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    Ford's Advanced Weapons Elevators Closer to Certification

    Lower Stage Weapons Elevator

    Photo By Seaman Riley McDowell | NORFOLK (Feb. 27, 2020) Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding...... read more read more



    Story by Lt.Cmdr. Desiree Frame 

    USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78)     

    NORFOLK — USS Gerald R. Ford’s (CVN 78) Advanced Weapons Elevators (AWEs) reached another milestone this week with the commencement of combined testing of its first Lower Stage Weapons Elevator on Feb. 24.
    Engineers of Huntington Ingalls Industries' Newport News Shipbuilding division (NNS) and assessors with Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division (NSWCPD) began phase 2 of testing Lower Stage Weapons Elevator (LSWE) #5 following the completion of phase 1 actuator testing over the weekend.
    The combined (NNS and NSWCPD) testing team and phased approach are a lesson learned from earlier elevator certifications and looks to reduce redundant inspections and improve timeliness between testing and certification.
    “We’ve come a long way with our integration and efficiency,” said Jake Moore, NSWCPD onsite designated assessor and software lead. “There’s a fluid team dynamic and solid process.”
    The new testing process created for Ford-class carriers enables NSWCPD to assess elevator operations alongside NNS and is aided by a 24-hour a day work-schedule that begins with a daily sync meeting to allow for the identification of issues in order to coordinate follow-on correction and further assessment.
    “Based on the recent performance and application of lessons learned we are on track for test completion, certification and turnover dates for our first lower stage elevator,” said Derek Briggs, NNS construction superintendent. “We are an integrated team-sharing organization rolling over the success of the upper elevators to the lower ones.”
    During the second phase of testing, engineers will conduct a series of mechanical and electrical inspections to verify software and complete co-checks in order to complete System Operability Testing 3 prior to phase 3 regression testing and subsequent certification by Naval Sea Systems Command.
    “I’m optimistic that testing will be completed as planned,” said Lt. Cmdr. Chabonnie Alexander, Ford’s Ordnance Handling Officer. “Of course there will be unknowns, but that is exactly what testing is designed to do — correct the unknowns before certification.”
    NNS delivered four upper stage elevators to Ford last year. To date Ford has conducted around 7,000 cycles of these elevators with only a few minor issues. LSWE #5 will serve as a testing ground for the remaining seven elevators yet to be delivered as the lower stage elevators have significant design complexities from the upper stage elevators. The remaining AWEs are in varying levels of completion, and a dedicated team is engaged on these efforts to accelerate the work and certification schedule where feasible.
    “NNS is working as hard as they can to deliver the remaining elevators in the most efficient timeline possible,” said Ford’s Commanding Officer, Capt. John .J. Cummings. “These lower stage elevators are critical to our lethality in that they will allow our crew to move ordnance between the lower levels and the main deck. I am confident NNS has worked through former technology concerns and will deliver the lower stage elevators as soon as possible.”
    For more information, contact USS Gerald R. Ford’s (CVN 78) Public Affairs Officer at”



    Date Taken: 02.27.2020
    Date Posted: 02.27.2020 17:05
    Story ID: 364084
    Location: NORFOLK, VA, US 

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