NORFOLK (NNS) (NNS) -- USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) returned to Norfolk April 26 following the field-testing of the Navy's new Maritime Augmented Guidance with Integrated Controls for Carrier Approach and Recovery Precision Enabling Technologies (MAGIC CARPET) software.
The crew also conducted carrier qualification (CQ) operations and the offload of ordnance to the Military Sealift Command dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS William McLean (T-AKE 12).
"This underway marked the first use of the MAGIC CARPET technology on an aircraft carrier," said Lt. Cmdr. Dan Marzluff, assistant air operations officer. "This software greatly reduces misses and wave-offs, which translates into more time on-mission and makes us an overall more effective force."
MAGIC CARPET is software designed for F/A-18E/F/G aircraft that automatically adjusts the jet's speed and angle of attack in relation to the intended landing surface. Initial tests of the system took place in early February at Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md.
"The majority of flight operations with the system were touch-and-goes," said Marzluff. "We didn't have to actually land to determine how the software takes the aircraft to the flight deck."
George H.W. Bush also conducted CQs with the "Flying Eagles" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 122, the "Vikings" of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129, the "Lancers" of VAQ-131, and the "Sharpshooters" of Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron (VMFAT) 101. This training prepares pilots in carrier-based launches and recoveries in a safer environment than a combat zone.
"We're getting our pilots qualified for carrier-based operations in legacy F/A-18s, and this underway was the last phase of their training before the pilots are fully qualified," said Staff Sgt. Joshua Bryan, lead flight deck controller for VMFAT 101. "Three of our Marine pilots are heading to the fleet right after this underway, and one of those pilots is going to USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). All of us in VMFAT 101 have been very pleased with the carrier keeping up with our training and getting us our qualifications quickly and efficiently."
An ammunition offload took place day and night over a three day period, and despite the heightened sea state, the offload was completed on schedule.
"We staged the event from the hangar bay and the flight deck to transfer the ordnance to McLean with helicopters," said Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class Daniel Luebbert of G-3 weapons division. "Later, McLean came alongside and we transferred the rest by a connected replenishment."
For more news from USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn77/.