The USS Gerald R. Ford’s (CVN-78) Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) has been approved to recover both propeller and jet aircraft, according to an Aircraft Recovery Bulletin (ARB), Naval Air Systems Command said Aug. 12.

The ARB, released on Aug. 2, allows the propeller aircraft C-2A Greyhound, E-2C Hawkeye and E-2D Advanced Hawkeye as well as jet aircraft the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and E/A-18G Growler to all perform flight operations on CVN-78.

An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 launches from the flight deck of USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) for the first time using the EMALS launcher following a first arrested landing using the AAG. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cathrine Campbell/Released.

ARBs are official Navy instructional documents identifying the weights and engaging speeds that are authorized for shipboard arrestments for specific aircraft.

“Release of the ARBs signifies ‘Naval Air Systems Command’s stamp of approval’ for the AAG system to safely recover these type/model/series aircraft aboard the Navy’s newest class of aircraft carriers,” Jeff Mclean, deputy program manager for Navy AAG System Design and Development, said in a statement.

“The entire team did a tremendous job accelerating the schedule and working through challenges. This achievement is another significant step toward ensuring the system can support the ship’s full air wing,” Capt. Ken Sterbenz, program manager for the Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment program office, added.

Before the ARB was generated, the AAG team conducted over 2,500 dead-load arrestments at the Jet Car Track Site and 1,420 manned aircraft arrestements at the Runway Arrested Landing Site, both at the Joint Base McGuire-Dix in Lakehurst, N.J. The base hosts several land-based test sites for new technologies on the Ford class.

“The pace of system testing was consistently demanding and required numerous team members to perform their duties in difficult conditions and in all types of weather in order to meet critical program milestones leading up to these ARB releases,” Mclean added.

The AAG continued to execute required system development and demonstration tests at the Lakehurst sites with prime contractor General Atomics, the Navy said.

Mclean noted comprehensive testing of new systems like AAG is critical because it ensures it is operationally safe for the fleet and meets Navy requirements.

The AAG is designed to arrest a larger range of aircraft, reduce fatigue impact load on the aircraft, provide a higher safety margin, and reduce manpower and maintenance. It is a software-controlled modular system made of energy absorbers, power conditioning equipment, and digital controls.

The Ford first launched and recovered fixed-wing aircraft using the AAG in 2017 (Defense Daily, July 31, 2017).