When the $13 billion vessel was delivered to the US Navy last year, it was done so without elevators needed in order to transfer bombs from below deck magazines to fighter jets, Bloomberg reported. Huntington Ingalls Industries, the Virginia-based company that was awarded the contact to modify the carrier in 2011, failed to install a total of 11 lifts.
The installations were delayed as a result of four incidences of "unsafe ‘uncommanded movements'" officials encountered since 2015, the outlet reported, citing US Navy officials. The original installation deadline for the necessary machinery was May of 2017.
William Couch, a spokesperson for the Naval Sea Systems Command, told Bloomberg in an article published Friday that the elevators were "in varying levels of construction and testing" and that six are able to be operated without issue.
However, despite the progress, Couch stressed that all 11 elevators "should have been completed and delivered with the ship delivery."
The latest development follows reports indicated that the carrier was having technical problems with its electromagnetic aircraft launch system and the advanced arresting gear that allows for an aircraft's deceleration during recovery missions.
Prior to the USS Ford's delivery, defense analyst Roger Thompson told Radio Sputnik that the aircraft carrier was "in serious trouble."
"[These supercarriers] are over budget and behind schedule," Thompson said. "I am not exaggerating when I say that half the systems on them don't work. Their pilots have a long tradition of not being well-qualified in air combat maneuvering."
With a deadline to get the vessel fully operational by 2021, officials are presently working to get all elevators up and running by July of 2019.