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Wednesday, Jul 24, 2024
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Systems Successfully Tested

The recently commissioned aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford trapped and then catapulted its first aircraft using next-generation “digital” systems designed and built by San Diego-based General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems. The events took place July 28 in the Atlantic Ocean near Virginia.

The Ford is the lead ship of a new class of U.S. Navy carriers. It uses a new class of systems called AAG and EMALS (short for Advanced Arresting Gear and Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System).

“This is a landmark event, showcasing the engineering skill, hard work, and dedication of our GA-EMS team and the Navy to bring EMALS and AAG systems into service,” GA-EMS President Scott Forney said in a prepared statement. “We are extremely proud to see these complex, revolutionary systems successfully perform and come to life as part of this extraordinary first-in-class carrier.”

Instead of the current-generation steam-powered catapult, EMALS propels aircraft with a linear motor similar to those used on roller coasters. When an aircraft lands, it snags a cable connected to the arresting gear, which absorbs the energy of the aircraft.

The test pilot on July 28, Lt. Cmdr. Jamie Struck, launched and landed four times in his Boeing Co. F/A-18F Super Hornet from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23.

The Navy plans more flight tests.

The two other carriers in the Ford class, to be named John F. Kennedy and Enterprise, will also have the AAG system and EMALS.

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