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USS Ford still has major technical problems, says GAO report

New arrivals to USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) step off Ford's flight deck onto the cat walk in January. Photo by Jesus O. Aguiar/U.S. Navy
New arrivals to USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) step off Ford's flight deck onto the cat walk in January. Photo by Jesus O. Aguiar/U.S. Navy

June 4 (UPI) -- The USS Gerald Ford, the U.S. Navy's new, supercarrier still has major technical problems in two of its systems, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

"Despite maturing its critical technologies, the Navy is still struggling to demonstrate the reliability of key systems, including the electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS); Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG); and dual band radar (DBR)," said the report, which was released this week.

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Intended to replace the Nimitz-class carriers, the Ford has been troubled by cost overruns and technical problems, particularly involving its munitions elevators.

The Navy certified a fifth weapons elevator aboard the Ford in April, but according to the GAO, none of the weapons elevators are currently operational, which means the elevators still can't bring munitions to the flight deck from the lower decks.

Earlier this week, the Navy announced that the ship has moved from aircraft carrier operations to preparing for maritime combat, including moving inert weapons from a lower deck to the flight deck.

The GAO report notes that in September 2019, the Navy increased the CVN 78 cost cap by $197 million to $13.2 billion -- in part to fix deficiencies in the elevators.

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The Navy is now aiming to complete all elevator work by this spring, the GAO said.

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