure up to max launch.
 
Throughout the launch sequence, catapult cylinder pressure is monitored by the catapult cylinder pressure sensors.  If cylinder pressure is in the normal operating band, no corrective action is taken.  When cylinder pressure reaches the high-pressure warning level, the change of propellant flow rate is throttled and the r ate of change of cylinder pressure is reduced..  If cylinder pressure reaches the high-pressure emergency setpoint, the propellant emergency shutdown valve is throttled back but not so much as to endanger the launch.   When cylinder pressure reaches the low-pressure warning level, the control system  increases the propellant flow rate and cylinder pressure.  If cylinder pressure reaches the low-pressure emergency setpoint, the emergency ignition/restart procedure will be initiated which the control system drives an increase in the flow of fuel and  oxidizer to the combustor,
 
F.  Failsafe Operation
 
The FIRECAT  system, prior to each launch, will have sufficient propellant, oxidizer  and water in isolated, pressurized accumulators to accomplish the most energy-demanding launch and will be designed to fail to a completed launch that meets all normal launch parameters.  In case of loss-of-ship’s power, multiple redundant power supplies will provide the launch control system with continuous power to ensure normal completion of launch.
 
 
 
 
 
SECTION VII.    MATURITY OF TECHNOLOGY
 
The FIRECAT concept described in this white paper is based upon both automotive and commercially used and proven gas generation for electrical power to drive electrical generator turbines. and using combustion gases pressing against the crowns of pistons to convert chemical/thermal energy to mechanical energy for acceleration of automobiles and catapults.
 
A.  Fuel
 
The fuel for the FIRECAT catapult is JP5 which is a grade of kerosene for military jets  This is available from the JP5 carried on board the host ship, currently immediately available from the flight deck/ helicopter fueling stations.  This fuel is  extremely safe  and is  available world-wide.
 
B.  Oxidizer
 
The oxidizer is  atmospheric air from which the nitrogen  has been removed.  This is accomplished by using  a technology known as Pressure Swing Adsorption.
 
This allows the nitrogen gas (80% of air) to be removed from air by being adsorbed in a pressure vessel onto the surface of zeolite tubules at several atmospheres of pressure.  The remaining unadsorbed 95% purity gaseous oxygen is pumped from the pressure vessel holding the zeolite/nitrogen and pumped to a higher pressure storage tank .
When the internal pressure in the pressure vessel is brought to atmospheric, the nitrogen is desorbed from the zeolite and removed to storage for some other use or  the nitrogen is vented overboard.  The vessel is  then filled with air at STP and the cycle is repeated.
 
C.  Controls
 
Control system components, including sensors, actuators, and computer hardware and software are off-the-shelf items that are either currently in use in industry or aerospace. 
 
The control sensor system consists of various sensors that measure and report launch piston position, launch cylinder pressure, combustion chamber pressure, propellant flow, water flow and steam temperature.  All of the sensors are commercial off-the-shelf items used in intended applications with no unusual configurations or engineering required.
 
Valves, pumps, accumulators and associated actuators and hardware are off-the-shelf  items that are currently in use in industry.  No developmental items or hardware should be required to accomplish the design and fabrication of the control systems.
 
 
 
 
 
 
SECTION VIII.  MATURITY OF TECHNOLOGY FOR PRODUCTION
 
For consideration of technological maturity, the Internal Combustion Catapult launcher is considered in two groups of components: existing hardware and new hardware.
 
A.  Existing Catapult Launch Hardware
 
The first group of equipment consists of those items that are current technology, are incorporated into the FIRECAT technology and are part of the present C13-2 Catapult Launcher.  This includes the slotted cylinder assemblies, the piston/shuttle assembly, the water brake, the cable retraction system, associated distilling plant capacity (salt water may be used if required), cylinder lubrication system and associated sensors and control systems, foundations and hardware.  This group of components is tested, approved and is currently in use by the U.S. Navy.  The components are technically mature, in production and pose no developmental or production risk in this application.
 
