The US Navy's next-gen electromagnetic catapult for aircraft carriers works! Well, OK, the military hasn't exactly used it to launch an actual fighter jet yet, but a recent test has proven that it can handle
80,000 thousands of pounds of steel. The Navy has been testing the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System or EMALS for months aboard the Gerald R. Ford carrier, but this is the first time a "dead-load" (or a weighted steel sled that weighs up to 80,000 pounds) is involved. Its advantages over traditional catapults that use steam instead of electromagnetic energy include smoother acceleration and its ability to place less stress on the aircraft -- plus, it was designed to work even with more advanced carriers that the military will surely use in the future. It will take a long time before any plane goes near the system, though: the Navy has already retrieved the sled above from the depths of the James River to conduct more dead-load launches.