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BEL unveils indigenous EMALS system for future Indian Navy Aircraft Carriers at MTEX-24 in presence of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh

Source : IgMp Bureau

BEL unveils indigenous EMALS system for future Indian Navy Aircraft Carriers at MTEX-24 in presence of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh

In a significant development, Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) has introduced its indigenous Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) for future Indian Navy aircraft carriers during the ongoing MTEX-24 maritime exercise. The unveiling took place in the presence of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who inaugurated the Maritime Technical Exposition (MTEX-24), featuring over 65 companies showcasing cutting-edge naval technologies.

EMALS by BEL Unveiled at MTEX-24

The EMALS system by BEL was one of the highlights of MTEX-24, drawing attention alongside other innovations like the Man Portable Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (MP-AUV) by BDL & NSTL. This unveiling marks a significant step towards enhancing India’s naval capabilities.

EMALS Development Progress

This is not the first instance of the EMALS system coming into the spotlight. In June 2022, Vice Admiral SN Ghormade, the Indian Navy’s Vice Chief, visited the BEL facility in Bengaluru to review the progress of niche technologies. During his visit, he was briefed about a model of the electromagnetic catapult launch system, indicating the steady advancement of EMALS development for the Indian Navy by BEL.

Future of Indian Navy Aircraft Carriers

The Indian Navy currently operates two aircraft carriers, INS Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant, with plans for a third aircraft carrier (IAC-2) similar to INS Vikrant but with enhancements. The proposed 44,000-tonne aircraft carrier is estimated to cost around Rs 40,000 crore. While initially, the Navy considered a 65,000-tonne carrier with nuclear propulsion, it has opted for the Vikrant class aircraft carrier due to shorter design, development, and construction timelines. Nonetheless, the Navy is studying the possibility of a higher-tonnage aircraft carrier, with shipbuilding facilities being upgraded accordingly. The new carrier is expected to feature an integrated electric propulsion system, as developing a nuclear reactor with a capacity of 500 to 550 megawatts was deemed too complex. One of the key features of this carrier will be its CATOBAR (Catapult Assisted Take-Off But Arrested Recovery) system for launching fighter jets from its decks.

EMALS vs. Steam CATOBAR System

Traditionally, aircraft carriers have used steam-powered catapults, which have several limitations including size, manpower requirements, and impact on aircraft life. In contrast, EMALS offers advantages such as increased launch operational ability, suitability for different aircraft sizes, easier maintenance, lighter weight, and reduced life cycle costs. EMALS uses electromagnetic technology and a linear motor drive to propel aircraft off the deck, providing more control and efficiency compared to steam catapults. General Atomics, the developer of EMALS, showcased this technology at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space 2017 exposition, alongside the Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) for controlled aircraft deceleration during landing.

Potential Collaboration with General Atomics

Collaborating with General Atomics for EMALS development could align with India’s strategic goals of enhancing its naval capabilities. General Atomics’ expertise in electromagnetic technology could complement BEL’s efforts, leading to the development of a robust and efficient EMALS system for Indian aircraft carriers. Such a collaboration could also pave the way for future technological exchanges and advancements in naval aviation.

Conclusion

The unveiling of the indigenous EMALS system by BEL at MTEX-24 marks a significant milestone in India’s quest for advanced naval technologies. With the Indian Navy’s plans for future aircraft carriers, the adoption of EMALS could revolutionize its carrier operations, enhancing efficiency, and effectiveness. Collaboration with General Atomics could further accelerate the development of EMALS, ensuring that India remains at the forefront of naval innovation.

In conclusion, the EMALS system by BEL represents a step towards self-reliance in naval technology and underscores India’s commitment to enhancing its maritime capabilities. As the Indian Navy continues to modernize its fleet, the adoption of advanced technologies like EMALS will play a crucial role in ensuring its readiness for future challenges.

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