B.  New Equipment
 
The  planned COTS combustor as shown is operational and in current use at a number of sites with long periods of continuous operation with 100% uptime.
 

The control sensor system consists of various sensors that measure and report launch piston position, launch cylinder pressure and temperature, combustion chamber pressure, propellant flow, water flow and steam temperature.  All of the sensors are commercial off-the-shelf items. The software is written in standard Allen Bradley control language and will be provided with the combustor,
 
 
Valves, pumps, accumulators, associated actuators and hardware are off-the-shelf items that are either currently in use in industry or aerospace.  No developmental items or hardware will be required to accomplish the design of the propellant and water storage, distribution and injection systems.
 
C.  Recommendations
 
Development of the FIRECAT system will be relatively straightforward and low-risk.  It is the recommendation of this paper that a task effort be funded to create a production design, that identifies the components required with a source, the components physical location and  interfaces between the new components and existing components such as the launch engine design that identifies the specific components that will be required and the anticipated performance of the system. 
 
Upon approval of the production design for the FIRECAT hardware and the associated control system, it is recommended that funding be provided to construct and demonstrate a prototype 305 ft stroke FIRECAT launch system with 21"diameter launch tubes that operate at 450 psi and develop more than 4G soft start acceleration (low peak to mean)  applied to a 70,000 pound fully loaded  F-18 E/F, UCAV or F35c with a soft start and ramping up during the launch stroke and capable of generating more than 95 million foot pounds of launch energy. 
 
This test facility  would utilize one of the following intact catapults. One of the mothballed carriers, one of the test catapults at Pax River or at Lakehurst. 
 
COTS  hardware would be provided for the combustor, injectors, sensors, control system with fully functioning software, pumps, pipes, Compressor and pressurized gas storage vessels with a skid mounted Pressure Swing Adsorption unit sized for this application. 
 
A mothballed carrier with cats and traps can be used with a temporary deck mounted generator, and deck mounted equipment such as: PSA unit, O2  compressors, storage tanks  and accumulator, cooling water for the combustor and launch cylinders, JP5 pumps, storage tanks and accumulator, control system and a surface mounted water brake.
 
Following successful testing of the prototype FIRECAT launcher,  it is recommended that the program be extended to include full-scale, advanced development of a  C13 on an intact backfit  launcher and a replacement for EMALS at the test catapult at NAWC Lakehurst.
 
The recommended program will consist of four phases.  The tasks to be accomplished in each phase are described below:
 
 
Phase I  -  Production  Design                                                     
 
Create a production design for FIRECAT for mounting on an existing or  mothballed carrier.  This  is for either an FIRECAT replacement for the C13-2 ,  an FIRECAT replacement for EMALS or an FIRECAT installation aboard LHAs or similar ships.
 
Phase II  - Procurement
 
From production design, identify needed components and procure them
 
 
Phase III  -  Full-Scale prototype                                                
 
•      Design and construct interface to C13-2 catapult..
•      Construct full-scale control system.
•      Install full-scale prototype launcher package on C13-2 land-based test facility at NAWC.
•      Test to design limits and verify performance of system.
•      Incorporate lessons learned into design.
 
Phase IV  -  Operational Evaluation                              
•      Conduct full-scale operational evaluation of FIRECAT system.
•      Evaluate future enhancements to FIRECAT system.
 
The proposed development/test schedule should be concluded in 2016 if started in 2013.  Accelerated funding and development of the FIRECAT technology will enable this system to be considered for installation on CVAN 78. 
 
