USS Gerald R. Ford Performs 1000th Recovery and Launch of Fixed-Wing Aircraft

The U.S. Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) has performed its 1000th recovery and launch of a fixed-wing aircraft on March 19.

The 1000th recovery was executed by an F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter aircraft, attached to “Blue Blasters” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 34, using Ford’s Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) at 5:13 p.m. Minutes later, the crew celebrated a second milestone launching a Super Hornet attached to “Warhawks” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 97 from Ford’s Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) catapult.

F/A-18E Super Hornet Lands on USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78)
ATLANTIC OCEAN (March 19, 2020) Lt. Scott “Gameday” Gallagher lands an F/A-18E Super Hornet, attached to “Blue Blasters” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 34, for the 1,000th trap on USS Gerald R. Ford’s (CVN 78) flight deck during flight operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Gary Prill)

This significant milestone in the ships’ history began on July 28, 2017, with Ford’s first fixed-wing recovery and launch using its first-in-class AAG and EMALS technologies.

Capt. J.J. “Yank” Cummings, Ford’s commanding officer, explained how the entire Ford crew has worked together over the last few years to reach this achievement.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our crew, their motivation is amazing,” said Cummings. “We’ve been working extremely hard to get here today, and to see this 1,000th trap completely validates their efforts and the technology on this warship.”

Boasting the Navy’s first major design investment in aircraft carriers since the 1960s, Ford’s AAG and EMALs support greater launch and recovery energy requirements of future air wings, increasing the safety margin over legacy launch and arresting gear found on Nimitz-class carriers.

With 1,000 launches and recoveries complete, Ford will continue its flight deck and combat air traffic control certifications in preparation to deliver to the fleet regular flight operations in support of East Coast carrier qualifications.

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