Home » Aviation » Manned Advanced Arresting Gear Testing To Begin In February, Wrap Up After Carrier Ford Delivers


Manned Advanced Arresting Gear Testing To Begin In February, Wrap Up After Carrier Ford Delivers

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Nov. 17, 2013) – Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) transits the James River during the ship’s launch and transit to Newport News Shipyard pier three for the final stages of construction and testing. The Ford was christened Nov. 9, 2013, and is currently under construction at Huntington Ingalls Industries Newport News Shipyard (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Second Class Aidan P. Campbell/Released)

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Nov. 17, 2013) – Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) transits the James River during the ship’s launch and transit to Newport News Shipyard pier three for the final stages of construction and testing. The Ford was christened Nov. 9, 2013, and is currently under construction at Huntington Ingalls Industries Newport News Shipyard (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Second Class Aidan P. Campbell/Released)

The Navy will begin testing manned airplanes on its Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) at a New Jersey test site in February and will complete testing on all type/model/series in the months after the new carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) is delivered, Navy officials said on Thursday.

A 2013 hardware redesign on the General Atomics AAG has proven successful after more than 1,000 traps with dead load weights, Rear Adm. Donald Gaddis, Program Executive Officer for Tactical Aircraft, told reporters after a Senate hearing Thursday.

“We feel confident we can deliver hardware to the ship without having to go back and redesign or remove and replace anything we’ve delivered to the ship,” he said, noting that the ship is moving on with its test schedule as AAG continues land-based testing.

The remaining concerns with AAG all deal with software – particularly, whether the system can detect and help correct planes that land off-center on the carrier flight deck. The “divergent trajectory” issue is important because if a plane veers more than 20 feet off the centerline on the flight deck it would risk hitting people or equipment.

The software work currently taking place is “making sure that if the airplane doesn’t land on centerline – in other words, it’s off center 10 feet, 15 feet or as much as 20 feet – that the airplane stays inside that foul line. And that requires the software that the AAG system that’s on the right hand of the ship and the left-hand side of the ship know what’s happening to the wire as its paying out on the flight deck. So that requires a lot of software, requires a lot of test-analyze-fix on the software as well,” Gaddis said.

“At this point in the program, that is a very very low risk of anything happening in terms of concurrency to the hardware that we’ve already delivered to the ship,” he said, adding he was confident that software-only testing and fixing would address the divergent trajectory issue.

Once that software work is complete, Gaddis must then test each type of aircraft on AAG at the land-based Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division – Lakehurst, N.J. before the planes can go to the ship for at-sea AAG tests.

Gaddis said he would begin with the Super Hornets in February and will issue an Aircraft Recovery Bulletin in the summer once testing is complete.

“The plan right now is to do these recovery bulletins in incremental steps,” he said.
“We’ll start with the Super Hornet E/F, then we’ll go to the F-18C and then we’ll go to the E2 [Hawkeye] and C-2 [Greyhound]. And our plan is to do all those type/model/series and get all those recovery bulletins done before we hand it over to [the director of operational test and evaluation.”

An artist's conception of an installed Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) on a U.S. carrier. General Atomics Image

An artist’s conception of an installed Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) on a U.S. carrier. General Atomics Image

Though all the bulletins will be issued by the time Ford reaches operational test, only the Super Hornet will be allowed on the flight deck when the ship delivers. Rear Adm. Tom Moore, Program Executive Officer for Aircraft Carriers, said after the hearing that that wouldn’t cause any delays, as he just needs any planes to train the ship’s crew and certify the flight deck.

“Even though I only have one aircraft once I deliver the ship, the ship doesn’t care – the catapults and arresting gear are agnostic to what type of planes land on them,” he said.
“What I need from the shipbuilding side of the house is, I need to be able to take the ship out and exercise the flight deck, exercise [Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System] and AAG and have a crew start training to move aircraft on the flight deck. It’s a brand new flight deck, brand new pit stop refueling. So it doesn’t matter to me how many different type/model/series, I just need planes for launching and recovering during the six-month period between delivery and before I take it in for the post-shakedown availability.”

