Naval News flew aboard USS Gerald R Ford while the carrier was off the coast of France, participating to exercise Silent Wolverine.
In this video we interview:
- RADM Patchell, Vice Commander, U.S. Second Fleet
- RADM Huffman, Commander, Carrier Strike Group Twelve
- “Siri”, a shooter aboard Ford, using the EMALS on a daily basis
Exercise Silent Wolverine tested the first-in-class aircraft carrier capabilities through integrated high-end naval warfare scenarios alongside participating NATO allies. Exercise participants include Canada, Denmark, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United States.
Gerald R. Ford is a first-in-class U.S. aircraft carrier that incorporates 23 new technologies comprised of significant advances in propulsion, power generation, ordnance handling, and aircraft launch systems. The Ford-class aircraft carrier generates an increased aircraft launch and recovery capability with a 20 percent smaller crew than Nimitz-class aircraft carriers.
U.S. Second Fleet comments about USS Gerald R Ford
RADM Patchell, Vice Commander, U.S. Second Fleet said: “This is an important deployment. It is showcasing the first new class of carrier introduced in the United States Navy in over forty years […] I am absolutely impressed with the capabilities here onboard Ford […] and even more that that, impressed with the crew: This is a motivated crew, they are ready to expand their learning. I mean they are learning a new carrier each and everyday, and improving, but just the incredible morale here onboard the Ford has been impressive from a 2nd Fleet perspective”.
CSG 12 comments Ford capabilities
RADM Huffman, Commander, Carrier Strike Group Twelve, said: “The Ford has 23 new technologies. Some of the most prominent ones are the radar systems that we have onboard which is different from the Nimitz-class. It is more along the lines of an Aegis type of radar system. So that brings different capabilities. And when we marry that with our allies and partners, it gives us the opportunity to look at how we can leverage what the Ford class brings.”
Advanced Weapons Elevators AWE
Answering a question on the Advanced Weapons Elevators (AWE), RADM Huffman explained: “I know the weapons elevators have been the topic of a lot of discussions recently, over the last couple of years. They performed fantastically! We had zero issues with those elevators. And I think if you talk to the ordnance handling crew, they will say that they are incredibly impressed with what they have. They really like the new setup. It is very much more efficient compared to what they are used to in previous classes of ships”.
About the EMALS, RADM Huffman was “I would say, overall, in the life of the ship, we’ve done well over 10,000 launches and recoveries onboard. For this particular deployment, I couldn’t say exactly how many we did, but we were able to execute a full range of operations in a normal fashion of cyclic operations […] We had very few issues at all with the EMALS, it is still a work in progress, and we are getting better at it, but it is absolutelty performing where we need it to be”.