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Navy certifies 5th weapons elevator on USS Gerald R. Ford

The Navy is calling the certification an "important milestone."

NORFOLK, Va. — "Extraordinarily significant."

Those are the words of a top admiral in announcing that a fifth weapons elevator has now been certified aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford.

The aircraft carrier has faced a number of challenges since its commissioning and in order to go to war, you need to be able to load bombs on planes.

Certifying Lower Stage Weapons Elevator 5 is important because now, the Ford crew can move ordnance from the aft magazine complex deep in the ship through the carrier to the flight deck.

"And the remaining elevators will be in test and certification and meet the requirements to be complete by full shock trials in about a year," said Rear Admiral James Downey,  Program Executive Officer for Aircraft Carriers. 

The crew will operate the newly certified elevator at sea during its next underway period in May.

To date, the elevators that do work aboard the $13.2 billion Ford have logged more than 8,000 cycles.

 "Newport News [Shipbuilding] has really been doing a great job with us," said Downey. "The operational Navy is tightly teamed here to completing the Ford. She remains the number one priority and she's hitting her schedules. The ship is operating to design and we're getting some good results there."

 The Navy also says all the lessons learned from the Ford's challenging development are being applied to the follow-on aircraft carriers, the future USS John F. Kennedy, Enterprise,  and Doris Miller.

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