EMALS and AAG hits 4,000 aircraft recoveries, launches

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) logged its 4,000th trap (arrested landing) Sept. 10 with Training Air Wing (TAW) 1 during carrier qualifications.

Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) and Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) achieved 4,000 aircraft recoveries and launches aboard USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) Sept. 10, during her 18-month Post Delivery Test & Trials (PDT&T) period.

Capt. Kenneth Sterbenz, Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment (ALRE) program manager (PMA-251) for EMALS and AAG, noted the milestone is a significant achievement for both ALRE and Ford’s crew.

“EMALS and AAG are consistently performing as expected and standing up to the rigorous testing of PDT&T operations,” said Sterbenz. “Reaching 4,000 launches and recoveries is not only an important performance datapoint, but it also represents years of dedication, professionalism and successful work put forth by the ALRE team and CVN 78.”

Ford, including the EMALS and AAG systems, are now more than halfway through the carrier’s test and evaluation period, and operators remain on track to complete all required assessments and milestones. PMA-251 and Ford’s crew continue to test critical systems and complete preparations for CVN 78 to formally enter the fleet.

Shannon Coulter, PMA-251 assistant program manager for Systems Engineering, has been aboard Ford for every fixed-wing launch and recovery, including the first launch and recovery in 2017.

“It’s been incredibly rewarding for the team to watch AAG and EMALS mature over the past nine months as Ford’s crew gains significant experience and increased confidence with maintenance and operations,” said Coulter. “The NAVAIR and General Atomics programmatic, engineering, maintenance, and logistics team has done an absolutely outstanding job of supporting CVN 78 over the past 4,000 EMALS and AAG launches and recoveries, and we look forward to strong system performance throughout the remaining PDT&T events.”

The Navy’s newest aircraft launch and recovery technology, the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System and Advanced Arresting Gear System are managed by the Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment program office (PMA-251). The systems were designed for use aboard Ford-class aircraft carriers, beginning with USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). Land-based test sites, located at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., enable test, troubleshooting and Sailor training. Developed by prime contractor General Atomics, EMALS and AAG provide significant advancements to the Navy’s Ford-class aircraft carriers. EMALS and AAG require a smaller footprint in the ship, less maintenance, and less manpower than comparable steam catapults and arresting gear aboard Nimitz-class carriers.