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Carrier Ford starts shock trials

The US Navy (USN) aircraft carrier USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78) has started its Full Ship Shock Trial (FSST), USN officials confirmed on 9 June.

β€œ@Warship_78 is conducting Full Ship Shock Trials in the Atlantic [Ocean],” Admiral Michael Gilday, chief of naval operations (CNO), tweeted. A USN official confirmed the tweet.

β€œThis is a big step for our US Navy and for the ship,” Adm Gilday added.

A shock trial is a test of the combat survivability of the design of a new class of ships, according to the Congressional Research Service's (CRS's) December 2020 report on the Ford-class programme.

β€œA shock trial involves setting off one or more controlled underwater charges near the ship being tested, and then measuring the ship's response to the underwater shock caused by the explosions,” CRS explained. β€œThe test is intended to verify the ability of the ship's structure and internal systems to withstand shocks caused by enemy weapons, and to reveal any changes that need to be made to the design of the ship's structure or its internal systems to meet the ship's intended survivability standard. Shock trials are nominally to be performed on the lead ship in a new class of ships, but there have also been cases where the shock trial for a new class was done on one of the subsequent ships in the class.”

The Pentagon Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E) said it had concerns about potential shock impacts on certain ship systems in its January report on the Ford-class programme.

β€œThe potential vulnerability of CVN 78's new critical systems to underwater threat-induced shock has not yet been fully characterised,” the DOT&E reported.

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