 
IX.   CONTACT
                                                    Stallard Associates
                                                   cstallardva@gmail.com
                                                                   Launch-systems.com
 
C.W. Stallard
Catapult Program and Engineering Management  
(757 846-4814
2813 Victoria Bvld, Hampton, Va
 


Dear Mr. Peter Luff, Minister For Defence Equipment Support and Technology
Your Ref  D/Min(Dest)PL  MC03531/2012
Speaking to your letter dated 23 August 2012.   In reference to consideration of the ICCALS launch system 
Your letter above showed either:
(1)   A lack of research of the ICCALS catapult teDchnology by your staff resulting in what seems to be a poorly justified decision in favor of STOVL rather than the ICCALS cats and traps that was offered to you at a small percentage of the price of EMALS with a significant increase of performance compared to EMALS.
(2)   Undue influence by prime contractors causing poor critical decisions that favorably impact the prime contractors to MOD and unfavorably impact the UK budget and military power.  I will assume that option one is the operant condition.  It seems that the primary difficulty that MOD has in looking at this ICCALS Technology is that it was not offered by the US Government. This is odd as the UK developed this technology and gave it to the US.
(3)   Your letter, D/Min(Dest)PL  MC03531/2012, due to insufficient research by your staff and contract individuals, has a number of serious errors as to delivery date of a working catapult.  2023 is so far wrong that it does not merit consideration.  With the launch engine, as used on the US Nimitz class carriers, the combustor as used in fossil fuel electrical generating plants and the oxidizer enrichment plant as used in the steel industry among other uses, 95% of the ICCALS hardware is off the shelf and in current usage.  The additional hardware required would be the piping connector between the launch engine and the combustor.  Sensors and control software will be needed, but as the fuel/oxidizer flow is controlled by a simple quadratic equation to keep a constant pressure in the launch tubes to provide a constant or increasing launch acceleration which neither the steam catapult or EMALS is capable of providing.
This response to your referenced letter is an attempt to provide to you the information that it appears that your staff did not provide to you prior to you making your decision in favor of STOVL which is not really STOVL but STOSL (short landing)
Thus, in spite of your statement that a thorough investigation of the options available to MOD was made, you ignored the ICCALS catapult which I had made you aware of via several sources including the UK Military Attaché in Washington DC  Thus you did not make that thorough investigation as you stated.  Thus the findings of your Conversion Development Phase were fatally flawed from its inception. 
Per your referenced letter, you stated that an operational Carrier Strike capability could not be delivered until 2023 at the earliest.  This is another fatally flawed statement.  All of the hardware for the ICCALS is not only off the shelf, but is commercially available.  You based your estimate upon using the EMALS catapult which has been a disaster looking for a place to happen.  EMALS unfavorably affects weight and internal volume severely, and is a system that requires that the ship electrical generation capability be greatly increased.  But surely your thorough investigation brought this to light along with the $2 billion that has been spent by the US over the last thirteen years to correct the design flaws of the  EMALS design catapult launcher.
In consideration of your statement in the referenced letter about carrier strike, a carrier cannot carry out a carrier strike mission without a catapult and traps.  The launch weight of a fully loaded strike aircraft precludes that aircraft from usage aboard a STOVL carrier, even with ideal weather conditions and a strong wind over deck. You cannot land it unless you dump all of your stores and most of the fuel aboard and then probably not.  Additionally, the lack of tanker/buddy fuelling for the F35b severely limits the useful range of this plane which is already limited in range and weapons capacity due to the extra hardware required to hover  There is some question as to the ability of the F35b to hover in the Gulf region where the air is extremely hot and does not support hovering or STOVL landing.  This makes the F35b rather limited as to what missions it can accomplish and what price the nation will have to pay to gain this limited STOVL capability and what price long term it will be relative to a carrier with cat and traps (catapult and arresting gear).
 
