The USS Gerald R. Ford, the Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, successfully launched and landed an aircraft with advanced digital, magnetic technology, which replaces the older steam-driven catapult system.
The successful missions Friday came less than a week after President Trump commissioned the nearly $13 billion ship in Virginia.
“Today, USS Gerald R. Ford made history,” said Adm. Phil Davidson, commander of the U.S. Fleet Forces. “Great work by the Ford team and all the engineers who have worked hard to get the ship ready for this milestone.”
Trump suggested last spring that the Navy continue to use the steam-based catapult system to launch and snag aircraft on and off ships’ flight decks, amid the continued concerns about the cost to complete the USS Ford.
Prior to Friday’s missions, the new technology had been successfully tested ashore at Lakehurst, N.J., according to the Navy.
“This is the first shipboard recovery and launch of a fleet fixed wing aircraft,” said Capt. Rick McCormack, Ford’s commanding officer.
The aircraft used were A-18F Superhornet fighter jets, based at the naval base at Patuxent River, Md.