Supercarrier Ford Could Soon Have More Than Half of Its Weapons Elevators Working –

The Navy’s newest aircraft carrier could soon pass the halfway point in getting its weapons elevators up and running.

The second of two lower-stage elevators on the carrier Gerald R. Ford is on track to be certified this summer, James Geurts, assistant Navy secretary for research, development and acquisition, told reporters Thursday. That would leave the Ford with six working elevators and five still left to be certified.

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The lower-stage elevators move heavy ordnance up to the flight deck from deep in the ship. The Navy certified the Ford’s first lower-stage elevator, which moves ordnance form the aft magazine, in April. Geurts said they’re on or ahead of schedule to get the next one operating in coming months.

“I don’t want to jinx myself with that, but I do want to give a shout out to … the ship builders, because they’ve had hundreds of folks on the ship for all these at-sea periods and are getting very meaningful work done even while we’re at sea,” he said.

Navy leaders have taken heat from members of Congress, government watchdog groups and others over several major problems with new technologies on the Ford.

That includes new state-of-the-art advanced weapons elevators, which move bombs from below deck faster than cable versions on the Nimitz-class carriers. When the Ford was