US aircraft have conducted first flight operations the new Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier, the Navy Times newspaper reported citing the US Navy press release.
“The ship left Norfolk Friday and, off the Virginia coast, conducted the ship’s first arrested aircraft landing or “trap,” followed 87 minutes later by the the first ever catapult-shot launch according to a Friday night release from Naval Air Forces Atlantic.
Not only were the milestones the ship’s first fixed-wing flight operations at sea, it was also the first shipboard test of the two new flight deck systems, the Advanced Arresting Gear, known as AAG and Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System, or EMALS.
Both systems had been plagued with difficulties in development. But by the end of the afternoon, the ship had accomplished four successful arrested landings and catapult shots,” Navy Times’ article reads.
“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,” Capt. Stephen Tedford, program manager, said according to the US Navy press release.
“The mission and function of EMALS remains the same as the traditional steam catapult; however, it employs entirely different technologies. It delivers necessary higher-launch energy capacity, improvements in system maintenance, increased reliability and efficiency, and more accurate end-speed control and smooth acceleration. EMALS is designed to expand the operational capability of the Navy’s future carriers to include all current and future planned carrier aircraft – from lightweight unmanned aircraft to heavy strike fighters,” the press release reads.