US Open to Sharing Catapult Replacement Technology with India: Carter

The Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System shuttle readies for testing at the Naval Air Systems Command EMALS test site, located at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. (Navy photo)The Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System shuttle readies for testing at the Naval Air Systems Command EMALS test site, located at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. (Navy photo)

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Monday the U.S. is willing to share technology with India on the new launching and landing systems being installed on the latest U.S. aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford.

“We are working with the Indian Navy on technology for their next generation of aircraft carrier,” he said on the first day of his two-day visit to India to strengthen defense ties with New Delhi.

“India would like to migrate on flat deck design” in construction of its next carrier, Carter said, and the systems being installed on the Ford have “some advantages in terms of weight of the aircraft and others.” He said “we are more than willing to share it with India.”

The Ford, which has experienced numerous cost overruns and problems with the launching and landing systems that have delayed commissioning by more than two years, features an Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) system for carrier landings and an Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) that will replace the steam catapults used on older U.S. carriers.

The General Atomics EMALS launch system for the Ford (CVN78) is also projected for the next U.S. carrier in the fleet, the USS John F. Kennedy (CVN79).

Carter spoke to reporters about sharing the technology and enhancing what he has called a “strategic handshake” with India aboard the USS Blue Ridge, the command, control and intelligence ship for the U.S. Seventh Fleet, which was on a port visit to Goa. Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar accompanied Carter to the Blue Ridge.

Carter was expected to announce more agreements with India on sharing and co-production of defense technology after meetings Tuesday with officials in New Delhi under the U.S. Defense Technology and Trade Initiative.

“Stay tuned for tomorrow,” he said.

Carter said that the increasing defense cooperation with India and the growing participation of India’s armed forces in U.S.-led training exercises were not aimed at countering China.
“The US approach to this region is not to confront,” Carter said. “We have to do what we have been doing for 70 years, that is to keep the stability and peace that has allowed economic and social miracle in modern India and China.”

India currently has under construction the INS Vikrant, the first aircraft carrier to be designed and built in India. India has two aircraft carriers in service, the INS Viraat, the former British carrier Hermes, and the Vikramaditya, a modified Russian Kiev-class carrier. Carter is scheduled to visit the Vikramaditya during his stay in India.

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Richard Sisk
Richard Sisk is a reporter for Military.com. He can be reached at richard.sisk@military.com.