With Carrier Air Wing 8 embarked, American supercarrier USS Gerald R. Ford logged significant milestones this week during Post Delivery Test and Trials operations at sea.
The U.S. Navy say that during Ford’s largest aircraft embark to date, CVW-8 completed critical milestones on the first-in-class ship, testing secure communications and tactical data links, supporting the use of ‘Network Enabled Weapons’, ‘Combined fixed- and rotary-wing Close Air Support integration’, and SIMDIS, a ‘multi-dimensional interactive graphical and video display’ to playback large events for debriefs.
“Underway, CVW-8 conducted day and night cyclic flight operations totaling 324 catapult launches and arrested landings, qualifying 50 pilots, including Ford’s Commanding Officer, Capt. J.J. Cummings. To date, Ford has conducted 3,480 catapult launches and arrested landings with EMALS and AAG. Additionally, during this execution of cyclic flight operations with CVW-8, Ford moved thousands of pounds of inert ordnance via Advanced Weapons Elevators to F/A-18 Super Hornets, employed during Close Air Support and air-to-ground training missions. Executing cyclic operations and arming aircraft with bombs from the ship’s magazines were firsts for the team.
The air wing’s embark provided the first opportunity for Ford’s weapons department to execute a full ordnance movement using a lower stage weapons elevator. Performing as advertised, Ford’s AWEs conducted more than 1,300 cycles during this latest at sea period that enabled the successful transfer of 176 inert bombs in support of air wing operations. Ford’s AWEs have conducted over 10,000 cycles to date.”
Following the CVW-8’s fly-off on Sunday, the U.S. Navy say that Ford will return to port as planned and continue PDT&T scheduled events.