While the US Navy’s newest aircraft carrier already made its milestone first F/A-18F Super Hornet catch at sea with the advanced arresting gear (AAG) system in June last year, the USS Gerald R. Ford is yet to be declared capable of operating a full carrier air wing.
The AAG is a next-generation system designed for the new class of US Navy aircraft carriers and installed for the first time on USS Gerald R. Ford.
The system is still undergoing testing at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and has recently started performance testing for the C-2A Greyhound cargo aircraft which carries supplies, mail, and passengers to and from aircraft carriers.
According to a US Naval Air Systems Command announcement, the AAG recovered its first C-2A Greyhound at the Runway Arrested Landing Site (RALS) on May 24. In this phase, the system will also be tested for the E-2C Hawkeye and E-2D Advanced Hawkeye early warning aircraft.
The latest phase of AAG testing follows 310 arrestments conducted using dead-loads, weighted sleds representative of these aircraft, at the nearby Jet Car Track Site (JCTS).
The testing, which is expected to be completed this summer, will include both roll-ins and fly-ins, and numerous test points to validate AAG’s ability to safely arrest the aircraft.
At the conclusion of this phase of testing, the C-2A, E-2C and E-2D will be cleared to commence manned aircraft testing aboard CVN 78.
The sequential land-based testing will be completed for all aircraft types – first at JCTS, then RALS, prior to landing aboard the carrier.
Read more about the USS Gerald R. Ford here