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December 24, 2021

US Navy announces completion of final AWE aboard USS Gerald R Ford

AWEs are used to transfer ordnance from weapons magazines to the flight deck.

The US Navy has announced the completion of the 11th and final Advanced Weapons Elevator (AWE) aboard aircraft carrier USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78).

The AWE system was turned over to the ship’s crew this week.

AWEs are used to move ordnance such as missiles and bombs from weapons magazines to the flight deck.

The USS Gerald R Ford’s AWEs leverage advanced technologies such as electromagnetic motors to lift materiel.

Aircraft Carriers program executive officer Rear Admiral James P. Downey said: “This is a significant milestone for the Navy, ship, and her crew.

“With completion of this final AWE, we now have the entire system to operate and train with.

“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.”

Currently, the aircraft carrier is in its six-month Planned Incremental Availability (PIA) at Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding facility in Hampton Roads, Virginia. 

The USS Gerald R Ford will complete PIA this spring following which the ship is expected to be ready for first deployment.

Downey added: “The end game is always operational readiness and Ford is on track to complete this PIA on schedule, conduct sea trials, and to move on to follow on tasking.”

In August this year, the carrier conducted the final explosive event off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida.

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