The $13 billion USS Ford, the first in a new class of high-tech aircraft carriers, has experienced well-publicized issues with its magnetic launching system, propulsion system and weapons elevators. In January, Navy Secretary Richard Spencer told President Trump that he could fire him if he couldn’t get the elevators working by July, but it looks like Spencer is going to miss his deadline.
Rep. Elaine Luria, a Democrat from Virginia who served as surface warfare officer on two aircraft carriers over the course of a 20-year career and who now sits on the House Armed Services Committee, told Bloomberg News that only two of the ship’s 11 weapons elevators have been installed, rendering the ship useless as far as real-world operations are concerned.
“Essentially, the ship can’t deploy. It can’t carry ammunition,” Luria said.
The “advanced weapons elevators” on the world’s most expensive warship were supposed to be installed and functional by May 2017. Due to the ongoing problems with the elevators and other ship components, the carrier’s sea trial phase has now been extended into the fall, though it’s unlikely that the elevators will be fully installed even by then, let alone working properly. “I don’t see an end in sight right now,” Luria said.