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Final carrier Ford Advanced Weapons Elevator turned over to crew

The final Advanced Weapon Elevator for aircraft carrier USS Gerald R Ford was turned over to the ship's crew. (Michael Fabey)

The 11th and final Advanced Weapons Elevator (AWE) aboard USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78) was turned over to the ship's crew on 22 December, US Navy (USN) officials confirmed.

Ford-class AWEs operate using several advanced technologies including electromagnetic motors vice more labour intensive, hydraulic systems. The advanced technology enables fewer sailors to safely move ordnance from weapons magazines to the flight deck with unparalleled speed and agility, USN officials noted.

The AWEs had become a major bone of contention in the development of the full at-sea operations for Ford . The inability of the elevators to form adequate watertight fitting caused delivery of the systems in stages.

The ship needs all the AWEs to operate properly and at capacity to reach the sortie increases and some of the other benefits touted for Ford-class ships.

โ€œThis is a significant milestone for the navy, ship, and her crew,โ€ Rear Admiral James Downey, programme executive officer for Aircraft Carriers, said in a statement. โ€œWith completion of this final AWE, we now have the entire system to operate and train with.โ€

Rear Adm Downey added that the navy-industry AWE team worked tirelessly both in port and at sea to complete the elevators to ensure the availability of needed materials and engineering expertise.

Multiple vendors have collaborated along the way to ensure seamless support to multishift, shipboard production efforts, he noted. โ€œThe navy-industry teaming provided the opportunities for hundreds of craftsmen, technicians, and engineers, working around the clock โ€“ through multiple under way and holiday periods โ€“ to get these advanced systems on line and operational.โ€

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