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US Navy looks to start shock trial for carrier Ford in ‘June timeframe'

The aircraft carrier USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78) should start first full-ship shock trials “in the June timeframe”, Captain John J Cummings, ship commanding officer, said on 8 February, during an update briefing on ship operations.

Once the shock trials are completed, the ship should go into planned incremental availability in September at the Newport News Shipbuilding yard in Virginia, Capt Cummings said.

The shock trials test the combat survivability of the design of a new class of ships, measuring the ship’s response to the underwater shock caused by the explosions of controlled underwater charges placed near the ship.

As noted by the Congressional Research Service, the 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.

The US Navy (USN) wanted to delay the full-shock testing until the second ship of the Ford class, John F Kennedy (CVN 79), because testing CVN 78 could lead to delays in Ford’s deployment, thereby putting additional strain on the overall carrier force. However, the Pentagon directed the USN to conduct the tests on Ford, whose internal design was different from that of the previous Nimitz class of carriers.

Capt Cummings noted that Ford has been continuing its role as the East Coast aviation qualifications carrier for USN aviators. The ship is on pace to soon record 7,000 launches and recoveries, including qualification operations with F/A-18F Super Hornet-equipped precision landing mode (PLM) systems, he said.

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