Elevators in the Military

Aircraft carriers have traditionally used high-speed, aluminum hydraulic elevators. They are big and strong enough to lift two 74,000-lb. (33,566-kg) fighter jets. Here is a video of one in action:

However, the U.S. Navy has found hydraulic, pneumatic, steam and mechanically driven systems to be inefficient, inadequate and high maintenance. For that reason, it has pursued the use of Linear Synchronous-Motor (LSM) technology in its shipborne elevators. According to James G. Wieler and Dr. Richard D. Thornton, the LSM system is “faster, safer, environmentally friendly and more efficient, and has a higher lift capacity than existing Navy munitions elevators.” Dubbed the Advanced Weapons Elevator (AWD), you can see it in action on NOVA, featuring Federal Equipment Co. president Doug Ridenour.

We may see AWEs installed on aircraft carriers as early as next year.

“Linear Synchronous Motor Elevators Become a Reality,” ELEVATOR WORLD, May 2012, pp. 140-143 is available in print and digital format from the Elevator World online bookstore.

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