As the fleet grapples with coronavirus, the US Navy's newest aircraft carrier hit a major operational milestone
- The US Navy's first-in-class carrier USS Gerald R. Ford completed flight-deck and carrier air-traffic control center certifications this month.
- Those milestones underscore the progress of carrier, which has struggled with an array of new systems, and make it able to play a much bigger role in the fleet, as it can now host pilot qualifications.
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Off the East Coast this month, the Navy's newest aircraft carrier, the first-in-class USS Gerald R. Ford, reached several major milestones in a matter of hours, marking the advancement of the carrier's crew and its systems.
The Ford completed flight deck certification and carrier air-traffic control center certification on March 20, after it achieved Precision Approach Landing Systems certification and conducted two days of flight operations.
F/A-18E and F/A-18F Super Hornets from four squadrons assigned to Carrier Air Wing 8 conducted 123 daytime launches and landings and 42 nighttime launches and landings aboard the Ford over a two-day period, exceeding the minimum requirements for each by three and two, respectively.
"Our sailors performed at a level that was on par with a forward deployed aircraft carrier, and this was a direct result of the hardcore training and deployment-ready mentality we have pushed every day for the past year," Capt. J. J. Cummings, the Ford's commanding officer, said in a release. "Our team put their game faces on, stepped into the batter's box and smashed line drives out of the park. It was fun to watch."
The certifications, photos of which you can see below, are major achievements not only for the carrier but also for the Navy, as the Ford is now the only only carrier qualification asset - meaning it can conduct carrier qualifications for pilots and other support operations - that will be regularly available on the East Coast this year.
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