General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) has completed the first exploratory aircraft barricade arrestment of its advanced arresting gear (AAG) system designed for the US Navy’s Ford-class aircraft carriers.

The test was performed by NAVAIR at the Jet Car Track Site in Lakehurst, New Jersey, and an E-2C+ Hawkeye aircraft was used for the evaluation. It represents a key milestone in qualifying the AAG system for barricade use on-board the Ford-class carriers.

GA-EMS president Scott Forney said: “An E-2C+ Hawkeye aircraft weighing approximately 46,500lb was accelerated to a representative arresting speed into the barricade, where the net attached to the AAG via stanchions caught the aircraft and brought it safely to a stop.

“We are extremely pleased that AAG performed as planned in the first attempt. This is significant, particularly since this is the first time in 23 years a barricade test event like this has even occurred.”

“While barricades are rarely used in naval aviation, they remain a critical safety mechanism to arrest aircraft in an emergency situation.”

AAG is a turbo-electric system that is designed to enable controlled deceleration of aircraft during aircraft carrier recovery operations.

The system is installed aboard Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) along with the GA-EMS Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS).

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Using electromagnetic technology, EMALS launches aircraft from the deck of naval aircraft carriers.

GA-EMS, in collaboration with the US Navy, has tested both systems during at-sea periods on CVN 78.

The company is currently producing the AAG and EMALS systems for the future John F Kennedy (CVN 79) and Enterprise (CVN 80).

GA-EMS Programs vice-president Rolf Ziesing said: “While barricades are rarely used in naval aviation, they remain a critical safety mechanism to arrest aircraft in an emergency situation.

“The AAG system recently completed a series of roll-in and fly-in arrestments for both prop and jet aircraft at the Lakehurst site. This latest test verified the system’s emergency barricade arrestment capabilities when standard aircraft recovery cannot be executed.”

Last year, the AAG system completed its first arrestments with C-2A Greyhound aircraft and first E-2D Advanced Hawkeye.

The AAG, which is also compatible with the Nimitz-class carriers, is set to replace the traditional arresting cable on the flight deck of the Ford-class.