The US Navy’s newest aircraft recovery system, Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG), successfully completed the system’s most demanding test event to date with 22 aircraft arrestments in just over 26 minutes at the Runway Arrested Landing Site (RALS) in Lakehurst, New Jersey.
The system will ll replace the MK 7 hydraulic arresting gear which is in use on the ten Nimitz class aircraft carriers. The AAG is designed for a broader range of aircraft, including UAVs, while reducing manpower and maintenance. Rotary engines which use simple energy-absorbing water turbines (or twisters) coupled to a large induction motor provide finer control of the arresting forces.
The US Navy say that the two-day series of testing evaluated the AAG thermal management system’s ability to remove excess heat generated during fast-paced flight operations as experienced aboard the aircraft carrier to validate the system’s capability to meet USS Gerald R. Ford’s (CVN 78) operational requirements.
“This never-before accomplished test event was effectively executed with herculean efforts by a collaborative program office-fleet team,” said Capt. Ken Sterbenz, Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment (PMA-251) programme manager.
“This achievement represents a significant datapoint for AAG performance as experienced at our single engine land-based site. I’m highly confident with AAG going into CVN 78 Aircraft Compatibility Testing early next year where the full, three-engine recovery system configuration will be utilized.”
The U.S. Navy has made significant progress in maturing the latest carrier-based launch and recovery technologies – the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and AAG system. As of September 2019, the EMALS test program has completed more than 3,800 dead-loads, or weighted sleds, and over 530 aircraft launches at the System Functional Demonstration test site.