USS Gerald R. Ford Achieves 2,000th Trap

U.S. Navy’s newest aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) has achieved its 2,000th trap on April 8, the service announced.

Ford’s 2,000th trap was that of a T-45C Goshawk jet trainer piloted by student naval aviator Lt. j.g. Cade Warlick during carrier qualifications (CQ).

Lt. j.g. Warlick is assigned to the “Redhawks” of Training Squadron 21 under Training Air Wing 2 at Naval Air Station (NAS) Kingsville, Texas. He joined a group of 25 student naval aviators and 5 instructor pilots who carrier qualified during the training detachment conducted in the Atlantic Ocean off the Florida coast April 4-11.

T-45C Goshawk landing on USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78)
Lt. j.g. Cade Warlick lands a T-45C Goshawk, attached to Training Air Wing (TAW) 2, on USS Gerald R. Ford’s (CVN 78) flight deck marking the 2,000 trap on Ford’s advanced arresting gear (AAG) April 8, 2020. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Conner Foy)

Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA) aviators conducted 411 traps during the detachment, pushing the cumulative total number of traps on Ford past the 2,000 mark – a significant milestone for the new flight deck technology and the ship.

The detachment comprised students and instructors from Training Air Wings 1 and 2, located at NAS Meridian, Mississippi, and NAS Kingsville, Texas, respectively. Together, the two wings conduct all undergraduate strike fighter training for the Navy, Marine Corps, and selected international military partners.

As the lead ship of her class, Ford, known as “Warship 78”, marks the first new carrier design in more than 40 years. The first-in-class aircraft carrier employs state-of-the-art Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment (ALRE) unique to Ford: the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG).

The carrier performed its 1000th recovery and launch of a fixed-wing aircraft on March 19 this year.

The mission and function of EMALS remains the same as the traditional steam catapult; however, it employs entirely different technologies. It delivers necessary higher-launch energy capacity, improvements in system maintenance, increased reliability and efficiency, and more accurate end-speed control and smooth acceleration. EMALS expands the operational capability of the Navy’s Gerald R. Ford-class carriers to include all current and future planned carrier aircraft, from lightweight unmanned aircraft to heavy strike fighters.

The software-controlled AAG is a modular, integrated system that consists of energy absorbers, power conditioning equipment and digital controls, with architecture that provides built-in test and diagnostics, resulting in lower maintenance and manpower requirements. AAG is designed to provide higher reliability and safety margins, as well as to allow for the arrestment of a greater range of aircraft and reduce the fatigue impact load to the aircraft.

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