USS Gerald R. Ford Completes Carrier Qualifications for 23 CNATRA Student Naval Aviators

The U.S. Navy’s newest aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) has completed carrier qualifications (CQ) for 23 Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA) student naval aviators, the Navy announced.

During the CQ, a total of 477 arrested landings were conducted on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier which is currently underway in the Atlantic Ocean.

Ford is the only CQ asset regularly available on the East Coast this year. Before the CNATRA CQ, Ford conducted carrier qualifications for Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) pilots from Airborne Command and Control Squadron (VAW) 117 and VAW-120, and Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 106. The VAW-117 has now completed CQ requirements to transition from the E-2C Hawkeye tactical airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft to the new E-2D Advanced Hawkeye.

Ford, operating at-sea at the same time as six other U.S. Navy aircraft carriers, is conducting its fourth independent steaming event (ISE) since commencing an 18-month Post Delivery Test and Trials (PDT&T) phase of operations in November 2019.

Gerald R. Ford is a first-in-class aircraft carrier and the first new aircraft carrier designed in more than 40 years. The 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).

On Jan. 31 this year, CVN 78 completed Aircraft Compatibility Testing (ACT), a significant milestone that exhibited EMALS and AAG’s ability to launch and recover five types of aircraft in varying configurations – four of which for the first time. CVN 78 proved to accommodate the current naval air wing, including F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, C-2A Greyhound, EA-18G Growler, and T-45C Goshawk aircraft.

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