PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Senator Tim Kaine says he’s confident in repairs being made to the Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford.
Chronic issues plaguing the Ford have been well documented over the last two years.
On Thursday, Kaine spoke about the future of the Ford and other Hampton Roads-based carriers that have been under the microscope by local lawmakers. Kaine sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee and says the Ford Class is on the right track.
President Trump commissioned the USS Gerald R. Ford more than two years ago. It’s the first in a whole new class of aircraft carriers with unprecedented technology that includes 11 electromagnetic weapons elevators.
However, nine of the 11 elevators that carry munitions are not functional, according to Congresswoman Elaine Luria.
“This issue with the elevators has been known for some time,” said Senator Kaine. “We redesigned virtually everything, the hull, the arresting gear, the propulsion systems, communications, the elevators”
Kaine says he’s talked with leaders from Huntington Ingalls leadership, representatives of the workers there and Acting Secretary of Defense Richard Spencer.
“What’s happened at the shipyard is that as they’ve gone through the systems, one after the other, they’ve come up OK, this is a new system, there are some glitches and challenges, we solve it and we move onto the next one. The elevators is the next one and I’m confident it’s going to be solved.”
As for the USS Ford, the head of the Senate Armed Services Committee says the carrier needs to be ready by its scheduled deployment in 2021.
According to Kaine, the USS John Kennedy is set to be christened on December 7.