Tag Archives: AAG

4,000 aircraft recoveries

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) logged its 4,000th aircraft launch and recovery on September 10, showcasing the performance capabilities of the ship’s Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG), as part of the aircraft carrier’s 18-month Post Delivery Test & Trials (PDT&T) period.

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78)
USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) logged its 4,000th trap (arrested landing) September 10 with Training Air Wing (TAW) 1 during carrier qualifications

Captain Kenneth Sterbenz, Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment (ALRE) program manager (PMA-251) for EMALS and AAG, noted the milestone is a significant achievement for both the ALRE program and the Ford crew.

«EMALS and AAG are consistently performing as expected and standing up to the rigorous testing of PDT&T operations», said Sterbenz. «Reaching 4,000 launches and recoveries is not only an important performance datapoint, but it also represents years of technological development and the dedication, professionalism, and successful work put forth by the ALRE team and CVN-78».

Ford’s EMALS and AAG systems are now more than halfway through the carrier’s test and evaluation period, and the ship’s force remains on track to complete all required assessments and critical system milestones in preparation for CVN-78 to formally enter the fleet.

Shannon Coulter, PMA-251 assistant program manager for Systems Engineering, has been aboard Ford for every fixed-wing launch and recovery, including the first aircraft launch and recovery in 2017.

«It’s been incredibly rewarding for the team to watch AAG and EMALS mature over the past nine months, as Ford’s crew gains significant experience and increased confidence with maintenance and operations», said Coulter. «The NAVAIR and General Atomics programmatic, engineering, maintenance, and logistics team has done an absolutely outstanding job of supporting CVN-78 over the past 4,000 EMALS and AAG launches and recoveries, and we look forward to strong system performance throughout the remaining PDT&T events».

The U.S. Navy’s newest aircraft launch and recovery technology was designed for use aboard Ford-class aircraft carriers, beginning with USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78). Land-based test sites, located at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, enable test, troubleshooting and Sailor training. Managed by the Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment Program Office (PMA-251) and developed by prime contractor General Atomics, EMALS and AAG provide significant technological advancements to the U.S. Navy’s Ford-class aircraft carriers, requiring a smaller footprint aboard the ship, less maintenance, and less manpower than comparable steam catapults and arresting gear aboard the USS Nimitz (CVN-68)-class carriers.

1000th Arrestment

An F/A-18E Super Hornet, attached to «Blue Blasters» of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 34, landed aboard USS Gerald R. Ford’s (CVN-78) flight deck marking the 1,000th recovery of a fixed wing aircraft using Ford’s Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) March 19, 2020 at 5:13 p.m.

Lieutenant Scott «Gameday» Gallagher lands an F/A-18F Super Hornet, attached to «Blue Blasters» of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 34, for the 1,000th trap on USS Gerald R. Ford’s (CVN-78) flight deck during flight operations. Ford is currently underway conducting its flight deck and combat air traffic control center certifications (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Gary Prill)

Minutes later, the crew celebrated a second milestone launching an F/A18 E Super Hornet attached to «Warhawks» of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 97 from Ford’s Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) catapults for the 1,000th time.

This significant milestone in the ships’ history began on July 28, 2017 with Ford’s first fixed wing recovery and launch using its first-in-class AAG and EMALS technologies.

Captain J.J. «Yank» Cummings, Ford’s commanding officer, explained how the entire Ford crew has worked together over the last few years to reach this achievement.

«I couldn’t be more proud of our crew, their motivation is amazing», said Cummings. «We’ve been working extremely hard to get here today, and to see this 1,000th trap completely validates their efforts and the technology on this warship».

Boasting the Navy’s first major design investment in aircraft carriers since the 1960s, Ford’s AAG and EMALs support greater launch and recovery energy requirements of future air wings, increasing the safety margin over legacy launch and arresting gear found on Nimitz-class carriers.

Lieutenant Scott Gallagher, assigned to VFA 34, has landed on five other carriers, but became a part of Ford’s history with his, and the ship’s 1,000, recovery.

«There are a lot of people who are working night and day to make sure that this ship is ready to go be a warship out in the world», said Gallagher. «To be a part of that; and this deck certification is super cool. Also getting the 1,000th trap helps the ship get one step closer to being the warship that it needs to be».

Captain Joshua Sager, commander, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8, explained why his squadron’s integration with the ship’s personnel is important and how their relationship impacts operations.

«It’s great to share this moment in history with Ford. Integration between the air wing and ship’s company is crucial to the everyday success of carrier operations», said Sager. «Completion of the 1,000th catapult and arrestment shows that the ship and her crew have tested and proven the newest technology the Navy has, and together we are ready to meet the operational requirements of our nation».

With 1,000 launches and recoveries complete, USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) will continue its flight deck and combat air traffic control certifications in preparation to deliver to the fleet regular flight operations in support of East Coast carrier qualifications.