The US Navy has carried out the first of a series of first-of-class Full Ship Shock Trials on USS Gerald R. Ford. The aircraft carrier was subjected to shock waves from a huge explosion while underway some 170 km miles off Florida’s Atlantic coast.

CVN 78 is the first nuclear-powered ship to undergo FSST since USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) in 1987. The mandatory test is required to measure structural integrity and prove that fighting vessels can withstand the stresses of battle conditions. The test is the final hurdle on Ford’s long and torturous progression towards her first operational deployment next year.

The US Navy has conducted FSSTs over several decades, most recently for the Littoral Combat Ships USS Jackson (LCS 6) and USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) in 2016, the San Antonio class amphibious transport dock USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) in 2008, the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) in 1990, and the cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) in 1987.

The disruptive tests attempt to mitigate environmental damage by respecting known migration patterns of marine life in the test area.

Report by Gary Davies, photo by US Navy