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This paper describes the basic design, refinement, and verification using finite-element analysis, and operational simulation using the Virtual Test Bed, of a linear machine for an electromagnetic aircraft launcher, for the aircraft carrier of the future. Choices of basic machine format and procedures for determining basic dimensions are presented. A detailed design for a permanent-magnet version is presented, and wound-field coil and induction machine versions are briefly discussed. The long armature-short field geometry is justified, and in particular the impact of this geometry on the scale of the power electronic drive system is examined.