An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 piloted by Lt. Cmdr. Jamie Struck, launches from the flight deck of USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). The aircraft carrier is underway conducting test and evaluation operations.
Just six days after Pres. Donald Trump commissioned the U.S. Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, Gerald R. Ford launched and recovered its first fixed-wing aircraft off the coast of Virginia. The first arrested landing, or “trap”, occurred at 3:10 PM (EST) on July 29, and the first catapult launch happened at 4:37 PM (EST) the same day.
The USS Ford uses an electromagnetic launch system instead of the WWII era steam catapults still in use on every other U.S. Navy Carrier. The new system is easier to maintain, takes up under-deck space and allows for more aircraft to be launched in the same amount of time than traditional cats.
The Ford’s Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) was put to the test during the first fixed aircraft recovery at sea. The system features a software interface, digital controls and a system of energy absorbers to recapture landing aircraft. AAG allows the Ford to safely arrest a larger variety of aircraft with reduced fatigue to the system.
“I could not be more proud of the men and women who, for the better part of the last two decades, have worked to bring these new technologies to the fleet,” said Capt. Stephen Tedford, program manager. “Their perseverance and dedication to service have made this day possible.”