Aircraft Compatibility Testing continued this week on the US Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78).
USS Gerald R Ford Flight Tests
This round of flight tests included operations with the F-18 Super Hornet, E-2C Hawkeye and T-45 Goshawk, among others.
Steam vs. Magnets: evolution of the catapult
One noticeable absence so far on the flight deck are the waves of steam emanating from the carrier’s catapults. The USS Ford is the first carrier in the US Navy equipped with electromagnetic catapults, which don’t rely on steam at all.
Although there have been complications integrating the new technology into the ship, flight tests so far into this second round have reportedly been successful.
The catapults for the first time are launching heavier configurations and aircraft at sea this week, like the E-2C Hawkeye, the Navy’s carrier-based AWACS plane, and the C-2 Greyhound.