The extremities of each cable are attached to a pair of winch
drums keeping the cables in tension above the aircraft carrier deck and
incorporating a braking system.
When the landing aircraft catches one of the arresting cables, a braking effect
is thus exercised by the compounded effect of the brake system and the relative
elasticity of the cables themselves. The result of this brutal process is
thus a very short landing run.
The number of cables set accross the landing path vary from one carrier to
another, and some were equipped with two sets of cables, one being used by
aircrafts using the angled landing deck, the other by those using the straight
landing deck (re: French Navy R95 Arromanches)