Aircraft Carriers

USS GERALD R. FORD CARRIER LAUNCHES AND RECOVERS ITS FIRST AIRCRAFT

VX-23 F/A-18F Super Hornet flown by Lt. Cmdr. Jamie Struck caught the number two arresting wire of Ford’s advanced arresting gear (AAG) system and was launched from catapult one using the electromagnetic launch system (EMALS)

On Jul. 28, 2017, less than one week after Pres. Donald J. Trump commissioned the U.S. Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) launched and recovered its first fixed-wing aircraft off the coast of Virginia.

As reported in a U.S. Navy press release, the F/A-18F Super Hornet Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 based at Patuxent River, Maryland was fown by Lt. Cmdr. Jamie Struck of Tallmedge.

Noteworthy the Super Hornet caught the number two arresting wire of Ford’s advanced arresting gear (AAG) system and was launched from catapult one using the electromagnetic launch system (EMALS).

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).

“Today, USS Gerald R. Ford made history with the successful landing and launching of aircraft from VX-23 using the AAG and EMALS,” said Adm. Phil Davidson, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces. “Great work by the Ford team and all the engineers who have worked hard to get the ship ready for this milestone.”

“AAG and EMALS have been successfully tested ashore at Lakehurst, New Jersey, but this is the first shipboard recovery and launch of a fleet fixed wing aircraft,” said Capt. Rick McCormack, Ford’s commanding officer.

This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F/A-18E Super Hornet VX-23 Salty Dogs, SD100

“My team has worked closely with industry, Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), and the flight test community to make this historic event in Naval aviation happen. I am very proud of my crew.”

The software-controlled AAG is a modular, integrated system that consists of energy absorbers, power conditioning equipment and digital controls, with architecture that provides built-in test and diagnostics, resulting in lower maintenance and manpower requirements. AAG is designed to provide higher reliability and safety margins, as well as to allow for the arrestment of a greater range of aircraft and reduce the fatigue impact load to the aircraft.

An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 performs an arrested landing aboard USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78)

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.

In the following videos you can see Lt. Cmdr. Struck F/A-18F performing the first “fixed wing aircraft launch” and first “trap” onboard USS Gerald R. Ford.

Photo credit: Erik Hildebrandt and Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cathrine Campbell / U.S. Navy

Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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