Carrier strike capability requires excellent radar coverage for self protection to deal with incoming Over-The-Horizon ship attack weapons.  A radar carried by a helicopter is completely insufficient and a C3 with a radome that can achieve significant altitude to increase radar coverage is required to extend the horizon.  A C3 radar plane cannot be carried aboard a STOVL carrier..It requires a cats and traps carrier which a STOVL is assuredly not.  There are numerous other sources, experts in aviation, who say that a STOVL aircraft carrier is never a strike carrier.  It is an amphibious or ground support carrier with a mission to supply air support for troops on the ground. 
The problem is that the enemy may be more sophisticated than that in the Falklands with vehicle mounted ship attack cruise missiles in box launchers or equivalent other capabilities.  This will require the STOVL carrier to stand off a considerable distance from the troops that they are supposed to support.  The difficulty for the F35b is that stand-off subtracts from the already limited fuel so that the stay time on station drops significantly.  Carrying external storage tanks to increase the stay time results in a decrease in armament that the plane can carry to target.  Given the capabilities of modern shoulder fired weapons such as the Stinger and other weapons that the opposing force can deploy, the amphibious support carrier will find few opportunities to be effective.  Thus, removing the cat and traps from the Queen Elisabeth is a world class tactical blunder.  Given the cost/benefit ratio of the ICCALS, it would appear that it is a world class financial blunder also.
You made the statement that the outfitting of a ship with cats and traps would cause the ship to not be delivered until 2023.  I hope you do a more thorough investigation of this statement as Newport News Shipbuilding builds larger nuclear powered aircraft carriers in approximately seven years.  That includes the catapults and traps.  The ICCALS catapult can be constructed and installed in approximately 2 years with the acquisition of the components taking place at the start of the contract and any component testing taking place during the rest of the build schedule so that tested catapults will be ready for installation according to the carrier build schedule.  Please note the comparison between the EMALS and ICCALS catapults and the ICCALS superiority in greatly increased performance, reduced cost, reduced weight, greatly reduced volume required and little or no demands upon the ship propulsion and generating plants.
     The claim of requiring a further three year delay in addition to the ten year gap is absurd based upon the performance of other carrier builders.  Let me remind you that I retired as a Senior Program Engineer working on the CVAN 78 and am intimately familiar with ship construction and design, both from the engineering side and the hands on building of the carrier John F Kennedy as part of the welding department, so it would be inappropriate to make unsupportable claims based upon your staff not having done their due diligence when selecting which catapult technology to include in the design and pricing of the Queen Elizabeth.  Proper research would have brought you to be aware of the ICCALS.  The fact that your claim that catapults increased complexity and invasion of ship volume was far off the mark for ICCALS.  The claim that additional equipment would be required earlier in the program is incorrect.  This would be the 12 very large motor generators which ICCALS does not use or need.  Additionally this would be the much larger ship’s generators and boilers which need to be placed in the hull early in construction.  Oddly enough, the increased generator capacity is not required by ICCALS either. 
 
The statement about prohibitive increase in cost is another example of failure to do due diligence and consider the ICCALS catapult launch system which is composed of commercially available and US Navy available proven components.  You claim that your original estimates almost doubled to 2 billion pounds.  If I assume that half of that is due to EMALS, then the installed price is 1 billion pounds.  The estimated cost based upon research for an installed ICCALS with traps is estimated to be 18 to 20 million pounds for each installed catapult or a total of approximately 40 million pounds for two catapults and an avoided cost growth of 960 million pounds by doing due diligence.  Try googling ICCALS catapults.  You will find four sites having to do with ICCALS catapults on the first page.
So the time delay of three years that you quote is faulty, the cost growth that you claim is faulty and the  claim of a thorough investigation is faulty.  How can you say in your letter that you can assure us that “a thorough investigation of the options available to you was carried out during the CDP and that you remain content that all viable launch and recovery systems were considered at that time”?  And in the next sentence state that the ICCALS was not formally considered during the CDP and that the MOD at that time.  Thus, ICCALS is not viable by decree.  Oddly enough, the C14 internal combustion catapult, an early version of ICCALS was launching planes from the test facility at Lakehurst, New Jersey in 1959.  Do you think that we should tell the pilots of the planes that were launched that the catapult was not viable?  Should we tell NAVAIR that the four internal combustion catapult sets that they had constructed and delivered to the USS Enterprise were not viable?  Actually, your statements in the referenced letter above are not viable, again due to lack of due diligence.
As far as cost, research of the cost of the combustor, launch engine and oxidizer enrichment plant along with the traps will be in the range of $29 million each, installed.  These are researched costs, including labor, without overhead or profit.  To reduce these costs, the office of the Chief Naval Operations has indicated that, upon receipt of a request from the UK navy, that the catapult and trap sets from the USS Enterprise could be made available for installation aboard the Queen Elizabeth CVA.  This would be a savings of 5+ million pounds per catapult.  As this equipment falls under Safety Of Life At Sea, it is maintained in near-new condition and should be ready for installation after a quick check-out of condition and dimensions.
I had made this information available to the UK Naval Attaché over a year ago, so it was certainly available for consideration by the Royal Navy along with EMALS.
The ICCALS program was on target to provide an installed and working ICCALS catapult in 2006, within budget and schedule, for CVN77 prior to being shut down in 1999.  PCO Captain O'Hare wanted at least Cat #4 to be an ICCALS rather than a steam catapult. 

