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A slide-contact type linear electromagnetic catapult (SCLEMC) is investigated in this paper. The structure model of SCLEMC is proposed and its working principle and commutation process are analyzed. The thrust model of the SCLEMC is presented. The thrust characteristic of the SCLEMC is researched by means of the method of finite element analysis. The influences of the driving current and the gap between the mover and the stator on the thrust characteristic of the SCLEMC are analyzed. Research shows that the scheme of the SCLEMC is feasible and that the SCLEMC has high efficiency. The commutation process can be automatically realized through three brushes, which can avoid the complex drive and control system. The commutation voltage of commutation turns is not high under the condition of low speed, which does not damage the stator winding and the brushes. The value of the driving current has an important influence on the thrust characteristic of the SCLEMC. The thrust acting on the mover increases with the increase of driving current.