Moore also addressed a delay in the ship’s final at-sea trials before delivery. On Sept. 22 Moore announced that sea trials could be pushed back six to eight weeks due to a “deterioration” in progress on shipboard testing ahead of sea trials.

After the hearing, Moore said there are 246 systems on the ship that have to be tested, some of which are being turned on now for the first time.

“We took a look at the volume of work, the pace of testing. The test program on the ship is the first time that we have had the opportunity to exercise and test equipment that was in many cases designed 20 years ago,” he said.
“So as we’ve gone and energized this equipment for the first time, the pace of that testing has not proceeded at the pace we had expected it to be, so it’s taken us a little bit longer.”

After concluding he would not be ready for sea trials at the current shipboard testing pace, he considered the possibility of spending more money to accelerate the pace of preparations.

“My assessment was throwing additional resources at the schedule would probably cost a lot more money and may not in fact buy me back the schedule, so I went to [Navy acquisition chief Sean] Stackley and said, sir, the prudent thing to do is to move the sea trials out six to eight weeks – we have not changed the delivery date yet – and then give ourselves in that six to eight weeks, give ourselves the opportunity at the pace we’re at right now to finish the testing on the ship.”

Moore said there are more than 4,000 tests to conduct on the ship and the crew is making good progress. The Navy is 68 percent done with hull, mechanical and electrical systems tests, 42 percent done with electronics tests and 78 percent done with the propulsion plant.

  • magic3400

    Beautiful ship, but it should not have been named after Gerald Ford. There are many dedicated people who sacrificed so much for this nation. I would have love to see a Medal of Honor winner get a carrier.

    • gunnerv1

      I think that the Navy should return to Naming CV’s after Naval Sea Battles (and thanks for your Service “Jar Head” and I mean that in a Friendly Way, from an “Old Squid”). Destroyers were named after MoH awardees.

      • USNVO

        You mean like the Langelyr (person)? Saratoga (land battle), Lexington (land battle), Ranger (ship), Yorktown (land battle although with some naval action, albeit by the French), Enterprise (ship), Wasp (ship), Hornet (ship), Essex (ship), Hancock (person), Franklin (person), Shangri-La (fictional place), Forrestal (person), Kitty Hawk (place), Kennedy (person), Nimitz (person), Eisenhower (person), etc. Carriers named after famous sea battles are few and far between outside the Midway Class with two of three.

        The one consistent naming convention of Carriers is there is no consistent naming convention for carriers.

        • magic3400

          In all fairness, gunnerv1 said, “I think that the Navy should RETURN to Naming CV’s after Naval Sea Battles”.

          • gunnerv1

            Thank You, someone with “Common Sense”, instead of being a smartass!

          • magic3400

            You’re welcome.

          • USNVO

            That would imply Naval Sea Battles were the previous naming convention, which of course would be completely wrong. Even the Midway Class with Midway and Coral Sea were joined by the FDR. But don’t take my word for it, look it up. There is nothing to return to, there was no real naming convention before.

          • magic3400

            The Navy’s first carrier (a converted collier), the USS Langley, was named for aviation pioneer Samuel P. Langley, the inventor of the Aerodrome, and the third Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. When the Navy was compelled to stop building battle cruisers after 1923, Secretary of the Navy Edwin Denby decided that new construction aircraft carriers (CVs) should be named after “historic Naval Vessels or battles” (think Lexington, Saratoga, Ranger, Yorktown, Enterprise, Wasp, and Hornet). Once World War II began, the convention was modified to “famous old ships and important battles of our history and present world war”—and included Independence-class light fleet carriers (CVLs).

            During World War II, as the Navy began to acquire escort carriers, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox decided to separate them from CVs and CVLs by naming them after “sounds, bays, and islands.” (This was later amended to “sounds, bays, islands, and famous American battles.”)