The ICCALS catapult is easily installable aboard a carrier such as a CVA or CVN as all of the equipment, including the launch engine and launch power source is installed in the flight deck level above the hanger deck with no need for EMALS-like energy storage motor generators (12 each at 80,000 pounds and 13.5 ft long X 11 ft wide X 7 ft high plus access clearance) control cabinets and heavy large gauge cables. Additional large generators must be installed in the engine room to service the energy generation needs of the EMALS catapult.  Ship redesign to accommodate the ICCALS catapult is minimal and is an option for a ship that is nominally a STOVL within two years of delivery which would allow putting off a final decision till late 2016 t2017 for the Queen Elizabeth
ICCALS development provides an inexpensive path to gain a very large increase in launch capability, a very large reduction in cost, substantial reduction in airframe launch stresses for the current fleet of aircraft and reduction in operations and maintenance manpower requirements for current  carriers. 
ICCALS upgrade will not only pay for itself compared to either steam or EMALS, but will provide a very large savings each year in replacement costs of air wing aircraft through airframe life extension and in manpower reduction for operation and maintenance of the ICCALS catapult.
 
Lockheed Martin vice president Steve O’Bryan has said that most F-35b landings will be purely conventional in order to reduce stress on the vertical lift components.  Conventional operations also reduce the risk of self-induced foreign object damage.  Is this a vote of confidence?  If most of the landings are conventional, when will the F35b be doing vertical landings on the carrier?  What will the wind speed due to the vectoring jet nozzle?  Will it be necessary to clear the area around the plane as it lands and comes to a rolling stop.  This does not speak to the F35b non-arrested rolling landings that now seem to be required and which will be impossible in heavy weather.  Also, it has been reported that the F35 aircraft are losing their stealth coating when flying at top speed.  This is not a step change, but a disaster for a plane that relies upon stealth for survivability.  The reduced range also requires the B model to carry more external stores further negating its stealth capabilities.
 
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s staunchest Pentagon advocates are now calling F-35 costs unacceptable and unaffordable. 
 
ICCALS can provide the two CATOBAR carriers the UK requires, with the best performance at the lowest cost, built on schedule, and that are affordable to buy and to operate.  It seems that the MOD has selected the carrier option that has the highest cost and the least possible performance capability.  
What is needed at this time is a low cost high performance catapult that is composed of commercially proven components joined with Naval components that have a 50 year record of performance to enable the installation of cats and traps on the Queen Elizabeth so that she can accomplish a true carrier strike role.
ICCALS meets this need.
 
