EMALS Launch USS Gerald R. Ford: November 17, 2020

By Robbin Laird

On November 17, 2020, a small number of journalists, most from the local Norfolk based media, flew from Norfolk Air Station to the USS Gerald R. Ford at sea, less than 100 miles off of the Virginia cost.

We flew on the venerable C-2 Greyhound, but this was the first time I had done a carrier landing with the advanced arresting gear and the new EMALS launch gear engaged. It was clearly different. Notably, when we launched it was much smoother and much quicker than a steam catapult experience.

Last month, I had spent two days with the senior leadership of USS Gerald R. Ford and talked with many members of the crew.

What I had a chance to see and discuss during that visit was the new combat architecture built into the ship which allows for a very different workflow than a Nimitz class carrier, which allows for significant advances in sortie generation rates, as well as new ways to manage the deck space in empowering air operations from the very formidable warship.