July 23 (UPI) -- The Navy's Program Executive Office Aircraft Carriers announced the certification of a sixth Advanced Weapons Elevator aboard USS Gerald R. Ford this week.
The newly certified elevator is designed to move artillery from the ship's forward magazine to the flight deck, according to the Navy.
Its certification comes at the midpoint of the ship's post delivery test and trials.
"LSWE 5 has given us the capacity to move ordnance from the aft magazine complex deep in the ship through the carrier to the flight deck with a speed and agility that has never been seen before on any warship," said Rear Adm. James P. Downey, program executive officer for Aircraft Carriers. "LSWE 1 doubles-down on that capability and ramps up the velocity of flight deck operations. LSWEs 1 and 5 will now operate in tandem, providing a dramatic capability improvement as we proceed toward full combat system certification aboard Ford."
The crew will operate the elevator during the vessel's next underway period to exercise it in an at-sea environment and train crew members.
The Ford embarked Carrier Air Wing 8 in June, conducting cyclic flight operations day and night and amassing 324 catapult launches and arrested landings and qualifying 50 pilots.
The Navy certified the fifth weapons elevator on the Ford in April.
Intended to replace the Nimitz-class carriers, the Ford has been troubled by cost overruns and technical problems, particularly involving the munitions elevators.
In June, the U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report saying the supercarrier still had major technical problems with the electromagnetic aircraft launch system, the Advanced Arresting Gear and dual band radar.
That report came days after the Navy announced that the Ford had moved from launching planes to preparing for maritime combat, with seven squadrons of aircraft aboard as the ship began cyclic operations.