 
Clint Stallard    Stallard Associates    launch-systems.com
757-325-8298
757-846-4814 (mobile)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Appendix 1
 
Benefits:  Compared to the EMALS catapult, ICCALS:
·         Is 960,000 pounds lighter than the EMALS catapults 50+ feet above the waterline, which increases ship stability, critical for aircraft carriers? 
·         Requires much less ship volume, as there is no requirement for 12 large motor generators with their associated  structures and foundations, freeing up ship volume.
·         Is much more powerful than the steam cat (steam cat = 75 Mega joules  launch  energy and EMALS with 122 Mega joules of launch energy while ICCALS= up to 838 Mega joules launch energy at up to 6 gallons of JP5 burned  per launch at 139.75 Mega joules per gallon).  With appropriately sized launch cylinders, much more power can be developed.  At 30 miles per gallon, six gallons of fuel can propel a 3,000 automobile 180 miles.  Doubling the fuel burned doubles the miles driven or weight of aircraft launched.  140,000 pound launches are readily accomplished.  
·         Is much less expensive,  with a 90+ percent cost reduction based upon the C13 Mod 0 through Mod 2 launch engine using existing catapult components or designs with the rest of the components being  COTS or easily developed.
·         Allows a constant or increasing acceleration during launch while EMALS has a fall-off in launch energy and rate of acceleration over the length of the EMALS launch stroke.
·         Allows reduction of wind over deck requirements for launch from 30 to 15 Kts or less which is the same as for recovering aircraft due to reduced ship speed.
·         Allows installation aboard other flat-tops to launch fully loaded F18s and F35s.
·         Is much more efficient than any existing catapult, including EMALS on the basis of cost, performance, degree of maturity of the components, volume required and weight gain avoided.
·         Is able to eliminate the need for the propulsion plant to provide launch energy either as electrical power.  Thus the ICCALS catapult is completely propulsion plant independent.
·         Gains the same full closed loop control capability as EMALS at the lower end of the launch weight range while increasing capability at the upper end of the weight range for launching fully loaded fighter-bombers along with large variety of Unmanned Air Vehicles and sled mounted cruise missiles such as TLAM/TASM, UCAVs and self defense weaponry.
·         Is capable of reducing distillate fresh water demand for catapult operation by 90%. to 15 gallons per launch by condensing the steam from combustion generated water and ship’s combustion gas cooling water.
·         Supports alternate solutions to the current water brake and retraction engine technologies, simplifying even further the existing ICCALS modified catapult launch engine and allowing higher launch end speeds.
·          Allows elimination of the shuttle-piston retraction engine by pneumatically returning the pistons to battery rather than dragging them back.
·         Allows interoperability with the French and American Naval aviation platforms.
·         Forms the foundation for an even simpler, less expensive, less volume intensive and more capable catapult with further development capability. 
·         Avoids the problem that CVN 78 is experiencing which is weld cracking in the flight deck due to substitution of thinner 115 KSI steel for the normal 80 KSI steel to offset the weight gain due to the EMALS catapult launch system.
 
