Posts Tagged ‘carrier’

Ye Olde Steam Catapult

"If I can stretch this rubber band enough, we'll launch this thing." “If I can stretch this rubber band enough, we’ll launch this thing.”

 

When I think about nuclear powered aircraft carriers (which isn’t often) I marvel at the array of sophisticated technology fortifying these floating air bases. They’re replete with integrated warfare control systems, enhanced flight deck electronics and some really advanced cup holders. But the most important of all these technologies, the one that actually launches the $57 million F-18 Super Hornets, is perhaps its’ least impressive. I’m referring to that most primitive form of propulsion – the Steam Catapult. Even the name Steam Catapult does not inspire much confidence. Didn’t Hannibal use this contraption to throw big pointy rocks at his enemies in the Punic Wars? Compared to the leading edge technology hard-wired into a carrier’s DNA, the Steam Catapult is a special needs amino acid. Read the rest of this entry »