What Makes America’s New Ford-Class Aircraft Carrier Truly Dangerous

Some of the most important mechanic advancements are deep inside the ship – part of the revamped elevator system used to carry bombs, missiles and other aircraft-loaded equipment from the Ford’s bowels to the vessel’s higher decks.

Slated for springtime delivery, the aircraft carrier CVN 78 Gerald Ford has sparked much interest in its technological breakthroughs for launching and recovering aircraft – as well as new systems to cut down on the number of sailors that run the ship and run up the costs of operating the vessel.

But some of the most important mechanic advancements are deep inside the ship – part of the revamped elevator system used to carry bombs, missiles and other aircraft-loaded equipment from the Ford’s bowels to the vessel’s higher decks.

The 10 elevators have to carry up to about 200,000 pounds of weapons from the main deck magazine to the flight deck preparation area, according to Newport News shipbuilders at Hunting Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding unit.

That ship-climbing trek is comparable to going form the basement to the roof of an extremely large city skyscraper, carrying about 100 tons, all within a minute.

Shipbuilders wired the elevator up for more electricity using linear motors, replacing the rope-and-wheel systems that required a great deal more manpower to operate and maintain.

With the new system, shipbuilders say, the elevators can carry two times the weight as the previous system, covering the distance in about third the time. Increasing the carrying power and cutting the operating speed were key in providing the Ford with the quicker sortie rate that has been one of the ships selling points. Getting aircraft on and off the ship at a faster clip means little if the aerial platforms are not properly armed or loaded.

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