AUGUST 10, 2016 — Although delays to the delivery of the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) have been well publicized (see earlier story), Huntington Ingalls Industries (NYSE:HII) said today that pierside testing of the vessel at its Newport News Shipbuilding division is nearing completion.
The shipbuilder has now successfully tested the carrier's Precision Aircraft Landing System (PALS).
PALS is a radar system that provides final approach and landing guidance to aircraft to ensure successful landings on the flight deck.
A specially instrumented F-18 Super Hornet flew within about 500 feet of Gerald R. Ford ten times during the testing, which verifies the proper functionality, alignment and operation of the PALS equipment and its subsystems.
While the PALS technology is used on Nimitz-class carriers, Gerald R. Ford's system is upgraded and modified for the new island location and other design and technology changes in the new Ford class.
The dual band radar, also new to the Ford class, supported testing of the PALS.
"Aircraft landing precision is at the core of an aircraft carrier's mission," said Rolf Bartschi, Newport News' vice president, CVN 78 carrier construction. "This test program ensures that the systems are working together as they were designed to work before we take the ship to sea."