The U.S. Navy newest aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) completed her 12th independent steaming event (ISE), Oct. 2.
With the completion of ISE 12, the supercarrier is now more than half way through her post-delivery test and trials (PDT&T) phase of operations. During the event, the longest underway period to date with 32 days at sea, Ford completed many major PDT&T milestones designed to exercise installed systems and conduct crew training to include carrier qualifications, combat systems performance tests, and seamanship and navigation maneuvers.
“This was an extremely successful underway, not only were we able to qualify 27 student naval aviators, but we were able to complete our performance and acoustic trials ahead of schedule,” said Capt. J.J. Cummings, Ford’s commanding officer. “We set the baseline for FORD-class maneuvering and tactical capabilities during these trials.”
Using her state-of-the-art Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG), Ford helped student naval aviators assigned to Chief of Naval Air Training Command (CNATRA) earn their wings of gold. The completion of CNATRA’s four-day carrier qualifications (CQ) resulted in 516 catapult launches (cats) and arrested landings (traps). To date, Ford has conducted 4,492 cats and traps with EMALS and AAG.
Following CNATRA CQ, Ford completed acoustic and performance trials, a key step for the future of Ford-class carriers.
During acoustic and performance trials, Ford’s noise signature was evaluated during multiple maneuvering schemes determining the ship’s unique sound, allowing for optimization of the ship’s acoustic signature to maximize the ship’s anti-submarine warfare capabilities.
In addition to the test and trials, Ford’s leadership arranged multiple morale-boosting events throughout the underway to include a multi-cultural heritage celebration, weekly trivia questions and Bingo, and another ‘Ford First’- a swim call.
“We were able to finish off the underway with another ‘Ford First,’ a swim call – something I haven’t done in my 29 years in the Navy,” said Cummings. “Jumping 10 meters off the lowered aircraft elevator of an aircraft carrier is something I will never forget, and judging by the smiles on the faces of the 1,500 Sailors who participated, I am sure our crew also had a day that they will not soon forget.”
Ford returned to Naval Station Norfolk for a window of opportunity for maintenance as part of her PDT&T schedule.