Advanced Technology Catapults  - Company Message
FIRECAT, The Internal Combustion Catapult. 
 
The Internal Combustion Catapult (FIRECAT)
fills the US Naval needs for additional aircraft carriers
by upgrading our existing fleet of 10 amphibious ships
to CVA light attack aircraft carriers
 
First, what is an internal combustion catapult and why is it fundamentally superior to either a steam or electromagnetic catapult? 

When considering the steam catapult, the steam is produced by using heat from the propulsion plant located low in the ship.  this is roughly 40 percent efficient.    
The steam is then routed vertically approximately 70 ft, via large diameter, heavily insulated piping to the steam accumulators which are very large, heavy and located high in the ship.  The accumulators feed the launch engines via a maze of more large diameter heavily insulated piping large valves, and connectors that are sources of thermal losses. That steam is introduced to the launch engine as a drive gas and pushes against the launch engine pistons  to accomplish the aircraft launch. 
 
This is much like the Stanley Steamer automobile where steam is generated outside of the engine by external combustion and routed to the motor where it presses against pistons  to drive the automobile.  This suffers from the same 60% penalty for generation of steam and additional thermal loss from ancillary piping and valves.  The steam delivery system has to be preheated to prevent the steam from condensing  in the piping and engine cylinders, losing power.
 
When considering the electromagnetic catapult,  the same sixty percent efficiency loss takes place using nuclear power to generate steam to drive the large turbo-generators. 
that generate the electrical power More losses take place in distributing and storing the produced energy in 12 huge motor generators, converting that energy to DC and delivering 3 megawatts to the launch engine sequential coils in 3 seconds.  It is expected that inductive reactance losses will further degrade efficiency.
 
When considering the internal combustion catapult, combustion and water spray takes place within the launch cylinders.  This generates a mix predominately of high pressure (pressure can be varied under full closed loop control) steam and some carbon dioxide, which presses against the head of the launch piston to accomplish the aircraft launch.  There is no limit to delivered power or weight/speed of the launched aircraft  A fuel delivery system, enriched air delivery system  and water delivery system are the major exterior components.  There is a 10 percent loss in available fuel energy to support combustion and steam generation.  Thus there is 90 percent of the fuel energy available to accomplish the launch. 




Thus, the internal combustion  catapult is  90 percent efficient.  This is, however, not germane, as the only limit is fuel burned per unit time.  Delivered power is planned to be 480 Megajoules vs. 90 for the steam cats and 133 for the electromagnetic catapults
It should  be possible to shorten the catapult launch engine to 200 ft with a constant 3.5G launch acceleration.
 
This document proposes several applications for the FIRECAT catapult
 
(1)..Backfitting or adding FIRECAT catapult technology to the current and future Wasp Class and America Class Amphibious ships and other vessels with sufficient deck to fit a 200 ft (plus) catapult, possibly an angled deck angled deck and an arrester assembly.  This backfit modification of all 10 of the Wasp Class and America class would cost $900  million which is less than the cost of five F35b aircraft ($220 million each plus spares for each) which would no longer be required
This adds the full functionality of a strike carrier, full interoperability with our CVANs and provides greatly enhanced self defense capability, which the currently configured amphibious ships are almost totally lacking.
This catapult technology, which I have named FIRECAT, when applied to the eight Wasp Class and two America class ships provides 10 CVA light carriers which can carry out missions that CVANs cannot do or are not appropriate for CVANs
appropriate and additionally allow coverage of many more areas of conflict without having to  "pivot".
 
(2)  Upgrading the current CVAN carriers to full FIRECAT specifications.  This is easily done as the catapult launch engine is retained unchanged forward of the launch valve and the main change is the removal of over a million pounds of accumulators, and hundreds of feet of steam piping topside which benefits Metacentric height and makes the Nimitz Class more stable in high speed maneuvering.  This easily accomplished modification to the C13 catapults allows launch of the lightest UAVs to the heaviest future planned aircraft from the C13-FIRECAT modified catapults.  EMALS was sold as
the future catapult technology which was required as the steam catapult was not powerful enough and did not have closed loop control for launching a range of UAVs
FIRECAT upgrades the steam catapults to meet or exceed EMALS specifications and eliminates the high G launch initiation with a soft start, increasing airframe  life. with a
 
(3)  Replacing EMALS as a fall-back option for CVAN 78.  There is no structural work to the flight deck required as the specifications for the C13 troughs were used for EMALS and can be readily fitted with the C13 launch engine with the FIRECAT technology to significantly increase catapult capability over EMALS with a reliable system that meets or exceeds EMALS specifications and requirements, weighs over a million pounds less and frees up 12 large compartments.  FIRECAT allows operation of the propulsion plant to operate at a stable output without the steam demands of the steam catapult or EMALS, allowing longer fuel life
 
FIRECAT:
is much less expensive than EMALS  or steam catapults   
  • is inter- operable with the CVAN Class steam catapults and CVAN 78
  • Can easily backfit FIRECAT to CVAN 78 if EMALS fails.
  • is 1.2 million pounds lighter than EMALS
  • Uses much less ship internal volume, 
  • Is much more powerful than either EMALS or steam catapults 
  • is much more efficient..EMALS = 6%,  steam cat = 40%, FIRECAT = 60%
  • Can launch with the carrier tied up to a pier with the propulsion plant shut down.
  • Is equally as controllable as EMALS with full closed loop launch control
  • Increases airframe life with approximately 2 G launch vs. 3.5 to 5G steam cat launch
  • Reduces personnel required due to simplicity
  • Is independent of the host ship propulsion plant or generating plant 
  • Can easily backfit the Nimitz class catapults to FIRECAT specifications while reducing weight
  • reduces propulsion fuel burn and extends ship life for Nimitz Class
  • The FIRECAT is 95% Commercial Off The Shelf technology and hardware
An early version of FIRECAT was launching planes at Lakehurst Naval Air Warfare Center in 1958/1959 and a shipset of four catapults were built and qualified for
CVAN 65, the USS Enterprise. 

Do not expect NAVAIR to be receptive of the FIRECAT as they have not in the past been able to be receptive to FIRECAT.  It is politically impossible for them to entertain anything other than EMALS as they have been tasked by their command level. 
This has been to the detriment of the British ships Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales.  
NAVAIR did not recommend FIRECAT to the British about, during the British Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) .even when asked directly, per Minister Luff, MOD Naval Procurement, during correspondence with me.  FIRECAT was deliberately not considered by the British due to the negative recommendation by NAVAIR
NAVAIR recommended EMALS instead.  The British realized that EMALS was not feasible or affordable.   and did not consider FIRECAT Thus these two ships do not have catapults and cannot interoperate with the American carriers as they cannot launch and recover any of the USN planes which provide the CVAN strike capability. This  is easily corrected and would increase the Allied carrier fleet by two carriers.  This would also appropriate for the Australian Canberra and the Japanese super destroyers for a total of more than 5 additional carriers plus the 10 Wasp/America Class CVA carriers for a total of 15 plus our 11 operating carriers or 26+ carriers at very little cost, in the vicinity of 1.4 billion dollars.
 
 
 
There is no other available option or alternate technology that provides a greater increase in large deck ship capability, self defence capability and mission options per money spent. This technology provides true value for money.
 
 
Clint Stallard
Stallard Enterprises
2813 Victoria Bvld
Hampton, Va  757-846-4814
 
 


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