Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday, center-left, watches USS Gerald R. Ford’s (CVN 78) advanced weapons elevators (AWE) during a 2019 visit to the ship. U.S. Navy photo

Advanced Weapons Elevators Completed CVN 78

Published January 4, 2022

The 11th and final advanced weapons elevator (AWE) aboard USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) was turned over to the ship’s crew in late December.

AWEs on this first-of-class aircraft carrier operate using several advanced technologies, including electromagnetic motors, instead of more labor-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.

“The Navy-industry teaming provided the opportunities for hundreds of craftsmen, technicians and engineers, working around the clock – through multiple underway and holiday periods – to get these advanced systems on line and operational,” said Adm. James P. Downey, program executive officer for Aircraft Carriers.

This important milestone came in the midst of the ship’s six-month planned incremental availability (PIA) at Newport News Shipbuilding. Ford is scheduled to complete the PIA this spring, followed by training and deployment.