USS Gerald R Ford reaches 1,000th aircraft launch milestone

23 March 2020 (Last Updated March 24th, 2020 11:38)

An F/A-18E Super Hornet attached to Blue Blasters of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 34 has landed aboard USS Gerald R Ford's (CVN 78) flight deck.

USS Gerald R Ford reaches 1,000th aircraft launch milestone
A F/A-18E Super Hornet aircraft attached to Blue Blasters of Strike Fighter Squadron, has landed aboard CVN 78 flight deck, making it the 1000th launch.  Credit: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Gary Prill.

An F/A-18E Super Hornet attached to Blue Blasters of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 34 has landed aboard USS Gerald R Ford’s (CVN 78) flight deck.

This milestone marks the 1,000th recovery of a fixed-wing aircraft using Ford’s Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG).

Another milestone was also achieved with the launch of an F/A18 E Super Hornet, which is attached to ‘Warhawks’ of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 97, for the 100th time from Ford’s Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) catapults.

The first-in-class advanced arresting gear (AAG) and electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS) technologies have been used on the ship since July 2017 with Ford’s first fixed-wing recovery.

Ford commanding officer captain JJ Cummings said: “I couldn’t be more proud of our crew, their motivation is amazing.

“We’ve been working extremely hard to get here today, and to see this 1,000th trap completely validates their efforts and the technology on this warship.”

Ford’s AAG and EMALs are claimed to support greater launch and recovery energy requirements of future air wings.

This enhances the safety margin over conventional launch whilst arresting gear on traditional Nimitz-class carriers.

VFA 34 lieutenant Scott Gallagher said: “There are a lot of people who are working night and day to make sure that this ship is ready to go be a warship out in the world.

Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8 commander captain Joshua Sager added: “It’s great to share this moment in history with Ford. Integration between the air wing and ship’s company is crucial to the everyday success of carrier operations.

“Completion of the 1,000th catapult and arrestment shows that the ship and her crew have tested and proven the newest technology the navy has, and together we are ready to meet the operational requirements of our nation.”