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USS Gerald R. Ford achieved the target of 8,000 successful aircraft launches and recoveries


According to a press release published by General Atomic on May 25, 2021, the firm announced that the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) system aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) achieved the Navy’s target of 8,000 successful aircraft launches and recoveries during the ship’s 18-month Post Delivery Test & Trial (PDT&T) period.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 The aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford CVN 78 (Picture source: Twitter account of USAS - Travel and History)


“The last 18-months have been very exciting and challenging. We are proud of the record number of critical “firsts” EMALS and AAG achieved during this period to bring the systems into real-time operational readiness,” stated Scott Forney, president of GA-EMS. “Navy leadership set a clear goal of completing 8,000 catapult launches and arrestments during PDT&T. EMALS and AAG met and exceeded that goal with a 100% safety record.”

During the January 2020 through April 30, 2021 PDT&T period, CVN 78 conducted 18 Independent Steaming Events (ISE) involving night and day, all weather, and various sea state operations. Within the first three months, EMALS and AAG completed critical Aircraft Compatibility Testing (ACT), Flight Deck Certification (FDC), and more than 2,000 successful aircraft launch and recovery cycles involving F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, E-2C/D Hawkeyes and Advanced Hawkeyes, C-2A Greyhounds, EA-18G Growlers, and T-45C Goshawks. By the 17th ISE in March 2021, EMALS and AAG had successfully completed 7,879 cats and traps aboard CVN 78. During the 18th and final ISE in April 2021, EMALS and AAG broke 8,000 by over 150 launches and recoveries.

“What is also notable is that CVN 78 was the only East Coast carrier available for student aviator carrier training and pilot certification during this period,” said Forney. “EMALS and AAG played a critical role in helping over 400 pilots, including new student aviators, achieve their initial carrier qualifications or recertify their proficiency. The confidence placed in EMALS and AAG capabilities to safely launch and arrest both seasoned pilots as they sharpen their skillsets, and future naval aviators as they earn their wings of gold, is something we are extremely proud of.”

GA-EMS is also delivering EMALS and AAG for the future USS John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) and USS Enterprise (CVN 80). EMALS and AAG will provide greater flexibility over legacy systems to accommodate the current air wing, as well as future manned and unmanned aircraft.

The aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) was delivered to the U.S. Navy in June 2017. The aircraft carrier successfully completed acceptance trials on May 26, 2017. The Ford class features a new nuclear power plant, a redesigned island, electromagnetic catapults, improved weapons movement, an enhanced flight deck capable of increased aircraft sortie rates, and growth margin for future technologies. Each Ford-class ship will operate with a smaller crew than a Nimitz-class carrier and will provide $4 billion in total ownership cost savings for the Navy.