An F/A-18F Super Hornet fighter jet has been shot into the sky during the first-ever launch and recovery using the U.S. Navy's new electromagnetic catapult system.
The test happened aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford, the Navy's new $12.9 billion warship, which was commissioned and heavily praised by Donald Trump just a week ago.
The new technology - called the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System, or EMALS - has previously shown it can hurl dead-loads, but this is the first time the catapult-like launcher has propelled an actual aircraft into the air.
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A fighter jet was shot into the sky during the first-ever launch and recovery using the U.S. Navy's new electromagnetic catapult system - the revolutionary feat happened aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford, the newest warship commissioned and heavily praised by Donald Trump a week ago
EMALS has been in development for the Navy's Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers.
It's meant to launch aircrafts from a carrier using the catapult method.
But rather than using a conventional steam piston drive, it uses a linear motor drive instead.
This accelerates the aircraft more smoothly and puts less stress on the airframes.
It also weighs and costs significantly less and requires little maintenance.
It's designed for to be flexible in launching both light and heavy aircrafts.
The UK, China and India have also show interest in or began developing systems that use EMALS.
The first arrested landing, or 'trap', occurred at 3:10 PM EST, and the first catapult launch happened at 4:37 PM EST, this past Friday off the coast of Virginia, the Navy revealed today.
'AAG and EMALS have been successfully tested ashore at Lakehurst, New Jersey, but this is the first shipboard recovery and launch of a fleet fixed wing aircraft,' said Capt. Rick McCormack, Ford's commanding officer.
It comes after a years delay to the ship after there were issues with the carrier's advanced systems and technology, including its aircraft landing equipment and power generation, identified.
This work is a collective effort by the U.S. Navy and Ford, as well as several other entities.
'My team has worked very hard, together with experts from NAVAIR, Huntington Ingalls Industries, and General Atomics, to test this first-in-class technology,' said Cmdr. Thomas Plott, head of Ford's air department.
'Today is a validation of their dedication and hard work.'
EMALS is meant to function just like the traditional steam catapult but with more advanced technology - mainly it is designed to expand the operational capability of future carriers to support everything from lightweight unmanned aircraft to heavy strike fighters.
The technological improvements allow for a higher-launch energy capacity, improvements in system maintenance, increased reliability and efficiency, as well as more accurate end-speed control and smooth acceleration.
The software-controlled AAG, or advanced arresting gear, is a modular, integrated system that consists of energy absorbers, power conditioning equipment and digital controls.
It's designed to provide higher reliability and safety margins, even having built-in testing and diagnostics that results in lower maintenance and manpower requirements.
Additionally, the architectural features that provide safer and reliability also allow for the arrestment of a greater range of aircraft and reduce the fatigue impact load to the aircraft.
'I could not be more proud of the men and women who, for the better part of the last two decades, have worked to bring these new technologies to the fleet,' said Capt. Stephen Tedford, program manager.
'Their perseverance and dedication to service have made this day possible.'
An F/A-18F Super Hornet jet flies over the USS Gerald R. Ford as the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier tests its EMALS magnetic launching system, which replaces the steam catapult, and new AAG arrested landing system in the Atlantic Ocean July 28, 2017
An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 performs an arrested landing aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78)
The launch occurred aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford, which Donald Trump commissioned last week, declaring that the most advanced aircraft carrier to join the Navy will cause America's enemies to 'shake with fear' whenever they see its form cutting across the horizon.
'I hereby place United States Ship Gerald R. Ford in commission,' Trump said after delivering a speech in which he praised the U.S. military and the American labor that went into building the 100,000-ton, $12.9 billion warship.
'May God bless and guide this warship and all who shall sail in her,' Trump said.
'I could not be more proud of the men and women who, for the better part of the last two decades, have worked to bring these new technologies to the fleet,' said Capt. Stephen Tedford, program manager. 'Their perseverance and dedication to service have made this day possible'
It's the most expensive warship ever built, costing nearly $13 billion.
After eight years in development, the ship embarked on the first of its sea trials to test various state-of-the-art systems this past April.
That opening test came almost an entire year after 'poor or unknown reliability issues' were identified in a memo last year.
About 5,000 shipbuilders have been involved in the construction of the Navy's most expensive warship.
The USS Gerald R. Ford will weigh almost 100,000 tonnes - or as much as 400 Statue of Libertys.
The ship has a five-acre flight deck, and holds 4,660 personnel and 75 aircraft, and was designed completely using 3D computer modelling.
A nuclear power plant designed to allow cruising speeds of more than 30 knots (34 miles per hour) and operation for 20 years without refueling.
It also has a smaller island that sits farther back on the ship to make it easier and quicker to refuel, re-arm and relaunch planes
It's the most expensive warship ever built, costing nearly $13 billion. After eight years in development, the ship embarked on the first of its sea trials to test various state-of-the-art systems this past April
It has more than 10,000,000 feet of electronic cable built in.
There are two other ships in the Ford class: the USS John F. Kennedy and a new USS Enterprise - expected to be commissioned in 2020 and 2025 respectively. The total cost for the three vessels is estimated to be more than $43 billion.
The giant warship is 1,106-foot long and will be capable of launching 220 airstrikes per day from its two runways, while appearing almost invisible to radar detectors.
The USS Gerald R. Ford will replace the USS Enterprise, which was in service from 1962 to 2012.
The ship is able to launch so many airstrikes - one almost every six minutes - because the deck uses electromagnetic force to propel the jets forward. It is a similar method as used on roller coasters.
The vessel can carry more planes and operate with several hundred fewer sailors. Flying missions are expected to increase by a third.
Construction on the Ford