Appendix 2
To educate someone new to the ICCALS technology, a bit of history is required.  The first bit would be that the UK was the developer of the slotted cylinder catapult driven by steam and was offered by the UK to the US Navy.  This UK developed technology is the technology used aboard all of the US Nimitz class aircraft carriers.  Thus the transfer of catapult technology was to the US from the UK. 
The second is that the US Naval Air Warfare Systems started the development of internal combustion catapults in 1954.  This technology used the same UK derived slotted cylinders with combustion of jet fuel and compressed air.  The system, referred to as the C14 catapult, successfully launched jet planes from the Lakehurst Naval Air Warfare in 1959.  Thus this was a working system and the hardware for 4 catapults was built and shipped to Newport News Shipbuilding for installation aboard the USS Enterprise CVAN 65. 
The third was that unfortunately, Admiral Rickover seemed to feel that not using steam from his reactors for launching planes was an insult to him and his reactor technology and mounted a full blown effort to kill the internal combustion catapult as documented in his biography.  Thus the internal combustion catapult hardware was removed and steam catapults became the primary aircraft launch technology in use for the US Navy.
The fourth is that ICCALS was one of two technologies competing for acceptance for the 1997 Advanced Technology Catapult Technology Development Program headed by Richard Bushway.  The other technology was EMALS, the electromagnetic aircraft launcher.  The ICCALS program was given a $35 million funding line for development and test and was at the point of successfully demonstrating scaled combustors when the decision was made in 1999 to close down the ICCALS technology in favor of EMALS.
Why did NAVAIR take this step?  The Gerald Ford, CVAN 78, was designed to support not only EMALS but also electromagnetic weapons such as rail guns and new high powered radar.  Thus the decision was made at the Vice Admiral level to close down the Advanced Technology Catapult Technology program and the ICCALs program. as more than sufficient electrical power was available from the two large reactors in the new design CVAN 78 to operate EMALS.
To support this decision, the contractors for EMALS assured NAVAIR that the electromagnetic catapult would be ready for CVAN 77 in 2006.  The Captain of CVAN 77 In a meeting with me at Newport News Shipbuilding, requested that #4 catapult be an ICCALS catapult but was turned down..  The fact is that that not only would EMALS not be ready for CVAN 77, it almost was not ready for CVAN 78 in 2012, 7 years later and has still not completed its qualification testing, 13 years after the decision was taken to select EMALS as the future catapult for US Naval forces.
Dick Bushway, the Advanced Technology Catapult Procurement Officer for NAVAIR PMA 251, budgeted $35 million in 1997 to build and test an early ICCALS as a competitor to the EMALS system.  In 1998, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, proposed to co-fund and co-develop Electromagnetic Launch.   NAVSEA decided that this was the way to proceed given the large increases in cash and personnel that this would provide.  Also, Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) found itself in the position of being a technology proposer and technology integrator at the same time.  To avoid this conflict and in agreement with the Navy's decision for EMALS, pursuit of ICCALS technology was defunded and terminated to avoid a conflict with EMALS although the ICCALS program was building and testing hardware.

The ICCALS program stayed dormant for 13 years after 1999, first due to the closure of the catapult development program and then second as directed by Newport News Shipbuilding , my employer while I worked as a Senior Program Engineer on the CVAN 78 Gerald Ford. who sees the US Navy as a customer and does not challenge the customer, asking me to step down .and then the third was to honor a request to the inventor, Clint Stallard, by Adm Mahr of Naval Air warfare center to not muddy the water while the kinks were worked out of EMALS.  Since retiring from NNS I have further improved the technology and have an upgrade technology that will greatly increase performance for existing catapults and provide a significant reduction in operations and maintenance costs.  As EMALS is now working, I feel it is time to bring this new ICCALS technology forward. 
Your statement that the ICCALS was not offered by the US and therefore was not considered shows a lack of understanding of how the military operates.  The decisions are made at the command level and all of the lower ranking personnel in the military organization are thus expected to follow the command decision.  There is no debate as one would find in Parliament or our Congress.  A Vice Admiral decided, based upon sufficient electrical generation capacity of the Ford Class, that the ICCALS system was not necessary and shut down the Future Catapult Launch Program, effectively defunding and killing the ICCALS development.  Therefore, there was no possibility of development of the ICCALS system as success in development and operation of the ICCALS system would make the Vice Admiral look foolish.
NAVAIR PMA 251 funded AEROJET in 1998 to build and test a combustor to prove the ICCALS combustion technology.  This combustor generated 1000 PSI constant pressure over the length of the launch stroke which more than proved the technology.  Using this or similar combustor technology and operating pressure, the launch cylinders can be downsized to 12” diameter from 21” while providing the same launch energy as the 21 inch diameter launch cylinders of the C13-2 catapult.  Total 12” diameter ICCALS weight savings is over 2 million pounds topside and reduces installation cost by reducing cylinder, catapult trough and trough cover sizes and piston sizes.  This reduces the weight of the piston-shuttle assembly entering the water brake from 6,500 lbs to 2,122 pounds which significantly increases the life of the water brake and allows it to be reduced in size and weight.  Looking forward, there is opportunity to improve the ICCALS further,
 
Clint Stallard
President/COO    Stallard Associates
1-757-846-4814
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