Flight testing begins at sea on USS Gerald R. Ford

Posted at 11:55 AM, Jan 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-22 11:59:08-05

NORFOLK, Va. – Flight testing has begun on the USS Gerald R. Ford as part of an effort to get the aircraft carrier fully operational.

The Ford departed Naval Station Norfolk last week to begin Aircraft Compatibility Testing (ACT) off the East Coast.

The Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) are both unique to the Ford and are being tested at-sea during ACT.

Last October, Ford returned to Naval Station Norfolk after a 15-month long post-shakedown availability and maintenance period at Newport News Shipbuilding.

Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly launched a “Make Ford Ready” initiative this month to get the Ford into fleet operations as quickly as possible.

Compatibility testing at sea will include T-45 Goshawks, F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets, E/A-18G Growlers, E-2D Hawkeyes and C-2A Greyhounds.

It will be the first time the T-45, E-2D, C-2A and E/A-17G aircraft will launch and recover from a Ford-class carrier. The F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets were tested with the Ford in 2018.

This ACT phase is important to improve and modify future Ford-class carriers and for the Ford’s Flight Deck Certification expected to take place in March.

“Once Ford’s flight deck is certified, she will become my go-to aircraft carrier responsible for conducting carrier qualifications on the East Coast for the Navy’s newest Fleet and Training Command aviators, said Rear Admiral Roy Kelley. Commander of Naval Air Force Atlantic, in a statement.  “This will be a significant boost to aircraft carrier availability and overall Fleet operational readiness.”

Before this phase of ACT, the last time Ford flew aircraft was January 2018.