An F/A-18F Super Hornet fighter jet has been shot into the sky during the first-ever launch and recovery using the U.S. Navy’s new electromagnetic catapult system.
The test happened aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford, the Navy’s new $12.9 billion warship, which was commissioned and heavily praised by Donald Trump just a week ago.
From The Daily Mail
The new technology – called the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System, or EMALS – has previously shown it can hurl dead-loads, but this is the first time the catapult-like launcher has propelled an actual aircraft into the air.
The first arrested landing, or ‘trap’, occurred at 3:10 PM EST, and the first catapult launch happened at 4:37 PM EST, this past Friday off the coast of Virginia, the Navy revealed today.
‘AAG and EMALS have been successfully tested ashore at Lakehurst, New Jersey, but this is the first shipboard recovery and launch of a fleet fixed wing aircraft,’ said Capt. Rick McCormack, Ford’s commanding officer.
It comes after a years delay to the ship after there were issues with the carrier’s advanced systems and technology, including its aircraft landing equipment and power generation, identified.
This work is a collective effort by the U.S. Navy and Ford, as well as several other entities.
‘My team has worked very hard, together with experts from NAVAIR, Huntington Ingalls Industries, and General Atomics, to test this first-in-class technology,’ said Cmdr. Thomas Plott, head of Ford’s air department.
‘Today is a validation of their dedication and hard work.’
EMALS is meant to function just like the traditional steam catapult but with more advanced technology – mainly it is designed to expand the operational capability of future carriers to support everything from lightweight unmanned aircraft to heavy strike fighters.
The technological improvements allow for a higher-launch energy capacity, improvements in system maintenance, increased reliability and efficiency, as well as more accurate end-speed control and smooth acceleration.
The software-controlled AAG, or advanced arresting gear, is a modular, integrated system that consists of energy absorbers, power conditioning equipment and digital controls.
It’s designed to provide higher reliability and safety margins, even having built-in testing and diagnostics that results in lower maintenance and manpower requirements.
Additionally, the architectural features that provide safer and reliability also allow for the arrestment of a greater range of aircraft and reduce the fatigue impact load to the aircraft.
‘I could not be more proud of the men and women who, for the better part of the last two decades, have worked to bring these new technologies to the fleet,’ said Capt. Stephen Tedford, program manager.
‘Their perseverance and dedication to service have made this day possible.’
The launch occurred aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford, which Donald Trump commissioned last week, declaring that the most advanced aircraft carrier to join the Navy will cause America’s enemies to ‘shake with fear’ whenever they see its form cutting across the horizon.
‘I hereby place United States Ship Gerald R. Ford in commission,’ Trump said after delivering a speech in which he praised the U.S. military and the American labor that went into building the 100,000-ton, $12.9 billion warship.
‘May God bless and guide this warship and all who shall sail in her,’ Trump said.
It’s the most expensive warship ever built, costing nearly $13 billion.
After eight years in development, the ship embarked on the first of its sea trials to test various state-of-the-art systems this past April.
That opening test came almost an entire year after ‘poor or unknown reliability issues’ were identified in a memo last year.
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