Marking historic movement into the future of carrier-strike aviation.
The Super Hornet caught the number two arresting wire of Ford's advanced arresting gear system after being launched from catapult "one" using the electromagnetic launch system (EMALS), a Navy statement said.
"The USS Gerald R. Ford made history with the successful landing and launching of aircraft from VX-23 using the AAG and EMALS," Adm. Phil Davidson, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces, said in a written Navy statement.
The first flight came shortly after the emerging aircraft carrier electromagnetic fighter jet catapult successfully completed testing of a new software fix designed to improve reliability of the technology and further prepare the system for operational use aboard the USS Ford.
An EMALS team completed testing at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, early this summer, validating a software fix that will ensure safe launches, a Navy statement said.
The issue, first discovered in 2014, is identified in a Navy statement that "holdback release dynamics exceeded current fleet allowances during launches of these aircraft configured with the wing-mounted external fuel tanks."
“We were confident since the day that the issue was uncovered that it was solvable,” George Sulich, EMALS integrated program team lead, said in a written Navy statement. “The beauty of the system is that issues such as these can be accomplished with software updates instead of major hardware changes to machinery.”
Sulich also explained that the EMALS team promptly planned a "resolution for further tuning of the system’s control algorithm, which would reduce the loads on the EFTs to within established operational limits."
All design, development, software coding, laboratory testing and dead-load testing, using weighted, aircraft-representative sleds, was completed in 2015.
In recent tests, an F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler were outfitted with wing-mounted, 480-gallon external fuel tanks and launched without exceeding stress limits on the aircraft. A total of 71 EMALS launches were conducted by the EMALS Team and the Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23.