The US Navy has accepted the second advanced weapons elevator (AWE) for its newest Ford-class aircraft carrier USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78).

It comes after the acceptance of the vessel’s first AWE last month, called the AWE Upper Stage #1.

Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) also delivered the AWE Upper Stage #3 last month to CVN 78 following testing and certification.

USS Gerald R Ford is the lead ship of the class and currently undergoing post-shakedown availability (PSA) at the NNS.

Acceptance of the second AWE will allow the crew to become acquainted familiar with the equipment during the PSA, noted Gerald R Ford weapons officer commander Joe Thompson.

“This gives us more time to learn and become subject matter experts.”

Thompson said: “This gives us more time to learn and become subject matter experts. All of us are learning on brand new systems and brand new concepts.

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“This acceptance gives us the opportunity to have that ‘run time’ on the physical aspects of the elevator, but also in evaluating the technical manuals, and learning the maintenance required to keep them operational.”

The availability of two elevators is expected to help streamline the learning process and lessen the learning curve.

Chief machinist mate Franklin Pollydore said: “Having a second AWE will give us the opportunity to apply everything we have prepared for while allowing us to utilise all the experienced gained since AWE Upper Stage #1 was turned over to the ship.”

The second AWE is located in the Ford’s aft weapons handling area. This will enable the vessel to have two upper stage elevators in each of its handling areas.