SIX DAYS AFTER the ship was commissioned, the crew of USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) launched and recovered their first fixed and rotary-wing aircraft on July 28. An F/A-18F assigned to air test and evaluation squadron VX- 23 ‘Salty Dogs’ completed the first arrested landing when it caught the advanced arresting gear (AAG)’s number two wire off the coast of Virginia. Just over an hour later the Super Hornet was launched using the ship’s electromagnetic launch system (EMALS) from the number one catapult. The two systems have undergone rigorous testing at the Naval Air Warfare Center Air Division’s test site at Joint Base McGuire- Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, but the milestone aboard CVN 78 marked the first time the shipboard system had been tested with a live aircraft. Both systems were developed by General Atomics. Development issues with the new system caused numerous delays in the ship’s completion and acceptance.

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