The US Navy’s aircraft carrier USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78) has achieved a key milestone during the final independent steaming event of an 18-month Post Delivery Test & Trials (PDT&T) period.

Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) and Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS), a new aircraft launch and recovery technology, completed 8,000 aircraft recoveries and launches aboard the aircraft carrier.

Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment (ALRE) programme manager (PMA-251) for EMALS and AAG captain Kenneth Sterbenz said: “ALRE’s support of EMALS and AAG was admirable throughout the rigorous testing of PDT&T operations.

“On the way to reaching 8,000 launches and recoveries, we saw many Ford crew trained, learned a great deal about the systems, and laid invaluable groundwork for future Ford-class ships.”

Developed by prime contractor General Atomics, EMALS and AAG systems are designed for use on Ford-class aircraft carriers. The technologies offer a range of capabilities to support the launch and recovery of carrier-capable aircraft.

EMALS and AAG are said to require a smaller footprint in the ship, as well as reduced maintenance and manpower compared with similar gear aboard Nimitz-class carriers.

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Ford CVNs PMA-251 deputy programme manager Commander Lindsey Buzzell said: “PDT&T proved extremely valuable for ALRE, as it allowed for extensive test and evaluation, and the opportunity to expose useful learning opportunities.

“As we move forward, we’ll continue building on our experience, increase confidence in EMALS and AAG, and do our part to support the warfighter by preparing the systems for whatever Ford’s future deployments bring to the table.”

USS Gerald R Ford will now advance to conduct Full Ship Shock Trials, slated to begin later this year.

In December last year, the US Navy completed a sensor-accuracy test onboard the USS Gerald R Ford.