            By VJ Day (August 14, 1945), all of the Navy’s 28 fleet carriers and 71 escort carriers—save one—followed their naming conventions. The exception was an aircraft carrier named Shangri-La, meant to memorialize the famous 1942 Doolittle Raid on Tokyo. (The report notes that “to protect the fact that the raid had been launched from an American aircraft carrier, President Roosevelt announced the attack had been launched from a new secret base at ‘Shangri-La,’ the fictional faraway land in James Hilton’s novel Lost Horizon.”)

            As World War II concluded, carrier naming convention was again modified. After President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s death, Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal recommended to President Harry S. Truman that the second of the new Midway-class carriers be named in Roosevelt’s honor. It was the first time since the Langley that a carrier had been named after an individual.

            AirSpaceMag

          • Secundius

            @ magic3400.

            Actually, 2nd US Aircraft Carrier. There was a 1st Some Many Years before the Langley!

          • magic3400

            Are you talking about the Jupiter?

            Jupiter was converted into the first U.S. aircraft carrier at the Navy Yard,Norfolk, Virginia, for the purpose of conducting experiments in the new idea of seaborne aviation. On 11 April 1920, she was renamed Langley -wiki

          • Secundius

            @ magic3400.

            NOPE, Earlier, 19th Century!

          • magic3400

            IDK…

          • Secundius

            @ magic3400.

            The American version of the ChiCom PLAN. United States Army-Navy Ship (actually Barge) USANS. General Washington Parke Curtis (May 1862)…

          • magic3400

            I guess in the abstract. But the Navy doesn’t really consider it an “aircraft carrier”, it’s called a towed balloon launching platform. But yeah, I guess it could be called a carrier.

          • Secundius

            @ magic3400.

            Even though the French developed the First Hot Air Balloon in 21 November 1783, the US. Army was the First Military to Employ the Balloon in Combat in the Summer of 1863, technically making it the World’s First Air Force. Though not meant for Actual Combat, I’m fairly curtain that Pistol and Rifles were on Them. Operational altitudes were usually limited to about 50 to 100-feet. But even at that altitude, Fall’s usually resulted Deaths…

          • USNVO

            Just don’t tell the people who served on the FRANKLIN (CV-13) or the HANCOCK (CV-19).

          • magic3400

            As said, SecNav gets to choose.

          • magic3400

            By VJ Day (August 14, 1945), all of the Navy’s 28 fleet carriers and 71 escort carriers—save one—followed their naming conventions.

          • Secundius

            @ magic3400.

            V-J Day, formal Surrender was 2 September 1945. Unofficial Surrender was on the 15 August 1945, three days after Japan Detonated their Atomic Bomb (12 August 1945)…

          • magic3400

            Aug 14, ’45 effectively ended WWII. It was announced that Japan had surrendered, unconditionally to the Allies. Both Aug 14 and 15 have been known as (Victory Over Japan Day).

            Sept 2 has also been used as the date for VJ Day. That’s the formal date of surrender aboard the Mighty Mo BB-63.

            (History Channel)

          • Secundius

            @ magic3400.

            Yeah, I know. Saw it last night on TV…

          • Secundius

            @ magic3400.

            Agreed! But, Lexington, Ranger, and Saratoga, were Great Ship’s and there Legacies should be allow to “Still Shine Bright”…

          • magic3400

            Agreed 🙂

        • gunnerv1

          No, (and you know exactly what I meant) like the “Coral Sea”, “Midway” etc. The Navy got away from convention by starting with naming SSN’s after Presidents instead of Fish, from there it went steadily downhill.

          • USNVO

            Outside of three Essex Class and Two Midways, no fleet carriers have been named for naval battles. That means, of something like 50 carriers, only 5 have been named after naval battles. Far more have been named after historical ships, important people, and land battles. I am all for using historical carrier names that distinguished themselves like Lexington, Wasp, Hornet, Yorktown, Ranger, Saratoga, etc. But let’s not pretend that there was some Naming convention before unlike battleships and cruisers. A carrier was named after FDR before a submarine was ever named after a City and now a State.

      • magic3400

        And thank you as well, shipmate.

