Phoghat writes "In 2015 the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford will take to the seas and the plan is to use a railgun to launch planes, instead of steam powered catapults. From the article: 'The Navy developed its Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System as a replacement for the steam catapults currently used on aircraft carriers. The EMALS is a linear induction motor that's capable of accelerating a 100,000 pound aircraft to 240 miles per hour in the space of 300 feet. Compared to a steam catapult, the railgun catapult is much smaller, more efficient, simpler to maintain, gentler on airframes, and can deliver up to 30% more power. It's also capable of being cranked down a whole bunch, meaning that it can also launch smaller (and more fragile) unmanned drones.'"