An F/A-18 Super Hornet prepares to launch from the USS Gerald R. Ford. Navy photo

The new supercarrier USS Gerald R. Ford last week completed the 1,000th flight using General Atomics‘ electromagnetic catapult and arresting technology repeatedly criticized by President Trump.

The carrier also received its official Flight Deck Certification after two consecutive days of operations with a total of 123 launches and landings in daytime and 42 at night.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our crew, their motivation is amazing,” said Capt. J. J. Cummings, the Ford’s commanding officer. “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.”

The testing proved the reliable operation of San Diego-based General Atomics’ Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System and Advanced Arresting Gear. The new technology replaces conventional steam catapults and mechanical arresting gear. It’s designed to put less stress on aircraft while increasing the launch and recovery rate.

In an interview with Time Magazine in May 2017, Trump called on the Navy to abandon the new technology. “You’re going to goddamned steam, the digital costs hundreds of millions of dollars more money and it’s no good,” he told the Navy in the interview. He repeated the criticism in a speech to Navy personnel later in the month.

General Atomics is under contract to provide the advanced catapult and arresting technology for the next two Ford-class supercarriers.

Show comments

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.