US Navy sticks with AAG as recovery system of choice for USS John F. Kennedy

Computer-generated design of a complete one-wire Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) system schematic. Photo: U.S. Navy

Despite considering reverting to the legacy recovery system, Mk-7, a U.S. Navy review board decided to continue with AAG as the aircraft recovery system of choice for the future USS John F. Kennedy (CVN 79).

The Advanced Arresting Gear’s test program marked the completion of the 350th trap of an F/A-18E Super Hornet in December, 2016.

To remind, the costs have more than doubled the troubled AAG system which fell years behind other next generation components developed for the Ford-class.

The determination to continue with AAG was the outcome of a review by an AAG resource requirements review board (R3B) in November 2016.

“AAG works,” said Capt. Steve Tedford, Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment (PMA 251) program manager, whose team manages the recovery system program. “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.”

“It has been a difficult challenge, but getting the system into test to verify its readiness to meet Navy requirements has been the team’s focus this past year,” said Rear Adm. Mike Moran, Program Executive Officer for Tactical Aircraft Programs (PEO(T)), who oversees PMA-251 program office.

AAG has been the focus of much scrutiny in recent years, after encountering delays in developmental testing and subsequent redesign efforts of the water twister, one of the system’s major components.

With the upgraded hardware in place, the program has forged forward with a land-based test program. According to the U.S. Navy, more than 1,400 dead-load arrestments and 351 test arrestments of the Super Hornet, the first aircraft type/model/series to undergo test on the system, have been completed as of December 2016.

Upon completion of AAG performance testing with the Super Hornet, the team began generating the first Aircraft Recovery Bulletin (ARB) to support pending Aircraft Compatibility Testing on board CVN 78, where a number of aircraft launch and recovery equipment systems, including the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS), will be used.

The U.S. Naval Air Systems Command said the AAG team continues multisite test operations with the next type/model/series, the E-2/C-2 platform, and PMA-251 proceeds with the necessary acquisition activities to ready the system for installation aboard CVN 79 and the future USS Enterprise (CVN 80).

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