San Diego Business Journal General Atomics’ aircraft launch and recovery machinery on board the USS Gerald R. Ford came through U.S. Navy shock trials and performed as designed, the San Diego business announced early this month.

The full ship shock trials involved setting off 40,000-pound explosives underwater near the aircraft carrier, at closer and closer range. The service set off three explosions in June, July and August in the waters off Florida.

The Navy conducts shock trials as it introduces new ship designs. Its last full ship shock trials involved the USS Jackson and the USS Milwaukee, representing two models of Littoral Combat Ships, in 2016.

General Atomics’ Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) are new technology.

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Scott Forney President General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems

“The completion of this milestone is a validation of the critical steps we took early in the development process to work closely with the Navy to conduct preliminary shock qualification testing prior to delivering EMALS and AAG equipment to the shipyard for installation,” said Scott Forney, president of GA’s Electromagnetic Systems business unit, in a statement.


“We actually mount equipment on floating barges, and detonate ordnance at various distances and underwater to simulate operation and combat situations. This process allows us to address any issues prior to delivery and installation on the carrier. More importantly, this additional step helps ensure we deliver extremely robust systems to all Ford-class carriers that will provide decades of reliable operational performance under the most challenging conditions.”

Ford is the first aircraft carrier in more than three decades to undergo FSST, which provides crucial data for analysis to validate the shock hardness of the ship and all systems aboard to withstand battle conditions.

A six month period of repair and modernization, known as a PIA (planned incremental availability), follows the shock trials.

“We will continue to work closely with the Navy to implement system upgrades during the PIA period to meet the ship’s readiness requirements and upcoming deployment schedule,” Forney said.

Earlier in the summer, GA’s Electromagnetic Systems business unit said it continues on-time deliveries of its launch and recovery equipment for the Ford-class carriers, with more than 97% of the gear delivered for the second carrier, the future USS John F. Kennedy, and more than 25% delivered for the third, the future USS Enterprise. The Navy has yet to award GA a contract covering equipment for the fourth and final aircraft carrier, to be named after Doris Miller, a Black sailor and a World War II hero.

General Atomics & Affiliated Cos.
FOUNDED: 1955
CEO: Neal Blue
HEADQUARTERS: Torrey Pines Mesa
BUSINESS: Defense contractor and technology company
EMPLOYEES: More than 15,000
WEBSITE: 
www.ga.com
NOTABLE: The company was founded as a division of General Dynamics in 1955. Following several ownership changes, brothers Neal and Linden S. Blue bought it in 1986.
CONTACT: (858) 455-3000