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USS Ford Aircraft Compatibility Flight Testing at Sea

Aircraft Compatibility Testing continued this week on the US Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78).

Pre-flight checks are conducted on an EA-18G Growler

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.

An EA-18G Growler, assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, prepares to take off from USS Gerald R. Ford

Although there have been complications integrating the new technology into the ship, flight tests so far into this second round have reportedly been successful.

A look into the Ford’s hangar bay

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.

An E-2D Hawkeye, assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 20, prepares to land aboard USS Gerald R. Ford