The US Naval Air Systems Command (Navair) is planning to install advanced arresting gear (AAG) systems aboard the second Gerald R Ford-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS John F Kennedy (CVN 79).
The decision to install AAG as the recovery system is based on a review conducted by an AAG Resource Requirements Review Board (R3B) in November 2016.
An independent review team (IRT), chartered by Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (USD AT&L) Frank Kendall, also recommended continuation of AAG on Ford-class aircraft carriers.
In addition, the board considered an option to revert to the legacy recovery system, Mk-7.
Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment (PMA 251) programme manager captain Steve Tedford said: “The progress of AAG testing this past year has been significant, and has demonstrated the system’s ability to meet navy requirements.
“The team overcame many challenges to get the system to this point and ensure its readiness to support CVN 78 and future Ford-class ships.”
The US Government and the contractor team have made necessary hardware changes, and implemented a build-test-fix software methodology that has incrementally improved system performance.
According to Navair, the system will be ready to trap the first F/A-18 Super Hornet on Ford later this year.
The AAG previously faced delays in developmental testing and subsequent redesign efforts of the water twister, which is one of the system’s major components.
The 100,000t ship CVN 79 is being constructed at Newport News, Virginia, under a $3.35bn contract with Huntington Ingalls Industries.
The vessel is currently scheduled to be launched in 2020, with delivery expected in 2022, when it is planned to replace USS Nimitz (CVN 68).