The U.S. Navy aims to begin the expansion of aircrafts that can be launched and recovered from the next-generation aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford by end of 2019, USNI News reported Wednesday.
Commander Mehdi Akacem, Ford’s air boss, said the service awaits the launch and recovery bulletins needed to put the ship’s Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System and Advanced Arresting Gear in service. The systems will enable every configuration of the F-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft to operate from Ford.
“In a couple of months, they are on a path to publish the fully fleet-representative recovery bulletins that will give us the capability to recover any weapons configuration which F-18 or a Growler can have on a Nimitz-class,” Akacem said.
The EMALS and AAG systems are expected to begin operations after Ford’s departure from Newport News Shipbuilding in July for more testing at sea. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said potential delays in technology integration or development aboard the ship are under control.