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Navy's New Carrier Still Can't Reliably Get Planes In The Air Or Safely Back On The Deck - Carrier Ford.jpg ...

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Old January 31st 19, 04:51 AM posted to alt.binaries.pictures.aviation
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Default Navy's New Carrier Still Can't Reliably Get Planes In The Air Or Safely Back On The Deck - Carrier Ford.jpg ...

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Statistics from a new Pentagon report show that the troublesome electromagnetic
catapults and new arresting gear on the U.S. Navy's newest aircraft carrier, the
USS Gerald R. Ford, performed terribly during at-sea trials over the past two
years. The news comes just weeks after the Pentagon approved plans for a block
buy of two more of Ford-class flattops in an attempt to help cut ballooning
costs. The first-in-class USS Gerald R. Ford, also known as CVN-78, was billions
of dollars over budget at the time of delivery in 2017 and continues to require
significant and costly work.

Bloomberg was first to report the new details about the Ford's dismal
performance in 2018 after obtaining a copy of the latest annual review from the
Office of the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation, more commonly known
as DOT&E. Every Spring, this office releases public reports on how well, or not,
various high-profile military systems performed in testing in the previous
fiscal year, which ends in September. These reviews often include data compiled
over multiple years, as well.

We have yet to see the full report for ourselves, but DOT&E's latest examination
of Ford shows that Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) suffered 10
"critical failures" across 747 aircraft launches in at-sea trials since delivery
in 2017, according to Bloomberg. The Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) had 10
“operational mission failures” over the course of 763 landing attempts in that
same time frame.

There are no additional details on what qualifies as a "critical failure" for
the EMALS or an "operational mission failure" for the AAG. It is reasonable to
assume these categories are instances where the catapults did not successfully
launch the aircraft and that the arresting gear did not safely stop returning
planes, for one reason or another.

EMALS and AAG are essential for Ford's ability to conduct aviation operations
and both of these systems, which are all-new to this class of ships, are also
supposed to improve its capabilities compared to past flattops. These
electronically operated and controlled launch and recovery systems allow the
crew to fine tune how they get aircraft up in the air and get them safely back
on the deck, at least in principle. When they're working correctly, the two
systems are supposed to help increase the number of sorties the carrier can
generate and reduce the physical strain on aircraft, lowering maintenance and
logistical demands.

Suffice to say, so far this hasn't been the case and the persistent problems
with the EMALS and AAG directly impact the carrier's ability to conduct actual
meaningful operations. For testing purposes, in the past, the Navy has defined a
typical day of operations as launching and recovering 84 aircraft in a 24 hour
period. The required number of sorties could easily be far greater during
combat, especially during the initial phases of a major conflict or even a
smaller crisis.

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