Aug 4, 2017
USS Gerald R. Ford's first flight ops
Not only were Monday’s flight operations a milestone for the newly commissioned ship, but it ushered in a new, high-tech era for flight deck technology. Yet it could still be a few more years before the Navy sees whether the new Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System, known as EMALS, will meet all of its promise.
But the system isn’t expected to be fully capable for another couple of years. In 2014, it was discovered in testing at Lakehurst, New Jersey, that fully loaded aircraft carrying fuel were experiencing unacceptable load levels on their wings during launches.
The fix is a software upgrade for the EMALS what won’t be installed until 2019, during the ship’s post-shakedown availability. Until then, launching aircraft is not restricted, but not any with heavy fuel or bomb loads.