        Destroyers are cool, but if you’ve earned the MOH, you deserve a carrier in your honor. Maybe only one carrier at a time can be in service named for a MOH winner and any subsequent carriers can not be named for a MOH until the previous one has been decom’d.

        I read through A LOT of these MOH awards, the level of bravery is off the scale. Those men (and 1 woman) deserve consideration for a carrier…IMHO.

        Semper Fi – Always Forward, Always Deployed

        • gunnerv1

          And I totally agree with one Stipulation. Ships should be named after Navy/ Marine Corps (Anphibs) MoH Awardees, Army/Air Force can name their Land Bases after their own MoH Awardees.

          • magic3400

            Agreed

    • Secundius

      @ magic3400.

      What about the USS. Tony Stein, USMC. Creator of the T33, a modified M1919A6 Aircraft Machinegun .30-06 (7.62×63.3mm) with a Garand Butt Stock, and a BAR Bi-Pod. With a Cyclic Rate of Fire ~1,350rpm. Died on Iwo Jima on 1 March 1945, and MHO recipient. AS SOON AS THE GET RID OF THE “GENERALLY ATONIC” EMALS…

      • gunnerv1

        It was actually a Modified (Colt/Browning) AN-M2 .30-06 That was not formally accepted into the Ordnance Catalog (the Modified version). I beleve that there were only about 3 or 4 of them (I’m a former Class Three (Machine) Gun Dealer and that was the (AN-M2) first MG that I had in my shop) They orginally had a standard rate of fire of 1200 Rounds Per Minute (20 per second). The reason for not accepting was because the Operator couldn’t keep the stream of fire on target, much like the “Chain” guns (37 mm) of today. I sold mine as it was not cheap to feed, a lot of fun at the range (but bring a lot of spare barrels) with a high “Gee Wize” factor. (also now available in 7.62×51 mm NATO for the collector/shooter)

        • Secundius

          @ gunnserv1.

          It was a Lightweight Aluminum M1919A6 (An Aircraft version) of the M1919A5 Machine Guns. Ton Stein, More or Less “Borrowed” it for the US. Navy. You Know (Directive “Under New Management” Policy), “If Nobody’s Looking Take It” policy. Quite A Lot of That Took Place During World War II. My Father, USED IT more than Once on Many Occasions fighting under General Mark Clark…

        • Secundius

          @ gunnerv1.

          What “Chain Gun’ was there in 37mm?

      • magic3400

        The .30cal Stinger

        No surprise there, Marines adapt and overcome. He saw an opportunity to increase firepower and took it. Great Marine. I haven’t read his award so I can’t say yes to his particular case.

        I think if we name a carrier for a MOH recipient it should be the best and the bravest MOH awards out there.

        • Secundius

          @ magic3400.

          Just after the Revolutionary War, We (the USA) acquired many British Warship’s and “Pressed” them into our “Fledgling” Navy. With their “Original British” Names, they Served Our Navy with Equally High Distinction. I think is ONLY fair, that we Carry-On those FINE Names. Before their Lost in the Obscurity of Time, Called History…

          • magic3400

            mmmmmm…I don’t know about that. As a member of the United States Navy, I’m proud of our heritage. The men and women that wear the Navy/Marine Corps uniforms have a rich and glorious history and our ships should reflect the accomplishments of the US Navy/Marine Corps and our American heritage.

            I understand your point though.

          • Secundius

            @ magic3400.

            You should read the Chronicles of the Frigate Macedonian, 1809-1922. By James Tertius de Kay, some early US Marine Corps “Actions” in the Book against the Barbary Pirates of Tunisia and Libya…

          • magic3400

            I’m not saying they shouldn’t be honored, but I think the current Navy has plenty of valor to honor.

  • Pingback: Air Testing Equipment For Plumbing | plumber requirements info()

  • Hugh

    Landing at the extreme of the envelope, night, bad weather…….. awesome equipment and pilots.

  • Pingback: F Gerald New Jewelers Nj | buy - gold wedding rings()

  • disqus_zommBwspv9

    USS Persian Gulf