US Navy’s Ford aircraft carrier starts compatibility testing

17 January 2020 (Last Updated January 17th, 2020 10:01)

The US Navy’s newest aircraft carrier USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78) has started test and trials over the rest of fiscal 2020 off the East Coast.

US Navy’s Ford aircraft carrier starts compatibility testing
An E-2D Advanced Hawkeye assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 20 lands aboard USS Gerald R Ford’s (CVN 78) flight deck. Credit: US Navy/ Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Indra Beaufort.

The US Navy’s newest aircraft carrier USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78) has started test and trials over the rest of fiscal 2020 off the East Coast.

As part of this, USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78) departed its homeport of Norfolk to begin Aircraft Compatibility Testing (ACT) following the landing of the first aircraft, E-2D, on board.

During this period, at-sea testing of the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) would be carried out.

EMALS, which is the launch system of choice for Ford and all future Ford-class aircraft carriers, uses stored kinetic energy and solid-state electrical power conversion.

AAG is software-controlled and is a modular, integrated system that comprises energy absorbers, power conditioning equipment and digital controls. It provides increased safety margins and reduces the fatigue impact load on aircraft.

During the upcoming test phase, compatibility testing will include T-45 Goshawks, F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets, and E/A-18G Growlers from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 (VX-23); and E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes and C-2A Greyhounds, from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 20 (VX-20).

USS Gerald R Ford Air Boss Mehdi ‘Metro’ Akacem said: “Ford is now proving all of the test-work accomplished at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, NJ over the last year-and-a-half, that we can fly fleet aircraft as a ship with EMALS and AAG integrated.”

The aircraft carrier last flew in January 2018 and has 747 launches and arrestments to date.

With this round of testing, the crew will be able to further test the improvements made during its post-shakedown availability (PSA) at Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding.

Based on the information captured during ACT, further improvements and modifications can be made for Ford and follow-on aircraft carriers.