The Navy’s next generation advanced arresting gear destined for the Ford-class carriers trapped two new aircraft in May, according to a release from the company.
The AAG, which will replace the traditional arresting cable on the Ford-class flight deck, was used to trap both the C-2A Greyhound carrier on-board delivery aircraft an an E-2D Hawkeye. Both traps occurred a the Runway Arrested Landing Site in Lakehurst, New Jersey.
In a release, General Atomics said the test represented a new phase in the development of the technology.
“Since the carrier’s July 2017 commissioning, the AAG system aboard [the carrier Gerald R. Ford] has successfully arrested the F/A-18 Super Hornet 747 times,” Rolf Ziesing, an official with General Atomics’ electromagnetic systems division. “We are now in the next phase of AAG capability and performance testing targeting heavier, prop-based C-2A, E-2C and E-2D aircraft.
“We’ll continue both roll-in and fly-in testing throughout the summer. Once RALS testing is completed, the aircraft will be cleared to begin tting aboard CVN 78.”es
The idea behind the advanced arresting gear and the electromagnetic launch system destined for Ford is to allow it to launch and recover more aircraft and put less strain on the aircraft that the old steam catapults on all the other carriers.
The AAG system has been dogged by reliability questions. In its report on Navy systems in 2017, the the Defense Department’s Director of Test and Evaluation office said the program had yet to clear up an alarmingly high fault rate that raised questions about whether the Ford would ever be able to generate the promised higher sortie rate that is one of the reasons the program exists in the first place.
“At the current reliability, AAG has less than a 0.001 percent chance of completing the 4-day surge and less than a 0.200 percent chance of completing a day of sustained operations,”the DOT&E report said.
David B. Larter was the naval warfare reporter for Defense News.